Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Don't Wanna Be Like Mike

I did it. I finished Michael Pearl's "Sin No More" series. It's been a few days now and I decided I needed to report, review, and respond to the 10 or so hours of material presented. Naturally, this is not going to be exhaustive (thankfully), and merely an overview of my thoughts and reactions. If you are at all interested, I would recommend checking it out. If nothing else, it will allow you an opportunity to think critically and hear some challenges to some of your beliefs.

First, Mike "guarantees" at the end of CD 6 that you will stop sinning after hearing his message... "or you don't have the Spirit of God in you." Since finishing his lectures I have found that I have sinned at least 14 times that were painfully obvious. Conclusion: Either God's spirit resides not with me and am I am damned, or Michael was just saying something to make himself sound better. Since I sin, I think I know what Mike would say, but I'm not sure what Christ has to say about that.

Second, I found most of Mike's points from Scripture to be completely accurate and insightful. I can't think of a single time where he was teaching from Scripture that I disagreed. Very interesting stuff.

Third, his almost cult-like bashing of psychology, science, reason and general-life observation came off as ignorant. Psychology and science are merely labeling processes to observable phenomena in life. Proverbs would be a Bible similarity. To discredit them because they are human is "weak" at best.

Forth, Mike actually used the words "corrupted version of Scripture". What is he, Mormon? Come on. What is even more ridiculous about this is he buys into the KJV version as "the" Scripture for English speaking individuals, which has since been found to have minor translation errors. Ugh.

Fifth, many of the points that Mr. Pearl spends hours of teaching on are, at their root, mostly semantic. They are fine observations, but hardly worth calling people heretics over. For example, I'm willing to give him that the Bible does not teach a duality of spirit so there is not Old Man fighting the New Man. Cool. But then to go on to say that it is one's "Members" wrestling against one's "Spirit" makes the first point lame. I know, there is reason to make the distinction, but to claim that a believer who holds to the first view is "no better than a Buddhist" is ridiculous. It is, at most, an important semantic distinction. I think that Christ is the turning point of our salvation, not our doctrine on the nature of man.

Sixth, the majority of Mike's teaching is not based on Scripture at all. This is where what he says gets disturbing. NB: As I said above, I agree with just about everything he says from Scripture. The problem is that his foundational tenet revolves around Abraham. He claims that when God told Abraham he was going to be the father of a great nation that Abe went around telling everyone, "I'm the father of a great nation! Oh, I know I don't have kids yet, but God said that I am so I am." This is then extrapolated out to Mike's main point of saying that since we are dead to sin we should be saying that we are in the same faith of Abraham. Problem is: There's no Scriptural support for this notion.

All-in-all it was an interesting, if not depressing and frustrating, series. I'm glad I'm done with it and have been able to figure out where Mike is so very wrong. If I had missed his step out of Scripture I would still be depressed and feel damned by a holy man. Instead, I'm just a tad frustrated that he so dogmatically preaches something that isn't Scripture as if it were and am very happy for the love of God which I pray continues to make me more Christ-like.

~Luke Holzmann

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