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.