Earlier this week, popular Christian blogger Tim Challies examined and reviewed Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. I am glad he has done so because it demonstrates the alarming fact that these books have moved from homeschool convention halls onto the bookshelves of evangelical, Bible-teaching churches. Indeed, to the horror of some of my friends, one of the stalwart standard-bearing churches in our area has offered “Bible” studies for their ladies with this book featuring and promoting the Pearl method of “heavenly marriage.” And one cult awareness group I am familiar with regularly hears from pastors whose members have introduced Pearl’s teachings, causing not only division in the ranks but an added marriage counseling load to pastoral staff. No longer can the Pearls be dismissed as “right wing fanatics” or “fringe.”
But, as insightful as Tim’s thoughts on Debi Pearl might be, I was chagrinned to see his list of recommended reading at the bottom of his second Pearl article include writers who also promote extra biblical agendas resulting in even more confusion for husbands and wives, men and women in the body of Christ. Here are a just a few thoughts:
Nancy Leigh DeMoss, who is recommended by Challies, has said the following:
“There is no greater measure of a woman’s worth or success than the extent to which she serves as the heart of her home.” (Really? Let’s run that up Glady Alyward’s flag pole and see who salutes.)
“Anything that hinders or discouraged women from fulfilling their God given calling to be bearers and nurturers of life furthers Satan’s schedule and aids his efforts.” (same mantra found all throughout Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by patriocentric leaders Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald.)
“God created man to be the initiator and woman to be the responder.” (Hello, Margaret Thatcher, what think ye?)
Ms. DeMoss also recommends the following books:
Me? Obey Him? by Elizabeth Rice Handford which is an extreme fundamentalist version of patriarchy and has the distinction of being the second book I read in my early years of marriage that was a true patriarchal threat to the great mojo we had going during those years. (The first one was The Total Woman, which I read while in labor, a discussion I’ll save for another day.) Handford, by the way, is the daughter of John R. Rice, fundy evangelist whose book Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers features centerfolds of his wife and daughters, including Elizabeth, with hair that reaches their mid-calves.
Full Quiver by Rick and Jan Hess, which is the most radical quiver full book on the market that assures couples that using birth control for any reason, even if a woman’s life is at risk, is certainly not God’s will.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, the leading adversarial parenting book among evangelicals that says choosing to not spank a child is disobedience to Scripture (sin).
And then there are the myriad of patriocentrists that Challies has promoted on his website through the years. Currently, scrolling down from the Pearl articles, you find a recommendation for Voddie Baucham. Perhaps he is a bit more refined that the Pearls but he is squarely in the center of patriocentric dogma with his insistence that daughters are to stay home until given in marriage and that men need the attention of younger women so that is why God gave them daughters.
I could go on and on but let me say I am glad Tim Challies has brought up Debi Pearl. Challies was recently named #1 Christian blogger and because of that alone, he needs to figure out what is complementarian and what is not. As long as he defends and even promotes other patriocentrists, no one can take his own claims of rational complementarity seriously. No one believes Tim’s own definition.
Following up this post Will the Real Complementarian Please Stand Up