I just read Anna-Marie’s last entry which may not be there anymore by the time you read this, because she has requested that her blog be deleted. She will be greatly missed.
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I say goodbye. This blog will be deleted shortly. I have been wrestling with this decision, hoping that the owners would explain things to me. I wanted a formal statement regarding what was happening with the Pearls and the widespread accusations and why they seem to have chosen the path they did. I have received nothing. We all deserved some sort of response, after all, it is our reputations on the line too. But I have read many posts from Gena defending the Pearls and TOS. I cannot understand what there is to defend.
Right now, I’m not sure what to say. I’ve begun this entry ten different ways and am unsure where to go from here. From the comments I have read so far on this issue, one side of the Christian community asks how “Bible believing Christians can find fault with child rearing advice taken directly from the bible,” and the other wonders, “…how Christians fall for this.”
I would like to examine the scripture on this. So let’s start at the beginning…in the Garden of Eden. Direct from the KJV, since that is point number one on NGJ’s doctrinal statement:
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
That is the pure word of God and cannot be contested. I have no issue with scripture and make no attempts to reason around it. From NGJ:
Man, though complete and entire, wanting nothing, was, in his innocence, without character. The tree of knowledge of good and evil, a moral testing ground, was, in the wisdom of God, the perfect opportunity for spiritual development. The natural constitution of man (desire for food, etc.) became the basis for temptation. In the eating of the tree, the willful and direct disobedience to God resulted in legal estrangement from God and precipitated the curse of death on Adam and all his descendants. All men are born under the curse and totally estranged from God. When a descendent of Adam reaches a level of moral understanding (sometime in his youth) he becomes fully, personally accountable to God and has sin imputed to him, resulting in the peril of eternal damnation.
But that isn’t what scripture says. Not really. It is an interpretation. Take it or leave it as you will. It is not the word of God. Not one verse in the bible says Adam was born without character. Not one verse says that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was a moral testing ground and an opportunity for spiritual development. We only know THAT God placed it there, not WHY. No problems with the next part…or that all are born under the curse. But there are also no verses in scripture that even hints that our sin is imputed to us at any age. It is our righteousness that is imputed (see the story of Abraham).
But this is the basis for the child training laid out in the beginning of their advice. In her response to me, IFBPreachersWife comments:
The entire point of putting an object w/i a childs reach and teaching them not to touch it goes all the way back to the garden of Eden. God himself did that to Adam & Eve with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of course, his instructions were not to eat of it but he could have just as easily not put the tree in the garden at all to avoid temptation.
There are too many steps away from the direct word of God here for me to accept this as valid, scriptural grounds for the training lined out in NGJ’s materials. This is not about corporal punishment. Please don’t misunderstand me…I’m not saying that corporal punishment is not scriptural. I am taking issue with the ideas of conditioning laid out by the Pearls that are taken directly from the classical conditioning discovered by Pavlov, and deveoped further by B.F. Skinner. Please take time to thoruoghly digest that article and you will understand why I, personally, am content to stop reviewing these materials based on their use of conditioning in child training, even if you disagree with me. It is also the foundational methodology behind our public school system and the training teachers receive.
The abstractions made from the example in the Garden of Eden are of no significance to the actual methodology laid out by the Pearls in the materials I have read so far. I cannot go from these verses to lying out temptation before my children in order to have the opportunity to “switch” them. Particularly in the case of an infant, not even one, who reaches for a book, or is crying at night, or who is screaming for whatever reason he might scream. It is a false foundation, and, as my subheading on this page proclaims,
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
What is the true danger I see in these materials? It is not about corporal punishment. It goes back to Genesis 3:1-3. There was a subtle twisting of the Word of God. A little bit was added. God said, “Thou shalt not eat of it….” Eve said, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it…” A slight adding to what God said was enough for the serpent to gain a foothold. Christ quoted God directly in His temptation, nothing added, nothing deleted, and He held fast. One is the path to sin. The other the path to eternal life through Christ Jesus.
Feel free to disagree with me. I do not “have” to be right. But please do not insult me with phrases like, “How can any bible believing Christian not believe in child raising advice taken directly from scripture.” These materials are not the word of God.
If you want to know more about how I view the child and how we can lead them to righteousness, check out my ongoing series on motivation. These thoughts also are not the word of God…they are my thoughts on the subject and I claim nothing more than that.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
This should be the calling card of our faith. Not our specific child rearing practices.