Created to be his Help Meet – A Review (sort of).


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I will begin by saying that I have no doubt that Debi Pearl’s heart is in the right place. The desire to help women assume their Biblical roles and love their husbands and families well is laudable and good.

And, there are some real nuggets of excellent counsel to be found in places within the pages of this book.

That being said, the nuggets are often (most often in my view) so buried beneath layer upon layer of Biblical misunderstanding and wrong reasoning as to make the book one I could not recommend to anyone. In many places it is truly a shame to read what has been written. And I feel most grievously for many of the women who have been guilted into a nonsensical and Biblically contrary approach to the marriage relationship by it, and worse, those who at present are living in the false manipulation I believe it teaches women to indulge in.

Rather than a summary critique, I have chosen here to simply make various citings, and then respond to those citings.

The ones I have chosen are only representative, and not exhaustive. One could find something on the vast majority of pages to object to Biblically.

 

 

1 – p 21 / “If you are a wife…This is how God created you and it is your purpose for existing.”

RAF: A foundational error. No one’s “purpose for existing” is rooted in such a relationship. We were created to glorify God, and to reveal His excellencies – regardless of the roles we may or may not end up participating in.

Same issue w/”no man is complete without his wife.”

Q – Is Biblical singleness even an acceptable paradigm? I went to their web site to research this further, but could find nothing on it. It might be there, I just didn’t find it.

2 – p 22 / “When you obey your husband, you obey God.”

RAF: This is NOT an absolute by any means, though it is stated as such here, and implied in other places.

3 - p 22 / “But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.”

RAF: Curious. This quotation from Paul is set in a context justifying singleness. Its point is being used out of context and for the opposite purpose for which it was written.

4 – p 28-32 / A letter to the woman who’s husband was having an emotional affair.

RAF: This response tragically about as wrong Biblically as it could possibly get. Wrong on so many levels it is hard to unpack it. I was positively horrified when I read it.

The proper response is the Biblical one outlined in Matt. 18. In fact, Debi actually repudiates this and tells “Beth” to “forget his Christian obligation to his vows” (p-30).

Beth’s first response to her husband (and brother) sinning against her is: Matt. 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”

This is always the first step in personal sin of this kind. Debi’s advice is in effect to out-slut the woman she calls “that office wench” (like she knows this woman and the real story and then indulges in that kind of name calling). She basically says “use the sinner’s tactics”. This is pure philosophical pragmatism and 100% in opposition to Scripture.

Second step: “16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established pby the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

Third step: “17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.”

Fourth step: “And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

She never once even alludes to a Biblical approach to the woman’s husband’s sin, advocates the other woman’s approach, denigrates the Biblical confrontation of sin and justifies it all on the basis of whether or not you end up all alone by painting this horrible picture of Beth losing and the sinning husband and “office wench” winning – BY CONTINUING IN THEIR SIN.

On p-32 she writes “but if you love him through this kind of trouble, you will be cherished.”

Two issues here: 1. It is never loving to leave the other person in their sin and not to confront it.

2. I have no doubt some husbands would love to have wives who would not call them on such sinful unfaithfulness and so get a warm reception at home in their sin – but that isn’t being cherished, it is being abused.

p-32: “God stands with you when you stand by your man, but you will stand alone if you insist on standing by your rights.”

Translation – follow Scripture and God will not stand by you. Fight sin with seductive tactics, leave your husband unchallenged IN his sin, and God will stand by you. This is so very wrong on both counts.

5 – p 33 / “Being pitiful, hurt, discouraged and even sickly is one side of a “bad marriage”.

RAF: How horrible to make women feel guilty for being “sickly”. This is dreadful. And later in this paragraph – that she is not to manifest a “broken spirit”? What if he has broken it? It is not “manipulation” to say ouch when someone hurts you. It is right and honest. Nor is it rejection. These pictures leave no room for true relationship. This is not to negate our call to be joyful in the Lord and to give praise as is due – but Debi’s approach fails at even simple honesty.

6 – p 35-37 / Contentment

RAF: No one can argue with a right view of contentment. If one has little, God is good. But if things are in bad shape due to neglect, laziness etc., this once again is a stewardship issue and needs to be confronted, not simply smiled at. To leave a person in their sin is to hate them. That is not to say we live miserably unless the other person pulls their weight, but it is to say we are not to remain content when the dearest one to us is in bondage to sin.

7 – p 40 / “You have control over whether or not you and your husband will be “heirs together of the grace of life.”

RAF: 100% incorrect. Our heirship is due to our being in Christ. We do not have any such control over it. This is to really misuse this passage. Peter’s point is that as husbands, we must treat our wives in an understanding and thoughtful way precisely because they are heirs, and therefore have an equal interest in Christ. They are not to be treated as second class. Her example of her husband refusing to take the trash out, and then walking away after his missed toss at the dumpster is a perfect example of the very opposite of the 1 Peter passage. I am really stunned. Instead then of challenging his sinful ego – she actually plays into it and supports it on page 41. This is completely backwards.

8 – p 49 / “to help meet all my husband’s desires and dreams”

RAF: I do not know if “Linda’s” husband is harsh, lazy or selfish. I do know there is nothing in Scripture that says wives are there to meet all a husband’s “desires and dreams” without qualification. Linda’s husband might have some serious sins which need addressing – and his desire and dream might be to be harsh, lazy and selfish with impunity. She is NOT to support that, in that it is all Christian’s duty to refuse to be a part of other’s sins (1 Tim 5:22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.) We are not to be enablers of sinful ways. Linda – with so many others who write in this volume, need to be directed back to the Church to help deal with such issues.

9 – p 53 / “who depends on monetary gifts from women”.

RAF: The above appears to denigrate such a practice. Jesus would be surprised: Luke 8: “Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

Debi goes on to say “Nine out of ten gifts to these ministries, and nine out of ten purchases of books and tapes, are by women.” I would like to see her research this is based on – but then again, it would probably show this would be true for their ministry as well – eh?

10 – p 54 / “3. God tells wives to be subject to their husbands in everything, every decision, every move, every plan, and all everyday affairs.”

RAF: The text says nothing of the kind. We’ve already cited that fact that sin must be excluded here. This is a broad brush statement that is just inviting abuse.

11 – p 58 / “When a woman gets old and realizes that there is no man to love and cherish her, it is sad indeed, for she has failed in the very purpose for which she was created…”

RAF: Again, there is no theology of singleness here which is very much a part of the NT paradigm. And, think of the condemnation this heaps on anyone God has not seen fit to give a husband to. There is no room here for God’s sovereignty.

12 – p 65-67 / Letter from “Susan” re: her husband watching questionable stuff on TV & exposing the kids to it.

RAF: Sadly, Debi’s response here is reprehensible. The man, in honoring the weaker vessel should absolutely listen to his wife and avoid these for hers and the children’s sakes. The fear mongering she enters into at the beginning of her response is equally foul. The message is clear – don’t work for what is right, only for what will work in your favor. And then, on p 67 to say “Just think, if you had lower expectations, you would permit yourself to love and honor your husband” is completely backwards. Love does not lower the expectations, but helps to other rise to them. This is in fact disrespect. It allows a child of God to remain in their sin unchallenged and unexpected to rise above it.

13 – p 71 / “But all this was not your fault. No, it was your husband who committed adultery, your husband who was angry or got into porn, but he seems to have a life of ease now with plenty of money compared to your miserable condition.”

RAF: No one, no one under any circumstances can blame their adultery or indulging in porn on their wife. This is just horrid. I am so grieved at this. Yet this is exactly what is being said. She is flatly telling them they cannot say it was not their husband’s fault for the husband’s own sin. Sinful and grievous wives they may be. The husband is as responsible to act righteously in the face of their wives’ sins as wives in the face of their husband’s. This is truly twisted thinking. And once again, this dreadful fear mongering of the sinner ending up in a better outward situation and that somehow ought to make you treat their sin lightly. This is staggering.

14 – p 72 / “You Poor, Dumb Man”.

RAF: If that is an example of a critical spirit than I don’t know what to do. The “help meet” ought to be a part of making better decisions – bringing her gifts to the table. If he has too much of an ego to accept the help – the sin is his, not hers. This is foolish.

15 – p 77-80 / “Mr. Command Man”. “They are known for expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot. A Command Man does not want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from serving him.”…”Command Men have less tolerance, so they will often walk off and leave their clamoring wife before she has a chance to realize that she is even close to losing her marriage.” …”She is on call every minute of her day. Her man wants to know where she is, what she is doing, and why she is doing it. He corrects her without thought. For better or for worse, it is his nature to control.”

RAF: All of this is presented as though these are simply acceptable qualities. They are not. These are sinful expressions of domination and control. They are not to be accommodated. A woman thinking about marrying such a man should run like the wind. She goes on to write on p 79 “In most marriages, the strife is not because the man is cruel or evil; it is because he expects obedience, honor, and reverence and is not getting it. Thus, he reacts badly.” His sin is NOT justified by hers period. This very twisted thinking pervades everything she writes. This is dismaying.

16 – p 80-83 / “Mr. Visionary.” “They love confrontation.”

RAF: This confrontive quality, is in fact what disqualifies a man from Biblical leadership: 1 Tim 3:3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.

Titus 1:7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain. (NASB95). This is a characteristic to be dealt with, not accommodated. the “Learn to Enjoy the Trip” story is absolutely backward. Her simply giving in to his egotistical unwillingness to receive real help from his “help meet” should not be supported. She is feeding and supporting his sin!

17 – p 96 / Eve speaking to Adam – “When God brought me to you in that wonderful garden, and we commenced life together, you never said anything about thorns and thistles, about pain in childbirth, about milking goats and churning butter. I am not a wilderness girl!”

RAF: This is so wrong-headed I’m not sure where to start. The thorn and thistles, etc., were not due to some arbitrary change in Adam’s plans – they were a result of the Fall! The entire scenario is nonsensical. It is a wrong view of the facts and then a wrong application to the situation she is trying to describe.

18 – p 99 / “Is it God’s will for your husband to adapt to you, or is it God’s will for you to adapt to him?”

RAF: Two things are seriously wrong here.

a. The either/or construct leaves no room for the both/and. It is a false antithesis. It is not painted as an either/or in Scripture. “1 Pet 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Here the adaptability of the man is reinforced with an exhortation that we do so as to avoid hindering our prayers. This does not all fall on the wife’s shoulders by any means.

b. Sin is not to be adapted to. There is no mention of differentiating between what constitute legitimate personality and psychological tendencies – which DO need accommodated, and what are sinful behaviors which are NOT to be accommodated. It leaves the female reader with everything resting on her. And thus Debi’s advice over and over becomes little more than a from of manipulation. You just act the way you will get the most out of it when it is over.

19 – p 103 / “When you develop an adversarial relationship with your husband, you do so on the premise that you are right and he is wrong. You are also assuming that you have the duty to resit, confront, and challenge him. In thinking he is wrong and you are right, you declare yourself wiser than he, more spiritual, more discerning, more sacrificial, etc. All this adds up to the obvious conclusion that you have assumed the role of leadership, teacher and judge.”

RAF: Let’s unpack a whole host of errant thoughts here.

a. Because a wife might think she is right on something and her husband is wrong – is not necessarily adversarial. To absolutize this leaves the woman to actually allow the husband she is to love and respect, to sometimes act the fool. That isn’t love or respect.

b. Sometimes a wife does indeed have a DUTY to resist, confront and challenge her husband. Especially where sin is involved. She is his sister in Christ even before she is his wife.

c. Thinking a husband is wrong and the wife right on some issue does not necessitate a declaration of being wiser (thought that may indeed be true), or more spiritual (since when is spirituality based upon who is simply right or wrong on a given issue?), more discerning (though that again may or may not be true given the circumstance) more sacrificial (same as before) etc.

d. Disagreeing and expressing disagreement with a husband does not necessitate – does not require one must arrive at the “obvious conclusion” that the woman has assumed the role of leadership, teacher or judge. This is nonsense. Surely some women may sinfully act on disagreements, but the disagreement itself does not imply sin or usurpation of leadership. This seems to be aimed at a need to protect some strange notion that men must have their little fiefdom in order to be real men.

20 – p 105 / “God created man with a nature that is aggressive.”

RAF: This view of anthropology is popular today in Christian circles (see my review on Wild at Heart by Eldredge) but completely misses two very important facts. a. Aggression was not in play until after the Fall. b. In the New Creation, the express modes of describing our situation then, is encapsulated by pictures like beating our swords INTO plowshares. Not the other way around. In the New Creation, there will be no wars, no aggression. Aggression is NOT a positive model. Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS is Jesus’ assessment. War is contrary to complete righteousness. We must view this part of our present fallen constitution with an eye toward seeing its abnormality, not accepting it as normal.

Men are NOT created to be driven by and helpless victims of their testosterone levels. Contrary to Debi’s repeated insinuation.

21 – p 107 / “Lucifer is a male being”.

 

RAF: Actually, while some angels appear to have certain characteristics we associate with maleness or masculinity, angels “neither marry nor are given in marriage”. They do not have human sexuality as we know it. Such views under gird other misunderstandings.

22 – p 108 / “God loaded him [man] down with resistances, giving him a nature that is doubting, skeptical, forceful, and pushy.”

RAF: Actually, man was created in Christ’s image, with a nature full of faith (not doubting), truth (not skeptical), not forceful and not pushy. These are products of the Fall. Her entire paradigm of maleness is built upon normalizing the effects of the Fall. Thus she makes no attempt for men to be recovered from these traits, only supported in them.

23 – p 111 / “Adam, the first man, Samson, the strongest man, Solomon, the wisest man, and even David, the man listed as being after God’s own heart, were all brought down by the women they loved.”

RAF: This is just categorically untrue. Adam aside, Samson, Solomon and David were undone by their lust. By their lack of self-control. The problem in each of these cases was not the individual women (which one of Solomon’s multitudes will you point to?) but the failure of the man in respect to women. The man was responsible for his sinful actions in each case – the women aside.

24 – p 112- / “Jezebel”.

a. Jezebel was “more spiritual and religiously devoted than her husband”.

RAF: In 1 Kings 16;31 we are told this woman was a pagan and an idol worshiper, hardly a close parallel to a Christian wife.

b. “The third and most significant thing I noticed was that she used his emotional stress to endear herself to him – a strange way of lording over her husband.”

RAF: Oddly enough, this is the very same tactic Debi advocates throughout this book; play off of your husband’s tendencies to be sure he doesn’t leave you: Manipulate him.

25 – p 115 / “A woman who criticizes her husband for watching too much TV, playing too much golf, or indulging in any frivolous activity is expressing dishonor.”

RAF: Maybe yes, maybe no. Absolutizing this is wrong.

26 – p 115 / “A man cannot cherish a strong woman who expresses her displeasure of him. You say that he should model Christ’s love regardless of how she acts. Is that what you want? Is that what Christ wants? Do you want your husband to be forced to seek supernatural power just to find a way to love you? Do you want to be another of his trials – his greatest example of overcoming adversity?”

RAF: If all of these are challenges to his sinfulness – absolutely. That is exactly what ought to be happening. He SHOULD model Christ’s love regardless of how she acts – for this is exactly how Christ loves us. That is not an excuse for her sin – but her sin can never be an excuse for his either. The marriage IS the place where these things are stripped off and we are forced to learn to love supernaturally rather then only naturally – else we cannot show the love of Christ to each other at all. It IS supernatural to love as He does. “Men will always want to reclaim those times when love was fun and free, with no demands.” There is no such thing – look at the cross. Love demands much more than the Law ever could. We are to bond-slaves of love.

27 – p 125 / “You may say, “But it would be easy being married to Christ.” Then you don’t know your Bible. What if your husband required you to offer your son upon an altar as a burnt sacrifice? That is what God required of Abraham. What if your husband killed you for lying? That is what God did to Sapphira.”

RAF: What is so horribly skewed here is that her assumption is – these were done as acts under the umbrella of or within the context a marriage relationship as the paradigm. She demonstrates a very poor grasp of the motifs used in Scripture. This breeds eisogesis rather than exegesis. This is very poor handling of the Word. And the implication which can be drawn, is that husbands – could possibly have such demands or responses. I pray no one takes it that way. This is a dangerous way – literally – to express an idea.

28 – p 126 / “Queen for the Day.” “Shortly after we were married, my husband started going to strip clubs and meeting with prostitutes. I know this because when he got too guilty, he would confess.”…”I have to confess that as I typed Judy’s letter into my book, I wept. Judy has turned her heart to God, for only God could have done such a work of grace in a woman. She is reverencing a man who does not deserve it.”

RAF: This is utterly perverse. I wept too. I wept because this is in no way a display of reverence. It is a sad attempt to get her husband to be something else, not by virtue of confronting sin (as is the Biblical means) but by letting him remain in his sin unchallenged. No, Judy is not required by Scripture to divorce her husband. If in fact God has given her a heart to love him given his behavior – God bless her a thousand times more. But her responsibility toward him is not to let him remain bound in his sin, but to help him see it for the wicked thing it is, to learn to hate it, and to renounce it. This is not an example of how such matters ought to ordinarily be handled. We need to go back to #4 and read God’s counsel on how to deal with such sin. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

29 – p 129 / “A good marriage is good because one or both of them have learned to overlook the other’s faults, to love the other as he or she is and to not attempt to change the other or bring him or her to repentance.”

RAF: If this is true – Jesus’ instructions in Matt. 5 & 18 are utterly meaningless. This is one of the foundational problems with Debi’s thinking. Helping one another in respect to growth and repentance is precisely what we are about. If the Church acted this way, there would be no church discipline. We are constantly about the business of loving one another too much to let sin dominate. Yes, many personal and minor sins can be covered with love. When they cannot, they MUST be dealt with. This is love.

30 – p 132-134 / Sunny and Ahmed. “Ahmed” is not a Christian, was violent for 7 years and Sunny “was regularly subjected to his alcoholic rages and beatings.” She endured his “flaunted unfaithfulness”, frequent abandonments and while pregnant with their third child, he “tried to kill her with a butcher knife.”

RAF: This is a frightening story. Sunny was in real danger of her life – and possibly her children’s lives, and she is counseled to stay home. She needed to have Ahmed arrested and locked up. Her putting herself in danger (with the possibility of her children being without her) and her children in such danger is unconscionable. That God was gracious is no excuse for such incredibly horrific advice. I am truly appalled at this. This was unloving to her children and ultimately to Ahmed. The Law is made for exactly these kinds of persons and circumstances. God’s arrangement is: 1 Tim. 1:9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”

God’s law is instituted BY God for these express purposes. To ignore it is to dishonor and disobey God. The rule is not “save the marriage at all cost” – the rule is: Obey God’s Word and plan regardless of the cost.

I hope no young woman in trouble ever reads these pages and imagines it God’s will to remain in such danger.

31 – p 136 / “God created Adam and commissioned him to take the position of leadership. Since then, every son of Adam has received the same mandate. Man was created to rule. It is his nature. But the only place most men will ever rule is in their own little kingdom called home. At least, every man’s destiny is to be the leader of his household. To deny him this birthright is contrary to his nature and God’s will. When a man is not in command of his little kingdom and is not shown the deference and reverence that goes with that position, his kingdom will not be ruled correctly, and the subjects of that kingdom will not experience the benevolence of a king who truly loves and cherishes them.”

RAF: Once again, her basic paradigm is just dramatically skewed. First off, man was only to rule under God. It is God’s kingdom, not Adam’s and not any man’s. Second, the Scripture never uses such a paradigm for the home. The idea that we are each to have our own little kingdom is just not taught. This is a fabrication. If men are seeking for some kind of consideration regarding their “kingdom” it is ego and an attempt to be little gods. God is King. We ALL are the subjects. It is this sinful tendency in us to rule others that Jesus directly attacks when He addresses His disciples in Mark 10:42 “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But sit shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Debi’s version of this is that men are to rule, and wives are to reckon with it. The Gospel paradigm is servant leadership. To serve, and to seek to be served is Jesus’ model. Mutual service is the aim.

32 – p 138 / “A man’s ego is a fragile thing.”

RAF: Agreed. And he needs to get over it. Ego is not Godly.

33 – p 139 / “It doesn’t seem fair that the wife is expected to honor and obey her husband even though he has not earned the right; yet she must also earn the right to be loved.”

RAF: The is not one scrap of Biblical evidence to back up that last statement. Not one. It is contra-Biblical. It is the exact opposite of grace. It is contrary to everything love is supposed to be. Christ’s example, the Biblical order, is articulated in 1 John – this is how Christ loves the Church, and the impetus behind how the man is to love: 1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.” We earn not one iota of that love.

34 – p 148 / “Dear Debi, I was totally exhausted yesterday when my husband came home from work. The children were sick. I have a new baby, and she was coming down with a fever. He came in and never inquired how I felt or how my day was. He started off by asking why the place was such a wreck and “when will dinner be ready,” because it was the night for choir practice, and he wanted to get there early. He was rude, insensitive, and indifferent to my exhaustion, the kid’s sickness, and everything else. He was so selfish, and it hurt so badly. What was I supposed to do? Reward this selfish jerk with loving service? Jill. “

“Dear Jill, It is your duty, your job, and in your best interest to serve your husband – Debi.”

RAF: Dear Jill – you are correct. He was being a selfish jerk. I hope you were able to keep from exploding, then, but the problem is real. Adding your sinful response to it won’t help. When things are calmer, you should sit and explain the situation from your point of view, tell him you forgive him, and ask to have a plan for how to handle this in the future. If he responds poorly, or you can’t make some reasonable headway – let’s have a meeting with one or more of the elders. His behavior is not acceptable. Perhaps there are things on your part that can help as well. But if his behavior persists, it should be brought before the Church leadership. – Reid

35 – p 149 / “Always offer your children only one choice for breakfast. Several options will only confuse the child’s spirit.”

RAF: What in the world does it mean to confuse the child’s spirit? This is nonsense.

36 – p 161-176 / a. From a letter: “I tried to explain to her [his wife] that to a man sex is must like having to eat.”

b. “When a woman is not interested in his most consuming passion.”

c. “But his most pressing drive is to be a successful lover.”

d. “God made man to need sex. He must be relived of his built-up sexual desire, even if it means spilling his seed in his sleep.”

RAF: This is an absolutely distorted and Darwinian view of sexuality. Sex is NOT as necessary as food. Sex had better not be a man’s most consuming passion – or he truly IS a pervert. A man’s most pressing drive is not to be a good lover, unless spiritual things all take a back seat. No, God did not make man to NEED sex. To desire it? To enjoy it? Yes. To need it like food? No. Tell the single Jesus. Tell the single Paul. Tell those who are eunuchs for the kingdom’s sake. This is humanistic tommy rot. Yes, sexual desire is strong – 1 Thess. 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and lhonor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

And perhaps most egregious of all she adds – “Don’t talk to me about how uncomfortable or painful it is for you.” (p 170) This is just cruel and abusive and without excuse. I have never heard such a heartless statement in the name of Godly counsel. This is shocking and disturbing to a very high degree.

37 – p 181 / “You are part of a trend sweeping through church women’s circles – a pursuit of intimacy and deep feelings apart from your husband. This inner-self-stimulation is what my husband call “spiritual masturbation.”

RAF: I’m sorry, the term is offensive, inaccurate, un-Biblical and shameful. Why use such a term when talking about spiritual matters? It confuses categories and brings confusion and foolishness. It betrays other underlying wrong Biblical assumptions about the way we are made.

38 – p 182-183 / “Raising up Cows or Kids.”

RAF: The discussion on the word “discipline” is simply an exercise in how poorly she understands the nature of the language, the words and what is meant. Sad. It isn’t about the parent being dedicated at all – but how they set apart or dedicate the child.

39 – p 192-193 / A woman writes about a discussion over buying a stove and her husband reconsiders and buys the less expensive one. This is used as an opportunity to tell the woman she did something wrong.

RAF: This is all utter nonsense. A simple discussion and ideas were exchanged and he made the final decision. Case closed. Debi’s diatribe was senseless and perhaps harmful.

40 – p / 194-196 / “Twelve Questions a Wife Can Ask That Will Tear Down Her House.”

RAF: Once again, utterly ridiculous. 1-8 were absolutely within the circle of normal conversation and the exchange of ideas. 9-12 had to do with issues at Church that needed to be looked at much deeper. This is just out in left field.

41 - p 204-207 / The story of “Bad Bob” ejaculating in church because of the sight of Lydia” bending over in Church.

RAF: This entire sequence was nauseating, pornographic, unnecessary and missing key elements of truth. No young man would ejaculate merely by that momentary look – unless something else were going on. Which in fact the story reveals. This guy had a major long term problem with lust, resentment, and anger – ALL LAID AT THE FEET OF OTHERS. This is disgusting and reprehensible. I felt ashamed to even read it. I have no argument with making the case for modesty in women’s dress. This is anything but. Debi’s statement on 207 that “If you think that Bob is some kind of freak or deviant, you don’t know men” is so far out in left field as to be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. No one has ever talked with Bob or given him instruction in how to possess his body in honor before God regardless of what others do? This entire approach is sick in my mind. Yes, it is a problem that some women do not dress modestly enough, but men have to take their responsibility and learn to govern their thought lives before the Lord. This young man is in serious trouble, and not because of part of 1 TV show and the Youth Director’s wife.

42 – p 231 / “When our first daughter was just two months away from getting married, she asked her daddy a theological question. Remember now, she was a graduate of Bible College and had spent three years on the foreign field as a missionary. But, rather than answer her, as he had been doing for the previous 26 years, he told her, “I cannot answer your Bible question, for you now believe what your husband believes. He will be your head, and you will follow him. It is time to get adjusted to your new role. Ask him what he believes about it.”

RAF: Two things – a. You now believe what your husband believes? Nonsense. This is absolute rubbish. God will hold each one responsible for knowing Biblical truth. How absurd.

b. “I cannot answer your Bible questions?” This is just a tad disingenuous. If that were the real rule the Pearls lived by – this book could not be written and they would not be answering all those letters. Their ministry would end. It is built on doing exactly that for 1000’s of women. They would be telling those letter writing women to ask their own husbands. Period. You see this is completely skewed and in the final analysis – dishonest, or hypocritical or just plain self-contradictory – but it can’t be right.

43 – p 242 / After a story about a “dope-head” who ended up in prison, and whose wife finally divorced him – Debi writes: “If sweet, little Teresa had believed and trusted God and had been willing to suffer being alone, she could have devoted herself to visiting her husband in prison, sharing books and tapes with him, and taking her little ones to see Daddy. He would have finally begun to treasure his faithful wife and family, and he would have come to know that only the power of God could cause a woman to love the rotten, lowdown sinner he knew himself to be. Mr. Dope-Head then would have been open to God.”

RAF: Please note the way this is related. Debi places this guy’s salvation firmly in Teresa’s hands. No “he might have”, she asserts with full confidence this would have done it. There is no basis for such promises. None. And how many dear women who have struggled so could tell us exactly that? This is a terrible burden to place on people. We cannot save anyone. Once again this is so far from the Biblical paradigm as to be mind-numbing.

44 – p 247 / “When Eve sinned, God cursed her with multiplied conception – having more babies more often – with a few miscarriages along the way.”

RAF: This is nothing less than fanciful fabrication without one scintilla of evidence, passed off as Scripture truth. And she talks about blasphemy?

As I said at the beginning, the citations above are not exhaustive, but merely representative.

Throughout this book Debi Pearl displays terribly skewed views of the Biblical relationships and responsibilities between a husband and a wife, an overtly pagan view of male sexuality, a poor command of Scripture, various examples of very bad judgment, and a complete lack of understanding as to calling one another into account for sin. She rejects the Biblical models over and over, and at times adopts those that are actually contra-Scripture, let alone lacking in Scriptural foundation. Yes, there some good things too, but they are so buried under multiple layers of wrong paradigms – that one can only say we need to find another book from which to draw some semblance of genuine, balanced, Biblical guidance. “Created to be his Help Meet” falls woefully and at times harmfully short at almost every turn.

 

 

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111 thoughts on “Created to be his Help Meet – A Review (sort of).

  1. Truly enjoyed reading your review of that book. Just because something sounds right, it can be the means of placing false biblical truth into the readers mind, because it’s truth twisted just a wee bit.

  2. Thanks Ralph – you’re right. Sometimes, even though things look good on the surface, we need to really scrutinize it.

  3. Thank you for your thoughts on this book. In the past I wrote an in-depth review–very positive–of CTBHHM, but I think you make some excellent points here. Time and experience have changed some of my thinking on this.

  4. Thanks for that.
    I had been contemplating buying that book, but the many negative reviews I’ve read, plus this, very exhaustive one, has thoroughly put me off.
    I’d recommend Gary Thomas’ books. At least he seeks balance and speaks from a point of mercy while still hitting the nail on the head.

  5. Thanks for coming by S.B., sadly, this book just won’t cut it. There are many far better resources. Hopefully, this blaze through some of the rougher places will be of help to others.

  6. Hey, thanks for this! As a Christian feminist, books like this make me fear for my sisters. One thing that particularly interested me was comment 43. I don’t know how long the man was in prison, but often convicts will break ties with their outside families in order to make a family in prison. It’s both an escape from abandonment and a coping mechanism. It didn’t matter how much Teresa had worked for their marriage; the more time the husband spent in prison, the more futile her work would have been. Clearly, the author knows very little about the psychology of the situation, and therefore should not assume to give advice.

  7. One need not be a feminist (I’m not even sure what that means any more) to see how wrong headed and dangerous so much of this book is. I am just dismayed by how many seem to buy into it. If we would only examine such things in the light of the Scriptures – we would not be led down the twisted paths of this kind of dark reasoning.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note.

  8. Thank you so much for your review. One of my friends recommended this book to me when I had told her of my frustrations with my husband’s lack of help with our two children, two and under. She told me that this book was “like the Bible itself” and that reading it would give me a different attitude about him not helping. I definitely agree that only nagging on your husband and complaining about him to others all the time won’t solve anything, but this book is just crazy! I want to have a talk with her about this book, and I plan on sharing your review with her to start!

  9. Thanks so much Holly. I am so glad you found it useful. Sadly, I fear this book has done a lot of damage. Hopefully, we can reverse some of that. God bless you as you pursue a more Biblical approach.

  10. Well, after talking to my friend, I find myself more frustrated than ever. She believes that the greatest command is to respect and honor your husband- that it is above all else and must be what comes first, etc. I told her that she cannot possibly believe this and that if her husband weren’t the almost “perfect” husband that he is, she wouldn’t feel this way, etc. But she told me that even if she were married to an abusive husband, she believes that she would still stay b/c the Bible doesn’t say she can divorce him for that. After an hours worth of conversation, I felt so sick I had nothing left to say… But thanks again for your review—It is excellent!

  11. I am so sorry for your friend. I will have to remember her in prayer. Such an attitude can so cloud the thinking, that children – who we are required to protect before God, can be left open to serious danger. It is very sad.

  12. I am very sorry to see your take on this wonderful book! It has blessed my marriage and me personally very much. I also know MANY other women who feel as I do. I make a point to buy this book for every new wife!

  13. I’m very sorry to think you would be so inclined to pass on such Biblically contrary material. It is sad indeed. I hope you might re-read the book comparing the things I noted with Scripture and that in so doing you would see the very troublesome issues involved. I fear you do these new wives an incredible disservice. Better to give them something tried, true and Biblically sound.

  14. Thank you !!!! I bought the book and finished part way when reading your review. I have had the same quesitons on some points you made. I am a full-time working wife with no children. I go to church but my husband chooses to not go. I felt I could not keep up with what the book suggested and felt that some situations would make me feel like a door mat instead of a daughter of our Heavenly King.

  15. I am so glad to know you found some help in this Tammy. Your situation is a difficult one at best. One that does not need unnecessary pressures brought into it do to misinformation. May the Lord be pleased to grant you great grace with your husband, and grace in his salvation in the near days to come.

  16. I found your review cowardly and hair-splitting. Debi Pearl writes in a very black and white way – which is something I appreciated greatly in a day and age where everything is monitored so meticulously that no one’s real feelings are expressed. This does not mean that everything she says is right, but as an older sister passing along her words to younger women, I think she has full freedom to express it through her unique personality.
    This book is threatening to people that are committed to their rights and not interested in actually, by faith, walking out God’s commands. Let me tell you by my own experience – I am a STRONG, independent woman and i had every reason to burn this book except this – my marriage was going down the toilet faster than I thought possible. I did everything “right” according to the other books, but my husband closed up to me, just like Debi’s book described (and as is the experience of many of my friends). My husband was feeling castrated by me! I do not think his behavior and response to me was right, but like Debi says, a) you can’t expect your husband to be like Christ – it would be great, and there are husbands that are submitted to Christ and are like that, but IT’S NOT THE WIFE’S JOB. b) it’s the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and to spur a man to godly action. Besides, have you ever tried to change someone? It’s impossible. You will die on the hill of “i’m right” with no one around you – this is true of ANY relationship. Finally, the whole point of her book is that women need to take responsibility for their own actions. Point and case. We are not only wives, we are first and foremost In Christ. And in Christ we are challenged to negate all our rights to His glorious Will. I don’t see that in Christians AT ALL. And the church is in a mess. The testimonies of marriages being pulled out of the gutter are countless because of the wisdom of this book.
    Finally, I have never felt such a sense of purpose as a wife. I would agree the call is difficult, but maybe more people shouldn’t get married – so they won’t be concerned about these things like Debi references correctly in her use of the scripture. As to your point about no “singleness reference” – it’s a book about being a wife!!! Their ministry is to the family – that’s their mandate…not to single people… other ministries exist – sorry, that seems like a no brainer to me.

  17. Dear Miriam – Thank you for stopping by the blog and taking the time to give us your thoughts.

    I rejoice genuinely that God was able to use some of the material in this book to help you in your own marriage. I would submit to you that that is more a product of the goodness of God in using a very defective tool rather than the merit of the tool itself. He is very very good to us that way. In my own life, I have been greatly helped by some persons or materials that later, as I matured, I shudder to look back upon. That however is not a reason to endorse what is so anti-Biblical and dangerous in so many other ways.

    Your choice of “cowardly” I will have to admit I did find amusing. If my review were cowardly, I would never have published only to receive some of the jeers and negative responses your note is a tame example of. I am curious in your choice of words.

    What I would ask you to notice missing in your own response is any substantive critique. You took no time to show where my review failed in terms of biblical truth, where my critique was entirely based in how the book failed to properly deal with Scriptural concepts. Your note begins with personal an ad hominem attack where mine dealt with WHAT was said, and not rotted in making character judgments. I am sad you needed to go that way.

    I hope that a few years down the road you will reflect a little more maturely on the things I detailed. And may the Lord be pleased to continue to strengthen and grow your marriage.

    Blessings: Reid

  18. My husband says that this book has done more damage to our marriage than anything else to date. I tried so hard to follow the advice in this book so that I could have a “glorious marriage”. All I got was a mean, miserable and frustrated husband who wanted to know what on earth I had changed and begged me to change back to who I was before. This book destroys the spirit of women and encourages abuse. Thanks for bringing up some of the issues. We have been happier ever since we got rid of this book. By the way, the Bible says we are to respect our husbands, but is it really showing respect to our husband to manipulate him into being nice? I don’t believe so. If you have to manipulate someone, you have no respect for them.

  19. Spot on Mrs. W. You said it so well. And it a story (sadly) I have heard repeated often. And you are so right about respect. Respecting someone requires that we refuse to manipulate them – and deal with them in a straightforward and honest way. Good for you! Many men are afraid of this kind of strength in a woman. Their loss. There are lots of women who will keep their men little boys instead of growing into strong, secure, honest and authentic men who can hear and deal with the truth.

  20. My husband says that part of the reason he married me was for my sassiness and spunk LOL. Those are his words not mine. He wanted a woman who would stand up for herself. And I’m about as anti-feminist as you get and do submit to my husband as it is right. But we also have a great marriage and Debi Pearl’s book could have destroyed what we had. So it’s not just “feminists” that hate the book, a lot of non-feminists do also.

  21. My own sweet bride is all the more precious to me because she CAN challenge me. Because she is strong and can hold her own. And in the process it forces me to think, to pray, and to love a partner, not a door mat. I love her for it. She is absolutely committed to being Biblically submissive. And she is one who can stand up, speak up and hold up. I would die with a “yes-girl”. I want a real woman – not a mindless bauble. That’s why I married her. She refuses to leave me to my own mediocrity.

  22. Sorry to leave a whole slew of comments here. I am wondering if you and others who despise this book can go to Amazon.com and give it a negative review. In the latest No Greater Joy magazine, the Pearl’s publicly solicited good, five star reviews from their followers saying that those of us who gave it negative reviews were taking away their rights to a glorious marriage or some other crap like that. So the ratings on that book are not accurate because it used to be a bad rating but the solicited reviews have made it unbalanced. It would be great if you and others could post truthful, one star reviews of this book, so that people can see the TRUTH about this book and how destructive it is.

  23. I posted my review on Amazon before I even posted it here. You are right. We need to do such things.

  24. Thank you for your review, Reid. It is refreshing to hear a male point of view on this book. Many of Debi’s biblical interpretations certainly make ya go “huh”? I am glad to see more people blogging about these errors.

    While I think Debi loves the Lord and means well, this book has the potential to damage many marriages. Debi has figured out what makes her husband tick and how to please him, and she assumes if every woman would just do what she does, marriages would flourish. The problem with that is that every man is different. My husband’s personality is nothing at all like Michael Pearl and if I did some of the things she suggested, it would NOT go over well in my house, I assure you.

  25. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Peaches. I do appreciate it. Even if every tactic in Debi’s book worked on every man without exception – we would still need to reject it due to its un-Biblical foundations and teachings. So much of what is written there simply contradicts or distorts God’s Word.

    I agree with you that Debi most likely loves the Lord and sincerely believes her notions are good and right. But that does not make them either good or right. And thus we need to set them aside, while not forgetting to pray for her, her husband and the many who will be so negatively impacted by the book.

  26. You know, I was JUST about to buy this book (without my husband’s knowing, nor approval). I had Googled CTBHH, this “Review” came up & my click-finger itched.
    I started out reading it thinking, “Oh, another person who doesn’t want any woman to be non-Feminist.” but then the Biblical truths were so startling. When I read some of the crass, vulgar language used in the book I shook my head, “Yeah, they are pretty icky. That’s Mike Pearl, alright.” I just KNEW you weren’t making it up… yeah, ok, I thought skeptically that you were manipulating this book. I’ve read reviews from Feminists on TTUAC and other Godly books that change folks for the better & thought you were just another one of them.
    Ok, so my husband’s opinion of the Pearls is this: He liked the first 6 chapters of TTUAC (train up a child book) and then was like, “Uh, WHAT? Where IS this guy going? What, is he saying???” Because Mr Pearl likes to rant –and use pretty rough words: “dope head,” “punk,” “girly-man,” “sissy,” “wimp,” “slut,” you know the rant.
    That’s NOT what Christ is like, and we are to be like him, no? I feel raunchy having typed out those words! Sorry everyone. It’s what is to be expected when you read the Pearl’s publishings.
    Ok, so now I’m NOT going to give in to my desire. I have been a moody wife of 14 years, my hubby says that I’m the only one for him, he wouldn’t mess up what he has for anything. If I’d read this book perhaps I would have stopped nagging & manipulating –but I may have become a “Closet Manipulator!” Or worse. There’s NO one pill to fix everything, all the raving they print in their magazine (of course they won’t print the argumentative ones) really makes a person start to believe… the sales pitch is good. I would LOVE a pill to make me thinner, make my hair shinier, make me love like no other lover, make me happy, make me kinder, etc.
    There’s ONLY ONE WAY to be taught how to do all this: the Holy Spirit was given to those of Christ’s followers as a teacher! I shall go to Him for guidiance –and LISTEN to Him!!!
    Thank you for aiming my sights back on the true Teacher, The Holy Spirit. I’m going to go & make my marriage better TODAY!
    There’s probably a lot of good mixed in there but I don’t think it’s worth it. If it’s not ALL good, then is bad. I’ll stick to my Bible.
    Sincerely,
    Alexis
    PS
    Did I mention that my husband finds the Pearls as obvious braggarts? This is unChristian, too (boast in Christ, not in yourself! Give the Glory to God!) …He’s allowed me to read their magazine, but he doesn’t like it. He wants me to seek Biblical teaching from him (my hubby) and the Holy Spirit, not some guy I’ve never met & his so-called happy wife. We don’t even know them from Adam!
    Ironic that a dad would steer his inquisitive daughter (of 26 & married) to her husband… without any advice or wisdom. He has NO problem telling other wives what to do. Hey, they asked, too!
    I guess there wouldn’t be a need for a book that always answered, “Go ask your own husband, woman.”

  27. Thanks for stopping by and for your note Alexis. All of us have our sins. Husbands and wives. All of us need the instruction of the Word to be skilled in walking in holiness. And all of us need the power of the Holy Spirit as the means to live and love this all out.

    I am no feminist. I understand the clearly defined roles of husbands and wives in Scripture. The Pearl’s book just does not work from a Biblical framework, and instead propagates very unhealthy views.

    No, we cannot use things like moodiness as excuses for sin. But we can recognize this as a battle to be fought, and learn to love over and above some of the tendencies which remain in us from our fallen nature. Many of us struggle with all kinds of such things. The answer is not to grit our teeth and try harder. It is to grow in grace and live unbound by such things. A much longer, and much sweeter process. One whereby Christ becomes pre-emminent in our lives. May you find just so wonderful a place. And praise God for a husband who loves you and makes it known he wants to be with you!

  28. Hi

    Thanks for your comprehensive review. I just finished reading the book and can honestly say it’s transformed my life. I was very manipulative of my husband and playing silly games (like refusing to speak to him when he didn’t help me with the children); many, many times I sat down calmly to explain my difficulties and what I would like help with, as well. None of it helped, he felt like a naughty boy being backed into a corner – however, gentle I was. Now, I feel so powerful, I realise how important my role is as wife and mother and how much my attitude affects the home. I’ve thrown myself into being the best wife and mother I can be, to not complain and to make my life as easy as possible by being organised etc.. so I’m not constantly having to look to my husband for help. It was never my intention to do this to change my husband, it was an honest attempt to be a hard working Mum but… Lo and behold, now he comes home to a calmer place where he’s not immediately jumped on to help, he’s so much more relaxed and has started to help voluntarily (this after 10 years of me being cross and angry and trying to make him help by various means). I thought he would say ‘this is wierd, stop being so nice to me and why have you stopped refusing to agree with me on everything?’ He never did, he teased me for trying to be a ‘domestic goddess’ as he put it but he loves not having an argumentative, cross, moody wife (why wouldn’t he?!!) I think it’s a great book for women like me who were into beating their husband’s into submission and way to much into looking at his failings and sinfulness and brooding on how to get him to change and even beating on God for not changing him!! My husband and I are both very strong characters and often came head to head on things, perhaps that’s why this books worked for us? We still enjoy a great debate and I am certainly not his doormat (he would hate that!) But I show respect for him a hundred times a day now by obeying him and allowing him to head up our family rather than how I used to be: tutting when he made suggestions I didn’t agree with (can you imagine living with me???!). Now, I’ve got over myself, I love my husband for who he is and he is growing and changing before God now I have gotten out the way.

    I am glad to read your review, though, I’m sorry I don’t have any clever biblical responses, just my own experience. I will think over what you’ve said – no book can be 100% right, no person can either – only the bible and our God. I think we are all wise to remember this, whatever book we read.

    One point, there is a chapter about when a wife must not obey her husband, this does deal with abuse, husbands requiring wives to sin etc… and the authors are clear that a woman must never submit to this and advise calling in the church or the police as is appropriate.

  29. Thanks for stopping by Liz, for reading the review and taking the time to respond. I am genuinely happy you were able to find help in the book. God is so gracious as to use some very ill-suited things to help us – even vessels like you and me, and this book.

    I hope there would be no attempts at clever biblical responses. As with anything, no matter how helpful it may seem – we need to test it against God’s Word. And unfortunately, this book fails that test in grievous ways. Just because something “works”, doesn’t mean its right.

    Nonetheless, may God bless you in your pursuit of walking with Him in truth and holiness.

  30. This books has done great harm to my marriage. I had been trying to be the “helpmeet” as Debbie puts is for two years. It turned our marriage into a nightmare. Putting all the weight of my husbands sin on myself, caused me to loose track of my own relationship with God. I am sorry to say that I followed this teaching without putting it in the light of the Bible. Thanks for taking the time to review this book and point out the errors.

  31. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words Shawna. I am so sad to hear of your own struggles in this. Sadly, I’ve heard this same thing many times. I pray the Lord will give you wisdom into His Word, and the filling of His Spirit to deal well with the problems you face in your marriage.

  32. Since September I have been involved in a Bible study which uses this book. I am a fairly new Christian, having skirted around the whole thing for more years than I care to admit. So I have some knowledge of the Bible and an eager heart for the truth of God’s word. But after a chapter or two of this book I became alarmed. I have persevered through a few months of the class simply because I don’t want to hurt the feelings of the sweet young thing who is leading it. I know this is wrong, but I’m not sure what to do. The more I read of this book the more horrified I become. My husband is on the verge of insisting I drop the study. We have a very strong marriage , with our differences, but we both love the Lord and we both fail to see anything at all in Mrs. Pearl’s book that could possibly enhance it. I have printed off your review (Is that legal?) and would love to share it with the other ladies. I’m praying about it. I really don’t want to be a troublemaker but I also don’t want the younger women to be misled. In my humble opinion Debi Pearl is terribly wrong and borderline blasphemous. Thank you so much for your lucid and insightful comments.

  33. Dear Jan – thanks for stopping by the blog, and for your note. Please do take any and all advantage of what I’ve written there if it can be of any help. You are certainly free to copy and reproduce it. My only request is that you leave the content intact as I have written it.

    I cannot tell you how many I have interacted with about this book over time. And some of the horror stories I’ve heard. As well as some who swear by it to n’th degree. Sadly, it is so grossly un-Biblical, that it simply needed to be addressed. I did so because some gals in our own Church wanted to have a study built around it. I read it to check it out and was horrified. What I wrote I wrote for them as a means to go back and re-assess the book.

    I pray the Lord will give you wisdom, grace and humility as you attempt to approach the others on it.

  34. I bought this book hot off the presses, I even have a signed copy. I read it, applied it and found myself hating my life. My husband settled in and said “This is great. I can be a complete jerk and my wife takes all responsibility for my sin and apologizes for living.” He spiraled into depression, I almost left him, and then I read the book one more time and my eyes were opened.
    The sad part is these women have such horrible marriages that they are willing to do ANYTHING to try and save it. That is just indicative of how the church has failed married couples today.

    Your review is right on. Is there a 12 step program for recovering Help Meeters?
    Step 1: Admit your husband has a problem…

  35. Thanks so much Katie. I wish I could say your experience is unique. Sadly it is not. And you are quite right that the churches have failed.

    One way we have failed (I speak as a pastor here) is that we have bought the World’s model that we can approach the Bible like it is a manual for fixing your car – or in this case – your marriage. Where this fails is that the Bible is meant to make us Godly. We are already men, and women, and married. We do not need to know techniques for being any one of these – we already are them (to bend the language a bit). But if we concentrated on the same agenda God has for us – to conform us to the image of Christ – to make us holy as He is holy, the rest of this nonsense would go away. And this book in particular fails miserably on two fronts: It ignores the man’s need to be godly, and it teaches techniques above godliness to the woman.
    The second way we as churches have failed, is that we have let men who are lousy husbands, get away with their sins, as long as they are good church goers. It is rank Phariseeism.

    I would modify your first step slightly: Admit all of us have the same problem – sin.
    Step 2 – all of us are responsible to deal with God’s way in Christ. No one is excused.

    Blessings to you.

  36. A friend lent me this book, saying it changed her life. It did open my eyes to the many ways I have been less than a good help meet to my husband, and showed me why and how I need to show him respect. For those points, I am very thankful.

    However, there were many parts of the book that left me scratching my head. For example on page 217 where a frustrated wife named Vicky complains about her husband who neglects to fix anything at home but rushes to help someone else get the car started. Here’s a guy who wants to look good to others while refusing to take manly responsibility in his own home. Debi’s reply on the next page confused me; in fact I thought I’d skipped a page and had to check! Her reply was the Dumb-Cluck Test, asking Vicky if she knows what’s in the kid’s cereal or whether she prefers non-fiction books! I eventually understood she was making a point that a woman can certainly learn to pick up a hammer and fix a few things, rather than wait and sulk. It wasn’t necessary to insult her reader to make her point though!

    Her statement on page 110 “Women are directly or indirectly responsible for most of the past and present cults in Christianity” also confuses me. So, men would be the rest of those directly or indirectly responsible for cults!

    I was disturbed by how often she warned women that if they didn’t please their man in every way they could end up sleeping alone. I think if my husband were having repeated affairs I would prefer to sleep alone than reverence him and his broken vows that have exposed him to STD’s. And not every woman who leaves an abusive husband is going to end up as an underpaid overworked lesbian with a ragged haircut, living in a dumpy duplex with unruly children who are watched by a babysitter with a weird boyfriend!(page 71)

    She admits her husband is a control freak: I wonder if he told her what to write.
    In Eph 5: 22-25 Wives are told to submit to husbands, and husbands are told to love wives. Since Debi wrote this whole book on how to submit regardless of her husband’s behavior, I searched the website for Mike Pearl’s answer to men whose wives do not submit, fully expecting he would write about how to love her regardless of her behavior. I was disappointed his answer was to show her stronger authority.

  37. Thanks for stopping and contributing. Yes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. And God can use some of the oddest things to help and instruct us. But in this case, the few things which are useful – in my estimation are buried beneath an avalanche of such poor Biblical understanding and teaching, that there is more likelihood of doing great harm than of producing sound results. After all, we are after a change of heart, not learning a set of manipulative behaviors.

  38. My mom gave me this book to read when I went back to visit a couple of weeks ago. I have seen it, but have never enjoyed books of this type because I always feel woefully inadequate afterwards.

    I thought I would read it, however, but wanted to read a few reviews about it first. I listened to a podcast today (from ’07–“That mom”‘s blog) mentioning the book and then found this review. I’m going to print it out and put it with the book as I read it.

    My problem in reading this kind of book is that I have such a sensitive “conscience” that often when I hear someone else say I should do something, I think, “I should do it”. I’ve learned as I’ve grown older (and many things in Christianity have gotten weirder in the last 15-20 years) that of course a person can’t live in a way that pleases everyone–good ideas or wild ideas.

    With the multiplicity of books, a person would soon become schizophrenic trying to follow all the advice books (even the ones that claim to be “Christian”).

    (ie. Ezzo vs. attachment parenting).

    All my married life, I’ve been wary about reading “how to” books (marriage, child-raising) basically because the Bible obviously isn’t a “quick fix” book.

    I appreciate your showing the “Biblical” exegetical problems with the book. While I’ve seen many issues of their magazines, I’ve never purchased any of their books before and probably never would have purchased it on my own simply because they are KJV only (I know I’m showing my prejudice). I tend to shy away from “big names in the home schooling movement” because it often seems more about selling books and making a home business work than about actually helping.

    I think my mom picked this one up at a yard sale.

    My husband is gone for a couple of weeks of teaching an OT course in another country, so I’ll probably pick up the book now and get it read while he’s gone.

    Thanks again.

  39. Thank so much for stopping by and for commenting Becky. I am with you that so much of what gets written makes it seem like we need these highly specialized super-secret instructions both for raising our kids and for our relationships with our spouses. To be honest, the Bible wasn’t written to make us great parents or spouses – except by default. In other words – the Bible was written to bring us to the saving knowledge of Christ, and then to show us how to grow in GODLINESS. If we are in the process of being conformed to the image of Christ (taking on His holy character) we WILL be good parents and spouses. It is in Godliness, not “spousliness” that we grow. Take on the character of the fruit of the Spirit, and you WILL be a great mother and wife. Walk in righteousness. That alone is sufficient.

  40. I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years and consider myself a student of God’s Word. I read the Perl’s works on child-rearing 15 years ago and couldn’t stomach it. It simply “sat” wrong in my mind and heart. Simply, it didn’t seem to me like what Jesus would do. I made myself begin reading CTBHHM because so many trusted friends speak so highly of it, but as I approached chapter 8, I can’t stomach it either. I’ve put it down. Reading your review helped me clarify what bothers me so much. Debi Perl’s condescending tone toward men has been offensive to me. Thank you very much for helping me identify what I knew intuitively to be “wrong”. If I continue reading, I will do so with paper and pen in hand. Thank you for using so many sound Biblical examples and especially for shedding light on the fullness and entirety of scripture. I am grateful and encouraged to do the same.

  41. Thanks so much Shirin. I am glad you found the review helpful. I really hesitated to do this initially, but letters like your keep coming in and make me realize that sometimes we need to step up. I appreciate your kind words – and the work of the Spirit in not letting the book settle with you in the first place.

    Blessings: Reid

  42. Thank you for your review of this book. So much of the material I found offensive and humiliating. Like her quote – ” a good wife paints the hall while her husband goes fishing.” Sorry, but I don’t want a marriage where I am the only one expected to do the hard yards, because I have not been ” blessed” with being born a male. And if my husband missed the trash can (like Michael) when throwing it out, he would be picking it up himself. Wife does not translate to ” mother,” or “slave.” She has put her own take and opinion on everything she has written, and covered it all with the cloak of
    ” but the Bible says.” And I also found the scene of the man ejaculating in his pants filthy and perverse. That young man needs to be called to account for his sinful thoughts, not just a woman with an issue with appropriate modesty. However, it is a great book if you want to know how to have a breakdown in ten days, or how to end up resenting your family because ypu have enabled them to become lazy, selfish, entitled users.. sheesh..

  43. Thanks for stopping and commenting Carol. I agree with your words. Sadly, this book continues to be applauded by many. I pray they will one day see the troubling aspects for what they are.

  44. I also must say I really appreciate the fact that, as a male, you are not promoting this book. After all, not many men would reject being waited on hand and foot and being treated like supreme lord and master ( :

  45. Thanks Carol. The truth is, my wife and I were having a bit of this conversation last evening. I will take a godly woman who is in the Word of God and prayer, who gives herself to to being merciful on those suffering around us – over a Stepford wife any day of the week. My wife was lamenting that the house wasn’t quite as “neat” as she would like it for us – and I had to say – “let it be messy, I’d rather have your prayers than everything dust free. If I wanted a maid, I could always hire one. I want a partner in Christ’s work. ” And by God’s grace, that who I am blessed to have. Men need to get THEIR priorities straight.

  46. I very much appreciate your point of view regarding CTBHHM. However, I will say that this book has the capability of tremendously blessing someone who can throw out the bad and take the good. I agreed with most of the points you made.

    Something that, in general, wives need to learn is to stop blabbing about their marriage to their friends and start working on it at the heart. Get your heart right with the Lord and ask Him to help you work on your husband and create an attitude of servanthood (not a doormat, and not even a servant, but someone who serves) in your marriage.

    Around the Scriptures taken out of context and the contradictions, and the bad advice, there are good tidbits to be found. But, it does beg the question of whether it’s really advisable to give this book to every woman you meet who is struggling in her marriage.

  47. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Mary. We basically agree. At what point does any work like this one tip the scales at being more harmful than helpful? No doubt, some of us differ on where that point actually occurs. For me, it is because the foundational concepts of who we are before God were so defective, that rescuing the “tid bits” became profitless. A bit like retrieving a sandwich that has fallen into a cesspool. Let it go. Better to be hungry or to get another one, than try to rescue this one.

  48. My husband is not a believer and has, at times, a serious issue with manipulative, passive-aggressive behavior. As a young Christian, wife and mother of a small child someone gave me this book. I was already being submissive-thanks to a changed heart from God -and knew how to keep house etc. but of course yearned to see my husband Saved. CTBHH put me under severe BONDAGE for nearly a year leading me to have small emotional break downs about every 3 months as communication between me and my husband deteriorated further. I began feeling guilty for my husband’s behavior towards me because clearly it had to be my fault- according to Debi; and as I attempted to put into practice what the Pearl’s equate with scripture the situation got worse. We are NEVER to follow man to lead us in the paths of righteousness. It lasted until I finally saw that Jesus Christ does not operate with fear and guilt on our lives but Truth; Jesus said His yoke is easy so follow Him and find rest Matt. 11:28-30. I repented of following The Pearl’s. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit for a wife to be conformed into the image of Christ. Mustering up religious attitudes and blaming yourself while taking mental abuse will mess you up spiritually and physically. I agree that a wife can cause damage to her husband and that secularized Christianity (living like the world) is a dangerous thing but we need to have a fear of the Lord that leads to obedience and love for His Word. And it should all be done while resting in Christ’s finished work on the cross and God’s love for us while with fear and trembling we work out our salvation- which is a work of Grace. At times The Pearl’s seem to forget about God’s grace towards us while being heavy on fear and blame-God has not given us a spirit of Fear. The scripture quoted in their book is true but unfortunately they want to put themselves in the place of Christ and the Holy Spirit for women and that can lead to serious bondage. If your husband is not yet Saved it is not your fault, if he is treating you abusively it is not your fault- don’t feel blamed but seek refuge in Jesus- He can make you into a godly wife. FYI my husband is not yet Born Again but I’m still trusting the Lord to be the one who saves Him! and prayerfully my life will be a testimony to that end. I thank God for healing my heart from the hurts of last year and restoring communication in my family.

    Your critique was very much appreciated.

  49. Thanks for stopping and commenting K. When I read the book initially, it was gals in situations just like yours that made me need to respond. I know there are so very many in these same circumstances, and the thought of the damage such material can do was heartbreaking. How I pray your husband will come to see your devotion to Christ, and how that spills over in your continued love for him irrespective of your divide, and find his own heart melted with the Gospel example in his own home.

  50. Reid, In reading through all the comments, I realize that you are quick to defy and negate any comment that compliments the book, immediately after the comment. Most of those that negate the book you leave alone. That shows how bent you are on discrediting the book. I suggest in all fairness to not respond to any comments made and let the comments flow. You have made your point, now leave the rest alone and stop interjecting. Your review was on the book, not on every comment that shows up. You are skewing the trend. Please leave them alone. Let those who find the book helpful not feel your pinch coming.

  51. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Benjamin. I think, if you’ll look back over the comments, I try to reply to virtually all of them, positive or negative. Certainly, where one leaves a comment I agree with, I would affirm it. And where I disagree, I would state that as well – even as you have disagreed with me and wanted to state that. That’s OK. There is a pretty free exchange in all of this. And, after all – it is MY blog, and I get to say what I like on it. You are certainly free to write a great review and post it on Amazon or on your own blog. And you can agree or disagree with those who respond to you as well. That is the nature of dialog.

    If those who wish to defend the book can negate my criticisms – especially Biblically, they are free to interact that way. I would invite such. As you can see, none who found the book helpful have done that- but have merely expressed a contrary opinion and not interacted with the actual data at all. And, I will interact in return most likely. My interjections are an attempt to interact with those who have written – irrespective of their view – but certainly each with their own view, as well as my own.

    I appreciate your view, but respectfully disagree.

  52. I knew something was “off” right from the start with the helpmeet book because of the harshness toward women. DebiPearl must think men are bafoons and easily manipulated!
    Furthermore,these comments from you and your readers are really interesting and insightful.
    I was moved and knodding my head in total agreement and hope for “K” ,26 November 2009, as well as many others.
    Thank you Pastor Ferguson for posting your critique. I have found you to be VERY helpful in my quest to be a good “berean”, testing everything with scripture. I will pass the word on to my friends who have copies of this book.

  53. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sandra. I am most pleased to know you found the critique helpful.

  54. Whoever wrote this is an idiot. Debi Pearl knows exactly what she is talking about. And there s PLENTY of Scripture to prove it. Eve was created FOR ADAM to be a HELP MEET unto him. The woman is the body and the man is the HEAD. The man is the head of the woman and Christ is the head of the man. Women were created merely for reproduction and to be a help meet unto our husbands. It is our duty. And you, whoever you are, are deceived by the evil of the world and will probably not inherit the kindgom of heaven.

  55. Not sure how much of your post is tongue-in-cheek, but thanks for stopping by and commenting. I did have a good chuckle (intended or not).

  56. I am so thankful for this review. The church I attend started a women’s bible study using this book as a guide. I attended just last night and immediately felt horrible unease in my spirit. This book horrifies me and I find it very offensive. A “little truth” with the addition of a little deception and misguided belief becomes “one big lie.” Now I can see that I will need to speak the truth in love….

  57. Thanks for stopping by and posting Joyce. As you can see from the comments I’ve received, the responses to my review are mixed. But the longer it goes, the more pleased I am that it has proved to be of help to folks like yourself. God bless you as you help others to avoid the pitfalls in CTBHHM.

  58. I was raised for 28 yrs. under the belief that women are men’s property. I spent the first 12 yrs of my marriage trying to be a perfect wife, so my husband wouldn’t ever leave me. I very nearly, had a nervous breakdown. (God graciously removed us from that influence) A few years ago, I went to visit a friend, and she gave me the book, Created to be His Help Meet. I took it home and read the first few chapters, and decided to “skim” through the rest. It tore up my spirit so badly, I didn’t understand why. I do now. My goal is still to be a Proverbs 31 wife/mother, but I’m not perfect. We just celebrated 20 yrs,I am now my beloved’s, and he is ALSO, mine.

    Thank you, thank you, for this Biblically based review!

  59. Dear Joanna – I very much appreciate you’re stopping by, and your kind remarks. May the Lord continue to bless you as you seek to live out the life of Christ.

  60. I was curious about many of the reviews of CTBHH so I thought I’d take a look around. I read the book twice already and I am going to have a group discussion about the book with a few friends of mine who are all God-fearing, homemaking, wonderful people. I truly believe that this book has helped me to be more of a Proverbs 31 women. I have made my home (husband & children) the first ministry of my life. I know I am a helper to my husband when I serve him as God has called us to be servants and…. he is my first ministry. And since God has called me to reverence him, to make his body mine and vice versa, and to be one with him, rubbing his back, loving him regularly, and being interested in the things he enjoys has helped him to strive more to satisfy me and love me more thoroughly. And has also helped him to be confident when he is in the world and has been “known in the gates” because of my actions.

    This book is not intended to speak to single people or husbands. It is directed toward the role of the wife as seen in the Bible. She never speaks once about the wife having the power to forgive the husbands sins but, says he can be “sanctified” by her actions. Sanctified means “to be set apart from.” If a man, who is a very sexual being, has a healthy love-life with the woman he has chosen to marry, this in itself keeps him from temptation and “sanctifies” him from the rest of the world. Not because he is saved by grace but because he is not participating in the acts of a sinful nature like the rest of the world.

    I agree that Debi is pretty in-your-face about issues but, I happen to appreciate this aspect of her personality. Debi Pearl is meat. Following God is not about “feelings.” God actually encourages us to purge our emotion and says that “the hearts of man are desperately wicked.” Many of the comments on this review are not scripturally based and are purely based off the fact that people just don’t like Debi. She is a unique personality. It is important to look at the fruits of someone’s life before judging them.

    I do also agree that Debi could have used another term other than “wench” as described in her letter. But, I can see that most people are simply attacking this concept and not seeing the whole picture she was illustrating. Her point to the mother was not to blame anyone. Her point was to “win” him over. Many assume she meant to be a “wench” just like the office lady. That’s not what she meant. She meant to make love regularly to her husband and to make herself more beautiful by be gentle spirited and respectful.

    I can see that a lot of the reviews against this book are simply women who have a hard time hearing the truth. As God has told us the world would do, considering all the bad reviewes on it. It certainly didn’t surprise me considering the raging up roar of the “feminist movement” through out the past years. Which has trickeled into the church. Many women have grown to be angry because they have tried to take on the the role of a man. I suggest many of you try re-reading this book with a gentle spirit ready to be rebuked and not an angry rebellious nature. I also suggest (to most of you) to actually read the book before giving it an awful comment.

  61. Thanks for stopping by and for submitting your comments Kyla. I am genuinely pleased you were able to find useful things in Mrs. Pearl’s book, and I appreciated your irenic tone. Good comments. I would like to respond to several of them however in an effort to communicate more fruitfully for all who might read these exchanges.

    Kyla: I was curious about many of the reviews of CTBHH so I thought I’d take a look around…I truly believe that this book has helped me to be more of a Proverbs 31 women.

    RAF: As I said above, I am genuinely happy for that.

    Kyla: I have made my home (husband & children) the first ministry of my life.

    RAF: Excellent.

    Kyla: I know I am a helper to my husband when I serve him as God has called us to be servants and…. he is my first ministry.

    RAF: No argument.

    Kyla: And since God has called me to reverence him, to make his body mine and vice versa, and to be one with him, rubbing his back, loving him regularly, and being interested in the things he enjoys has helped him to strive more to satisfy me and love me more thoroughly. And has also helped him to be confident when he is in the world and has been “known in the gates” because of my actions.

    RAF: All good and well. Glad to hear it.

    Kyla: This book is not intended to speak to single people or husbands. It is directed toward the role of the wife as seen in the Bible.

    RAF: While this may be true, she is still responsible to treat the subjects she deals with Biblically, and it should be truthful irrespective of who reads – husband, wife, whoever.

    Kyla: She never speaks once about the wife having the power to forgive the husbands sins but, says he can be “sanctified” by her actions. Sanctified means “to be set apart from.” If a man, who is a very sexual being, has a healthy love-life with the woman he has chosen to marry, this in itself keeps him from temptation and “sanctifies” him from the rest of the world. Not because he is saved by grace but because he is not participating in the acts of a sinful nature like the rest of the world.

    RAF: I’m sorry Kyla but I have no idea what you are referencing here at all. There is nothing in my review that addresses this that I know of. Perhaps you could fill me in? I do know the Bible says nothing about the wife sanctifying the husband, but does speak of Christ sanctifying the Church in reference to the husband’s responsibilities toward his wife. Perhaps you can clarify here.

    Kyla: I agree that Debi is pretty in-your-face about issues but, I happen to appreciate this aspect of her personality.

    RAF: No issue.

    Kyla: Debi Pearl is meat. Following God is not about “feelings.” God actually encourages us to purge our emotion and says that “the hearts of man are desperately wicked.” Many of the comments on this review are not scripturally based and are purely based off the fact that people just don’t like Debi. She is a unique personality. It is important to look at the fruits of someone’s life before judging them.

    RAF: First, would you be kind enough to demonstrate where you find any of my criticisms un-Biblical? Second, I do not know Debi, and neither like her nor dislike her – I take great issue with her teaching, but have nothing against her personally. As a result, I do not know who you might be referring to here.

    Kyla: I do also agree that Debi could have used another term other than “wench” as described in her letter. But, I can see that most people are simply attacking this concept and not seeing the whole picture she was illustrating. Her point to the mother was not to blame anyone. Her point was to “win” him over. Many assume she meant to be a “wench” just like the office lady. That’s not what she meant. She meant to make love regularly to her husband and to make herself more beautiful by be gentle spirited and respectful.

    RAF: If you will re-read my concerns in that portion, I was more occupied with why her advice did not follow the Biblical injunction regarding how to deal with one another when we’ve been sinned against. The fact that Debi referred to the woman in the office as a “wench” was secondary – though it was clearly a poor choice of words. So how about you and I discuss the Biblical question I raised?

    Kyla: I can see that a lot of the reviews against this book are simply women who have a hard time hearing the truth. As God has told us the world would do, considering all the bad reviewes on it. It certainly didn’t surprise me considering the raging up roar of the “feminist movement” through out the past years. Which has trickeled into the church. Many women have grown to be angry because they have tried to take on the the role of a man. I suggest many of you try re-reading this book with a gentle spirit ready to be rebuked and not an angry rebellious nature. I also suggest (to most of you) to actually read the book before giving it an awful comment.

    RAF: I do not know about the others, but I am not a woman, but a man, a husband and a pastor. I have no feminist agenda whatsoever to try and advance, no do I agree with the feminist agenda. And I fear that a re-reading of the book would only intensify my current concerns, and raise a host more. My advice to all women is to avoid this exceedingly un-Scriptural book and seek out materials that represent the Biblical paradigms for husbands and wives instead of the very skewed and anti-Biblical expressed in Debi Pearl’s tragic rendering.

    Thanks again for entering the discussion though – and I would love to interact on any of the issues I raised, and specifically if you have something to discuss regarding the Biblical issues I raised.

  62. So grateful for this insightful review. I recently left a women’s group because they were studying this book. At the second week I highlighted the incorrectness of Debi Pearl’s writings and those of her husband. I was heavily criticised and told “Satan is on you.” I was saddened that the women in the group, some in serious abusive relationships, were adhering to the advice of Debi. The group leader was visibly furious with me for raising contra arguments to a book she ‘tithes’ to women. Again I thank you for revealing the deception and corruption of scripture that may see women stay in dangerous relationships. Linda

  63. So grateful for this insightful review. I recently left a women’s group because they were studying this book. At the second week I highlighted the incorrectness of Debi Pearl’s writings and those of her husband. I was heavily criticised and told “Satan is on you.” I was saddened that the women in the group, some in seriously abusive relationships, were adhering to the advice of Debi. The group leader was visibly furious with me for raising contra arguments to a book she ‘tithes’ to women. Again I thank you for revealing the deception and corruption of scripture that may see women stay in dangerous relationships. Linda

  64. Thanks for stopping and writing Linda. I grow more pained every time I read another account like your own. But at the same I am so pleased that there are enough women out there who are unwilling to cave – who have enough discernment to step away from this. May the Lord continue to bless you.

  65. I am in the process of reading this book and attending a Bible study on it. I am having a very 2 sided reaction to it, because on the one hand after 4 chapters the study has already transformed my marriage. I was lost and not trusting God, living a silent divorce as it has been called, and the Bible study really encouraged me to put my issues at the foot of the cross. God literally overnight lifted the sin and curse from my heart. It is nothing short of a miracle.

    On the other hand, I can see how manipulative it asks women to be and how dangerous it can be for women with manipulative husbands. I happen to be married to an extremely kind and wise man, who would never knowingly take advantage of me. I also happen to be a very conciencous woman who is very aware of her power and unwilling to abuse it knowingly. We are atypical and I worry this book will create a slew of codependant couples-he borders on abusive and she sits smugly the martyr.

    I will be printing out the page and handing it to the pastors wife in private who is leading this group. She truly is approaching this with good intent in her heart, and I don’t want to embarrass her. I want her to know it is God, using her and the other women in the study as well as the Word of God who has transformed my marriage, not this book. I appreciate your review being Biblically based.

  66. Thanks for stopping and posting Jen. I have not the slightest doubt that where some gals have been living poorly in their marriages, that some of what is written here can be (and has been) useful. A great deal depends on what the reader is bringing to the table. It is that there is so much other stuff that is un-Biblical in terms of how one ought to think Biblically that it would seem wiser to use resources like ones from Martha Peace or some others that don’t go so far off the track. For a woman who has been sinning against her husband in certain ways – there are some good rebukes here. But there is SO much SO far afield. I pray things go well as you investigate further, and how wonderful that God has used it so far to be such a blessing to you and your husband.

  67. Thank you very much for your scriptural review. It is refreshing to see a review done correctly: measure the teaching to scripture. All too often in this day and age scripture is measured up to a philosophy or teaching, and rejected in light of the false teaching. I rejected the teaching in the book when Ms. Pearl spoke of the husband as being the mediator between the wife and God. Page 117 speaks of chain of command, with husband being the superior officer, who himself answers to God. Under this model, as in a military command, if the woman obeys her superior officer, (husband) she is absolved of any sins committed under his orders. She is not responsible to do what is right under God’s commands, only what her husband commands. This is against all Bible teachings. “For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” This means that each of us individually must be reconciled individually to God. The Bible teaches also that “There is one mediator between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus.” God does not teach chain of command- only that He dismantled it, and allowed all mankind, man woman and child, to come directly to the Lord Jesus Christ to be heard by God. There is no secondary mediation needed through a woman’s husband. Page 252 again usurps God’s care of the woman, saying “The Scripture clearly teaches that the only safe place for a woman is under her husband’s authority.” No, it doesn’t. Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” This verse speaks of all “man,” women and men. We can only serve one master. Mrs. Pearl teaches a woman to serve her husband, and by doing so, she will be serving God. Even if serving her husband as he wishes involves disobedience to God. But the Bible teaches otherwise. Ladies, serve God first, and this will honor your husband. Do not put your husband’s wishes above what God has commanded. We are sanctified through Christ’s sacrifice, not by our subservience to another human’s whims.

  68. Steve, I understand what you’re saying, but just want to clarify, as an 18 year enlisted veteran of the US Army, and DH a 22 year veteran and JAG officer of the US Army. What you say is not true. If you do something ethically wrong, even if being commanded by a superior to do so, you are *not* absolved of the crime. You are still capable of being charged with the exact same crime. Under regulation, if you are being asked to do something wrong, you need to ask for clarification, then if you have still received orders conflicting with what is correct, then you go up the chain of command. So, to compare this to your example, a wife receives “an order” from her husband. If he’s asking her to do something against God’s law, she clarifies it. If he repeats the order, she “goes up the chain of command” to the next person — God.

  69. Steve and M. J. – Thank you both for stopping by, reading and commenting.

    Steve – your kind words are most appreciated.

  70. Thank you so much for your excellent review. This book was recently recommended and loaned to me by a girl at church. As soon as I heard the title I had a feeling that I would find some error in it – after reading it I was completely appalled and sickened.

    I have been married for eight years now and for the first six or seven I labored under the heavy weight of trying to be the perfect wife and mother. Even good books, such as Elizabeth George’s A Woman After God’s Own Heart, convinced me that I must “live up” to God’s expectations of me and that any failure on my part would indeed ruin my marriage and my children’s futures (on a side note, I have nothing against Elizabeth George or her books once read in the light of grace).

    Last year, God graciously gave me a revelation of the fullness of Jesus’ work on the cross. Now that I have been set free to live in and for Christ, I find the fruit I was so desperately trying to produce myself comes effortlessly out of my relationship with Him. Not to say there isn’t much more fruit to be produced, of course!

    Which is what brings me back to Debi Pearl’s book. There is no mention of Christ and the cross anywhere in this book! How can one even begin to fulfill God’s call as a wife and mother without first being filled herself by her Lord and Savior? Without Him I am nothing! I cannot be joyful or merry or sexy simply by trying harder. I must find my joy and my identity in Him first. And that means relationship (although apparently Mrs. Pearl would call it “spiritual masturbation” – a term that made me feel like vomiting).

    Perhaps it was in your review, or maybe someone else’s, that I read this book is “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”. I couldn’t have said it better.

    As an aside, I wholeheartedly believe in a wife’s submission to her husband and in the husband’s position as the head of the family. I am not a proponent of the feminist agenda by any means. I am, however, a proponent of the truth that all things were created “in and for Christ”, including me. I was not created simply for my husband. I was created for the Lord, as was he. Together we can serve God, complementing each other in the way we were designed to.

    Well, sorry to ramble. Thank you for your kind and logical responses to all the commenters.

  71. Thanks for stopping and leaving your comments. I think your mention of the lack of the Cross in the Pearl’s book is spot on. This is the core problem. I for one have grown less and less a fan of material especially for “women” or for “men” for that fact. It misses the key goal of Christ-likeness. Be a Godly man or woman and you’ll be a Godly spouse. The need is Godliness, not masculinity or femininity. We will wake with His likeness and be satisfied, not in the likeness of “woman” or “man” with our present-world constructs.

    You didn’t ramble at all. Your comments are most appreciated.

  72. Thank you for this review! I was given this book by my mother n law at Thanksgiving. Yes, talk amongst yourselves on that one. Amyway, I could NOT believe what I was reading. Debi sounds brainwashed, controlled, helpless and even deceitful at times. I grew annoyed reading the advice she gave of how to combat a husband flirting with the office sect. Seriously!? Also, some of the letters that were sent in to Debi…I’m really questioning their authenticity. I believe they were written by her or her husband. Pg.200 “Looking for a Hidden Treasure” Oh please! Men DO NOT TALK LIKE THAT!! He says “It leaves me dusgusted, frustrated and angry that a stupid, silly girl can cause so much trouble.” There is more that I didnt feel like typing. It’s all in the letter. Ugh! I love my husband, our children and most of all Jesus Christ. This is so far off from what the bible teaches. One more thing I will list. Debi’s acknowledgements in the front of her book. OK – she cannot even take credit for writing the book without worshipping her husbasnd for encouraging her “sloppy beginnings and rewriting her half hearted second tries.” THEN…she thanked him for GIVING her weeks free from her responsibilities as his help meet that she might finish the task of writing the book. well…ok. Then, guess who writes the introduction to Debi’s book…yep, her husband. It starts off like this “”It is at MY enncouragement that my wife wrote it.” (Well, of course it is, we couldn’t expect her to do something without your approval or help) The last of his introduction states “Every word of this book comes with my blessing and wholehearted agreement.” I’m sure it does! OK- that’s my thoughts. This book is crazy!

  73. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Katrina. I think outrage at this book is an appropriate response. It is however one of the largest selling books on marriage ever. I think many women who have bought the feminist agenda realize that something is wrong and a corrective is needed, and this sounds SO opposite to where they’ve been – and says “Jesus” – that it must be right. But swinging the pendulum that far over isn’t a corrective, but merely damage done by the opposite extreme. A much much finer work would be Kostenberger’s “Go, Marriage and Family.” I hope to be reviewing that one soon.

  74. Sorry – that should have been “GOD” Family and marriage. But I assume you got that.

  75. Thank you SO much for this review! There is a small group of women that decided to go through this book because one of the women said that “it changed her life and her marriage”. They invited my older sister to join. Upon reading the section they were on, she realized that this book is about as far away from the gospel as you can get! She showed no love in her speaking, gave no mention of God’s grace and his mercy, and in essence is teaching Idolatry of her husband.

    I’m only 21, and have been married for a short time, and just opening this book and reading a paragraph sent up HUGE red flags. When the role of the wife takes God’s role, there is a huge issue, and when the wife acts like her husband is all she needs for her spiritual life, her walk with God will diminish, and so will her marriage.

    What scares me the most is that these women are buying into this literature and defending it more than they are defending their Bible, which was written by a faultless, perfect author. Why is this book taking place of scripture?

    I enjoyed reading this review, Because you used God’s word to write it, and God’s word doesn’t return void. Please Pray for this small group for women, that they will open their eyes to the manipulative, screwed up spirit of this book.

  76. thank you. i have been reading this book – given to me by my sister after i literally “fled” the marital home…in fear of my life and that of my 9 year old daughter.

    i have spent the last 7 months with such internal turmoil about whether or not to go back to the husband who has been so cruel, abusive, and unfaithful…

    this helps put things into perspective. i want to be “forgiving” and kind and be a decent wife, but what happened in just 1-1/2 years of marriage was intolerable.

  77. Thank you Shawna for taking the time both to read and to leave a message. I continue to be overwhelmed by those who seem to need a resource like this to help counteract CTBH. It is a sad record of how damage can be done by the well meaning, but misguided. The Bible was never written to make us better wives or husbands, more masculine or more feminine. It was written to make us more Godly, to make us more like Christ – the image shattered in the Fall which Christ in His redemptive work is restoring in Believers. Become more like Him – more Christlike in the power of the Spirit, and you will be the wife God has called you to be. Bless you in your walk with the Lord.

  78. Dear Paula – I am so sorry to hear of the tragic circumstances you are on at present. We are often at a loss to change such things – though all things are possible with Christ. Seek Him, His righteousness and His kingdom (His reign in your own heart and mind) above all other things – and you will love your daughter well, and even your estranged husband – for he needs Christ so very much as well. Learn to trust God with your pain – and to rely upon His Word and Spirit to face all that is before you. Let the knowledge of His great forgiveness for your sins, spill out not only to your husband, but to any and all who have sinned against you. Take the high road. Protect your daughter. I hope you can find a church who will help, counsel and support you in these difficult times. You are under no obligation to assist evil. Seek the Lord, and watch how He provides as you throw your entire care upon Him, knowing that He cares for you.

  79. I am very grateful for your well-written and thorough review. One responder said earlier, “maybe you don’t like what it says because you don’t want to hear the truth”. That was how it was presented to me. I have a fantastic marriage. My husband and I have been best friends for 11 years, and we share an open, trusting, and vulnerable relationship. The book’s suggestions rankled me because her advice of what to do is so opposite from my extremely happy marriage, and seemed narrow minded and black and white. If I disagree with my husband about some particular issue, how on earth is that a sin? How I deal with it could turn into a sin, but disagreeing in itself is not a sin. Praise Jesus, He has helped us learn the gift of calm, respectful communication, so even if we don’t see eye to eye, we can discuss it like two civilized adults who adore and respect each other. I am going to print this and give it to the woman who wanted me to read it. She is a new christian and was confused and wanted my thoughts. I’m glad to have such solid, biblical evidence for my uneasiness with the content. Well done.

  80. Thank you for your kind words Rebecca, and how wonderful for you to have such a marriage. You are quite correct that disagreement itself is certainly not a sin, though we might handle such disagreements in a sinful manner. I do hope some of what I presented can be helpful to your friend. Keep up the great work!

  81. I heartily agree with your assessment of CTBHH. I have seen so much damage done by Debi Pearl’s book. A few years ago, we lived in a community that embraced the Pearl’s teachings, and when I was presented with CTBHHM, I thought I’d give it a read – afterall, who doesn’t want a happier, more God-honoring marriage? My husband and I were floored by the Pearl’s assertions, their total lack of Biblical support for their erroneous arguments, and their general lack of understanding of grace and the nature of Christ. The book seemed to us a justification for fleshly patriarchy that could potentially do great harm to both partners in the marriage, as well as their children.

    We have watched friends struggle with this book – both women who feel defeated and oppressed by the book’s methods and their dominating husbands, but also by women who use their “perfect submission” to their husbands as a Pharisaic “road to righteousness”. Women’s events at our church felt cultish, full of a self-righteous pride that these women draw from being meek and salting their speech with “well, I’d like to, but I’ll need to get my husband’s permission first,” as well as by having subjugated children who obey perfectly and without thought! It was astounding to us, and so contrary to Scripture.

    I am very sad that this book, as well as many of the Pearls other writings, have caused so much damage to families, and doubly so that they have done it while claiming it to be Scriptural. I hope Debi Pearl’s followers will examine what Scripture says about the nature of Christ, and how we are called to be conformed to His image, and what it means to love each other because He first loved us with a sacrificial, perfect love.

  82. Thanks so much for stopping and commenting Angela. It seems as though the necessary ministry of warning in our day is always instantly associated with simply being negative or wanting to hurt others. I am sure some of that happens – but that cannot stop us from doing the necessary warning to PROTECT people from those who either wittingly, or unwittingly bring harm to Christ’s flock. Do continue to warn others about books like these. Keep the issue the teaching – and not the authors. Let’s stand for truth.

  83. Dear sir:
    Thank you so much for this article. I read this book once and was sickened by it. My husband actually re-named it, “Created to be his victim.” From here on out, I will refer anyone who’s planning to read that monstrocity she calls a book, to your site.

  84. Wow. Just wow. I am so grateful that I found this review today. Last night, a woman reccomended this book to me, and I felt like I was going to faint or be sick, so strong was my reaction. Let me explain. My husband and I have been married about a year and half. Going into my marriage, I was (and still am) a strong proponent of biblical submission and authority. Shortly after we were married, my husband began to exhibit controlling behavior, which began small, like not letting me use money or my car if he was angry with me, and escalating to physical violence which culminated in a trip to the hospital for torn ligaments in my knee. At the time I was on staff full-time at my church, working in Women’s Ministry. I hid what was going on at first, because I felt like a failure: how could this really be happening?? How can I contain/fix this? I privately wrestled all the time with the idea of authority vs. control, trying to reconcile my situation with my strong belief in the different roles of husband and wife. Around this time, a woman gave me the book CTBHH, and it just compounded my inner turmoil. It attacked the only idea that was keeping me together, which was “God sees, He knows, He is not okay with this, and He’s going to rescue me.” The paradigm suggested in this book, however well-intentioned the author, was like poison in my system, and kept me in bondage, and ironically, IT KEPT MY HUSBAND IN BONDAGE. Here I was, leading worship and teaching Bible studies in “the sanctuary,” yet I wearing long sleeves to hide my bruises, inwardly tortured by the thought that either this was somehow all my fault, or would be construed as a failure on my part that would disqualify me for ministry. By the time I got the nerve up to notify my church what was going on, I was sure the abuse was bad enough that the church leadership would step in and protect me. But they didn’t. In the end, on the counsel of one brave pastor at my church, who stuck his neck out for me when the rest of the leadership said I should stay, I separated from my husband, for the purpose of reconciliation, if it was possible. People accused me of breaking up a marriage, but I was simply acknowledging that it was already broken, and that I would go to any godly length to fix it. It was the best thing I did. The separation sent a loud and clear message: “I love God and you too much to let you stay sin-sick in this area. It’s not acceptable, and it is not only destroying me, it will destroy you if I stay. It is worse than illegal- it is a perversion of the sacred picture of Christ with His Bride.” It took my husband 6 months for the message to sink in, but he got it. And I wouldn’t have returned if he didn’t get it. We had a really rough beginning to our marriage, but it was infinitely worth it to do the right thing, even though it cost me much; my reputation at my church for a time, it cost me financially to separate, it cost me months of uncertainty about my future. Had I followed the advice of CTBHH, I would never have risked so much for the cause for righteousness. I would have been too worried about the possible outcomes. I am one of the lucky ones (so far) that was not left penniless and alone for saying, “Enough! This is not right, and there are consequences for sin!” But I didn’t do it as a means to an end. Righteousness is the end in and of itself. Long before the good work it wrought in my husband, it was working into me a trust in the Lord that I didn’t have to exercise before. It exposed my people-pleasing, my fear of man’s opinion instead of God’s, etc. It gave me an intimate 6 months alone with my God, where He leeched out the poison and replaced it with truth. The Holy Spirit used this time to speak to my heart that God hates when His authority is mispresented by men, that my husband’s authority over me is on loan from God, and can ONLY be used the way God says it can be used. Using it any other way makes a man a usurper, and God takes that very seriously. I have been very fortunate that my husband has truly let God renew his mind about authority and submission, and he has actually said this in response to CTBHH’s assertion that a man should be king of his own kingdom: “If I were left unchecked as absolute ruler of my own little kingdom, I would be a despot. If you were only put here to make my dreams and wishes come true, you would be my “help-meet” in making me a little Lucifer.” Pretty amazing change, huh? And it only came because I got out of God’s way and let God use the consequences of sin to teach my husband. Granted, it could have gone another way, but at least I wouldn’t be aiding and abetting my husband in his own demise.
    So fast forward to last night, when this woman recommended this book to me in the middle of playing a board game. Immediately my old paranoia kicked in- why is she asking me? Have I been too loud, too competitive, have I come off as unsubmissive?? (People-pleasing dies hard, haha.) The rest of the night, I was mulling over it. I thought, I really need to find an honest, biblical critique of that book, so I can put these nagging thoughts to rest. My negative experience with it, while it shouldn’t be disregarded, is not enough for me to set it aside. I need biblical truth to stand on, so if I ever have a discussion with this woman about the book, I won’t be ragging on it merely out of emotion or experience. So, I found your article, and cried reading it. And cried readng it again to my husband. :) It provoked a great discussion between us about our own journey. He assured me again he doesn’t want a Stepford wife, and I assured him he was worth fighting for, and we laughed, knowing that my “fighting” for him at one point meant leaving him temporarily for his own sake.
    Ok, I reeeeally didn’t mean to write a book. Just wanted to share with you how PRECIOUS this review was to me today. Keep up the good fight, using your God-given intellect and sense for the cause of Christ.

  85. Dear Kati – it is my turn to say “WOW! And WOW again. What a testimony. It reduced me to tears. And what an example of God’s grace in restoring your marriage as He has done. He is just so very very good to us. What a blessing to read this. Thank you so very much for being willing to share it. Perhaps you SHOULD write a book. I fear there are literally 1000’s of women (and men) in your circumstances in churches all around us. Imprisoned in the secrets these circumstances lead us to keep. If in any way my paltry efforts can even ease one of some little pain in this regard – I will be most grateful. Your letter is such an encouragement to me. I hope many many more read it. THANK YOU! And God bless you both.

  86. I am so glad I found this review! I randomly heard about this book and I’ve been thinking about the concept of women being a help meet and thought this might be a good book to read. I am so grateful I found this review because now I know I will not waste my time with the book. Thank you so much for you insights! They ring true. THANK YOU and GOD BLESS.

  87. So glad you found it useful Michelle. That has been one of my aims all along – to spare some from ever getting caught in this twisted approach.

  88. i have been reading this book and i thought maybe my own sinful nature was rising up against what the Lord would have me hear. Many very trusted, wise, wise women have recommend this book to me. Our marriage counselor made this book my homework! While I was reading some things just didn’t ring true, just didn’t seem right. I asked my pastor, I asked my parents. They found this review. I was so relieved. Not that I do NOT want to submit to my husband. NOT that I do not want to learn to honor him better. Only, I was losing my voice. I was learning that it was my job to be subdued in ALL things. It was my job to make sure my marriage was successful and if it wasn’t then it was a clear sign I was doing something wrong. ME and only ME. The burden was was so great and I was allowing sin (not the blatant horrific sin some of Debi’s letter writers face) to live in my home, enter our conversation and it took all my willpower not to respond in kind. I knew God had not created marriage for us to live that way. I sought help and we are receiving it now. This book is dangerous in the hands of a volatile marriage. It could cost a life somewhere and if it does (God forbid it!) I sincerely hope Mrs.Pearl hears about it. She could use a wakeup call.

  89. I met with an older woman today whom I have great respect for. She has often helped me in my spiritual journey with her wisdom and deep commitment to growing nearer to God. She shared with me this book, which she found a profound help to her and hoped it would likewise help me. However, some of the things she shared with me from the book didn’t seem to jive with me and I was concerned by what seemed just plain wrong thinking. So, before getting the book I decided to do a little research. I read two other reviews like yours with yours being the most extensive. Thanks for taking the time to provide this.
    What books do you recommend?

  90. Actually – Kendra? If you are still reading – One of the very serious mistakes that has been made in recent years, is the approach to the Bible which turns it into a text book for various topics like femininity or masculinity. The Bible was not written to make us better women or wives, not husbands or men. The Bible was written to make us Christlike. Each of us was born already either a man or a woman. Case closed. The question is: How do I live a Christ-honoring life? Then, as a man, I’ll be a good husband, or as a woman, I’ll be a good wife – because I will be living out the pursuit of Christ’s likeness – His character. To concentrate on the masculine or feminine aspect is actually to skirt around the real intent of Scripture. Grow in holiness – in loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor (your husband is one such neighbor) as yourself – through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God – and you will NEVER have to question being a good wife. You WILL be. What makes my wife the treasure she is is her walk with Christ – not, whether or not she she fits some stereotyped pattern. She loves Christ and pursues Him. And I would rather have a praying wife than have every carpet swept and dish washed on time ANY DAY. Her prayers for me and her growth in Christ’s image have a daily AND an eternal impact. I can hire a maid if my laundry issues are really that pressing. Follow Christ. And in loving your husband – you will be the best wife you can be.

  91. Thank you so much for this review. I am a new widow after 23 years of marrage. My husband recently passed away from cancer. Ours was a difficult marrage. He was an alcoholic and until the last few years, not interrested in God. I remained married to him because I loved him, but we lived separately for 8 years. He came home for the last two years of his life to die. He was a different man. I believe that in standing against abuse and in making the decision to remove him from my home, I taught my girls that they don’t have to stay in ANY kind of abuse. I was no less a wife or mother. Many years ago I read this book and sent it sailing across the room several times. I’m glad I read it though, because I can spread the word amoung women to ban it from their libraries. Also, To Train Up A Child…should be titled A GREAT BOOK TO LEARN HOW TO ABUSE YOUR CHILDREN. I am very qualified to give my opinion. I have a lovely 22 year old daughter who is Godly and a wonderful wife and mother…AND she has a personal relationship with Him. She is not a doormat. I am raising two other daughters ages 11 and 13. They are brilliant, loving and they LOVE thier Abba Father. They all are great students of the Word. Wonderful cooks and can’t wait to be wives and mothers….with strength and confidence that Yeshua was the great liberator (and I say this carefully as we are NOT feminists ;) of women. They will be betrothed to like minded men (of thier choosing) who will love thier spunk and ambition. I wish I could have personally talked with the women Pearl miscounciled. There is a better way! To be free from abuse and to expect to be loved as Yeshua loved the church is NOT wrong, failing or unsubmissive. Thank you again.

  92. THANK YOU. as a not so young anymore, single Christian woman, i really appreciate hearing a biblically solid, mature perspective from a Christian man–one that doesn’t advocate women as doormats or slaves to their husband’s whims. so often it seems in christian circles that men are excused to remain in an extended adolescence, free of responsibility. thank you for encouraging responsibility for all of us, for all our actions.

    and thanks for the mention of singleness. sometimes we feel left out. :)

    i think the most encouraging and meaningful parts of this review were your firm convictions about the role of the church leadership in marriages that are going awry due to sin that will not be repented of or addressed. thank you for modeling that women should never be afraid to go to their church leadership in these kinds of situation. they should be able to know with confidence that they will be supported.

    the women in your church are blessed to have you, and the men as well.

  93. Thanks for stopping and commenting Rachel. My own wife was single for 44 years before we married. At that time I had been single for 10 years before we met, and raising my daughter alone. I know what a support the Church was to her all those years, to me and my daughter, and to countless others. Wives ought to be able to run to the leadership in such cases – but sadly it is not the norm.

    Keep seeking Christ!

  94. Just a reminder, This book was written by a woman, Not God, and I don’t think the author was trying to fix every marriage with this book, There are too many issues in different aspects caused by 1000’s of reasons why marriages end up in divorce,
    My point as a Christian we need to support one another and lead our brothers in love to fix any mistakes in theirs life’s or opinions with God’s word. I think, if we send these comments as words of encouragement to the author, maybe she can write better books, thanks to all of your wise comments.
    I read the book together with my wife, and was a blessing for us, we saw some things we didn’t agree, but we finish the book, like Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV) 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,

    Let;s love one to another and encourage one to another.

    When I read these blogs, my feelings is about what Jesus thinks about his disciples when are debating is the way

  95. When I read these blogs, my feelings is about what Jesus thinks about his disciples when they are debating this way

  96. Thanks for stopping, reading and commenting Alfonso. As I have noted before, some people have indeed derived some good benefit out of this book, in spite of the serious flaws I believe it has.

    If all that were at stake in this were a mere difference of opinion between Mrs. Pearl and myself, then we can chalk all of this up to mere Christian dialog. But because so much of the book rests on a poor understanding of Scripture, and in many places teaches dangerous things in direct contradiction to Scripture – I believe as a pastor it is my duty to warn those in the flock where I labor, and others if possible. Else I would be derelict in my duty. One of the responsibilities put upon pastors is that we rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine (Titus 1:9). And since this is a public book and not a private matter, it must be done publicly as well. The goal is not division, but unity around truth.

    Blessings: Reid

  97. This has to be one of the best posts I have read on anything to do with No Greater Joy Ministries. Not once did you ridicule, put down, or name call anyone who follows the Pearls, or even the Pearls themselves. People are often so defensive of their views that they leave no room for understanding towards those who are or have been involved in this cult. I will be subscribing to your newsfeed, and recommending you to friends both inside and outside the movement.

  98. Thanks so much for reading and commenting Carolyn. I am always grateful for the feedback, be it positive or negative. And I could not be happier that you found this post helpful, and as I tried to be – irenic in tone. God bless.

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