Thursday, September 6, 2007

Points 1 & 2

Point 1: CTBHHM takes away the very heart of a woman’s identity as a child of God, created in His image, by Him and for Him. Point 2: It presents a woman’s husband as a kind of mediator between herself and God.

Below are some of the passages from the book that we found most troubling:

Page 21: “If you are a wife, you were created to fill a need, and in that capacity you are a “good thing”, a helper suited to the needs of a man. This is how God created you and it is your purpose for existing.”

Page 22: “Are you engaged in active goodwill toward your man? That is God’s perfect will for you. When you are a help meet to your husband, you are a helper to Christ, for God commissioned man for a purpose and gave him a woman in fulfilling that divine calling. When you honor your husband, you honor God. When you obey your husband, you obey God. The degree to which you reverence your husband is the degree to which you reverence your Creator. As we serve our husbands, we serve God. But in the same way, when you dishonor your husband, you dishonor God.”

Page 23: “Men are created to be helpers of God. Jesus willingly became a helper to the Father. The Holy Spirit became a helper to the Son… God made you to be a help meet to your husband so you can bolster him, making him more productive and efficient at whatever he chooses to do.”

Page 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 – to be a suitable helper for man.”

Page 230: “Just as my husband finds security and meaning in submission to his head, so I become the person God created me to be in submitting to my head – my
usband. …our submission to our husband should be viewed with the same love and fervency as our submission and love for Christ. The text says that we submit “as unto the Lord,” as if we were submitting to the Lord. Since my husband’s authority is delegated by God, when I submit to my husband, I am recognizing God’s authority, and I am indeed submitting to God.”

Page 250: “Adam was created for God’s glory. God made a person like himself – someone who could enjoy the things God enjoyed. Woman was created as a glory to the man. God looked at his friend, Adam, and knew that Adam needed someone for his own glory. So God reached into the body of man for a rib and made of it a woman. Bone of his bone, cell of his cell, RNA of his RNA, in the image of the one from which she came.” [Our children were made “from” my wife’s body, yet they were not created in her image. Neither was Jesus created in Mary’s image, even though he came from her body.]

Page 252: “The Scripture clearly teaches that the only safe place for a woman is under her husband’s authority.”

Page 270: [In a discussion of enduring abuse in silence:] “Women who threaten to report him to the law,’… are rebellious. They will never make it to the hall of fame found in Hebrews 11, where Sara was listed, nor will they make it into a heavenly marriage here on earth. They will go to their graves unloved and uncherished, a total failure as the woman God called them to be.” [Kind of tough on a woman being abused by her husband.]

We do believe that Eve was created to perfectly complement Adam and to help him fulfill the job God gave him. We find no Scripture, however, to back up the assertions that a woman’s sole purpose in existing is to be a help meet to a man, that only men have a direct role in fulfilling God’s purpose, or that a woman’s reverence toward and submission to her husband is an exact measure or direct corollary of her reverence toward or submission to her Creator.

Women, as well as men, were created by God and for Him. A woman, as well as a man, has a direct link to God through Christ and has a God-given purpose to fulfill in His Kingdom. Any woman who fails to find her primary identity in Christ and her life’s purpose in living in responsive obedience to God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, will be left unfulfilled – no matter how well she obeys and reverences her husband. We are all, men and women, called to submit fully to God. It is in submission to God, her Father and the lover of her soul, that a wife chooses, in obedience to God, to submit to her husband - not the other way around.

Mrs. Pearl’s interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis is her basis for the rest of her book. She asserts that Eve was created to be Adam’s help meet (which Debi defines as servant to Adam), that only Adam was given the command to rule both over Eve and the rest of creation, and that Eve was made in Adam’s image (rather than God’s image). She makes it clear that she thinks God’s purpose for Adam was to rule Creation, and that God’s purpose for Eve was to serve Adam. Rooted in this assertion is her teaching that men are given a purpose by God and women are given to men (“God’s gift to men”, p.21) to help them do whatever men choose to do. Men find their identity in serving God, while women find their identity in serving their husband. We believe that Debi’s reading of Genesis 1&2 (and the rest of the Bible) is incomplete.

In Genesis 1&2, Adam is created and is given the job of tending the garden (not ruling it, in Genesis 2, which contains the only “job” or mandate given to Adam alone). God sees that it is not good for Adam to be alone and that he needs a helper. The Hebrew word for “helper” or “help meet” used here is used 19 more times in the Bible-- to refer to help given in battle—usually from God. God helps but he is not our servant. It is a wife’s role to help her husband, but it does not follow that she exists merely to serve her husband’s agenda.

A suitable helper cannot be found for Adam among the animals. God puts Adam to sleep and fashions a woman out of Adam’s rib. He then gives both the man and the woman a mandate to rule over Creation. They were both created to fulfill God’s purpose – each of them with a vertical relationship to God and a direct role in fulfilling His commands. Yes, Eve was created as Adam’s help meet, but she was his help meet in fulfilling God’s mandate to them both, not his help meet in making him personally fulfilled. Genesis 1 contains some crucial verses that Debi Pearl never quotes:

Genesis1:27-28 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”
CTBHHM asserts that Eve was created for the sole purpose of being Adam’s servant. Scripture seems to make it clear that Eve was created to be Adam’s companion and help meet, yes, but in order to help Adam serve God and carry out God’s mandate for His creation. There is a crucial distinction. Women do not find their sole identity and purpose in God through men in a bent way, but are created to have a direct, vertical relationship with God, working with men to fulfill God’s purpose for them and for Creation.

Never in Scripture is Adam given the command to rule over Eve, or are men given the command to rule over their families or their wives, despite what Debi asserts (for example, on page 136, she says, “Man was created to rule. It is his nature. But the only place most men will ever rule is their own little kingdom called home.”) Lead, yes, but rule, no. In fact, the only command given to Adam to rule over creation was also given to Eve (to “them”). The Bible does say that men will rule over their wives, but this is not a command – it is the result of sin entering the world – it is a part of the curse (Gen. 3:16). On page 229, Debi quotes the curse and concludes that “According to God’s very words…she is to be under her husband’s rule. That is the will of God.” Indeed, Debi seems to center much of her book on how to fulfill the curse in your marriage. Applying this logic to the remainder of the curse builds a very amusing picture. Should we eschew efficiency for toil as the will of God? Endure the weeds that God has planted (rather than pull them)? Maybe medicine is evil whenever it forestalls death? We have never heard any Bible teaching that the curse is to be prescriptive to our lives as redeemed Christians.

Instead, Paul calls Christian husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, sacrificially. He even calls for mutual submission, out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). A husband is called to be a foot-washing leader--not a ruler, president, or king of his family, all analogies that Debi uses frequently in her book. The curse is not a picture of heaven. It is a burden, a crippling that we feel every day. By the grace of God, we want to love our wives, but our words come out harsh, our hearts are hard, and our bodies full of restrained violence. Indeed, we at times rule over them and crush so much joy that could have been ours.

Below are some verses from the Bible which contradict Debi’s assertion that women were created solely for the purpose and glory of men and find their complete identity in being a help meet to a man.

Colossians 1:15-17 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Women and men were created by and for Christ.

Colossians 2:9-10 – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Women and men have been given fullness in Christ. Women do not find completion in a man or in serving a man – they find it in Christ.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Both men & women were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, prepared by God for us.

Galatians 3:26-29 – You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Both men and women find their identity and being in Christ.

Galations 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live through faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
Christ lives in each woman who has invited Him in. Righteousness is found through Him, not through being a perfect help meet to a man.

1 Corinthians 7:8, 34-35 – Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am… An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband.
Paul made it clear that a woman did not have to be a help meet to serve God or have a true purpose in life. In fact, staying unmarried led to greater effectiveness in certain areas. Unmarried women, according to Paul, had not “failed in the very purpose for which they were created – to be a help meet to a man.”

Romans 12:1&2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern on this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We come to know God’s perfect will by offering our bodies as living sacrifices to Him – the ultimate in submission! Debi tells us that God’s perfect will for a woman (she uses these words) is to be a help meet as she defines it. (On page 73: “What is God’s perfect will for your life? To be a good help meet.”)


Ash said...

Thanks for sharing this..I'm linking you to my blog!

Anonymous said...

page 270 is really scary. I hope a wife in an abusive marriage does not read that

Anonymous said...

Thank you soooo much for this blog. I agree completely, and it helped to hear another couple mirror my thoughts. I literally came close to suicide while reading this book, because of what this book was dishing out to me. THIS BOOK IS DANGEROUS to women living with any sort of abuse in their marriage - physical, mental or emotional! I've read so many's comments as a light "just take the good out of the book and chuck the rest". What most fail to understand is the weight her "bad" and seriously unbiblical comments and tone have on those in complicated situations. There is no ignoring page 263 where it is stated that the "chain of authority must remain intact, even to the point of allowing some abuse". I'm sorry that is just Sick and distructive!

Bobby said...

"Never in Scripture is Adam given the command to rule over Eve,"

Wrong, this unfounded statement is clearly wrong and unbiblical. Seems to me that you need to read your Bible. Women have lost their true intent. Does God intend for woman to forsake her husband for her career's sake?

Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE over thee.

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

I've never read this book because I am a guy, but apparently you haven't read the Bible. So before you try to tell someone's book is wrong based on the Bible when clearly it says what you said it doesn't, actually read the Bible.

HelpedMeet said...

Bobby, thank you for joining this discussion. We value dissent, so your comment is important to us.

As it turns out, we were fortunate enough to have read the verses you quote. In fact, we discuss these sections of scripture in this very post! You will find the discussion beginning with, "The Bible does say that men will rule over their wives, but this is not a command – it is the result of sin entering the world – it is a part of the curse..." Please let us know what you think of this discussion.

In future posts, please refrain from personal attacks on character, such as "apparently you haven't read the Bible". As we stated in our introduction, "We welcome disagreement on this blog, but have enabled comment moderation to ensure that the discussion remains respectful & focused. We will *only* delete those comments that attack other's motives or character."

Laura Ann said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for creating this blog!!!!!

I am a 23 year old single Christian girl who's slightly liberal but totally follow & love the Lord & was recommended this book. I read it & was so upset by it that I had nothing else to do but just sit there & cry about it. I absolutely believe this woman is seriously disturbed & damaging & a hindrance to any woman who reads it.

After praying I went online to look up reviews & while I found a few that just loved the book & said it changed their lives I was so happy to find your site! I've passed it along to all the girls I know who have read or are thinking about reading it.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I agree that a wife does not need her husband to be her mediator. I also know that a wife is created to be more than just a help meet for her husband. But the man is to rule the home; it is not simply part of the curse. Just as having to work was not the curse, (dressing and keeping the garden was work), it was the new difficulties associated with the work (sweat, etc) that was the curse, so obeying the husband's rule was not the curse, it was the manner in which fallen man now rules over his wife that is the curse.

There are plenty of examples in scripture. Here is one:

1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

A man is to rule his house. The house is not just his children, but also his wife as seen by verse 12.

We are taught to "obey those that have the rule over you". Wives are to "obey" their husbands. It is obvious therefore that a husband in some sense, has a rule over his wife. It predates the curse (see I Timothy chapter 2:13-14); it is not a result of it.

That being said, I don't think a man ought to lord it over his wife, and I am not defending the Pearl's book.

Anonymous said...

Your fist error in finding flaws in this book is that when you try to interpret the scripture you are obviously not using God's word, The King James 1611, you are using a perversion of the Holy Word of God (NIV, NKJV, ETC.) translated by spiritualist and lesbians, who are an abomination to God (I could write a book urging you to never use those "bibles" and I pray that you would research that subject). I do agree that Debi left out important points about a womans personal walk with God, which is very important, however the book is not about "how to be close to God." It is about how to be a good wife.
You cannot honestly deny the reason for a woman's creation. God looked around and realized that Adam was alone and so He made Adam a HELP. That is the reason that woman was created. I believe men and women are both special and equal to God, as does Debi Pearl. This book is about how to be a good wife, so it covers only that subject. And I urge people to read the part about Debi's advice to people in an abusive marriage. She tells the women to call the police, and have the husband arrested and sent to jail. While he is in jail, she urges the women to visit and support the man while he tries to overcome his sin of abuse. She is telling women to obey I Peter, where God tells women that the way to win their husbands to Christ is by their chaste conversation and sweet, femininity. She NEVER tells a woman that she is a disgrace to God, or that it is the woman's fault for the abuse.
And I cannot see how anybody would interpret it that way.

HelpedMeet said...

Anonymous encourages people to read the Pearl discussion on what women should do in an abusive marriage. Please see "Point 7" for a discussion of this section.

The KJV and biblical translations issue is outside the scope of this blog.

Anonymous said...

I just believe that if you are always looking for negative you are going to find negative! There are so many more wonderful and eye opening points in this book that there is no reason to go overboard about how bad it is! The other thing that I believe is that not every woman that reads this book is ready to hear what it has to say and if you are feeling offended you are probably feeling convicted!! I love this book and I know that if I trust God with the words that are given to me he will show me and remind me of the ones I should use everyday!!

Right Wing Mama said...

Anonymous @ 10/24/08 said:

She NEVER tells a woman that she is a disgrace to God, or that it is the woman's fault for the abuse.

this is outright false. She does. I am a woman in an abusive marriage who was recommended to read this book BY MY PASTOR AND HIS WIFE.

needless to say we do not attend that church anymore.

Anonymous said...

"CTBHHM asserts that Eve was created for the sole purpose of being Adam’s servant."

This is false. She clearly does not believe that and never stated that!

Anonymous said...

"As it turns out, we were fortunate enough to have read the verses you quote. In fact, we discuss these sections of scripture in this very post! You will find the discussion beginning with, "The Bible does say that men will rule over their wives, but this is not a command – it is the result of sin entering the world – it is a part of the curse..." Please let us know what you think of this discussion."

Does the curse not still exist today? So men still rule over women... That is the way it will be until Jesus returns.

HelpedMeet said...

Yes, the curse exists today!

If the curse instructs us to rule our wives, then, by the same reasoning, it instructs us to plant thorns and thistles, to cause pain, and to kill.

"Cursed is the ground because of you."

The curse brought hunger; Jesus fed the hungry and asks us to do the same.

"From dust you were made and to dust you shall return."

The curse brought death; Jesus gives life and invites us in. Jesus healed the sick and asks us to do the same.

"Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you."

The curse brought domination and control; Jesus is a servant-king and asks us to be the same.

By the power of Jesus' blood and the working of the Holy Spirit, everthing bad is coming untrue. Thank you, Jesus.

HelpedMeet said...

Anonymous said...
"CTBHHM asserts that Eve was created for the sole purpose of being Adam’s servant."

This is false. She clearly does not believe that and never stated that!
Page 21: “If you are a wife, you were created to fill a need, and in that capacity you are a “good thing”, a helper suited to the needs of a man. This is how God created you and IT IS YOUR PURPOSE FOR EXISTING.”

Page 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 - TO BE A SUITABLE HELPER FOR MAN.”

Jazy said...

I appreciate the "ctbhhm: book and i also appreciate this blog site because it has led to this very important discussion. I am a little disappointed with the tone of some of these comments which seem to lack a bit of grace and love.

Now my question is to the blogger. One Anonymous comment earlier in these comments said "to rule over his wife" was not the curse, that it was already there but the manner is which it was now to be done was the curse. What's your response to that?

Jon Feldschau said...

As a pastor of a pentacostal church that believes God calls women to serve in pastoral roles, I find this book complete heresy. It has more theological errors than Mormon theology and I believe these beliefs turn women away from Jesus and toward works for their salvation.

Jennifer Austad said...


What you guys have taken the time to do is what is needed for clarity! THANK YOU!!!!

Exactly what needs to be saddens me that the Pearls are misundertanding what God says, and that they are missing out on a completely amazing life.


frmdeath2life said...

Anonymous said: "I just believe that if you are always looking for negative you are going to find negative!" How often people with the gift of discernment are accused of "looking for the negative"! Quite the contrary, one with this gift doesn't have to look very hard or deep to discover the Pearls teachings are fraught with biblical errancy and I thank God and pray His blessings on anyone who is selfless enough & bold enough to warn unsuspecting readers the dangers of the Pearl's teachings. Anonymous says: "There are so many more wonderful and eye opening points in this book that there is no reason to go overboard about how bad it is!" To that I say, Yes, there are many wonderful things one can 'glean' from this book. I myself found it a challenge to examine my role as a wife and that's a good thing! However, to ignore the repeated misuse of Scripture is to place God's Word secondary to the results. That folks is pragmatism. Something a Christian should never be a part of! Proper use of God's word should be held in much higher esteem than whether or not something "works" for us. I cannot thank Helpedmeet enough for this labor of love by being a true Berean and exposing the very bad mixed with the good.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it would be nice if a counter-balance book would be written; explaining in detail how husbands are to be benevolent rulers?

However, my next question would be: Would dictator-type husbands read it? Probably not. And they're the ones that need it.

Maybe another commentary on how to make appeals, or to flat out disagree, could be useful?

After all, if we're supposed to be like Jesus, he did disagree with people, make appeals to their intelligence - and even "left" to get away from the crowds that were unwilling to change their attitudes, but still demanded "service" - John 6.

Having said all of that, I must say that I do like the Pearls' books and have gleaned lots from them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog! I also agree that this book has some good points. However, because of the negative aspects, it becomes important to use extreme discretion while reading. It is best I think to stick to Scripture alone for any life guidelines, though help books can provide some good insight. Men and women are both subject to God. Neither one is more important in the eyes of God. We are both heirs, and are loved equally. Men and women just have different roles to fill. I do think wives should be submissive to their husbands. That does not mean subservient! Anyway, this are just my thoughts. Have a great day everyone!

Tonya said...

I am sorry so many have had negative experiences with this book. This book was my answer to prayer and changed my life and my marriage for the best! If not for this book I would be a depressed divorced single woman living alone in a trailer. But because God answered my prayer for a Titus 2 woman through Debi, I am remarried to my husband and our marriage is full of life and love! Praise God for CTBHHM!!! Personally I beg every young wife to read this book, y

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing this. This book has indeed created something: a monster, and with my help. At the strong encouragement of this book, I have silently endured years of abusive behavior. The Lord is merciful and is opening my eyes very slowly, but I do not know what to do with all the damage which has been done. Of course my husband LOVED this book. What abuser would not? This book encouraged me to cover up his sin and blame myself if my husband did not "cherish" me. It also advised me to think of myself as "suffering for righteousness sake", when in fact I was fearfully refusing to lovingly confront his sin, as commanded in Matthew 18. I am so far off course because of this book, I hardly know where to begin.

Holly said...

Thank you for this blog.
I'm getting married in two months and was given this book for an engagement present.
I'm part way through and have learned some things but often felt like throwing the book out cos it didn't feel right. I know and respect two women that loved the book so i thought I'd carry on. Its so good to find this blog and be reassured that my life has more purpose than being a slave to my husband so he can accomplish his purpose in God.
We're a team and am so looking forward to working together to achieve what God has set before us.

Dotty said...

I want to thank you for this blog. This book caused so much pain and heartache in my marriage, and nearly destroyed my walk with God. However, my husband and I are recovering from its influence, and will be reading your blog together (hopefully) in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I am glad you pointed out the point that a women's sole purpose in life is to be a wife. I am still single and not sure if marriage is for me so I was not happy when she said our only purpose was to be married. (I am only reading this book to help a friend who is taking this book seriously and hope to counsel her out of it! Your blog will help me).

I am glad you pointed out the verse in Colossians when Paul says it is good for some people to stay single. The ironic thing is that Debi actually used the tail end of that verse to prove that women are supposed to be married. She only used the part "a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband." Instead of showing that Paul is actually saying this is a bad thing and she can focus on God if she is single. Just another example of how Debi seriously gets scripture wrong by taking it out of context. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give her discerning wisdom.

I also loved your explanation of what the Hebrew words actually mean that were translated to "Help meet" in the KJV. The words are ezer kneged. Ezer comes from the root "strength" and "power" It has the dual meaning in Hebrew of "to rescue, to save" and "to be strong". Whenever Ezer is mentioned in the bible it is used to refer to God's strength. Kenegdo means "similar to or corresponding to". It is used to describe something that is a mirror image (or equal). Therefore the verse in Genesis the verse commonly quoted as "I will make a helper fit for him" can actually be read as "I will make a strong rescuer that is corresponding and similar (equal) to him." For more info look here