Justice is served to Abusive Couple

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Deacon, Sep 12, 2013.

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  1. Deacon

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    Justice is served for Hana Williams’ adoptive parents [LINK]

    A Skagit County jury thankfully pushed past the minutae of child-rearing techniques and freedom of religion and found Sedro-Wooley-area couple Larry and Carri Williams guilty of their adopted Ethiopian daughter’s death.

    No one knows if the couple’s abusive treatment of two children they adopted from Ethiopia was influenced by a child-rearing book they had in their home, To Train up a Child [LINK], by Michael and Debi Pearl. Cheered for its Bible-based parenting techniques and reviled for recommending harsh physical discipline for kids, the book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Since the evangelical guidebook’s original publication in 1994, child-abuse cases have cited it as possibly spurring parents’ behavior, but as a Slate article notes, formal action has never been taken against the authors.
     
  2. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    These idiots have never read the book. They obviously didn't get past the first sentence of the first chapter, provocatively titled "Switch your kids." It is not the book that resulted in the child abuse charges against the parents who've read it, as quite obviously, thousands of sets of parents have read it and not been hauled into court. Just as the idiot critics never read the book, neither did the parents who later abused their children read it with understanding, if they actually read it at all.
     
    #2 thisnumbersdisconnected, Sep 12, 2013
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  3. annsni

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    Yes, they read the book as have I. I read it and cried, screamed, got angry. It is a most disgusting, antiBiblical, antiparenting book I've ever read.
     
  4. Gina B

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    It's a book I hate to see anyone use, but unfortunately, a large number of people read it and incorporate it into their parenting. That's been discussed on this board and other Christian boards in the past and to my disgust, defended by the majority.

    This family though? All you know is what you are reading, and what you are reading is likely very slanted. It doesn't talk about how adoption really works. It doesn't talk about parasitic infections. It doesn't tell you how that type of infection, coupled with a slam to an American diet, can wreak havoc on these children when they are brought here. It doesn't talk about any mental health/behavioral issues.

    It doesn't talk about the other adopted children, the reputation the family had as great parents prior to these allegations and this situation.

    Something went wrong with this adoption. Very wrong. A family doesn't do great as a family and great in adoptions and suddenly decide "Let's put time and money into adopting a child from Ethiopia and abuse her until she dies." That's illogical. Think about it. Something else went on here that isn't being discussed at all. Instead, the media is latching onto, exploiting, and sensationalizing bits of this story with wording that turns it into something it very likely may not be, while totally ignoring everything else about these parents and their children and their lives before this. That isn't right.
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Then I have to say neither of you have read it with any understanding either. Sorry.
     
  6. Gina B

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    Yes, I did and if I remember right, spoke to the author some to understand it better. It did help me to better understand the book and it explained the mindset more after that, but it didn't make me agree with it. It still seemed to me to be a method used to break a child's spirit. I disagree with that method, a thousand times over. I didn't want my children to obey out of fear and I wanted them to ask why. A relationship built on love and the freedom to question and learn why is just...normal. They're not pets and that's the sense you get over and over in that book, that you're breaking in some kind of animal rather than being entrusted with a precious little one.
     
  7. Aaron

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    Skimmed the book: don't see any issues yet.

    I know a family with ten children. Not a blended family, nor were there any adoptions. There is no time nor energy for foolishness.
     
  8. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I stand by my previous statement. You didn't understand what you read, because that is not what the book conveys. Do you not agree with corporal punishment, is that it? As for asking "why," there are many things that we teach our children that they aren't prepared to understand at certain ages. There are times when "Because I said so" is the best answer for them, given they cannot understand the "why" behind the rule.

    I used a progressive system of punishment with my kids, starting with a lecture, progressing to lost privileges or possessions for a short time and culminating with a brief spanking. I only got to the final punishment with my son five times, and only twice with my daughter. True, the book talks of more physical contact than that, but primarily with infants and toddlers, and obviously does not preach child abuse. Small swats on the arm, leg, or bottom to reinforce the "no" is perfectly acceptable, not child abuse, and gets the idea across.

    "Why" is a great question for the classroom. It has no place, or at least very little place, in a child's vocabulary relative to obedience. If you reinforce the necessity for obedience at a young age, the natural rebellion a child displays as he/she becomes an adult is less destructive to both him/herself, and the family.
     
  9. annsni

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    I read it, have extensive notes and wrote a 10 page paper on the book (which of course was lost in my old computer).

    Here is a succinct review of the book by Tim Challies. He doesn't go into all of the issues with the book but certainly hits on the heart of the matter.

    http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/how-not-to-train-up-a-child

    http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/how-not-to-train-up-a-child-part-2

    Bottom of the line: The Pearl's theology is screwed up and they are absolutely no experts in parenting. There is great danger in following what they teach.
     
  10. Don

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    My wife read part of the book by Pearl's wife, and she showed me parts of it; we didn't agree with it.

    Haven't read this book. Read a little bit from the Challies website.

    Here's my question for those that have read the book: I see a lot of comments about the discipline system/recommendations for disobedience; what's the reward system/recommendations for obedience?
     
  11. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    In reading Challies review I have to take issue with a conclusion he (in my view) reaches erroneously. He claims Pearl believes children are born without a sin nature, but I don't read that into what Pearl writes, and if it is on this basis you reject Pearl, then you do so based (again) on reading what he is saying but not understanding what he says. I'd have to say Challies is guilty of the same thing.

    I am not a 100% supporter of Pearl, as I think his emphasis on punishment is too freely exercised. That may or may not be Pearl's fault, but he does little to discourage an ongoing behavior/punishment paradigm between parent and child. It is behavioral psychology taken to extremes -- not to say anything against behavioral psychology, because I'm working on a Masters in it myself, as it is the only legitimate concept of psychology, being (whether they want it to be or not) biblically based.

    Challies' determination that Pearl does not believe in original sin is poorly thought out. Pearl does not believe a child sins at an early age, but not because he/she does not have a sin nature. No child with a lack of understanding of right and wrong is accountable for his actions, and no less than the Bible teaches this as fact. Children are innocent until that day their self-will awakens and they realize they have a choice. Satan introduced sin to Adam and Eve in that same fashion, helping them to realize they have a choice. Of course our self-will is our own self-proclaimed "license to sin" given that even when we know right from wrong, we will choose wrong because it "feels good." Pearl does indicate -- as Challies notes -- that children can feel guilt. That is the beginning of the awakening of the self-will that makes them responsible for their actions, and Pearl's teaching along this line gives the lie to Challies' conclusion that Pearl doesn't believe in original sin.

    Children who do not have a realization of self-will and determination to choose wrongly can't be held accountable for their actions, but they can be taught to consciously decide not to undertake those actions that are harmful, destructive, or just plain wrong. That is all Pearl is teaching, though again, he takes it to extremes and does not counsel the utmost caution in the teaching process.

    This subject is entirely too complicated to discuss on a message board like this, but I would urge you and anyone else who condemns Pearl's concepts as out of hand to truly investigate what he writes. Don't have a knee-jerk reaction nor allow yourselves to be carried away by emotionalism in reaction to what "seems wrong" to you. Investigation will show you that while he doesn't have the best answer possible, he doesn't have the unbiblical answer you are all accusing him of teaching.
     
  12. annsni

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    To Train Up a Child by Michael Pearl, page 17:

    From page 5

    That is speaking about not disciplining the child but using conditioning the child to respond correctly by applying "training techniques". He uses examples of the Amish training their horses - which I know for a fact is not the way the Amish train. I train horses and have for over 30 years. If I were to apply his principles in training horses, I'd have a 1300 pound dangerous animal on my hands. But then again, we are talking about image bearers of Christ - not animals.
     
  13. annsni

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    page 20

    So a child may "sin" but it's not really sin. I'm not sure what he would call it but it's not sin. It only becomes sin later when "his moral soul is fully functional". This is not just an age of accountability - but it is taking it a step further.
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    To Train Up a Child by Michael Pearl, page 17:

    Where in that do you read "lacking a sin nature"?
     
  15. annsni

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    Somewhere about the "He is an incomplete moral being."
     
  16. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    He didn't say that. In fact, for you to summarize him in that way ignores this:

    Perhaps you don't believe this is true. Perhaps you believe an "unsaved infant" who dies goes to hell, meaning you believe they are responsible for their sin from the moment they see the light of the world. If so, you are wrong.
     
  17. annsni

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    My quote was an exact quote from the book - and you quoted it as well. How can you say that he didn't say that? If you have the book, turn to page 17, under the heading "A Spiritual Fetus", 2nd paragraph, 9th line down.

    You just posted what comes immediately before it. Then he says:

    I believe that God is just and God is always right. Should there be infants in hell, they are there rightly because of our holy God. If they are not, they are rightly in heaven because of our holy God. I do not believe anyone on this earth is "innocent". Yes, they are responsible for their sin because it's certainly not anyone else's sin. It's their own. God doesn't ignore sin. If you say that He does, YOU are wrong.
     
  18. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Do you understand what the word "viable" means, Ann? Saying a child's soul is not "morally viable" is not the same thing as saying that the child lack's a sin nature. It is saying that the child's moral capabilities are undeveloped, which you surely cannot argue with. The definition of "viable" is "capable of working successfully; feasible." Therefore, if Pearl says a child is not a "morally viable" being, he is saying his/her moral structure is not capable of working properly, which is it not.

    Really?? I guess you don't believe Paul's writings to be inspired, then?

    Romans 3, NASB
    21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
    22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
    25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
    26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus
    .[Emphasis added]

    That phrase "passing over" says that God does exactly what you claim He does not. It is the word paresis and it means "passing over, letting pass, neglecting, disregarding." Such is the mercy of God, that rather than destroy us as He should, He disregards our sin, even when we are vile sinners incapable of believing in Him, until such time as we are drawn to Him, called to Him, and justified by faith -- or not. In which case, we die and pass into hell.

    For you to say "maybe" infants are in hell also denies His mercy and the teachings of the Bible, which don't specifically teach an "age of accountability" but certainly -- like the concept of the Trinity -- support its existence. For example, Romans 1:18ff teaches that we are responsible for recognizing the evidence of God through the creation, and Acts 17:31 states that we find the witness of God in the Scriptures. How does an infant grasp the concepts of the creation, or the Word? It is a ridiculous belief to think God will hold such a morally nonviable person accountable for his/her sin. This applies to the mentally challenged as well, such as those with Downs' Syndrome.

    Of course all men are born spiritually dead (without the natural ability to respond) and under the condemnation of sin. That is what the sin nature is about. Christ nonetheless seeks to draw all men to Himself through the ministry of the Spirit and bore upon Himself that condemnation for man by His death on the cross. The accountability issue then is turning from self trust in good works or from apathy and a denial of accountability to God to trust in Christ. It is evident in John's gospel that the Spirit’s ministry of convicting and giving demonstrable proof to men relates to their trust or rejection of Christ.

    John 16
    8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
    9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
    10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
    11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged."​

    Perhaps you believe this leaves a lot of room for equivocation regarding when the age of accountability begins. But speaking both as a man holding a Masters in Behavioral Psychology and as Christian, I assure you, there is not. Some claim it could take as long as the first 20 years of a person's life, but I find that ridiculous as well. Our juvenile court system has gradually reduced their own legal definition of accountability from 16 or 17 to about age 12 now, and there have even been 10-year-olds charged as adults when suspected of violent crimes. However, the understanding of right vs. wrong comes even much earlier than that.

    A child essentially knows the word "no" at a very young age, as young as 18 months old. For a few more months, perhaps until age three or so, "No!" frequently prevents them from touching, poking, pounding, running, etc. But then sets in defiance, and "No!" becomes a challenge to test their power. It is that point that a judgment is being made on a regular basis: Is the reward greater than the punishment? When such thinking starts, the sin nature takes hold. Within another three years, a child knows most of the moral and legal boundaries he/she will ever know in this world, and that, I believe, is when the age of accountability is reached. It might vary by a year either way, but not much more than that. Again, I qualify that statement by excepting the mentally challenged.

    It is a scientific fact that 90% of our personalities have been set in stone by the time we are three. Our personality directly relates to our willingness to challenge rules, and those of us who are more adventurous in doing so will have a far more difficult time in life, and in understanding the revelations of God, though by no means does that mean such an adventurous individual cannot come to Christ at an early age. It depends on their willingness to read, observe, study, consider, reason and accept. It is even stated in Romans 2:14-16 that those who never have a chance to hear the gospel and the name of Jesus will be judged by their conscience, and how they have handled the self-realization of right vs. wrong and their thoughts, words and deeds subsequent to that moment.

    Now, one can accept or reject these thoughts as you see fit. I don't care one way or another. These are biblical truths that not just I, but far more intelligent men than myself, have gleaned from Scripture. It is quite easy to say, "Infants may be in hell, or they may not be," but that is a rather lazy way out of the issue. The evidence is overwhelming, and I have to wonder, if one believes that infants might perhaps be in hell, how that one can live with the basic Baptist teaching that they are not?

    III. Man

    Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. [Emphasis added] Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.​

    Of course, I realize not everyone on the Baptist Board is Southern Baptist, but nonetheless, some 80% of Baptist churches in the U.S. have modeled their own faith statements after the BF&M because it is excellent theology. As to the arguments laid out here, these facts, not incidentally, destroy the concept of strict Calvinism. I've had enough of this. God bless. I'm done here.
     
    #18 thisnumbersdisconnected, Sep 15, 2013
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  19. annsni

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    Oh? I disagree. From reading in context, a child has no ability to sin before he understands it around 14 years of age. I find that unbiblical.

    Ahhh, but I see you forgot to highlight "righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;" We are not speaking of every human being but those who believe in Jesus Christ. Yes, God passes over the sins of those who believe on Jesus Christ for salvation and who have the blood of the Lamb applied to the lintel of the door to their hearts.

    [splitting this since it was too long.]
     
  20. annsni

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    Interesting. Because I have been present with those who have mental challenges who have been saved. Are you saying that God cannot get the Gospel to some people? Interesting. Saying that the unsaved, unregenerate sinner is in hell is absolutely Biblical and does not deny God's mercy and teachings of the Bible. There is one way to be saved - and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ. I haven't found another way in Scripture.

    So, men are born spiritually dead and under the condemnation of sin? Not according to Mr. Pearl as we've seen. Babies are under no condemnation and they are not spiritually dead but "undeveloped". It maybe then be more merciful to kill off babies so they can go to heaven and not have the chance to develop spiritually and then chance hell. That is what the theology of Michael Pearl would lead to.

    That's wonderful - yet I don't see any Scriptural support for an age of accountability at all. All have sinned and the wages of sin is death. However, I do believe that God can save infants, He can save the mentally disabled and He can save the smartest man in the world. I do not believe for one moment that anyone is born innocent and not accountable for sin. I cannot believe that a Baptist would think that there is salvation outside of Jesus. That a person could get to heaven outside of what God has shown us i the Scriptures. To believe that there is another way, it is cruel to then raise children to be able to then become morally "mature" and then lose the salvation they at one time had - but none of that makes Biblical sense at all.

    Yes, I do believe there can be babies in hell because I believe in a just and holy God. But I also believe that our God is just and holy and all powerful - and capable of saving those who we think are "too young and dumb to know better". If He can cause the trees to praise Him, I know that He can bring the Gospel to a child.
     
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