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flowermama 03-18-2007 01:27 PM

"Unprepared for Parenting" Resources
If you have any resources that are either helpful when "de-Ezzoing" and/or leaving behind punitive parenting or that contain sample letters to friends/pastors about Ezzo/Tripp/Pearl and other punitive parenting, please share them in this thread.

Below I am going copy and paste the resources that have been posted up to this date.

Also, there are more resources listed here:

Resources about Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo
The Ezzos' head the religious organization called Growing Families International (GFI).

:arrow -- A remarkable collection of articles and personal stories having to do with "ezzoing."

:arrow A blog post by kris10s with links and info about Gary Ezzo and Babywise.


Gary Ezzo and Babywise

This post was inspired by a comment on a previous post.

I do know that there are godly and loving parents who choose to use the Babywise program, but there have been major concerns raised that have been well-documented at the website.

Concerns about Gary Ezzo himself
He has been under church discipline multiple times, and is currently excommunicated from an evangelical church in California, which he attended before moving to the east coast. He has been caught in habitual lies about a wide variety of things, including inventing degrees he did not earn (including GPAs!) for a job application and to publishers. All of this occured since his parenting ministry began. In his writings, Gary Ezzo lists one of his creditials as being "a successful parent" but the first word he used to describe his relationship with his children was cordial, and his son-in-law embezzled $500,000 from his company while employed there. In 2001, Multnomah, the former publisher, dropped Ezzo's very lucrative books over concerns about medical misinformation and Ezzo's character. Many prominent evangelical Christians have publically stated concerns about Ezzo and the Babywise material including Dr. James Dobson, Dr. John McArthur, Dr. Philip Ryken and Tedd Tripp.

Beyond all of this, Gary Ezzo has no medical background whatsoever (no undergraduate degree and a master's degree in ministry from a program designed for non-college graduates already active in ministry work.) Growing Families International, the Ezzo's company, has claimed that Anne Marie Ezzo has a pediatric nursing background, but no coursework or degrees have ever been cited. Babywise is a secularized version of Ezzo's Christian Preperation for Parenting material (now retitled Along the Infant Way). This was in it's third edition before the first edition of Babywise was published, and the medical content is virtually the same, so Dr. Bucknam is NOT a true co-author, but merely a name slapped on to add credibility to the Babywise program.

Concerns about Babywise
There have been numerous revisions and new editions of Babywise (P4P, etc.) in the past eighteen years they have been distributed. Almost one per year. Why all the changes if the materials are so good and Ezzo claims that the message behind them has remained the same? Because the books have been linked to dehydration and failure to thrive in infants and the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out against Ezzo and pointed out that his feeding schedules do not meet their guidelines for breastfeeding. Here is a comparison of the AAP infant care advice to Babywise. So, he's changed his tune, shortening the minimum time between feedings listed in his books, etc. But a good deal of the core concerns the AAP have raised have remained the same throught all the changes.

Numerous news reports and individual testimonies have shown the medical problems intelligent and devoted families have encountered because of using Babywise. Here are more testimonials.

Having read most of Babywise (the latest edition, it was given to me), a big concern for me is the Attachment Parenting strawman and misinformation he provides about other parenting philosophies. Over and over again in the book he talks about how every cry doesn't mean that a baby is hungry and how demand feeders just put the baby to the breast for any cry. I know LOTS of moms who demand feed, and no one does that. He has the parallel between the cousins, Marisa and Chelsea. Chelsea is parented by Babywise and is basically perfect. Marisa is APed and is basically a terror -- can't be put down, can't be left, wakes up all night, etc. My 8.5 month old has never had any seperation anxiety and loves to be babysat because she is a people person. The three children I have seen firsthand this year with severe seperation anxiety were all Babywised and scream the entire time their mothers are out of the room. There is no parenting philosophy with guarantees about personality and all of the other factors! I carry my daughter around in a sling all the time, we have co-slept and put our daughter in a crib and car seat to sleep, she night-weaned on her own and sleeps through the night (12 hours+) when she's not teething. She started sleeping 5-6 hours before three months, without any crib-crying. Several Babywise mothers I know assumed that I babywised because my child is so happy and sleeps through the night, because they thought un-babywised babies didn't do that. Seriously. And that's just silly. Children were happy and well-adjusted for millenia before Gary Ezzo was born.

Gary Ezzo has said some pretty crazy stuff. In regards to letting children cry themselves to sleep, the Ezzos say, "God is not sitting on His throne waiting to jump up at our every cry, trying to prove that He loves us." They cite Christ crying out to the father in Matthew 27:46: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as proof of this. What sort of a parallel is that? See this series on things Ezzo says for more crazy quotes: 1, 2, 3, 4.

My philosophy of parenting an infant is that I am serving my child in a Christ-like fashion. She is one of the least of these, small and frail, helpless and dependent. I don't manage her, I serve her as a fellow human being and a sister in Christ through baptism. Sometimes that means that if she is bothered by teething pain, I have to get out of bed to comfort her. Sometimes that means that I need to feed her because she's hungry, even if I just fed her two hours ago and have a whole list of chores to do.

But, there is freedom in Christ as far as parenting philosophies go, and if knowing all of this about Gary Ezzo and Babywise you still chose to follow his advice, that's your choice and I respect that. I do think it is important for Christians to know the rest of the story about Gary Ezzo before they chose to use his books.
:arrow These are pages from fourbzboysmom's website: -- fourbzboysmom says,"This page in particular has helped moms I have worked with move from a schedule mindset to understanding cue feeding better and move towards cue feeding without fear. I've had many moms tell me it was a 'bridge' for them since they feared the chaos that Babywise tells them is sure to come to them if they don't feed the BW way."

:arrow MarynMunchkins' letter for churches offering GKGW classes.


Dear Pastor ___,

My husband and I have been attending your church for a couple months now since we moved to Charlotte. We’ve really been impressed by the music and quality of work put into the service, and the sermons that have been preached. The preschool ministry has been wonderful, and I love how responsive the workers are to the children when they are upset and in need.

I noticed today, however, something that concerned me. I see that ___ is offering a Growing Kids God’s Way class by Gary Ezzo. I don’t know if you’re aware of the controversy surrounding him and his materials, but I firmly believe that they have no place being taught in the church. His materials have been found to be dangerous to infants, inaccurate, and often, completely false. He has proven to be unresponsive to the discipline of the church, and asked to leave more then one. I feel that his interpretation of Scripture is twisted and inaccurate, and leads to well-meaning parents bringing their children to harm. Growing Kids God’s Way doesn’t accurately reflect the character of God to children.

I was first introduced to this program when I was only 14 and baby-sitting for one of the contact moms for Growing Families International (GFI). This is the new name for the Ezzo organization, and you can view their website at . These were wonderful kids that I dearly loved and enjoyed. When I became pregnant with my oldest, this mother gave me a copy of On Becoming Babywise as a shower gift. I read the book, and it seemed to make sense to me. I used it with my oldest, and I can honestly say that it was a huge mistake. I regret it to this day.

Gary Ezzo’s basic premise for infants is that they need to be taught how to fit into the lifestyle of the parents. He advocates scheduled feedings and leaving a child alone to cry in order that he will fall asleep. His feeding schedule suggested in the book is horrible for breast-feeding mothers, and has been known to cause failure to thrive in infants. FTT is a medical condition characterized by a lack of growth, both in weight and height, in the most crucial years of a child’s development. ( have personally talked to mothers who followed the Ezzo program, and had their children suffer from FTT. As soon as they dropped the schedule, their children began to gain weight and thrive. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released several statements speaking against scheduled feedings, and promotes feeding upon demand. ( In addition, the practice of leaving a child alone to cry causes an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, in the child. It elevates to the same level as that of a stroke patient. (

His materials get no better as they progress for older children. Gary Ezzo’s teachings are unnecessarily adversarial and controlling of children, and do little to teach independence and self-control. There are many Christian leaders with grave concerns about GKGW, including Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family. You can see their comments at Not only do the health risks to infants cause concern, but also the age-inappropriateness of his advice and the manipulation of Scripture. Dr. Kent McClain addresses these concerns at

Beyond the simple controversy surrounding his materials, there is a concern about how Gary Ezzo responds to the controversy. He shrugs off the concerns, and claims to be persecuted because he is a Christian. He has been excommunicated from one church for failure to respond to church discipline (, and asked to leave others. (, Members of his former staff now speak out against him.

There is an entire website devoted to speaking out against the Ezzo’s and their teachings. It is, and it tells of the many, many problems and concerns from Christians, non-Christians, parents, doctors, and teachers. There’s also a section from people who used to use his materials who now speak out against him.

To be honest, I was rather surprised when I saw that ___ was offering this class. The messages I’ve heard from the pulpit, particularly from the parenting series, seemed to directly contradict Gary Ezzo in many ways. The grace, compassion, and understanding I see within the church doesn’t seem to fit with the GKGW materials.

I’m writing to ask the church to strongly reconsider teaching this material. There are many, many Christian authors and parents with much to offer, and I would love to see some of those things taught in the church. In fact, I’m more then willing to help organize and teach a parenting class if necessary.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration on this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I appreciate your help.

flowermama 03-18-2007 01:29 PM

Re: Unprepared for Parenting Resources
Resources about the Ezzos (con't)

:arrow Hsgbdmama offers this bookstore letter that we can use (modified from the pastor/church letter):


To Whom It May Concern:

I have been a ________ customer for several years, and have been a Preferred Member since about ___. My family and I enjoy shopping at your stores and really like the convenience of shopping online at your site. The selections that you offer, as well as your customer service, are outstanding!

However, I saw something on (date) which concerned me. There was a display of parenting books by the checkouts of the (city location) store, which included a couple of the Baby Wise books by Gary Ezzo. I don’t know if you’re aware of the controversy surrounding him and his materials, but I firmly believe that they have no place being prominently displayed. His materials have been found to be dangerous to infants, inaccurate, and often, completely false. He has proven to be unresponsive to the discipline of the church, and has been asked to leave more then one. I feel that his interpretation of Scripture is twisted and inaccurate, and leads to well-meaning parents bringing their children to harm. Growing Kids God’s Way doesn’t accurately reflect the character of God to children.

I first learned about his organization, Growing Families International (GFI), through an online parenting group. GFI is the current name for the Ezzo organization, and you can view their website at .

Gary Ezzo’s basic premise for infants is that they need to be taught how to fit into the lifestyle of the parents. He advocates scheduled feedings and leaving a child alone to cry in order that the child will fall asleep. His feeding schedule suggested in the book is horrible for breast-feeding mothers, and has been known to cause failure to thrive (FTT) in infants. FTT is a medical condition characterized by a lack of growth, both in weight and height, in the most crucial years of a child’s development. ( I have communicated with mothers who followed the Ezzo program, and had their children suffer from FTT. As soon as they dropped the schedule, their children began to gain weight and thrive. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released several statements speaking against scheduled feedings, and promotes feeding upon demand. ( In addition, the practice of leaving a child alone to cry causes an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, in the child. It elevates to the same level as that of a stroke patient. (

His materials get no better as they progress for older children. Gary Ezzo’s teachings are unnecessarily adversarial and controlling of children, and do little to teach independence and self-control. There are many Christian leaders with grave concerns about his Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW) program, including Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family. You can see their comments at Not only do the health risks to infants cause concern, but also the age-inappropriateness of his advice and the manipulation of Scripture. Dr. Kent McClain addresses these concerns at

Beyond the simple controversy surrounding his materials, there is a concern about how Gary Ezzo responds to the controversy. He shrugs off the concerns, and claims to be persecuted because he is a Christian. He has been excommunicated from one church for failure to respond to church discipline (, and has been asked to leave others. (, Members of his former staff now speak out against him.

There is an entire website devoted to speaking out against the Ezzos and their teachings. It is, and it tells of the many, many problems and concerns from Christians, non-Christians, parents, doctors, and teachers. There’s also a section from people who used to use his materials who now speak out against him.

I’m writing to ask ____________to strongly reconsider promoting these books. I understand that _____ is a business and needs to sell what is demanded by its customers; however, promoting materials – that are known to cause harm – to unsuspecting parents who are simply looking for basic information is irresponsible. There are many other Christian and secular authors with better, safer, and successfully proven methods to offer, and I would like to see some of those things promoted either in contrast to – or better yet – instead of the Ezzo materials.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration on this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I appreciate your help in this matter.
:arrow Tulipmama says, "This is a basic summary of the points I bring up when I mention my concerns about Babywise / Ezzo / GFI. It is more for a Christian reader than secular Babywise fan."


My concerns about Babywise / Ezzo materials fall into three main categories:

1. Medical.
Babywise especially, but also the Ezzo materials for older children, are full of medical misinformation and lack a sound basis in what we know about how God created breastfeeding, infant sleep patterns, and general child development. I'm especially concerned because he presents opinions as facts (See the chapter called "Facts on Feeding" for example.) Also, he appeals to "common sense" in a persuasive way, while ignoring established medical facts. The American Association of Pediatrics has publically warned against schedules designed by parents in direct response to rise in popularity of Babywise in the late 90s.

Related to this:
AAP Media Alert
Babywise Medical Files
Case Studies

2. Misuse of Scripture.
Babywise is a secular-marketed version of Preparation for Parenting/Along the Infant Way. It was developed to increase sales, as well as a tool for proslytizing.
Gary Ezzo is very loose with his use of Scripture both in all of his church-marketed materials. He shows both a disrespect for the careful handling of Scripture, as well as neglects to apply the Gospel in his materials.

Related links:
Dr. Kent McClain's Biblical Analysis
Gary Ezzo and Biblical Hermeneutics
More than a Parenting Ministry

3. Character Concerns.
Gary Ezzo writes and teaches Babywise and his other parenting materials under the umbrella of his for-profit parenting ministry. However, he has a pattern of unresolved church discipline issues, including being excommunicated from two churches by elders who have known him and cared for him for many years. He has been declared "unfit for public ministry" while these issues remain unresolved. This is no small thing, especially in 20th century North American protestantism, where church discipline is a very rarely practiced thing.

Related Links:
Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship's Statement
Grace Community Church's Statement
Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership

Personally, understanding the problems with Babywise / Ezzo in these areas, I cannot see why a parent would continue to consult these materials as a trustworthy resource. However, for those parents who do choose to use Ezzo's materials, I recommend these resources to help encourage balance and minimize the chances of problems:

Modifying Babywise for Breastfeeding Discussion Group
Finding Balace with GFI Materials
Child Training and Sleep Training
Unto the Least of These
Establishing a Routine

I know that I have been critical of a book and ideas that some mamas on this thread have praised. It can feel like a personal attack, since I am negative about something you perceive as positive.

Yet, I want to be sure I communicate that I am not criticizing YOU. What I have seen among parents who choose to use Ezzo materials (both online and in real life) is a deep devotion to their children. A willingness to "go the extra mile." A desire to do things the right way, the best way for their baby.

I understand the appeal of Babywise, and I don't condemn you for finding it appealing. Yet, I've learned, that it really isn't all that and a bag of chips. Please keep both eyes wide open, and be cautious in your application of these materials.

Even the most intelligent and most loving parents can have problems, when they are relying upon resources that are foundationally faulty.

Grace and peace,

flowermama 03-18-2007 01:30 PM

Re: Unprepared for Parenting Resources
Resources about Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child's Heart

:arrow Here is a link to MarynMunchkins' review of Shepherding a Child's Heart: SACH review

:arrow Tedd Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart on the "How" of Spanking

:arrow Knitted_in_the_womb wrote: "By request...I'm posting an attachment to the letter my husband and I sent to our pastor about our concerns with Tripp. The actual letter dealt with our specific situation, and explained why were were bringing our concern to him--I posted the letter below the attachment since I think the attachment will be most relevant to list members. Unfortunately, he was still invited to do a weekend seminar at the church, so we ended up leaving the church (other factors did come into play). Please note...we don't think that churches should be promoting corporal punishment at all...but we thought that was too big of a battle to fight, and were just hoping to chip away at the iceberg a bit."


If the church is going to promote corporal punishment of children, we strongly believe that it is irresponsible to not provide concrete guidelines on what is and is not appropriate corporal punishment, because “Christian” material promoting excessive behavior abounds. Along those lines, we have heard that Tedd Tripp is scheduled for a speaking engagement at Calvary in April 2005. It is his teaching in his book that we feel is very strongly responsible for the current climate at Calvary that results in what we believe is excessive corporal punishment of children. We strongly urge you to read his book and be certain that this is a man that you want in your pulpit. For the first 100 pages of his book we find most of what he writes to be very sensible. But then he gets into areas that we find troubling:

Page 106 “’Punish him [a child] with the rod and save his soul from death’ (Proverbs 23:14). Your children’s souls are in danger of death—spiritual death. Your task is to rescue your children from death. Faithful and timely use of the rod is the means of rescue.” Quite simply, we feel that saying that the act of spanking can save a child spiritually detracts from the work that Christ did on the cross. However, understanding that the “rod” was often a sign of authority (the “Blue Letter Bible” , a very handy tool for researching the meanings of the original Hebrew and Greek words in the scriptures, reports that one of the meanings of the Hebrew “shebet” which is translated into “rod” in this verse is “a mark of authority”), and in this situation it was not used to strike people in Old Testament cultures. Proper use of our parental authority to guide and teach our children can result in them being more likely to accept the message of gospel (as is explained in 2 Timothy 3:15 “From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”), and in that the rod of authority guides a child to spiritual life.

Page 109 “Failure to obey Mom or Dad is, therefore, failure to obey God.” While we would agree that scripture admonishes children several times to obey their parents, we see nowhere that it admonishes parents to force this obedience—just as husbands are never given freedom to force submission from their wives. We find it very dangerous to equate obedience to parents with obedience to God because God’s instructions are perfect and would never cause us to sin, but parental instructions can be flawed—sometimes they ask more than the child is capable and in some cases they can lead a child to sin.

Page 151 “Remove his drawers so that the spanking is not lost in the padding of his pants.” We find this troubling when it comes to modesty issues, particularly because Jenn has female friends who were spanked in this fashion by their fathers well into puberty.

Page 152 “We have always been guided by Hebrews 12:11 ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.’ If discipline has not yielded a harvest of peace and righteousness, it is not finished. On some occasions we have had to say to our children, ‘Dear, Daddy has spanked you, but you are not sweet enough yet. We are going to have to go back upstairs for another spanking.” -- This assumes that the “pain” of discipline must be physical, not emotional. It also assumes that the harvest must come immediately after the discipline, and that a child’s emotional demeanor is a measure of whether or not the child has taken the discipline to heart—which it often is not. Actually, a good Christian mentor of mine once told me that she thought it was very bad for a child to accept a hug from a parent immediately after a spanking—she thought that it was very important that children retain the inborn sense that it is wrong for a person who loves them to strike them—because removing that sense is part of what causes many adults to stay in physically abusive relationships. But even more concerning, use of Hebrews 12:11 in application to disciplining a child who is in sin is “proof text-ing” of an inappropriate nature since the context of this verse is adults who are being persecuted, not children who are in need of correction.

Page 154 “Rebellion can be something as simple as an infant struggling against a diaper change or stiffening his body when you want him to sit on your lap. The discipline procedure is the same as laid out above. You have no way of knowing how much a child a year old or less can understand of what you say, but we do know that understanding comes long before the ability to articulate does….When our oldest child was approximately 8 months old….Obviously he was old enough to be disciplined.” We fail to see why an infant’s God given wiggly nature should be interpreted as rebellion, and the description of the 8 month old’s behavior we see as the child’s age appropriate exploratory nature coupled with the age appropriate “impulse driven” behavior that does not recall recent instruction not to engage in the activity—not the sign of devious rebellion that Tripp interpreted it as.

Page 155 We will not quote the entire section…in summary he states that you should spank your child for “failure to hear” a parental command if the parent reasonably believes the child should have heard this. He does not instruct the parent to make sure he has the child’s attention, but rather places the burden on the child to always be on alert for the parent’s voice. We have a problem with this because we feel it fails to respect children. Steve is often slow to respond to things that Jenn says—to the point that she is often annoyed by his lack of response. But the simple reason is that he does not mentally process requests for several minutes if he is involved in something else—even if Jenn is right next to him! We have found that communication works much more smoothly if Jenn approaches Steve, asks for his attention, and having garnered it, then speaks to him. We feel that to treat our children with less respect than we treat each other—that is, to expect them to snap out of whatever they are doing to hear us yelling a command from a room or two away, or even to just walk up to them and start talking and expect them to stop what they are doing with no warning or chance to come to a reasonable stopping point—is not honoring them as persons created by God. We further feel that it would be poor modeling for how we want them to communicate with us.

Page 156 “There may be days in which nothing much gets done because of the demands of consistent discipline.” While we certainly would agree that there are days when the entire time is spent in teaching (“disciplining”) our children, we make the assumption that what Tripp is alluding to here is that there will be days were spankings are so numerous that they can not be counted.

Page 157 “You must use careful judgment. Some parents who spank their children have been reported for child abuse by unsupportive relatives.” While we agree with the concept of disciplining in a private setting to maintain a child’s dignity, we think the idea that the mode of discipline being used needs to be hidden from view for fear of child abuse charges is one that should be carefully examined—the Bible does not speak very highly of those things that are done “in secret.” One Christian we know commented that “If I weren’t a Christian, the way some Christians treat their children would turn me off from ever becoming a Christian.” In the situation described in our letter, the disciplinary situation was a stumbling block to Jenn, a sister in Christ to the family involved.

Page 157 “What if I know my child is lying to me?….What do you do? … If your child will not come clean about what he has done, then he will get away with it this time. That is sad, but your losses and his losses are less if you walk away than if you call him a liar.” We are wondering on what basis Tripp places maintaining the parental relationship ABOVE the 10 Commandments? We certainly agree that caution should be exercised in punishing a child that the parent believes has lied because we do know of cases were the child wasn’t lying and the parent was mistaken about things. But there are times when the parent will witness the infraction and know beyond any doubt that the child is lying. If he is going to say that children need to be spanked to restore their relationship with God when they sin, we see no Biblical justification for only spanking for rebellion to parental authority and not spanking for violation of the 10 Commandments.

Dear Pastor ____,

We are enclosing a book we would like you to read, Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson. It came to us very highly recommended by parents we respect. We found the book to be a powerful statement of Biblical principles for disciplining children, and the first book on Biblical discipline that we felt took a studious approach to the scriptures. We ask you to read it prayerfully and give us feedback on what you think of it.

Let us explain to you why we are sending you this book. On Memorial Day our family hosted a picnic for family and friends. We enjoy doing this. We were, unfortunately, “rained out” for the second year running, so we had a large number of people in our not so large house. The children eventually found their way to our daughters’ bedroom, where they were coloring and bouncing on the bed, and doing the things that children do to amuse themselves. As would eventually be expected in an event like this, our 5-year-old daughter came to Jenn at one point crying, claiming that another child had pushed her and hurt her leg. We know our daughter, we know that she has a very tender heart, and while that often translates into her being very compassionate about the injustices others face, it also means that she reacts very strongly to any perceived injustice against her. We also know that being a firstborn; she can be bossy (and the child who allegedly shoved her is also a firstborn; so while we don’t know for certain, he may also have that trait). Jenn suspected that she may have been being bossy to the other child, and the other child, feeling annoyed, may have given her a slight shove—the kind of things that little boys commonly do amongst themselves to say “hey, you are getting too big for your , lay off.” Jenn intended to calm Jessica down and talk to her about what happened to determine if Jessica needed any instruction regarding her behavior, but she had no intention of telling the other child’s parents since it seemed a minor issue and she feared they would over react.

However, another child told the child’s parents. Jenn tried to assure the parents that it was really nothing, but the father was soon zipping upstairs to speak to his son. A moment or two later he was downstairs in our kitchen asking Jenn if he could borrow a wooden spoon. She told him “no.” We have several problems with what was going on there. The first being that since no parent witnessed the event, we don’t really know what happened—and a child was about to be seriously spanked anyway. Did that child really push our daughter on purpose? We don’t know! Jessica often feels that her siblings pushed her on purpose, but in many cases if one of us witnessed the event what we see is that playful cavorting accidentally went a bit too far. Knowing that the other child’s parents recommend Tedd Tripp’s Sheperding a Child’s Heart, we expect that the father elicited a “confession” from his son prior to approaching Jenn and requesting the spoon. But we know all to well how easily false confessions can be obtained even by a well meaning parent—even Jenn’s grandmother recounts how she was falsely punished many times as a child when she confessed to doing things that her sister had done.

So why are we writing you with this? Because many times you have promoted the practice of spanking from the pulpit. Occasionally you add the disclaimer “but the mandate to discipline your child should never be used as an excuse for abuse!” And then you move on. You seem to think that all of the members of the congregation will agree with you about what “abuse” looks like. Let us assure you that they DON’T. Jenn came from an abusive home. Punishments she endured ranged from being forced to eat her own vomit (because her parents falsely assumed that she was throwing up on purpose because she did not like the meal—she didn’t like the meal—but she was also truly sick, and they never bothered to take her temperature or look for other signs that she was telling the truth about being sick), to being made to stand in a corner for 2-3 hours, to being denied food for an entire day (her brother once had food with held for 3 days), to having a 1” thick wooden paddle broken over her head (because she had told a friend her parents were thinking of changing churches, and she immediately went to Jenn’s father and told him that he “couldn’t” take Jenn away from her—despite Jenn begging her not to do this. Her father planned to strike her on the head with the paddle—this was the first and only time he asked Jenn to remove her glasses before “disciplining”). Jenn’s parents were upstanding members of their church; her father was even a statewide director for the Boy’s Brigade program. He was a “peer family counselor” at work. Despite having a “founded” child abuse report filed against them with Child Protective Services, they still to this day do not believe that they were abusive, but simply that they were fulfilling their God-ordained role to discipline Jenn and her siblings. Jenn had to go through weekly therapy for over a year to learn to have healthy relationships and to be able to hear someone address her as “Jennifer” without beginning to tremble in fear.

In Jenn’s case, the physical abuse began with wooden spoons. Soon after her father moved Jenn and her siblings in with their future stepmother, she began spanking the children—aged 5 to 9—with wooden spoons. Jenn remembers being forced to go get the wooden spoon herself for the “spanking.” We hardly can think of it as a “spanking” when many times it resulted in bruises and/or a broken spoon. Jenn remembers the fear. And apparently this was not an effective enough method of disciplining, because within less than a year the beatings had escalated to Jenn’s parents using her father’s belts—doubled over and swung with as much force and wind-up as they could generate, and within about a year after that the first wooden paddle—constructed out of a 1 X 6 board—was introduced. We say first because there were 3 over the years—Jenn’s sister also had one broken on her.
Jenn can not begin to tell you of the knots that formed in her stomach when that father asked if he could borrow a spoon, and she stood there not 3 feet from a crock filled with spoons and other utensils and simply uttered the word “no.” She wanted to scream, to burst out in tears, to beg him to understand what he was doing…but she just said “no.” A friend recently asked her if she could see where God has used her childhood in a positive way. Her answer is “yes, in so many ways.” We are hoping that one of those ways will be in helping other children who are in situations similar to hers.

So while she only uttered one word to that father, we are going to beg you to understand what you are doing when you endorse a general “spanking” from the pulpit, or when a clause to the constitution is quietly passed “affirming the correctness of Biblical corporal punishment of children.” You are encouraging parents like Jenn’s who do not believe they are abusive when they really are. You are encouraging the parents who read in Tedd Tripp’s book on page 152 to “spank until the child is sweet” that it is not only permissible, but godly to administer 20, 30, we’ve heard that Tripp has approved of up to 100 swats in a single spanking if that is what is needed to get the child to not be angry about the spanking (this book is spreading like wild fire among the parents at Calvary, we’ve addressed some specific concerns with this in a “sidebar” to this letter). You are encouraging the parents who laugh about having to carry a wooden spoon in their back pocket after the children spend a day at Grandma’s house because they are just “so” rebellious after that (this was from a mother who was very active in the leadership at Calvary, and another whose husband was very active). You are encouraging the mother who spanks her 12 month old daughter’s hand until it is “bright red” to continue on, rather than distracting the child from the statuette that she does not want the child to touch. You are encouraging the young mother who spanked her 3 year old child 4-5 times a night for getting out of bed, only to find out 2 weeks into this that her child was getting out of bed because he was having nightmares.

Based our experiences, particularly Jenn’s, you may see why we are concerned for these other children. We are concerned that spanking can often lead to a slippery slope in disciplinary techniques as the child gets older and does not respond to a simple swat. We find that parents who rely primarily on corporal punishment (as opposed to those who use it more as Dobson would recommend—infrequently) find it difficult to transition away from corporal punishment as the child gets older; they simply transition to more and more severe forms of corporal punishment. As a result, we were pleasantly surprised and encouraged by Clarkson's book, because it is firmly rooted in Biblical principles, yet offers a different perspective from many of the popular "Christian" parenting books. It is with this in mind that we hope you can read it. We look forward to discussing it with you in the future.

Thank you for your time!


Steve and Jennifer [last name removed]

flowermama 03-18-2007 01:31 PM

Re: Unprepared for Parenting Resources
Resources about Tedd Tripp (con't)

:arrow An examination of spanking as per Tripp's recommendation from a hermeneutical standpoint. This letter is also by Knitted_in_the_womb. She says, "I put this together using 'Metochoi's' hermeneutics guidelines that he had posted on the Parents Place Ezzo board. They can be found here: "


Understanding spanking using hermeneutics…
#1 = Interpret LITERALLY.
Tripp asserts on pg 108 that “the rod” means “a parent, in faith toward God and faithfulness toward his or her children, undertaking the responsibility of careful, timely, measured and controlled use of physical punishment”
This rather symbolic definition of the rod violates the very first basic principle of Biblical hermeneutics. To be fair, the Proverbs are a collection of often symbolic passages (for example, must a husband really sit at the city gates talking while his wife conducts business such as buying and selling land as depicted in Proverbs 31?), and many interpretations of the rod passages assume that the “rod” is meant symbolically. However, to follow other principles of hermeneutics we must be able to find clear evidence somewhere in the scripture—and truly throughout the body of scripture, to support a symbolic interpretation. I fail to find support for such a specific and very highly symbolic interpretation.

#2 = Understand the HISTORICAL-CULTURAL background.
It is important to remember how families were structured at that time. Childrearing was left primarily to the women, men would take over the raising of boys only when they approached bar mitzvah age. Solomon is addressing this book to his adult son (this point relates the concept of interpreting scripture in context), who would have had very little dealings with his young children. Further, the Talmud, which was essentially the Jewish equivalent of a modern day Bible Commentary, specifically forbade fathers from striking their children, as the children may lack maturity and strike back, dishonoring their parents and thus violating the commandment to honor their parents. Even if a child is outwardly controlled and does not strike back, many, if not most, children who are dealt with via corporal punishment at times wish to strike their parents. Christ states that to think in the heart of sinning is to have sinned, so the parents are tempting their children to sin. Corporal punishment of young adults was officially conducted by governmental authorities in OT times, NOT the parents (of course it is unrealistic to think that parents never struck their children, just as it is unrealistic to think that husbands never struck their wives).
The use of the rod in the OT bore little relationship to modern day spanking - best anyone can tell it was used on the back, not buttocks; it was used on adults with no evidence that young children were subject to it; and by modern standards the rod beatings were often violent enough that parents would be arrested for emulating them.

#3 = Analyze the GRAMMATICAL structure.
In analyzing the grammatical structure it is important to remember that the scriptures were not written in English, but rather Hebrew/Greek. The “rod” verses use two words that are important to look at. The word “na’ar” is translated into “child,” and the word “shebet” is translated into “rod.”

The Hebrew language had several words to describe different ages of children, including words that specifically defined babies and young children. Neither of these words are used here. “na’ar” is used 238 times in the OT. 3 of the uses are in the Proverbs “rod” verses. 200 of the uses, or 85%, are used in ways that clearly do not refer to small children (lad, servant, young man, youth, 7 of 16 uses of young (1), 24 of 51 uses of child(ren) (2) ). In some cases the age of person being referred to cannot be determined (young-9, boys-1, child-19: about 12%) (3) . That leaves only a few uses that clearly refer to refer to young children (babe-1, child-5: about 2%). While it would be incorrect to say that the use in these verses can’t apply to young children, it certainly seems likely that it doesn’t, especially using other hermeneutical rules.

The word “shebet” refers to a large branch, a walking staff. Some spanking advocates have insisted that this can be interpreted as a hand, while others use “flexible objects” (such as spatulas, belts, leather straps), thin dowel rods, paint stirrers, or wooden spoons. Clearly none of these fit the definition of a large branch. Another meaning of “shebet” is a ruler’s scepter. This again was a fairly thick rod, but it was a symbol of authority that was not used to strike people. It was also used in reference to a shepherds rod, which was used to gently guide sheep or to fight off attackers, not to strike the sheep.

In analyzing the grammatical structure, it is important to recognize that the Proverbs contain many symbolic texts, and also were considered to be wisdom texts rather than commandments. Whether corporal punishment—if it is indeed supported by scripture—is wisdom or a command makes a significant difference. If parents are commanded to use corporal punishment on their children, was Mary in sin since we can assume that she never used corporal punishment on Christ? How about the foster parent that is forbidden by law to use it? The parent whose child has a medical condition (brittle bone syndrome, leukemia or other conditions that cause easy and excessive bruising) that prohibits corporal punishment? How many times must a parent use corporal punishment on a child to be in obedience to the command? Is one use enough? How do we draw the line about what age to start/stop using it?

#4 = Use SYNTHESIS [Compare scripture with scripture].
Just to start you off, consider Proverbs 23:13 and 14;

"Do not withhold correction from a child; for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell."
The Bible does say that beating someone with the rod could lead to death (Exodus 21:20), and parents certainly have beaten their children to death with a rod (a wooden spoon in one case I read about), citing Proverbs as evidence that the beating couldn't be the cause of death despite what doctors said.

Also compare it to Ephesians 2:8 and 9:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
If the Proverbs rod verses refer to spanking, then they state that parents can literally save their children through spanking. Yet the New Testament makes it quite clear that we cannot save ourselves through works - is it logical to argue that God won't allow us to boast of saving ourselves, but happily gives us the right and opportunity to boast of saving our children?
If the rod in Proverbs refers to God's word, and we use the New Testament methods of discipline outlined in Matthew 18 and other passages in the NT (i.e., challenge people who are sinning with God's word), then we are following Romans 10:17 ("Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"), and the Proverbs rod verses fit neatly with New Testament theology. But if the Proverbs rod is a literal one, then the verse is saying that parents can do what the New Testament says only God can do.

Another point to make in comparing scripture to scripture, is to consider Ephesians 6:4, which admonishs parents not to provoke their children to wrath. The Greek word used in this passage is “parorgizo” and the “Blue Letter Bible” states that this word as used in the New Testament means “to rouse to wrath, to provoke, exasperate, anger.” Most spanking advocates would admit that spankings often provoke anger, even wrath. Tripp addresses this by stating that the parent should spank longer, which seems inconsistent with the goal of avoiding provoking anger and wrath.

#5 = THEN you can APPLY the passage!
I believe that the Bible does not endorse spanking, and a careful reading of the entire work of scripture to me would seem to actually prohibit spanking.

#6 = At every step, rely on the ILLUMINATION of the Holy Spirit.
I have sought to do this, as I honestly believe that many spanking proponents have prayed and sought the Holy Spirit. However, I believe that many spanking proponents have made the mistake of attempting to interpret scripture without doing careful work to cover the first 4 steps of proper Biblical interpretation—which is just as much of a mistake as doing the first 4 steps without relying on the Holy Spirit (okay, well maybe not…I think that sometimes the Holy Spirit will choose to supercede our short cuts…).

#7 = Interpret in CONTEX
This point is addressed as comments interwoven in the explanation above. Specifically, in understanding the “context” of Proverbs, one must understand who it was addressed to, what cultural practices were being referred to, and what the style of the writing was (often symbolic).

What NOT to do:

#1 = NEVER make your point at the price of the proper interpretation.
#2 = NEVER rely on superficial or shallow study.
#3 = NEVER allegorize or spiritualize unless the text itself calls for it.

#1 The passages in question clearly do apply to parenting, so this does not apply.

#2 I believe I have done rather in depth study of the verses in question, so this does not apply.

#3 I believe this is what spanking advocates do when they change a “rod” into “spanking with a flexible instrument”

1) The uses of “young” refer to Samuel when he is brought to the temple to serve, David when he was a shepherd, 2 references to Solomon as an adult, one reference to his son Rehoboam as an adult, one reference to the young virgins in Ester, and one reference to the young lion that will lay down with the lamb in the final days.
2) 4 references to people groups (children of Israel, children of Belial), 10 times to refer to Samuel as he served in the temple, once in reference to Jesse’s children when David—the youngest—was a shepherd, 5 figurative uses to describe adults, twice in reference to Jeroboam’s oldest son—a “young prince” according to the Matthew Henry Commentary, 4 times in reference to a child old enough to go out to the fields to find his father, .
3) “boys” in reference to Jacob and Esau growing up, “young” in reference to “young and old”, “child” in reference to Samson’s entire childhood, reference to skin like a child’s when the leper was healed after bathing in the river, Job’s children, other “generic” references to children

flowermama 03-30-2007 12:15 AM

Re: "Unprepared for Parenting" Resources
Resources about Michael and Debi Pearl

:arrow A GCM Statement: It is Time to Speak Out Against the Teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl

:arrow Why Not Train A Child? -- A resource for anti-Pearl arguments. Wendy's TTUAC review is there, as well as a few essays and links to many more essays and webpages. This website is Hermana Linda's website. There is also a Why Not Train A Child fan page on facebook.

:arrow Razorbackmama's review of Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl

:arrow Spunky's and her husband's review of Created to Be His Help Meet

:arrow Helpedmeet's husband and wife review of Created to Be His Help Meet

:arrow MarynMunchkins posted the following letter she sent to her pastor about the Pearls.


Dear ***,

This morning’s message was wonderful. I love how you bring grace and mercy into every message, and call legalism and self-righteous behavior what it is. It’s truly a blessing to listen.

Unfortunately, my husband had an experience this week which was less than gracious and kind. He took someone from the church out to lunch, who informed him that he was ungodly, his wife was unsubmissive, his children were out of control, and that he had no hope of ministry unless he got “his house in order”. His Christianity was also called into question because of sin that has already been forgiven.

I don’t bring this up to so you will address that person. My concern is far greater. You see, this person based their beliefs and judgment of our family around the ministry of Michael Pearl. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him, but I do know for a fact that there are families at *** who are. I’ve known several families in the Southern Baptist church who have actively used his materials.

I’m writing to you because I’m deeply concerned about them. In fact, I consider much of his teachings to be utter heresy. While I see my opinion supported in my own study of Scripture and confirmed by several wiser Christians than I, I’d like you to look at it and give me your opinion.

Michael Pearl’s website is www. nogreaterjoy. org He boasts a comprehensive ministry to families, and his website is well organized and designed.

To illustrate some of my concerns, I’ve selected a few quotes from his website.

One of my primary concerns is his belief that there is no original sin, and we are born in a neutral state – able to choose between good and evil, but not being inherently either. He also believes that we are instantly sanctified at the moment of salvation – that a true Christian cannot, in fact, sin after receiving Christ. I can see no support for this theory in Scripture, and, in fact, see much the opposite.

He says “Man has spent many years “undoing” the character of God in himself and his society.” Yet the Bible clearly says that “There is none righteous.” We are certainly made in the image of God, but we do not possess His character, and therefore cannot undo it.

He has the audacity to add to Scripture and claim he knows what God would have written. “If Hebrews 11 were to continue until the present, it would read something like this: “And the followers of Christ, though they were living in bodies of flesh, believed God that they were indeed baptized into his body and thus freed from sin. They went out into the world, walking by faith and hope and so, though they never saw their glorified bodies or the throne on which they were seated, they believed God against the sight of their eyes and so walked in holiness and victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. While the world looked on the things that are seen, these sons of The Last Adam, believed him who is invisible and so inherited the kingdom and entered into the city which had foundations whose builder and maker is God.” He claims and firmly believes that sin is contained only in the physical body, not the mind or soul; and with salvation comes the literal death of the physical body and the absolute freedom from sin.

This blog article ( ) is a great summary of that issue. You can actually listen to Pearl’s series on Romans online at http: // to hear exactly what it is that he is teaching.

Pearl has very strong views of the typical Christian church. “Face it, the church today is not a sanctuary from the world, nor is it a “holy” place. In the best case scenario, it is a slice of the world where there is an attempt at evangelism and worship. But on average, the church is a social club composed of a mixed multitude. Far too often, the church is a recruiting ground of pedophiles and fornicators.” And “The church itself is actually a mission field. There was a time when the church was a place of worship for believers, and evangelism was done in special meetings or out in the homes and streets, but today, the churches invite the rattlesnakes to come into the house.” I won’t speak for you, but I am more interested in having sinners come to church than keeping my children from ever being exposed to them.

Michael Pearl’s solution is to segregate from rest of Christianity. While he does say “Don’t leave the church, anymore than a missionary would leave the field because there are sinners there.”, he also says “The homeschool movement is more than an educational alternative. It is parents putting on the brakes and saying, “my children will not ride this train to hell; I will take charge and direct my family in a different path.” You are part of a cultural shift, and a spiritual awakening. We are in the midst of a revival of the family. It must extend to a revival of community as well. The public church is no longer to be trusted with your children any more than the public schools.” Please understand that I certainly am cautious about the people I entrust with my children – including those at church. But, having just had the unfortunate experience of being told that our family wasn’t good enough to associate with by one of Pearl’s followers, I realize that his teaching goes far beyond being cautious of our children. It’s judgmental. It’s legalistic. It’s unforgiving. And the solution offered is to run from the community – “I would like to tell them to move to a community like Cane Creek and escape the world” – and avoid any and all other Christians that see differently. It’s far different from Paul’s advice to as much as possible, live at peace with all men. There is no grace extended to fellow Christians, nor an attempt to correct what is perceived as sin. They only run away and hide in self-righteousness.

He segregates from the state as well. None of his married daughters have marriage licenses. His opinion is, “None of my daughters or their husbands asked the state of Tennessee for permission to marry. They did not yoke themselves to government. It was a personal, private covenant, binding them together forever—until death. So when the sodomites have come to share in the state marriage licenses, which will eventually be the law, James and Shoshanna will not be in league with those perverts. And, while I am on the subject, there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage, or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts.”

Their teachings on marriage and submission are equally distressing. Michael Pearl seems to suggest that the man of the house should always be reverenced, and never openly questioned. Debi Pearl encourages a woman to always let her husband take the lead – even to the detriment of herself and her children.

This article shows their attitude very clearly.

http:// www.[tt_news]=117&tx_ttnews[backPid]=71&cHash=0ffe48e952

“It’s called “the circle of love.” You please him, and he likes it – then he pleases you, and you love him – then you honor him, and he grows”

I see this as being diametrically opposed to Paul’s description of marriage and submission. The husband is to love the wife as Christ loved the church, and the wife is then to submit to him. Placing the responsibility of a happy marriage on the shoulders of the woman and her attitude is simply wrong.

I know for a fact that women who follow the Pearls have counseled other women enduring relationships with adultery and pornography that if they were better in bed or had a better attitude at home, their husbands would be satisfied at home.

Debi Pearl herself says “You can wake up in the morning with a song in your heart, kissing your child and laughing at the sunlight sprinkling your room. You can serve, give, forgive, and enjoy the victory you have in Jesus. And when you feel that hurt, angry spirit rise up, you can open your mouth in praise and thanksgiving to God that you are free from sin and bondage, and free to be glad. In that kind of atmosphere, a child grows stable and complete, a selfish man stops fighting and trying to defeat and subdue.”

She places the wife in the impossible position of being God to her husband, and causing him to repent. She tells the wife that it is her Christian duty to endure all things from her husband, and that God will bless her, regardless of the husband’s sin or abuse towards her.

This quote, in particular, illustrates just how far they are willing to sacrifice women and children for a sinful, unrepentant man. “But if your husband has sexually molested the children, you should approach him with it. If he is truly repentant (not just exposed) and is willing to seek counseling, you may feel comfortable giving him an opportunity to prove himself, as long as you know the children are safe. If there is any thought that they are not safe, or if he is not repentant and willing to seek help, then go to the law and have him arrested. Stick by him, but testify against him in court. Have him do about 10 to 20 years, and by the time he gets out, you will have raised the kids, and you can be waiting for him with open arms of forgiveness and restitution. Will this glorify God? Forever. You ask, "What if he doesn’t repent even then?" Then you will be rewarded in heaven equal to the martyrs, and God will have something to rub in the Devil’s face. God hates divorce—always, forever, regardless, without exception.”

Their views on children are horrifying. I am well aware that Christians are arguing over many aspects of discipline and parenting. But there are few who can read the advice of the Pearls and not be shocked by what they claim to be “Biblical”.

You can read the first chapter of their book “To Train Up a Child” at http: // They are extraordinarily punitive, adversarial, and behavioristic. They compare a child to a dog or a horse, and equate training an animal to raising a child.

“Most parents don’t think they can train their little children. Training doesn’t necessarily require that the trainee be capable of reason; even mice and rats can be trained to respond to stimuli. Careful training can make a dog perfectly obedient. If a seeing-eye dog can be trained to reliably lead a blind man through the dangers of city streets, shouldn’t a parent expect more out of an intelligent child? A dog can be trained not to touch a tasty morsel laid in front of him. Can’t a child be trained not to touch? A dog can be trained to come, stay, sit, be quiet, or fetch upon command. You may not have trained your dog that well, yet every day someone accomplishes it on the dumbest of mutts. Even a clumsy teenager can be trained to be an effective trainer in an obedience school for dogs.”

The Pearls seem to forget that children are still created by God with a free will, and not just animals to be trained. They have a choice and will just as every adult.

They suggest setting up an toddler to fail, and then switching them in order to ‘train them’ to obey immediately.

“Place an appealing object where they can reach it, maybe in a “No-No” corner or on the apple juice table (another name for the coffee table). When they spy it and make a dive for it, in a calm voice say, “No, don’t touch that.” Since they are already familiar with the word “No,” they will likely pause, look at you in wonder, and then turn around and grab it. Switch their hand once and simultaneously say, “No.” Remember, now, you are not disciplining, you are training. One spat with a little switch is enough. They will again pull back their hand and consider the relationship between the object, their desire, the command, and the little reinforcing pain. It may take several times, but if you are consistent, they will learn to consistently obey, even in your absence.”

He promises complete and utter perfection from a child if you are consistent with this type of “obedience training”.

“Most children can be brought into complete and joyous subjection in just three days. Thereafter, if you are consistent, the children will remain happy and obedient. By obedient, I mean, you will never need to tell them twice. If you expect to receive instant obedience, and you train them to that end, you will be successful.”

Please realize that this is a far greater issue than whether to spank. I have my own opinions and beliefs on this subject, and choose not to bring them into my concerns about the Pearls. This man teaches that INFANTS should be switched on a regular basis.

“You must start training your children one year before their first birthday, because if you don’t, they will be trained without your input.”

Michael Pearl makes a distinction between “training” and “discipline”, but the fact of the matter is that, for him, both involve hitting a child with a switch.

At this time, there is a case pending trial of a mother who used Michael Pearl’s methods on her child, and the child died.

Mandy Locke has written an excellent article covering Michael Pearl in more general terms.

I don’t want to make his child training advice the point of my concern, although it sickens me. But, unfortunately, most of the people I know who do follow Michael Pearl’s teachings begin with his advice on raising children. He preys on their fears as parents and promises them perfection. He claims any fault with your child is your fault, and consistency would fix any and all problems.

I see and have seen too many well-meaning Christian parents sucked into this lie, and lose sight of the goal. The women mentioned in Mandy’s article – Chris and Meggan – are both friends of mine. I been told of the damage their children, their families, and they themselves have suffered as a result of Michael and Debi Pearl.

Women, in particular, are susceptible to damage. They are told that they are ultimately responsible for the well-being of their children, the care of their home, and the happiness of their husband. They are expected to be perfectly consistent, perfectly happy, and perfectly willing to do anything asked of them. It sets them up to be taken advantage of and abused.

It puts men into an artificial place of elevation within the family, instead of holding him to be the servant that he is expected to be to his wife and children. It borders dangerously close to idolatry. It gives him a sense of pride and arrogance that is hard to overcome.

I really appreciate you taking the time to look at all this. I realize it’s incredibly long, and very full of information. Please don’t feel any hurry to respond – I know there’s a lot of material here. I’d love to meet with you at some point and discuss it.

Thanks so much for your willingness to help, and the amazing job you do sharing grace with all of us at *** each week.


flowermama 03-30-2007 12:23 AM

Re: "Unprepared for Parenting" Resources
Resources about Lisa Welchel

:arrow MarynMunchkins' blog link for Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel

General Resources

:arrow Just about anything written by Clay and Sally Clarkson

:arrow Tulipmama sent this letter to her local library:


I would like to suggest that the library acquire several books. In our community, we have a large Christian population. However, many of the parenting resources geared towards Christian parents tend to be punitive. The library already carries quite a few punitive Christian parenting books. However, I've found very few positive/grace-focused Christian parenting books. Here are several I recommend:

Families Where Grace is in Place
Jeff VonVonderen

Relational Parenting
Ross Campbell

Heartfelt Discipline
Clay Clarkson

Biblical Parenting
Pastor Crystal Lutton

Grace-Based Parenting
Tim Kimmel

How Would Jesus Raise a Child?
Dr. Teresa Whitehurst

Disciplining Children with Confidence: A Guide to Biblical Discipline
Grace P. Chou

Thank you for considering these additions to the library collection.


Hermana Linda 07-12-2010 09:21 AM

Re: "Unprepared for Parenting" Resources
Peridot has started a blog for the purpose of refuting the teachings of Dr. James Dobson. The name of the blog is Dare To Disciple.

jenny_islander 07-28-2012 04:01 PM

Breaking the Lamb's Leg
If it's OK, mods, I would like to add this specifically for the so-called parable about how shepherds break the legs of straying lambs or sheep in order to teach them to stay close. The earliest citation for this is in a sermon by William Marrion Branham. Here is the relevant passage:

This sermon dates from 1957.

Now, Branham may have had an earlier source that has somehow been lost in the past 50 years. However, the existing evidence does not favor Branham's assertion. Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10), but note that nowhere in this passage does He describe Himself "breaking the lamb's leg." The Good Shepherd carrying the lamb across his shoulders is a very old Christian image, dating back at least to the 2nd century AD; however, the shepherd was historically understood to be carrying a lamb because it was tired, not because he swung a heavy stick at one of its legs. Modern shepherds do not break their lambs' legs. Besides the repellent cruelty of this act, there is the trouble and expense of hauling a lame animal around--an animal that may die anyway if its fractured limb becomes infected, an animal that may always be too slow to keep up with the flock even if it survives. A broken-legged sheep, unless there is a vet available and the sheep is extremely valuable, goes into the stew pot.

My personal observation is that this parable maps very well onto the lives of abused children. If someone who has complete power over a child does that child great harm, but insists that it's for their own good or done from love, the child may believe it--because the alternative is the bitter knowledge that they are trapped with a cruel master and there is no escape.

(This leads back to the inherent ridiculousness of inflicting great pain on an animal in order to make it stick close to you. Children love parents because they need to. Sheep don't need to love shepherds. If you maim your sheep, it's going to stay as far away from you as possible--or attack you if you get too close!)

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