Book Reviews

Video Book Review #1: Every Thought Captive by Richard Pratt:

Video Book Review #2: Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Diebler

Video Book Review #3: The Search for God and Guiness by Stephen Mansfield

Video Book Review #4: Crisis, Opportunity, and the Christian Future by James B. Jordan

Video Book Review #5: I am Legend by Richard Matheson

Video Book Review #6: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Video Book Review #7: A Primer on Worship and Reformation by Douglas Wilson

Video Book Review #8: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Video Book Review #9: Calvinism in a Las Vegas Airport by Richard Mouwl

Video Book Review #10: Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Video Book Review #11: Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman

Video Book Review #12: There’s Moore to Life by Robert Moore

Book Review: Covenantal Theonomy by Kenneth Gentry

Book Review: Christ, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper by Leonard Vander Zee

Book Review: Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II

Book Review: Baptism: What Christian Parents Should Know by John P. Sartelle

Book Review: The Vindication of Jesus Christ by James B. Jordan

Book Review: Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer

Book Review: Christian Mission in a Modern World by John Stott

Book Review: To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debbie Pearl

I have been asked a few times what I thought about the ministry of Michael and Debbie Pearl. I have finished reading their book entitled To Train Up a Child as well as perused through their youtube videos, website and various other sites. Suffice to say, the majority of sites take a very strong position against their ministry. Some claim they are child abusers, while others claim they are part of the Dominionist takeover.[1]

Theologically, I take serious issues with their eschatology—Mr. Pearl believes in a pre-tribulational rapture; his view that tithing is a sin;—in his perspective tithing is abiding by the law, therefore a meritorious work– his view that a pre-existing earth existed before day one of creation (known as the Gap-Theory), and a host of other theological issues. All of this implies that his theology is going to affect his understanding of parenting to various degrees.[2]

Let me begin by stating that their book To Train Up a Child offered some helpful advice. Their view of child discipline is in many ways accurate, though at times I wish they moderated their strong rhetoric. Though some have accused the Pearl’s of strong legalism, I sensed at least in some of their words a desire to ensure readers that having obedient children is not enough; we need to build them up in godliness. He writes:

Always treat your children with respect. Never ridicule, mock or laugh at your child’s ideas, creations or ambitions (27).

Later, he writes:

A father who teases his children to anger can expect them to do the same to others smaller than themselves (31).

He also observes that parents play a crucial role in how children are raised. There is an “inherited intemperance,” which may “manifest through the child in lack of self-control in another area” (89). My first impression of the book is that there is a longing to build godly and obedient children, but parents are a deep part in forming this process.

Their thoughts on spanking and not sparing the rod probably have led to more controversy than anything else. Yet, I found very little concern. The harsh rhetoric can be misunderstood and followers of such models can take it to a level not intended by the author. Still, it is concerning to hear of cases of abuse from people who claim to follow the Pearls. This cannot go unnoticed.

Methods can always be abused. Ideas can be abused. I do, however, have a central problem with their understanding of child-rearing. From their perspective children are not imputed sin until:

There will come a time when, through the development of the understanding, the conscience will be awakened, and for these things they will be counted blameworthy.

This establishes a poor foundation for how children are to be viewed in the sight of God. In this system, parents play a role of redeemer until the child reaches a certain age when he is awakened to his own sin. Necessarily, the laws for training children at times seem to be laws that substitute the atoning death of Christ and justification by faith in Him. It is not uncommon then that some have accused the Pearl’s of espousing a form of behaviorism.

With so many doctrinal concerns, but yet with some helpful practical suggestions, I would strongly caution readers. I caution them to be very aware of what kind of children they want to rear. If you think that you can replace all the theological errors with a more biblical theology while keeping and preserving some of their helpful and practical ideas on child-rearing, then you are seeking a cumbersome task. My other note would be that not everyone has the time and energy to invest in de-theologizing their children from this material. My general advice is that if you are looking for a parenting model that embraces courtship, creativity, discipline, obedience; that refuses to succumb to the world’s ways of parenting and who embraces a full-orbed Christian experience, then I think I can recommend other authors.


[1] A strange title for Amish-oriented people.

[2] This is not something I can elaborate here, but something I would be willing to discuss should someone be interested.

more reviews will be added…

12 Responses to Book Reviews

  1. Pingback: Reading Faster… « Common Tips for Common People…

  2. Pingback: Before Continuing with C.S. Lewis… « Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

  3. James says:

    Hey Uri,

    I hope all is well – saw you on wedgeworth’s blog and thought I would drop a note and say howdy. You should post your books on goodreads.com. Anyway hope your family is doing well. Grace and Peace,

    James

  4. Uri Brito says:

    I took your advice James. Thanks.

  5. Covenant Theonomy, huh? How are you liking it so far?

  6. Uri Brito says:

    Aaron, my review is on the blog itself…

  7. I am translating “Heaven Misplaced” to Portuguese. A very good book!

  8. Frank C. Partridge says:

    Uri, are you on-line now ?

  9. Uri Brito says:

    Hi Frank….how are you these days? if you have a gmail account, I am usually on most times of the day.

  10. Jon Orcutt says:

    Thanks for your very solid review of the Peals and their view of parenting and child-rearing.
    What titles would you suggest in lieu of the Pearls?

  11. Uri Brito says:

    In response, I would recommend Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart.

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