74 Comments

Alone.

The following article (written by Carolyn) and entitled Alone, is a true story from No Greater Joy.

I am 50 years old and have essentially been alone for 21 years. I never thought this would be my life. At no time did it cross my mind that my husband would ever leave me. Although I had been in church all of my life and been taught out of the Bible, I was not saved and did not know anything about being a wife. As I look back, I now know that I made many mistakes in my relationship with my husband.

Today, I see and hear young wives, and older wives as well, thoughtlessly making those very same mistakes with their husbands. They take for granted that he would never leave and file for divorce. After all, aren’t they both in the church and share that lifetime commitment? This sense of security seems to give them the feeling that they have the liberty to take a spiritually superior, adversarial stand, in myriad ways, against the wrongs, failures, and inadequacies of their husbands. I see it as either ignorance or a refusal to obey God’s injunction to wives, or a combination of both. This is why I write my story—lest you follow me down the same path.

I cannot answer for my husband’s failures. Who was most to blame doesn’t matter now. If I had known then what I do now about God’s commands to wives, what a man needs, and what I could do to fill those needs, it may have made all the difference. Older women have failed to teach younger women how to love their husbands.An important point I want you to know is that much of the time, these things I did or failed to do were not everyday, not always overt, in-your-face actions. They were subtle, ebbed and flowed, but were there nevertheless, just enough to be a constant reminder to him that his wife wasn’t entirely pleased with him.

When my husband acted selfishly at home, allowed his temper to flare, and then went to church and acted spiritual, I gently withdrew from him emotionally, letting him see my cynicism and lack of confidence. I wish I had prayed positively for him, trusting God, openly showed love and acceptance of him for himself, not waited until he acted right.

When he failed our child, failed to have devotions, failed to be spiritual, failed to lead like he should, I was ‘privately’ disappointed, but he knew it. I wish I had completely trusted God and maintained unity, honor, reverence, and submission with a glad and trusting heart. When he made a statement about someone or something, I often countered, putting his opinion down, letting him know he was wrong. I wish I had understood about “chaste conversation” as described in I Peter. When he acted like a jerk, instead of letting him know what I thought about him and his actions, I wish I had remained quiet and prayed for him, loved him anyway. When he tried to make up to me for some failure, I wish I had not been so cool, waiting for him to be more intense and sincere about it. When he spent money I thought we didn’t have, it caused me anxiety, and he knew it. I wish I had shown continued confidence in him, regardless of his decisions.

When he wanted me to do something, and I didn’t want to do it, I wish I had cheerfully complied instead of making him sorry he asked. Hardheadedness is not a trait to endear any woman to a man.

When he needed someone to believe in him, admire him, approve of him, accept him, regardless of his failures, I wish I had been the one to give him those things. Maybe he would not have left and found another woman to take my place.

When I thought that keeping his faults before him—just small things he did and said—and keeping myself a little standoffish in my approval of him, was the only way he would change, I wish someone would have taken me aside and told me how badly mistaken I was to think that it was my place to apply and keep the pressure on.

When he did not know how to show love, and I felt a void emotionally, I gave up, turning to friends and family for my emotional support and needs. I wish I had borne all things and hoped all things, loved him steadily and fully, unconditionally. I never saw the need to endear myself to him. I took for granted that he would fulfill the husband’s moral obligation to love me. I wish I had gone to “God’s Beauty School” for the whole woman, spirit, soul, and body.

Time passed. I never knew my marriage was being strangled to death. Separation and divorce came. I was shocked, terribly scared, and ashamed. I was one of those women who thought that it would never happen to me. I felt like a failure. As someone so aptly stated, “Divorce is like a death, except that no one comes to bring food or comfort you.”

When my husband left, we were plunged into near poverty. He no longer felt the natural desire to protect and support his family. I received the minimum child support. At the beginning, once in awhile, he would stop by to see what we were doing—I think out of guilt. One morning, not long after he left us, I tried to start the car to go to work, but it would not start. I didn’t know whom to call and had no money for a mechanic. I went back into the house, sat on the sofa, scared of losing my job, ready to cry, when my ex-husband drove up. When I told him about the car, he said—completely at ease and unmoved—“That’s too bad. I feel sorry for you,” and casually drove off. It really hit me then. I was alone, so alone.

When the house and car needed repairs, there was little or no money to have the work done. So things slowly fell apart.

I dreaded the summertime. As I drove away to work in the mornings, I agonized over my child having to stay in the house, behind locked doors, alone for 10 hours a day. I couldn’t afford a babysitter or find someone willing and trustworthy. She was too old for childcare centers, but still too young to be left alone all day. Even in her younger-teen years, it was hard for her to be alone all day. At the beginning, when my child was sick, there was no one to stay with her unless I took off from work. And then there were the week-long bouts of colds, flu, ear infections, and other normal sicknesses. No job allows enough sick time to cover the worker and her child.

I became ill with a long-term, debilitating condition, made worse by always having to be alert, day and night, as a single mother, living on the edge, always tired, always stressed. But, I had to continue to go to work every day, no matter how bad I felt. I had no choice.

God was faithful to us. He was with us and intervened with his help many times. We never went hungry or cold. In good time, God gave me a family in the church that stepped in and were there when I needed them, for the long-term. They will never know what an enormous impact that had on our lives. They were a gift from God. But the loneliness at home, the feelings of rejection and abandonment, the financial struggle, were all still there, every day.

The stress and loneliness I experienced over the years was a combination of many things, but if I had I known and obeyed God’s plan for wives early in my marriage, my life could well have turned out very differently than it has.

Today, as I finish typing my story, I will go home to a little house trailer which I rent. I will eat alone. I will count the hours before bedtime. I call my daughter and the grandchildren, but they have their lives, and I want it to be so. God has been very gracious to me, but I am aware that I have missed the best he had to offer. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Gal 6:7).

As the Pearl’s personal secretary, I read the letters you send to this ministry. I see many of you doing the same things I did, but you don’t believe that this could happen to you. In fact, you may well be thinking that it would be a relief if you could get your husband out of the house. You think, “Well, I’m healthy and strong. I’m emotionally secure. I can handle it. I would get a good job. I have family around that will help. I have a good church that would support me. I would go get counseling, etc. At least I would have peace in the house, and could then live as I wanted to. I wouldn’t have all the problems to contend with.” These are all things that wives may think. But I know better. The facts of history have proven this outlook to be empty lies.
I hope this will be a wakeup call to those wives who are deluded into thinking that they have liberty to be the Holy Spirit and judge to their husbands. It will never, never work, and you may end up like me.

Isa 48:18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

____________________________________________________

See also: Working Moms and How to make your husband a false convert and cause your kids to reject the Christian faith

74 comments on “Alone.

  1. I have yet to finish reading Carolyn’s story–I will. However, I must caution you about the link to the Pearl’s website. While very popular, the Pearl’s teach a dangerous version of raising children and a twisted idea of marriage. Please prayerfully consider researching their teachings and removing any links to them!

    Humbly,
    Yvonne

  2. My wife has been researching them and has read a couple of their books. She has found that there is a vast amount of people that hate them and have actually resorted to spreading terrible rumors about them. We have been cautious when approaching their materials–and although we may not agree on every thought–my wife has been greatly encouraged by them (including their book on child rearing and the role of a wife in marriage).

  3. I know people who read NoGreaterJoy. I myself have read some of their articles although I don’t agree with the husbands take on things like self defense.

    Once again though, just the “other” threads here, many are offended by teachings that fail to fit in their “box”.

    Many women are outraged by teachers that teach biblical truth concerning their place in the family and church but unfortunately this is to be expected.

    Some can’t even handle godly women speaking the truth on the matter such as the following:

    The Jezebel Profile

    http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/index.php?id=76&tx_ttnews%5Bpointer%5D=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=124&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=71&cHash=0b31936614

    I got your back Pilgrim! :)

  4. Pilgrim,
    I see that “the Pearl” is a self described Gnostic Christian web site. And you are OK with this?
    Specifically, they teach gnosticism, which is heresy, as attested by one of the sermon of the week teachings posted here recently. I don’t get it.

  5. Hi Kaydee,

    Where exactly is the proof that they teach gnosticism? I’d like to research it for myself. Do you happen to have a link?

    http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/who-is-ngj/what-we-believe/

    I do see some issues on their doctrinal statement such as possible KJO, OSAS and “rapture” but nothing that would indicate gnosticism.

  6. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25).

    The man who does not LOVE his wife (regardless of whether or not he receives any reciprocal expression of love) and does not give himself for her for the rest of his entire life, DESTROYS another human being at the soul level. At the least he’s a coward that doesn’t deserve her. At most he’s a murderer.

  7. Dear Kaydee:

    Of course I am not ok with Gnosticism. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for awhile you know that (further evidenced by that sermon of the week you referred to that I posted on Gnosticism).

    With that said, I am not above error or missing important/revealing info on another website. If the Pearls teach Gnosticism, please direct me to where this can be found/verified. Thank you.

  8. David W,

    Agreed.

    And yet, since feminism openly declared war on the church in the early 1960’s, men have been relegated to the role of “court jester” even in many “Christian” homes.

    A few quotes from the feminist movement:

    “The National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose: We organize to initiate or support action, nationally, or in any part of this nation, by individuals or organizations, to break through the silken curtain of prejudice and discrimination against women in government, industry, the professions, the churches, the political parties, the judiciary, the labor unions, in education, science, medicine, law, religion and every other field of importance in American society.”

    “Women theologians called for the “castration of sexist religion” at the largest and most prestigious gathering of biblical scholars in history, the American Academy of Religion, meeting at the Century Plaza hotel in Los Angeles. Dr. Mary Daly, noted Catholic theologian of Boston College, told a seminar of women that historic sexist religion had led to patriarchal institutions whose teachings had amounted to “a gang rape of our minds.” (09/02/72)”

    The church I attended for years decided to try the unscriptural rebellion of women elders and pastors and after that, the divorce rate skyrocketed.

    I stopped going because they refused to teach the youger women to dress modestly. Turns out they didn’t because the “pastor” there was seducing as many of the attractive women as he could get his hands on.

    My best friends wife was taken out of his house one day by his heretical “pastor” mother-in-law while he was at work all because he was standing against their heretical views and trying to teach his wife the word of God.

    Once again, this issue, like the “other” threads, is personal to me, not just something to read about.

    God Bless you David
    ___________________________________
    Hi Pilgrim,

    I seem to have lost another post in cyberspace. Any idea whats happening?

    God bless.

  9. Hi Pilgrim and UnProf,
    I noticed that the writer works for the Pearl and so simply did a search, as the link above leads to the site that published her story. They are 2 different organizations, looks like. However, the web address is thepearl.org At the expense of being pounced upon by UnProfitable Servant, I must say that having been an abused wife myself, and suffered so much damage, I found this testimony rather creepy. Please leave me alone on this UnProf.—I have no desire to delve into it.

    Sorry, don’t know how to properly list a link… Did you get it? And I could be entirely wrong, maybe she works for a different “the Pearl”….. but I think this might be what Yvonne was referring to.

    Just one more thing. Yvonne, (above) was cautioning about the Pearl website, but I believe you were actually endorsing (with caution) NoGreaterJoy. They are not the same. NoGreaterJoy is that which printed the story; The Pearl is that for which the writer is personal secretary.

  10. Hi Pilgrim,

    I just got off the phone with a sister in the Lord who reads NoGreaterJoy and found out the controversy about their “gnosticism”.

    From what I was told, the Pearls are accused of this because of some graphics that were created by a former Marvel comic book artist that became a Christian and does artwork for the Pearls.

    Thats all I know as of right now.

    Seems to be picking at straws if thats all that can be said.

    Kaydee,

    I won’t pounce on you. And of course being abused is absolutely wrong according to the scriptures.

    Nevertheless, the scriptures contain all the answers concerning the conduct and stations of both men and women.

  11. No, UnProf, it is more than just artwork. Please go to the website thepearl.org and see for yourself. It is specifically devoted to the promotion and instruction in the Gnostic Christian way.
    I am not picking at straws in the least. Anyone else see this website yet?

  12. Not the same is exactly what I said. NoGreaterJoy printed the article, wriitten by the author who works for the Pearl.

  13. The following is from a discernment site I have read in the past.

    http://www.cephas-library.com/apostasy_warning_about_michael_pearls_ministry.html

    Nevertheless, as thourough as they are, not a word about gnosticism.

    Kaydee,

    You said, “Not the same is exactly what I said. NoGreaterJoy printed the article, wriitten by the author who works for the Pearl.”

    Please post a link to said article.

    Thank you.

    The Pearls are mentioned here as well.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080622123928AAzwY6U

    The only thing I found so far is this:

    http://allthings2all.blogspot.com/2005/09/michael-and-debi-pearls-no-greater-joy_30.html

    It still needs to be tested. One witness doesn’t cut it according to the Word.

    I’m in serious research mode and still have yet to find a thing about NoGreaterJoy being gnostic.

    In fact, I see that Michael Pearl speaks against Gnosticism on the following page:

    http://realmessiah.info/

    NOTE: Just looking for info, not endorsing the previous web page in any manner.

    “”Face it, the church today is not a sanctuary from the world, nor is it a ‘holy’ place. In the best case scenario, it is a slice of the world where there is an attempt at evangelism and worship. But on average, the church is a social club composed of a mixed multitude.” -Michael Pearl”

  14. I wouldn’t recommend No Greater Joy to anyone. They have some aberrant and abusive teaching on child-rearing. I did a review of a book of theirs which was handed to me a few years ago, “To Train Up A Child.” You can read it at:

    http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/01/to-train-up-child.html

    I did a later follow-up due to reports of child abuse by those following the Pearl system;

    http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/03/to-train-up-child-follow-up.html

    I am currently reading Michael’s comic-book Bible story titled “Good and Evil” His teaching of what the Bible says in Genesis is full of Gap theory cosmology, and some weird ideas about Satan’s real appearance being that of a bull. I have been told by others in the apologetics ministry that Pearl teaches “sinless perfectionism.” From his site it appears they are also KJV Onlyers.

    I have known many followers of the Pearls in the homeschool environment who end up following the Pearls as virtual cult leaders.

    I would never recommend their site or teachings.

  15. Most of the sites I saw that rant and rave about the Pearls, including our “friend” Glenn’s, can only condemn them for upholding biblical princliples of child discipline and that a wife should submit to her husband.

    Much ado about nothing as far as I’m concerned.

    The only ones I would recommend looking into for true doctrinal issues would be:

    http://www.cephas-library.com/apostasy_warning_about_michael_pearls_ministry.html

    and

    http://allthings2all.blogspot.com/2005/09/michael-and-debi-pearls-no-greater-joy_30.html

    I see our friend Glenn has written about them in most unflattering terms:

    http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/search/label/Mike%20and%20Debi%20Pearl

  16. The Pearls are not the same as The Pearl. The second Pearl, http://www.thepearl.org/ claims to be a Gnostic Christian web site.

    http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/ is the site for Michael and Debi Pearl.

    The Puritan Board has discussion on them, claiming they are Arminian: http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/michael-debi-pearl-no-greater-joy-ministries-45492/

  17. Glenn,

    “I would never recommend their site or teachings.”

    And I would never recommend your site or teachings. How about some solid biblical teaching instead of opinion and “common sense”?

  18. I am sorry I am not able to keep up with the rapid succession of comments, but I’m also trying to shovel snow faster than it’s coming down.

    Unprofitable Servant:
    Pleased refrain from double and triple posting in a row. Please try to say what needs to be said in one comment at a time. You’re crowding out other comments in such a quick fashion that I can’t even keep up. I’ve been condensing them on this and other posts quite frequently. Additionally, please refrain from being so nasty to Glenn.

    – Pilgrim

    P.S. And if anyone’s curious who’s winning in the snow shoveling bout, I’m certainly not.

  19. UnprofitableServant December 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm
    Glenn,

    “I would never recommend their site or teachings.”

    And I would never recommend your site or teachings. How about some solid biblical teaching instead of opinion and “common sense”?

    OK. How about some moderation here?

    UnprofitableServant, you have made the entire exchange here personal. I can put up with the spamming-level posts (with Scripture ripped out of context), and even the strange doctrine you seem to follow… But, you’ve corrupted the forum’s purpose — that of exchanging ideas — and turned this into a wrestling match… complete with trash talk.

    I got your back Pilgrim! :)

    Kaydee,

    I won’t pounce on you.

    Nuff said.

  20. The woman who wrote the piece “Alone” is the Pearl’s (Michael and Debbie) secretary of No Greater Joy, not a secretary for The Pearl Gnostic site.

    I hope that clears up some of the confusion.

  21. Sigh. I am really feeling misunderstood by you UnProf. The article I referred to is the one above, posted by Pilgrim, written by a certain Carolyn, who says near the end of her story that she is “the Pearl’s personal secretary.” It is apparent that the confusion is because NoGreaterJoy is owned by people whose last name is Pearl, and I was misled because of misunderstanding Yvonne (comment above) in her warning not to go to the Pearl website.

  22. All righty then. Now that the confusion has been cleared up, how did you guys like the actual article?

    Now back to battling the snow with a shovel as my sword!

  23. Hi Pilgrim,

    Sorry about the posting deluge, but just when I thought I found everything I could find, I found more info. Just trying to help out.

    Pilgrim, I’m not sure if you had a chance to review the other threads, but in spite of being ganged up on by Glenn, the guy that uses a number for a name and finally Jeff H, I never once complained or called for a moderator. Have you read any of the nastiness that they directed at me? Not that it matters to me as I’m a big boy and can handle myself just fine in a scriptural debate.

    I am puzzled how stating that I wouldn’t recommend Glenn’s site and asking for biblical teaching over opinion and common sense is being nasty?

    He is the one that exalted common sense on the other thread and all I said was that scripture takes precident over any opinion or common sense.

    I’m not one to hold back when it comes to the primacy of scripture. Should I?

    And Jeff H,

    If you look up the meaning of “contending” in the greek, it’s similar the wrestling. Those who can’t handle it should get out of the ring.

    http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm//fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/CGG/ID/2074/Epagonizomai-.htm

    And once again, you accuse before reading the facts. Kaydee asked me to not pounce and I was saying that I wouldn’t. Look above and read instead of insinuating.

  24. My knowledge of the Pearl’s ministry is limited, but what little I do know is enough to encourage any Christian family to avoid them and what they promote. Here are links to two trusted reviews of some of the Pearl’s writings:

    From Spunky Homeschool blog:

    http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/07/created-to-be-his-help-meet-part-1.html

    http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/07/created-to-be-his-help-meet-part-2.html

    http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/07/created-to-be-his-help-meet-part-3.html

    http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/07/created-to-be-his-help-meet-part-4.html

    http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/08/debi-pearl-revisited.html

    from Glenn Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes blog:

    http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/01/to-train-up-child.html

    _______________________________________________

    UnprofitableServant, you said:
    “Many women are outraged by teachers that teach biblical truth concerning their place in the family and church but unfortunately this is to be expected.”

    I may be wrong, but considering the fact that I was the only woman to post a comment prior to yours, I assume you were making that assumption of me. You know nothing of me or my understanding on the issue of being a Christian wife and mother; plain and simple that is an ad hominem attack and has no place in polite dialog.

    Your statement also is discredited by the fact that you assume everything the Pearl’s teach is ‘biblical truth’ and yet by your own words, (‘I myself have read some of their articles…’) you have only read ‘some’ of their writings. How, then, can you make a broad statement implying the Pearls teach biblical truth? Are you willing to offer me the same grace in my understanding of biblical womanhood?

    It is my understanding from Carolyn’s article that she is Michael and Debi Pearl’s personal secretary and while her story is sad, my concern primarily was DefCon’s link to the Pearl’s website. By linking to them, DefCon gives their ministry credence that I would say is unworthy.

    I guess the bottom line is this question: At what point do we reject a teacher or ministry that may be teaching some things worthy of gleaning but is rife with other serious and potentially dangerous problems?

    Respectfully,
    Yvonne

  25. Kaydee,

    I’m sorry. I was concentrating on searching for info on the Pearls and didn’t understand exactly what you were saying because of the intense concentration.

    I’m going to go back and read your posts again so I’m clear.

    Once again. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

  26. Heh heh. Pilgrim I am sorry for all the trouble, and for the snow! Wondering where you are, as I am in Michigan and it is not snowing here…
    The article really bothers me. But I will say no more, because I really can’t bear to be accused of lack of submission after what my life has been. I remember being in situations so very much like hers, but only much, much, worse. I have agonized so much about it all already. The article smelled like false submissiveness to me. And I will NOT engage with UnProfitable Servant on this. I won’t be back here again if that happens.

  27. My wife recently heard encouraging stories about “Being His Help Meet” and we bought a copy. It has some good content, but is full of trash and unbiblical none sense. To the trash with it.

  28. UnprofitableServant,

    If you look up the meaning of “contending” in the greek, it’s similar the wrestling.

    Nope.

    “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)

    The exhortation is to “earnestly contend.” It does not mean to “be argumentative,” but rather, to “agonize with intense determination.” It is one word in the Greek, epagonizomai (literally, “agonize over”). Defending and contending for the faith is something we agonize over, but we are not called to trash talk or personal attacks.

    Those who can’t handle it should get out of the ring.

    Pffft. As Job would say:

    “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.” (Job 12:2)

    Nor are we called question God’s sovereignty with conspiracy theories.

    The phytoestrogens are in BPA. BPA is found in the lining of soup cans, plastic soda bottles, WalMart store receipts, etc.

    Besides, how is that contending for the faith?

  29. Yvonne,

    No, that comment wasn’t directed specifically at you.

    I have been told by a sister that reads their site of all the sites that attack them because they take a bold stand for marriage and child rearing that is so lacking in 501c3 churches.

    Your comment brought to mind some of the statements this sister has shared with me about how everybody hates the Pearls.

    Kaydee,

    I won’t break a bruised reed or quench smoking flax. And I hope the Lord heals your hurt.

    You may have seen me contront Glenn, Jeff and the other guy in strong terms but I would never beat someone thats already down. God forbid.

    God bless you

  30. Pilgrim:

    Regardless of who wrote the article, or who they may/may not be associated with, I’m glad you posted it. I hope it can soften some hard hearted macho men to cherish their wives, serve them, and treat them like a queen, for as long as they have the honor and privilege to be with them. And may God’s judgment fall heavily upon the man who dares to abuse his dear wife.

  31. US,

    Your continual broad-brush condemnation of 501(c)3 churches is beyond tedious and – in most cases – not relevant. I agree that churches ought not be under state control. But until you build a case for the all-inclusive statements you are making, it’s time to stop it.

  32. Jeff H,

    I said,

    “If you look up the meaning of “contending” in the greek, it’s similar the wrestling.”

    Did I say it was actual wrestling?

    You, Glenn and number man, continue to assault practically every post I make. You can’t even say amen to the truth of the scripture passages I post…

    You have a REAL problem with me becaused I’ve rocked your little 501c3 world it seems.

    Keep em comin’..

    You don’t scare me and you won’t shut me up.
    ____________________________________________

    Hi Manfred,

    Perhaps this is the built case you are looking for.

    http://www.hushmoney.org/

  33. You have a REAL problem with me becaused I’ve rocked your little 501c3 world it seems.

    You know.. I don’t even know what that means. Is 501c3 some kind of magic wand you wave whenever someone tries to have an intelligent debate with you?

    Keep em comin’..

    I will gladly say amen when you post something that’s not paranoid and delusional (501c3, “the phytoestrogens are in BPA. BPA is found in the lining of soup cans, plastic soda bottles, WalMart store receipts, etc.”) nor a twisting of Scripture (virtually EVERY TIME you’ve quoted the Bible).

    You don’t scare me and you won’t shut me up.

    You’re on a blog on the internet. How could anyone even try to scare you?

    Please make sense.

  34. US,

    I’ve read that and bookmarked that site. It has good and solid information that has prompted me to ask about my church. But that does not make the case that all 501(c)3 churches are apostate – which is the hammer you bring out on every thread.

    Since you are a mere creature, you cannot know what goes on in every 501(c)3 church in the country, so you are ill-advised to condemn them all as a group. That’s presumption and that is a sin.

  35. UnprofitableServant,
    It would seem that if ‘everyone hates the Pearls’ then this blog would have never posted Carolyn’s story. May I suggest that you correct your ‘sister’.

    I know of no one who hates them, but comparing their teaching to Scripture is an important thing to do as Bereans did to Paul’s teaching in Acts 17.

  36. Jeff H,

    This is what 501c3 is; http://www.hushmoney.org/

    And I already proved to you that BPA is in those very things on the other post.

    http://defendingcontending.com/2010/12/11/philip-yancey-keynote-speaker-at-a-2011-homosexual-christian-conference/#comment-25599

    However, you conviently ignored it and carried the discussion over here to this thread when it wasn’t even mentioned here for the sole purpose of trying to make me look bad in every thread I post in. Take it up with the Washington Post.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/26/AR2010072605001.html

    And instead of claiming that I twisted scripture, how about proving it?

    I guess I would seem to be twisting scripture to someone that is so blinded by their 501c3 pastor….

  37. And instead of claiming that I twisted scripture, how about proving it?

    We’ve ALL done that for you already. Do you intentionally reject all rebuke?

    to someone that is so blinded by their 501c3 pastor….

    There’s your hocus pocus card again. Don’t you know that blind repetition is meaningless?

  38. Unprofitable Servant:
    Please refrain from hijacking another post regarding unrelated issues, and please check your spirit. It seems that you are itching so badly to fight with anyone and everyone you can. This is not profitable to the cause of Christ or even to the post at hand. I cannot continue to allow this arguing to go on and on and on . . . on every post.

    DavidW:
    You know what’s so sad? It’s sad that the only one’s speaking about marriage life, family life, child-rearing, etc. are folks like the Pearls (with apparently some questionable views), folks like the Mormons, folks like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.

    Where is Evangelical, Reformed, Christianity on these subjects? Week after week we learn about doctrine, Luther, Calvin, and church history . . . all good and wonderful things for which I am eternally grateful to have discovered, but when do we ever hear about how to biblically lead our families? Modesty? Proper speech? How to biblically raise our children? How husbands are to love their wives? How wives are to submit to their husbands? Where are the older men/women to lead the younger men/women?

    So much orthodoxy, so little orthopraxy.

    Sorry to say, but those with varying doctrinal views (and the cults) have us beat in this area, and it shouldn’t be that way.

  39. Pilgrim,

    One of the many things that has grieved my soul over the years since God saved me in 1994 is the way churches are in league with the culture to destroy the family. Divorce recovery but not divorce prevention. No teaching how to parent and disciple children, only programs that rip families apart under the guise of teaching children – same MO as the government schools.

    My wife and I are thankful to God for leading us to the reformed theology and a family integrated church. We put Christ first, based on the Word of God, and use the family as the discipleship group; training fathers how to lead their families. There are spots of similar work going on around the country. The press and the corporate religions are loathe to acknowledge this, much less publicize it.

  40. US,

    I am afraid that I must agree with Pilgrim. You have pretty much taken it upon yourself to hijack most of the threads lately.

    You attack and spew vitriol with a wide brush that does NOT apply to all church situations or even family situations. As an example you stated –

    I have been told by a sister that reads their site of all the sites that attack them because they take a bold stand for marriage and child rearing that is so lacking in 501c3 churches.

    That quote alone is laughable. To assume that because a church holds ignorantly or otherwise to a 501c3 status that taking a stand for marriage and in child rearing is lacking is nothing more than baiting your own hook with a straw man to try and prove your point. I agree that such arguing and pointless comments cannot and will not be allowed to continue. If one’s spirit is not brought into check, we have had to automatically hold all comments in abeyance. I would hate to see that done in this situation. Please remember that the fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy, peace AND self-control!

    Personally, I have an issue with the Pearl’s and the methods which they endorse. I have seen the ravishes of a patriarchal belief system and do not find it to be biblical, but harmful.

    Kaydee, I would have to agree with you in your synopsis. Having been in ministry for over 17 years, I have seen where this kind of teaching leads. I sympathize with you in your personal plight and would encourage you to look to the Lord. My wife and I have often counseled wives that the issue is first and foremost submission as to the Lord. That does not mean you act in an unbiblical fashion to placate your husband, nor does it mean you allow yourself to be abused!

    Manfred – At no point during my four pastorates did I ever pastor at a church that held a 501c3 status and I am thankful for that; however, I agree with your assessment of the ad nauseum comments about 501c3. I also agree with your perception of the book by the Pearls.

    Glenn – While I would not necessarily agree with everything on your site, I do agree with several points that you have made. As an example, the situation regarding the Christmas tree and its denouncement by an out-of-context Scripture from Jeremiah.

  41. I was watching a video one time where an obviously intoxicated man was being arrested. The only thing he kept repeating throughout the video was “I KNOW MY RIGHTS!”

    That is the mantra of our culture. That is the battle cry of fallen men (and women).

    I was witnessing to a female colleague once and I remember that we were looking at Colossians 3, and I was explaining to her about the fact that Christians are made alive in Christ, but then her eyes shot down the page to Colossians 3:18, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

    She heard little else (AFAIK), but I think that we have set ourselves up in this culture with the expectation that man better not DARE suggest he is the head of the family.

    We ‘preach’ it to our girls in school, we reinforce it with our TV programs, and then we wonder why our unbiblical unions disintegrate.

    I am blessed with a godly wife… We’ve been married 21 years.

    We have a daughter who was Christian schooled / home schooled and knows her vital position her future family… as her future husband’s WIFE, because her mother and I have consistently modeled the biblical family for her as she grew up.

    As men, we are to represent Christ in the marriage; the woman represents the bride of Christ, the Church. Jesus Christ loves the Church and the Church loves Christ…

    But they are not the same, and they are not equal.

  42. “But they are not the same, and they are not equal.”

    They said the exact same thing about black people long ago, and yet people wonder why so many women are wary of submission and patriarchal teaching? Most women encounter it in a way that really does seem to imply a woman is less of a person than a man, and that is not right.

    Submission & headship can be wonderful in a marriage with Christ at the center, but too many people seem to present a worldview that is not only patriarchal, but patrio-centric, obedience to the husband and father at seems to be the focus, even above obedience to God. The Pearls are one of the few well-known ministries that does take it this far but, by urging a woman to obey her husband even when he asks her to sin, and by justifying abuse, they have done much more harm than good to many Christian families.

  43. Jeff H,
    You said:I was watching a video one time where an obviously intoxicated man was being arrested. The only thing he kept repeating throughout the video was “I KNOW MY RIGHTS!”

    That is the mantra of our culture. That is the battle cry of fallen men (and women)

    Oh the irony…

    I suppose you can’t even see the hypocrisy in that statement?

    Thats all you’ve been doing yourself over on the x-mass threads, fighting for your right to celebrate idolatry.

  44. Raine, you are absolutely right! We can fall into either ditch when Christ is not at the center of our marriage.

    Well stated!

    In Jesus,
    – Jeff H
    ________________________________________________
    UnprofitableServant,

    Oh the irony…

    I suppose you can’t even see the hypocrisy in that statement?

    Thats all you’ve been doing yourself over on the x-mass threads, fighting for your right to celebrate idolatry.

    That’s pretty funny! Your gift for hyperbole astounds.

    Here is my post on Christmas:

    Jeff H December 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm
    Well, at our house, let’s see…

    Tree: No.

    Gift exchanging: Yes.

    Santa: NO!!!!

    Church services: We love being there anyway, so…

    Lights: Only if the kids (ages 31 and 18) put them up.

    Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: ABSOLUTELY!

    God is good!

    So… we don’t really make a big deal about it. In fact, many years we travel on Christmas and New Years days because there are many seats available.

    Our Lord’s birth (becoming incarnate) was surely very significant – God humbling Himself and entering His creation!

    However, His death and resurrection are so much more important… just look at Scripture!

    In Jesus,
    – Jeff H

  45. I was in a situation for 20 years in which I suffered rape, near strangulation, emotional abuse, and more, and my husband was permitted to continue in leadership with not much more than a hand slap, while I was told to submit to my husband. He was addicted to pornography and had a sexual encounter with a man during our marriage. I eventually nearly abandoned my faith and divorced him, after having an affair of my own, and I still suffer the consequences. I struggle so much with guilt for divorcing him, for the affair I had, for all of it. I have cried and asked the Lord to help me put it behind me. I am not there yet. I am remarried to a man who will never hurt me, but 3 months into our marriage he returned to his Catholic faith, and so I am still in torment. I have wished for death many times. This is a very difficult issue. I may never know what it means to be married to a Godly man who is a servant leader, but I have to hope that nothing is too small for God to bring about.

  46. I have to hope that nothing is too small for God to bring about.

    Nothing is.

    You will be in my family’s prayers.

    – Jeff H

  47. I second and third TDP’s and The Pilgrim’s comments to U.S. Please comport yourself in a manner that demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit, and is worthy of the high calling of Christ.

    In Christ,
    CD

  48. Amen to comments by Jeff and CD. As Voddie Baucham likes to say, “Ain’t nothing bigger than a dead Jesus”. If He can raise Jesus from the dead, He is able to manage our trials. Since He tells us He cares for us – more than He cares for the birds – we can have confidence in Him. Christ is the Rock and the refuge for all called by His name.

  49. Hi Coram Deo,

    You know, I agree with your statement.

    “Please comport yourself in a manner that demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit, and is worthy of the high calling of Christ.”

    And out of everyone here, you, Pilgrim, revivalandreformation, DavidW and a few others have conducted yourselves in that manner.

    What I don’t agree with is partiality or respect of persons. And neither do the scriptures.

    James 2:9 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

    Why have Jeff H, Glenn and 072591 not been held to the same standard publically as I have?

    They have used every dirty trick in the book to attempt to make me look bad, trip up in my words and bait me into responding in anger. And yet, not a word to them.

    They have broken several of your Rules of Engagement with nary a word.

    http://defendingcontending.com/rules-of-engagement/

    3, 4 and 5 specifically.

    The worst being the “Hath God said?” from 5 by twisting scripture to support the pagan celebration of x-mass. And still, no reproof or rebuke.

    And 6 was totally overlooked. If Defcon can criticize and judge others for adhering to heresy(which I don’t have any problem with), why is that withheld from certain posters?

    Perhaps you could answer some of these concerns?

    God Bless you

  50. Kaydee:

    I am very, very sorry to hear of your plight, dear sister. And I know platitudes like “all things work together for good…” are about as helpful to the hurting as a Pharisee tossing a nickel to a homeless person. You are in my prayers. Your commitment to glorify God despite what you have, and are going through, is a wonderful testimony.

  51. Dear Unprofitable Servant:

    You are clearly not getting it. We understand that sometimes people go a little overboard in their comments and we could boot them for violating our Rules of Engagement, but oftentimes were are patient. A good example of this is how patient we’ve been with you, and even provided you with gentle reminders about your comments. However, where others have tempered their comments you keep coming out of the gate swinging. You seem to be only desiring to fight and argue. Case in point, out of the blue (and not even on the topic) who take yet another swipe at Jeff H when you said:

    “Oh the irony…

    I suppose you can’t even see the hypocrisy in that statement?

    Thats all you’ve been doing yourself over on the x-mass threads, fighting for your right to celebrate idolatry.”

    Are you serious? Is there no end to your incessant attacks? This was an uncalled for and unnecessary personal attack. You have now resorted to taking pock shots at any opportunity, even if those opportunities are forced.

    You have been provided ample admonition, patience, and warnings about this, and yet you keep on rolling without repentance. Instead you want to point the fingers at others.

    CD, TDP, and myself have gently tried to persuade you to stop with these unprofitable comments but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Until further notice your future comments will be held in moderation to await approval by one of our editors.

    Sincerely and respectfully,
    – Pilgrim

  52. Kaydee,

    May God comfort you and heal the incredible hurt you must have over what you went through.

    I left the church I was saved in because the “pastor” refused to cousel the women in the church to stop dressing like harlots. Turns out, he didn’t want to do that because he enjoyed the view up their miniskirts while he was preaching his eloquent sermons on Sunday.

    He had multiple adulterous encounters with many women throughout the years even after I had left. He was caught red handed many times but still allowed to continue “leading” his 501c3 brood of vipers. Was the entire flock behind him? No, there were many people that left and many more that were affected by this. Many couples divorced in that “church” probably as a result of the demons the pastor had brought into the place. Many children that were “schooled” in their K-8 “school” want nothing to do with God although my best friend and I have tried to get through to some of them. This “church” also split off into 2 seperate branches but remained under the same “covering” for tax purposes.

    Many suspect that the “pastor” of one branch has been carrying on an adulterous relationship with the woman “pastor” of the other branch for 20+ years. Including the son-in-law of the woman “pastor” who is my best friend.

    He and his wife both had adulterous affairs throughout the years, seperated once and got back together but the “straw that broke the camels back” was when he stopped going there almost 5 years ago when we uncovered their Toronto “cursing” heresey along with a host of other heresies that they are involved in. They called him “gone” (as in fallen away), demon possessed and even accused him of the unpardonable sin on one occasion for speaking against their idols from Toronto. They also called me the devil.

    Then, one day when he was at work, the woman “pastor” moved all of her daughters belongings, her daughter and their two children out of his home because they could no longer stand their “kingdom” being assaulted by the truth of scripture.

    The woman “pastor” then gave her stamp of approval for her daughter to file for divorce and winked at several adulterous affairs that her daughter started less than a month after she was coerced into leaving her husband. She even said of one of them, “He’s so cute”.

    He has been backslidden for several months because he allows his mind to torment him over what happened although he seems to be coming out of it now. He was also at the point of almost abandoning his faith but got a wake up call when the woman he was commiting adultery with told him to choose God or her.

    He doesn’t think his wife will come home as she is in a “serious” relationship with some guy from the city and believes her parents over the word of God, but with God anything is possible.

    The only thing that he can be faulted for in that situation is beling angry over false teaching and false prophesy as they had both forgiven each other over past affairs. Even state law says if you continue to live with each other after discovering an affair, it’s legally considered forgiven.

    He also goes through much of the same guilt that you seem to have issues with and as I’ve told him, it’s not your fault.

    And don’t think you’re alone in wishing for death. He does it also.

    I frequently wish for death over most of the church hating the truth while they have deceived themselves into thinking they love it.

    Once again, may God heal your hurt. And know that you aren’t alone in your suffering.

    God bless you.

  53. Kaydee – Your sufferings make my trivial problems seem like a mere gnat bite. So very saddened to hear of all you have gone though and even are today. I pray the Lord may comfort you during your tribulation and that you might find peace in the midst of the storm.

  54. Thank-you all so very much for your kindness. God is always good and one thing I have learned from all this, and for which I am so grateful, is that He is Adonai T’zid-ke-nu. He is my Righteousness. It is something to cling to. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that I belong to Him, because He has disciplined me.

  55. brother Michael and Raine–
    the submission issue is one that I have struggled with from one end of the spectrum to the other (from subservience to rebellion) because of patriarchal teaching that I sat under for many years. In my current marriage, I underwent a severe crisis which lasted one whole weekend, in which I wrestled with whether or not submission, for me, in my situation, meant converting to Roman Catholicism. I had been unable to find a church after searching for 2 years, and finally worked up the nerve to ask my husband where he thought I should go, and, of course, he said “with me.” (A Catholic Church). I have never in my life known greater emotional pain than I had during those few days. In the end, I came to a peace that I should not renounce my faith for anyone, even my husband’s so called “Christianity”. But it was difficult. Wonder what the Pearl’s would have said to me on that occasion?

  56. Kaydee –
    I cannot even begin to pretend that I understand what you have suffered through a marriage such as you described. Scripture is clear that you had cause for divorce (Matt 5:32, 19:9.) I will be writing a post on the Pearl’s book as I read and loved it. It has really helped me in my role as a wife and mother and I have to admit that this whole post started at my recommendation for my husband to post what I thought to be a real eye opening article.
    I Peter 3:1-6 states:

    “1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. “

    Kaydee, I truly believe that the Pearls would not encourage you to go to a Catholic church, but would encourage you to love your husband in a way that honors and respects him and shows the love of our Savior to him that he “may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”

    I will be posting on this as soon as I have a moment to sit down and write a thorough review of what I have read and how it has helped me but I wanted to take a moment to encourage you that you to keep doing your best to be a wife that loves your husband and shows him often.

    May God strengthen you and give you peace Kaydee, you will be in my prayers.

  57. Kaydee…
    My heart goes out to you, I too was abused for years. I wasn’t able to trust even a little bit for a long time. I became a Christian after my very needed divorce, and I remember the first time I read the Holy Scriptures re: submitting to our husbands. Well, I thought if I had to adhere to that I might as well throw in the towel and be done with it. But God is much bigger than my fear could ever have been. He has patiently taught me so much about this. He taught me that I have to learn to submit to Him first, to trust Him no matter what the situation, that my submission to Him was paramount. Only then could I “heal”, only then could I be able to forgive, only then could I find peace. This has not been easy and I didn’t see progress over night. But God never leaves us! He gently and patiently leads us every day. He knows our hurts, our doubts. Kaydee, God doesn’t want us to be hurt and abused. Yes, it’s true He hates divorce, but I know that He also doesn’t want us to suffer like that. Anyone that does these things to another is of Satan, not God. God does not want us to stay around Satan’s influence. Through God, I have learned to forgive, truly forgive my abuser and this has brought me a peace I have never known before. I now have no guilt about having to divorce my husband, and neither should you because God understands, and yes, I believe helped you out of that evil situation. Again, the healing doesn’t happen overnight, but IT DOES HAPPEN! Have I completely surrendered to God? No, it is a work in progress learning to trust again. But God is with me everyday, holding my hand, soothing me when I need it, helping me to step forward even when I’m afraid to. Kaydee, you are in my prayers. Never doubt that God will make you whole. Will you ever forget the hurt? NO! Nor should you. But God will take away the fear and anger and replace it with His love. May God bless you.

  58. Thank-you wife of Pilgrim, and Marilyn. It is a blessing to be encouraged by sisters in the Lord. Just one more thing that has been on my mind is this: Years ago, I was given a series of teachings by Derek Prince on the topic of witchcraft. As the church I was part of was heavily influenced by the Fort Lauderdale Five and the Shepherding Movement, I was very open to these teachings. In his message, Mr. Prince basically equated an unsubmissive wife with witchcraft. “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” He had much to say about this whole issue, but it was terrifying to me. When I was very young, I did my first ever research report on the Salem witch trials, and from my youth the Scarlet Letter has also held a strong influence. I was so afraid of being labeled an unsubmissive wife, because I thought I might be figuratively burned at the stake. I come from a part of the country that is heavily steeped in patriarchal type teaching, and much is expected from women there. I no longer live there, having put 500 miles between myself and my first husband, but I still carry with me the burdens.
    I am grateful that in this new place, there are no such demands placed on me. I have had the luxury of much time alone with the Lord and the freedom to make my own choices. The past tries to dictate, but I am becoming more discerning as time goes forward. God has been SO very good to me.

  59. One thing I have seen when there is a strong focus on patriarchy is that the wife is more often than not labeled as the guilty party when there are marital problems. As such, it is she who is being disobedient, rebellious and un-submissive, where nary a word is said about her husband being a tyrant, dictator, lover of the world (anyone say sports?) and worse than an infidel for not providing for his wife.

    As an example, if a man is into pornography, it is not his sin or his issue that is the primary focus, but rather it gets shifted to his wife as being the agent provocateur to cause him to do such nefarious deeds. Possibly due to the fact she has not aged “gracefully” (in man’s eyes), or maybe has put on extra weight, or even is somewhat unkempt due to depression.

    Not getting into a tit or tat situation as one cannot generalize regarding marital issues as each situation is unique. And while it is true that woman are disobedient to their husbands and disobey Scriptural commands, yet so too are their husbands disobedient and rebellious to Christ Jesus and his word. Because of this, I am very wary when there is such a strong focus on the woman’s role/responsibilities where the men often get off scott free. The Scriptures, from what I read, while they most assuredly do speak to women and their duties and obligations, place the emphasis on the man who is to be like Christ.

    When I read the article above, I saw the very thing I speak of. Here, it does us well to notice who the guilty party is; this being the woman. Ignoring the blaring fact that the man sounds like a wretch. First, he walks out on his family and plunges them into near poverty. This is mentioned as if it is an afterthought where he was justified in so doing. Next, when his ex-wife is having car problems, he says “completely at ease and unmoved ‘That’s too bad. I feel sorry for you,’ and casually drove off.”

    And what? This man is not worse than an infidel? This is all her fault? She should feel guilty because he disobeys the most basic of Christ’s commands? Hardly. Yes, there are huge issues with the church in not teaching woman to love their husbands, etc., I strongly agree, but so too the same can be said in teaching husbands to love their wife as Christ loved the church. And the last time I checked, Jesus did not walk out on the church and leave her destitute or in poverty.

    Praise God Kaydee that you came to see that in going to Rome you would be renouncing your faith. This is 100% true. And if those thoughts ever return to your mind or you are told it is what you must do, you must disobey these voices whether they be in your head or your ear, and stay with Christ Jesus no matter what the cost.

  60. Amen brother Michael!

    (including — and especially — the sports part)

    Christ was affirming of women’s importance in the creation and in marriage… and the Bible tells us that in Heaven we are no different in God’s eyes.

    Reading the rest of your post reminded me of the new muslim reference book that instructs muslim men in the ‘proper’ ways to beat their wives.

    If you want to find out what Satan’s plan is for women… just read that book.

    As for me and my house…

  61. It seems that I may be the only one that is “for” the Pearls. I have read a few of their books, some of their articles and even watched a couple of their videos. Because our churches are so lacking in orthopraxy or how to apply the scriptures to our lives, I am saddened to see there is no one in support of this couple who is willing to take a stand, (and evidently a very unpopular one) so that they may help those that need it most.

    I came from a broken family; a family full of alcoholism, adultery and child abuse. My mother walked away after her new husband was sent to prison when I was 9 years old and she shared no part of my life or my sisters for the following 4 years. So I truly had no model for what a good wife should be, or how a husband should treat that wife.
    My husband and I have been married for 6 years now and have 3 wonderful children with another on the way. I have gone through more emotions as a wife and mother than I ever thought possible. I went from thinking that I was a wonderful, sacrificing wife that did no wrong to realizing that I am an argumentative, rebellious, unyielding wife. I am thankful that the Lord has provided me with a husband who has had much grace on me in the areas I lack in. I have read many books on being a wife and a mother and nothing ever seemed to help. Nothing ever made a real difference in my life. In my 6 years of being in churches, I can say that I have never been approached by a true Titus 2 woman that was willing to help guide and direct me as a new wife and mother.

    So, now that you have a little bit of my history, I will tell you why I have found the Pearls to be so refreshing.

    I discovered the book “To Train Up A Child” about a year and a half ago. I read it (after having read Shepherding A Child’s Heart, Don’t Make Me Count To Three and a couple of others that I can’t recall) and I really appreciated their willingness to explain the ins and outs of how to discipline children. In our culture in takes guts to admit that you use spanking as a means of discipline, but to write a book promoting this practice is asking for persecution.

    After reading this book, I decided to order “Created To Be His Helpmeet.” I have to admit after it arrived I read some reviews that claimed that this book “twisted scripture” and I decided not to invest the time in reading it. At the same time I also read many, many negative reviews that I did not agree with on the child training book and later found a site that encouraged “anti-spankers” to go and post a bogus negative review on their book. It was just in the past few months that I decided to actually read Created To Be His Helpmeet. I looked for errors as I went through it since I had heard so many awful things and maybe it is possible that I missed them due to being overwhelmed with the conviction I felt chapter after chapter. I loved the book. I passed this book on to a good friend of mine and she loved it as well. It made her take a step back and re-evaluate her position in her marriage just as it did myself.

    In the book Debi Pearl called me on the carpet for more things than anyone who has ever known me personally. She hit the nail on the head time and time again on the way we behave as women. She made me realize it does not matter if my husband is having an off day and treats me poorly, I am not justified in my behavior. It does not matter if I know more about something than my husband, if he makes a decision for our family I am to honor him in that decision. And it does not matter if I disagree with my husband on a matter, I am to respect him in his role as leader of our family. God has defined the roles of a husband and a wife and I am to follow that. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think that the Pearls have a very raw approach that is needed in this day. I have grown so weary of the fluff-filled books that tiptoe around every tough subject so as not to offend anyone. Offend me! Please offend me, as long as you are teaching me God’s truths, offend me.

    Just last week I watched the Pearl’s DVD “Joy of Training” and it finally really clicked with me and I thought, “Wow! That’s how you do it? That doesn’t seem so difficult.” I started implementing their discipline techniques immediately and only a day and a half later my husband commented on the difference in our children’s behavior. No, I did not beat my kids as many people think the Pearls advocate. I actually encourage anyone who has a problem with their child training books or articles to watch one of their videos because you cannot see the heart of these people in the book as you can in their videos. These people seem to have a genuine love for their children and just want what we all should want, children that stand out in this world. Children that are showing their respect and honor for God by keeping His command to them “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” Ephesians 6:1. If they cannot learn to obey us as their parents in the simple things, how will they learn to obey God in the hard things?
    Now that you know where I am coming from and what experience I have had with the Pearl’s material I would like to address some concerns I had with some of the comments.

    Issue #1: This is for women
    Some of you think that this is being unfair to women and placing all of the blame on the women for failing marriages. This post was an address to women on being godly wives. The reason that the issues of men loving their wives as Christ loves the church, is not addressed is because this article came from a book written to women by a woman on being a wife.

    It is true, men were commanded “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and (B)gave Himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25.

    And wives were given this command:
    “ Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.4But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything [emphasis mine]. Ephesians 5:22-24

    So does this mean that if a husband is not doing as he is commanded that women do not have to what they are commanded?
    Of course not! We want to do what God would have us do because we love Him and we want to honor Him.

    Issue #2: Theology & Hypocrisy
    As a woman, there is no scriptural advice to be given other than to be submissive to your husband, regardless of whether or not you agree with him. Your responsibility is first and foremost to God. God commands you to be submissive to your husband, therefore it does not matter what an awful, miserable man he may be. It does not matter if he is unkind, a liar, or a thief. You are to submit to your husband. In fact, the only exception I have seen to this is if a husband is to commit adultery, “but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except [emphasis mine] for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:32.

    If we are going to pick the Pearls apart for supposedly teaching things that are unbiblical, then should we not look at what we are teaching too?

    Abuse is one of those touchy subjects because it is painful and nobody wants to pour salt on an open wound. However, would it not be a contradiction to the bible to say it is biblical to leave a marriage because of abuse? Nowhere in scripture does it give you that option. That is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s God’s. Not mine, not yours. And maybe, just maybe, there is reason for the pain and suffering that you have had to or are currently experiencing as an abused spouse. If we truly believe that God is sovereign, that He is in control, then can we not also believe that He can deliver us, or He can choose to give us strength through our trials?

    If we are to cast stones at the Pearl’s for supposedly teaching unbiblical things, yet at the same time we’re adding our own provision in Scripture for divorce on grounds of abuse, then aren’t we teaching unbiblical things?

    Issue #3: “the Pearl’s teach a dangerous version of raising children and a twisted idea of marriage”
    I hear this often, yet I have not seen what it is that people are referring to. Please cite specific ideals that you are referring to.

    Issue #4: Accusation: The Pearl’s hold to a Patriarchal Belief System
    I am not sure I understand the problem with this. If the husband is supposed to be the head of his family like Christ is to the church and wives are supposed to submit to their husbands and children to obey their parents, then what is the problem with this belief? Of course any belief can be taken too far; one way or the other. On the opposite end of patriarchal belief is exactly what MOST of the church is today. A bunch of men that don’t desire to lead their families in anything unless it involves sports or video games and wives that have the “don’t tell me” attitude “I am a woman and I can do what I want (no matter what the cost)!”.

    Glenn: No offense, but I think methods of child rearing have to be decided on by a parent. I can tell you we implement a lot of what the Pearl’s teach and our children are fairly well behaved (there’s always room for improvement.) We have seen children from Christian homes that are an absolute embarrassment to their parents. The parents have no control of those children because they are unwilling to train them.

    I have to say I disagree with your review of their book. I think you can take things too far in the way you read something and you have to be careful that you are understanding the writer’s intention. This is where your judgment must come in. Please forgive me for this example, but I think you can compare child training to dog training (not in every aspect, nor am I equating my children to an animal, so save the hate mail). My point in this illustration is that consistency gets results. If you let your dog eat off the table half the time, he is always going to try to eat off the table. If you allow your children to disobey you half the time, they are going to disobey you whenever they want something you will not allow.

    I have checked on the abuse case of the couple that actually murdered their children using what they say was the Pearls methods and I can only say that I think there was a serious problem with those parents. I never got the impression I needed to beat my children for hours over school work or anything for that matter. In his video he shows how to implement training from the time they are babies and I never got the impression that you need to “beat” your children
    The comic books, I will leave. Some people like them, some don’t – that isn’t an issue that I think is even worth debating.

    They are King James only, but again that doesn’t matter to me and that is a preference by them. They can read the version they prefer and it doesn’t affect me one way or the other.

    As far as homeschoolers that are following them like “virtual cult leaders” I can only say that sometimes appearance isn’t what it seems. I will tell you that we have a very small circle of friends that are like-minded on many things that we feel are important. We have been “prayed against” because we are seeking and desire holiness in our lives and oftentimes when you want that and people around you do not, it makes them uncomfortable so as a defense they resort to referring to you as a cult because they don’t want what you want or see what you see. Are they cult like because they are “separating themselves” or because their teachings are false? If their teachings are not false then they are not cult leaders.

    Yvonne: Thank you for the posted review from the homeschool blog. I think she did a better job of reviewing it than most reviews I have seen. I can see many of her points, yet others I think are taken too far (and I can give examples if needed) but the bottom line is these people are still human. Her book Created To Be His Helpmeet is meant to be a practical help. It is meant to be encouragement to fix the things that you can. Does this mean it will always work out the way Debi has described? No. She is not God and cannot predict the future of marriages. She can however, as a Titus 2 woman, encourage younger women and share her experiences and point out errors.

    The bottom line is:
    They are desiring to do a good work. They are helping families like ours who have no elders qualified or capable of showing us how to raise our children in a disciplined manner, or how to honor God in our marriage. Somebody needs to be teaching these things and I don’t see anyone else stepping up to the plate.

  62. Amen Pilgrim’s Wife!!!

    I am a woman who read Debi Pearl’s book after another woman who told me she hated it gave it to me. Betwen that and a couple of other teachings that pointed out what the wife’s role is according to scripture…my life has changed and I look at everything in a different way. Debi hit the nail on the head in my life too…and wow she described me to a ‘T’!! I was a bossy, hateful, angry, out of order wife! (I’m sure lots more, but want to get this off quickly!) I found fault in my husband all the time. I blamed him for everything that was wrong in our marriage. How ashamed I was to learn that it was not him at all…but me!!! Yes, it was painful to be honest with myself…but this has brought much healing. One of the biggest things I hear from women when I share the wife’s-vs-husband’s role is…”what about the men???”…to which I say-“You are not a man!-You do what God tells women to do!” It always goes back to the original sin…”It was the devil, no it was the man, no it was the woman…” God brought me to the place where I can say…’It was me…please change me Lord. Make me a good help meet for my husband-no matter what other women say or do. Let me honor you and in that honor my husband and call him Lord as Sarah did when addressing her husband Abraham.’ Wow…do women hate that or what??? I would have years ago…but praise God…He healed my heart and changed my attitude!

    I have so very far to go, living with no church and no examples and no sisters to help me stay accountable is quite a challenge. But through God’s grace, He will chasten me when I’m wrong and teach me how to be an example of the church responding to Christ in all things. It is hard to ‘unlearn’ the lies you’ve been taught in life and in church for almost 30 years and retrain yourself to obey the Holy Spirit instead of your flesh! Thank God for His Word-washing me each day!

    I’ve read the Pearl’s articles for almost 30 years…and while my husband and I may not agree with everything they said, we agree with most. I wanted to point out that Michael Pearl did do a series of articles pointing out the error of ‘biblical patriarchy‘. If one does a search…it can be found right on their site.

    Thanks, PW, for taking the time to write this comment.

  63. Pilgrims Wife,

    My only comment is to say yes and amen to the scripture below in regards to your post.

    Titus 2:8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

    God Bless you sister

  64. I read the article with an increasing feeling of conviction, and I am so grieved. Grieved at my sin, grieved at how I treat my husband with the same sinful attitudes she did and take him for granted. I think my sin is subtle, but he sees it and it must hurt. I know he wants me to respect him and I do…most of the time. Because of his patient, loving nature he forgives me and doesn’t rebuke me, which I deserve and need, so this article did it for me and I’m so glad I read it.
    I love the ideas of patriarchy and submission; I love that God set these up in order to protect me. He only ever does what is good for me, and my rebelliousness wants to turn it all upside down and make it into something unfair but it’s not…it’s good!
    Pilgrims Wife; you have hit the proverbial nail on the head, several times. I so appreciate hearing truth spoken in love.
    Thank you for posting the article and giving me something to really think about, that will be used to conform me more into the image of Christ.

  65. Nice job Pilgrim’s Wife! It’s so rare to hear a woman like yourself stand up and speak so strongly, yet submissive to her husband. May God bless your home, family and marriage.

  66. Dear Pilgrim and Pilgrim’s Wife,

    It is oh-so-evident that you truly love the Lord and desire to follow Him in how you live out your family relationships. I can see your sincerity and good intentions.

    It is no secret that I have serious concerns about what the Michael and Debi Pearl teach, both theologically and practically. A lot of what they say sounds, at first, reasonable. Earthy, common-sensical — Biblical, even. And yet. . . Looking both at the big picture of what they teach in comparison with the Bible, in light of the Gospel and God’s amazing grace, it’s just so very faulty. I’m concerned that you seem to have minimized the impact of their poor theology. That foundation really leads to actions that are harmful to families, body and soul.

    I’ve seen the results of Pearl parenting (which is not Biblical, as much as they would try to say it is) in so many families. So much regret. So much harm in the husband/wife relationship, so much harm in the parent/child relationship. And, yes, abuse. Even if the Pearls do not think they are advocating abuse, the actual implementation is so very often abusive. (And how sad is it that loving, God-fearing families are being abusive with good intentions?)

    I want to share something a friend of mine wrote recently, which speaks of her doing everything “right,” looking to the Lord, and still. . . full of regret. . . I don’t know if she explicitly mentions the Pearls, but she has told me they were a great influence. It is lengthy, but truly, it is important to get an idea of where you and your family may be 5 years down the road. . . your children are still young, you are new to NGJ/TTUAC. . . this gives a glimpse of what you may find to be regrets later:

    My children were everything to me. I remember the feelings I had when I gave birth to my first child, emotions that surprised me with their ferocity. I’d spent my entire life focusing on me, more than anyone else, and yet now, after a few hours of the most horrible pain I’d ever experienced in my entire life (so much for the pain-free birthing books I’d read and committed to memory), this bloody squalling thing suddenly became the Most Important Thing On Earth.

    I looked in shock at my husband, holding that baby that, up until then, I’d never even seen with my physical eyes, and, my gaze wide with amazement at the power of the raw protective urge coursing through my body, said, “I’d do anything for her. I don’t care if it is a Mack Truck on the highway—I’d willingly let it run over me if it would save her life.”

    I was absolutely, totally and emphatically in love.

    So when a woman from church gave me an innocent looking white book with an Amish-style family on the front cover, telling me it was the best book on raising children she’d ever read, I was interested. Two pages into it, I was hooked. Here was a man telling me that there was a sure-fire way that I could raise my child and guarantee that she would grow up to love and serve the Lord. As a devout evangelical conservative Christian, there was nothing more important to me than that. As bad as a Mack Truck accident might be, there was no “accident” or situation worse than the thought of my child not growing up to follow Christ—because that would mean an entire eternity of Hell. A Mack Truck can’t begin to compare.

    So with my mother-love highly aroused and my fears fully engaged, I read, page by page, all about the way to ensure that your children are properly trained so that they will grow up to love and serve God.

    If I could sum up the message that this book spoke to a young mother who deeply loved her baby, it was this:

    “Momma, your baby is a sinner. He/she will try to manipulate you. Things like a child not liking a diaper change and squirming to be free are an example of a sinful will attempting to dominate you. You may think this is a little thing, but it’s huge. Why? Because if you let the child dominate you, the child will win. If the child wins, the child will learn that rebellion pays. The child will then grow up to probably reject God and go to Hell, because a rebellious heart will not want to follow God. So, Momma, never ever let your child win. Your child’s exertion of will [which includes anything you deem unacceptable---grumpiness, for example] is an act of war, and parenting is about the parent winning any and all battles of wills.”

    I loved my baby. How grateful, absolutely grateful I felt, that someone was there to show me the way. Now, at last, there was hope! My baby would get the joy of growing up in a home where things were done right. She wouldn’t have to go through the things I went through! No, she was going to have a godly home where she would be trained properly, and she would grow up happy and obedient and full of love towards God. It was so exciting.

    So exciting that I bought ten of those books and passed them out to my friends so that they could all join in the delight of knowing we could raise our children in a way that would ensure both their happiness now and their eternal future in Heaven.

    I didn’t know. If I could go back now and re-do the way I parented that little baby, I would. Out of all the things in my life that I deeply regret, that is the most painful, the most difficult, the most horrific set of memories to revisit. Because the thing is, I love my children no less now than I did then. It’s still a ferocious mother-bear kind of love. It’s still so powerful it is palpable.

    But seeing your children as enemies in a war creates a fundamental crack in the parent-child relationship. Even if there is the most powerful love in the universe on the other side of the crack, the divide is still there…including the distortion of communication it causes. I entered into a performance-based parenting model out of love for my child. But that model does not feed love, or nurture love, or engage love.

    It creates fear—fear of punishment, fear of not performing properly, fear of not receiving approval. And it also creates shame—shame for not measuring up, shame because you, “should have known better,” shame because you failed (again). It creates a relationship based on hierarchy (one is on top, one is an “underling”), a relationship based on power-over (not shared power), a relationship based on, “because God said so,” and not free will or true choice.

    These are not things that create an environment in which to grow happy, healthy, richly nurtured human beings.

    If I could put that two year old on my knee—and I can’t, because she’s a long way from two now—I would just hug her. I would rock her to sleep at night. I would sing her songs and tell her stories and I’d not see the flames of Hell rising over her head when she failed to perform properly. I’d giggle at her two-year-old antics and I would applaud the development of her brain when she began to understood that she was not me—an understanding often paired with the frequent use of the word, “No.”

    Her, “no,” would not mean rebellion to me, but would mean the beginning sparks of awareness—an awareness of her own personhood, an awareness that I would seek to nurture. If she crossed boundary lines, I would gently and lovingly bring her back in—with firmness, if necessary, because sometimes firmness is, but with a distinct lack of fear that her boundary-pushing was because of some sin or desire-to-dominate that I must somehow quell or be responsible for her eternal damnation.

    There would also be an atmosphere of respect for all people involved—not a respect demanded only for the authority figure (who may act disrespectfully to others, which is okay, but must always be respected by all underlings, unless they wish to risk punishment), but a respect that is part of the fabric of family life. A respect that is for everybody, for no other reason than because all humans deserve respect.

    There would be none of the franticness of “getting it right.” Instead, there would be the easy rolling rhythm of life, her mommy understanding that some days are fun, some days are hard, and most days are made up of smiles and tears and laughter and groans, all mixed into one big cyclical ball we call life…and no amount of franticness changes that.

    In closing, if the years go by and my oldest child stumbles onto what I’ve written here, I would like to finish this essay with a letter to that baby that I birthed those years ago:

    Baby,

    I am so very very sorry. Everything I did, I did out of love. But that doesn’t excuse any of it, nor does it take it away. And I am sorry. There is nothing more important than this, when I look back at the years, that I wish I could go back and do over.

    Maybe it seems like I should have known, because mother’s know everything, right? You may not feel like that, but, if you ever do, when you become a mother, you will probably understand just how much I didn’t know.

    I was young. I didn’t understand. I didn’t know. I swear to you, I literally didn’t know.

    But now that I do, I’m not quiet. I tell the other mommies, when I see them with that book, that its message may cause more harm than good. I tell them my story. I tell them stories of other mommies who followed that book. Sometimes they get mad at me, when I tell them, because the book is often considered, “God’s Way,” and they think it shouldn’t be challenged. It hurts them to have the book’s ideas openly disagreed with.

    I tell them anyway. I wish someone would have been brave enough to tell me. When someone finally did, I was angry. I couldn’t believe someone would speak against God…but, slowly, I finally became able to hear them, and when I did, the lights came on and everything changed.

    And, as soon as I became aware of a better way, I took it. You remember that, because you were old enough to be aware. We had some interesting talks as I practiced those new ideas on your youngest sibling, didn’t we? What a change! I shared about what I used to think, and why…and why I am doing things a different way now. It made a big impression on you, the idea that everyone deserves respect. It made a big impression on all of us.

    Honey, I love you. There just aren’t words strong enough or deep enough to say how much I love you. I’d still happily jump in front of a Mack Truck for you, without even a thought. And as a young mother, I loved you with everything I knew, in every way I knew was best.

    I’m glad that “best” evolved and grew into something even better, but I am so sorry I didn’t discover it earlier. I am so sorry that I parented you in a way that wasn’t the best. This letter, and other words like it, are part of my way of expressing that sorrow. I can’t change our past, though I have done and will continue to do everything I can to change our current and future relationship, to do my part to help it be as positive and loving as it can be, a relationship that benefits both of us, a relationship where we each are able to “just be ourselves.” And maybe I can’t go back and re-do the years of my early parenting, but I can work to help change the past for other babies out there who, just like you, don’t need a mommy who is mistakenly thinking that mothering is a war, or that it is loving to make the baby “lose.”

    I love you. I am not at war with you. I am your Mommy, so very very proud to be your Mommy, and I will always love you with the same abandoned ferocity that filled my heart the moment you were born.

    I’m grateful to be your,

    Mommy

    I share these things with you as a sister in the Lord, with true desire to encourage and also warn. I’m not trying to be proven “right” or discredit you or the Pearls. While I do believe that what the Pearls are teaching in God’s name is dishonoring to God, not in line with the Bible or sound doctrine, and harmful to families–that is not my motivation in sharing.

    Most of all, I want to encourage you to step back and consider what the Bible teaches in its totality, and the impact of the Gospel in our family relationships.

    Grace and hope,
    TulipGirl
    _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Btw, I know you appreciate this Spurgeon quote. . . and I think that it oh-so-fittingly applies to this conversation:

    Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

  67. TulipGirl
    Thank you very much for your concern and input on the subject of the Pearls and child rearing. I am not exactly sure how to respond to the letter that you included. I do not agree with what the mother is saying regarding the methods of the Pearls. I am not trying to say her “feelings” are not legitimate, so please don’t misunderstand.

    I truly think that 1.) Anyone can misconstrue information they are given and in fact people do it with the bible all the time. People oftentimes use it as a means to justify what they are doing because they take it out of context or misinterpret it. 2.) Regrets can happen in parenting whether you follow this method or another. I have had similar regrets already, but not for the fact that I discipline my children, but actually for the exact opposite. Due to my lack of discipline, I have at times resented my children. I am actually thankful for this book because it has helped us to restore some order to our household, therefore relieving the underlying stress that is caused by chaos. Our God is a God of order and we should therefore strive to have order in our lives and homes.

    There are two sides to every coin and anything in life can be taken to an extreme, whether it be eating, sleeping, love, discipline, etc. I am not sure where the idea that you are in war against your children comes from. I have never felt that way. I do believe children can have very strong wills and yes they need to learn to submit to authority (in this instance their parents) and later on in life they will be able to more easily submit to God.

    The below paragraph from your letter goes against the very foundation of what I believe.

    “Her, ‘no,’ would not mean rebellion to me, but would mean the beginning sparks of awareness—an awareness of her own personhood, an awareness that I would seek to nurture. If she crossed boundary lines, I would gently and lovingly bring her back in—with firmness, if necessary, because sometimes firmness is, but with a distinct lack of fear that her boundary-pushing was because of some sin or desire-to-dominate that I must somehow quell or be responsible for her eternal damnation.”

    Her “no” is rebellion and it does need to be responded to with firmness out of love for that child. Not because of a fear that that child will be eternally damned for their disobedience. Teaching them that there is a righteous God and a law that we can never uphold helps to prepare this child for a time when they are ready and capable of understanding their need for a Savior. It is not that we have some magical power to prevent them from spending their eternity in hell. It is true that we will have to answer for our responsibility in raising our children the same way that the shepherd of a church will have to answer for how he has taught his congregation or the way you choose or choose not to witness to the homeless man that you come across on the street or the neighbor living right next door.

    I don’t see anything biblical about the way that the writer of this letter says she would have done differently in raising her children.

    I have again reviewed some of the blogposts about them and have found information to either be false, or taken out of context concerning the Pearls, but I have yet to find them in error. I have had my husband go over some of the excerpts from their book that are being questioned, with me and he was in agreement that they do not seem to be teaching anything heretical. Again my concern and issue with all of the comments concerning the Pearl’s on this post is that I have yet to see any concrete evidence that they are in error, doctrinally speaking, with what they are teaching. This seems to be, unless able to be proven otherwise, a case of bearing false witness against your neighbor. I don’t believe this is intentional, but I do ask that before anyone post more negative things on the Pearls that they do their research and see for themselves if their claims can be validated from the source and not from the opinions of others.

  68. Pilgrim’s Wife,
    I too used to be a strong adherent of the Pearls. I felt they were grossly misunderstood, and supported most of their views. I was disgusted when the couple you mentioned misunderstood their teaching on child training and abused their daughter to death, and I defended Michael Pearl. Until I saw his own proudly stated account of the issue:

    http://pearlchildtraining.blogspot.com/2010/03/michael-pearl-laughs-at-critics.html

    Of course he is not responsible, but Pearl’s response to the murder was horrifying, and his description of children raised “his” way was arrogant to say the least. There was no kindness or Christian love in his response whatsoever: and a child is dead. Then, I repented in tears. I called all the young mothers I had referred to him. I will never again recommend his books or articles and have realized yet again what even a tiny bit of error mixed with good will do. I am so sad for what has happened to him and his ministry….but it is right there in black and white.

  69. Dear Tulip Girl:

    I too am grateful for your concern and for you taking the time to share with us the story from your friend. Let us never be beyond instruction and admonition.

    I do, however, have some concerns of my own about the letter from your friend.

    In the letter from your friend, she said:

    “Here was a man telling me that there was a sure-fire way that I could raise my child and guarantee that she would grow up to love and serve the Lord.”

    Not sure if the author actually said this, or if it was your friend’s interpretation, but that was mistake number one.

    If your friend had a proper understanding of the totality of Scripture she would know that salvation is of the Lord and only He can take a dead man and raise him to life. No parenting method or church growth method or evangelism method (or any “method” for that matter) can ensure what she was hoping for.

    The next problem I had with your friend’s letter was when she summed up the message of the book as that of the baby being a sinner, that the baby will try to manipulate the parent, that the child will learn rebellion if permitted to have his/her way, that the parent-child relationship is a war, and that the child is an enemy in this war.

    So is your friend (and are you) suggesting that the child is NOT a sinner, or at least not a sinner form birth? When she says her daughter’s “’no’ would not mean rebellion” to her, is she serious? At what point does she consider her child’s “no” to be rebellion? When your 4 year-old says “no” it’s ok, but when your 14 year-old says “no” it’s rebellion? Or does she not consider a child’s “no” as ever being rebellion? The Bible tells me otherwise because children are instructed to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1).

    We aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we’re sinners. We have inherited Adam’s sin. It’s our nature. We don’t learn to lie, manipulate, steal, etc. I have not needed to teach any of these sins to our kids but we’ve seen each one of them follow suit in these behaviors. Why? Because rebellion is inherent in all of us. So far, it sounds like the author of the book your friend read at least understands original sin correctly.

    Again, not having read the book myself, I am not sure if it’s is the author’s expression or your friend’s interpretation that we are at war with our kids, but I can assure you my wife and I don’t see it that way and my wife actually read the Pearls’ book (if this is the same book your friend is referring to).

    What we do understand is that we are at war with sin and the flesh. And we see this war in ourselves and we daily have to do battle with it (as Paul did). Being parents to our children (and responsible for them) we would be absolutely unloving fools to leave our undisciplined, unprepared, and unequipped children to fight in their own war against their own rebellion all by themselves. Who in their right mind would send young men into battle as soldiers without ever disciplining them, training them or equipping them for the war? No nation on earth would make such an error, and neither should parents.

    My wife and I do not see our children as enemies or even opponents in a war between them and us. Instead, we see our children as fellow-soldiers in this universal war against sin. If your friend interpreted the book to mean parents and children needed to be adversarial toward one another, then the problem of misinterpretation falls at her feet and not the author’s.

    We love our children beyond measure (and possibly to a fault) and I would caution everyone against being tempted to believe that we view our children as enemies and adversaries based on someone’s misinterpretation of a book.

    Also, your friend said in her letter:

    “I shared about what I used to think, and why…and why I am doing things a different way now. It made a big impression on you, the idea that everyone deserves respect. It made a big impression on all of us.”

    This seems to imply only one thing: Applying biblical discipline to you child means there’s no respect involved.

    If this was the case with your friend, then she did it incorrectly and should not fault the mandate to discipline, nor those who have tried to practically instruct others how to do it in a book . . . unless, of course, what they’ve said can be easily construed (by a reasonable person) to mean that disrespect will be the result.

    Furthermore, your friend said she “entered into a performance-based parenting model . . .”. This, again, is not a problem on our end. We are aware of the potential for this and are cautious not to do this. We want to lead our little ones to Christ, not create little Pharisees who only perform properly in an outward expression while inwardly being in rebellion.

    Your friend also claims to be opposed to God’s order for the family when she speaks of it negatively in such terms as “hierarchy” and “underling” and that it’s based on “power-over (not shared power).” Is her problem with the book, or God’s order for the family? Does God not set a standard for family order? Or has He left it up to ourselves to do what is right in our own eyes?

    And your friend’s remark that her relationships with her children were based on “because God said so” reveals a monumental flaw in her administration of and understanding of biblical discipleship in (and outside of) the family. Too often “because God said so” is employed in debates because the debater has no answers. But this does not do justice to the defense of the faith and the opposing debater only sees that as a victory.

    God has outlined His reasons for child-discipline and proper family structure throughout Scripture (Proverbs alone is enough to keep you busy on these matters). To use the “because God said so” defense on this issue reveals a lack of depth since the Bible already supplies those answers.

    So here we are. Your friend’s interpretation of that book (I’m assuming it’s the Pearl’s book) has led one way, while my wife’s interpretation led another. I suppose debating the merits of any book based of each individual’s interpretation can keep us busy debating till the end of time.

    Additionally, to argue (as some have) that people have used the principles in the Pearls’ books with bad results is not as valid as it may seem on the surface. How many times has the Bible been subject to misinterpretation to justify all sorts of horrors? Does that mean the Bible is bad? Of course not. It means that those perpetrating these atrocities intentionally misused it for their own purpose, or ignorantly misinterpreted it.

    Which brings me to my final point. I keep reading time and time again “they’re unbiblical, they’re uhbiblical!” Yet no one is presenting what exactly it is that they take issue with. It seems folks are getting caught up in the frenzy. My wife and I looked at a link we were sent that listed page numbers for reference regarding their issues with the book. Under the topic of the wife losing her identity in Christ to her husband, we randomly examined some of the objections. Comparing those arguments with the book itself it was clear that the writer was splitting hairs and was trying to find problems where there were none. Most notably was that the quotes they cited in the book that were not in their proper context, and reading a little further down the page referenced, revealed that what the Pearl’s were being accused of saying was simply not true when viewed in the broader context.

    My challenge to those who keep beating the “they’re not biblical” drum is to bring forth an actual point in which the Pearl’s said something that is not just “unbiblical” (otherwise writing a cook book could be considered “unbiblical” because 101 Ways to Cook an Egg is not found in the Bible) but that is actually antithetical to Biblical Christianity.

    For example: Direct me to where the Pearl’s teach that Jesus was Michael the Archangel or show me where the Pearl’s taught that God was once a man.

    Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows I have a passion for the truth. I am not being stubborn on this matter for any ulterior motives, but before I join the anti-Pearl bandwagon I’d like to see some concrete heresies being espoused by them. Otherwise, as my wife has expressed, I’d be treading in the area of bearing false witness against the Pearls which I’d prefer not to do.

    Thank you all for understanding and for caring enough to speak with me about these things.

    Respectfully,
    – Pilgrim
    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Joyful Puritan:

    Regardless of whether or not Michael Pearl was at fault for the death of a child, he should exhibit some degree of compassion. When I read what you wrote I was very interested in his response to the death of a child. If what you were saying were true, it would be disturbing.

    I clicked on the link and read the article about him laughing at his many critics. Although I’m not sure I’d respond to my critics that way (and I have plenty of them too) I fail to see the correlation between the article on that link and him being callous toward the death of a child. What you accused him of was not readily observable in the link you provided.

    In closing, I just want to say that I also understand that there are men who use their position in the family to be a dictator, and that is an improper interpretation of God’s design for the family structure (as well as being sinful behavior). But let us not overlook the other issue that no one seems to want to discuss (except folks like the Pearls, Voddie Baucham, Doug Phillips, etc.) The more common problem (that’s an absolute plague in the Church) is that most men have abdicated their God-given responsibilities to their wives, the public school teachers, the Sunday school teacher, the nursery teacher, the pastor, the church, and even their own children . . . anybody but who God designed to be responsible.

    This is the elephant in the room.

    Sincerely,

    – Pilgrim

  70. Dear Pilgrim,
    The article I referred you to was in direct response to the criticism Michael Pearl was receiving based on the death of Lydia Schatz, who was murdered by her parents with 1/4 inch supply tubing. It was posted 3 weeks after the murder. In light of that, does not this response seem horrific?
    “Even my chickens are laughing . . . well, actually it more like cackling, because they just laid another organic egg for my breakfast and they know that it was that same piece of ¼ inch plastic supply line that trained the dogs not to eat chicken…” There is nothing even remotely Chrisitlike in this response.
    I am well aware of Michael Pearl’s position on men abdicating their responsibilities….and women as well, and I agree with him on this. But there are many Biblical teachers who communicate these truths without communicating arrogance, pride, and laughing at other’s horrific misfortunes….and personally, I prefer to listen to them.

  71. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim,

    Thank you for being willing to engage, and so graciously. . . To be honest, we’ll be traveling and I’ll have limited time online. Do you mind if we continue to interact in the future on this topic? I do believe it is of grave importance. . .

    And just to be clear, while I respect my friend, that is not the letter I would write and there are things she and I differ on. . . however, if you had known her and saw how she implemented and loved and disciplined her children, you would have perceived she was interpreting the Pearl teachings accurately.

    One thing you mentioned that is of great concern to you and upon which you and I would most likely agree is this, “…only He can take a dead man and raise him to life. . . We aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we’re sinners. We have inherited Adam’s sin. It’s our nature.”

    I would encourage you (if you have time) to look at what Michael and Debi Pearl believe about sin, the sin nature, children, and sinless perfection. . . Those are some of the areas of great concern about the foundations of what they teach.

    Similarly, you state, “We love our children beyond measure (and possibly to a fault) and I would caution everyone against being tempted to believe that we view our children as enemies and adversaries based on someone’s misinterpretation of a book. … Furthermore, your friend said she “entered into a performance-based parenting model . . .”. This, again, is not a problem on our end. We are aware of the potential for this and are cautious not to do this. We want to lead our little ones to Christ, not create little Pharisees who only perform properly in an outward expression while inwardly being in rebellion.”

    I think you have a wonderful attitude. I can say with some confidence that this is exactly where my friend started — and where she is now. What is so insidious about the Pearl’s teachings is that, in spite of their “tying heartstrings” encouragement to love our children, in oh-so-many cases their teachings DO lead to an adversarial, us vs. them, parent vs. child relationship that does not mirror our God as our Heavenly Father’s relationship with us, His adopted sons. Of COURSE that is not what you want, what my friend wanted. . . but what I’ve seen in many families is that is where the Pearl’s teachings lead.

    Again, thank you for your openness to engage on this topic with kindness, and with all of us desiring God’s truth and that we live out the Gospel with our families.

    Grace and hope,
    TG

  72. Dear Joyful Puritan:
    Do we know if his “laughing” was a direct response to the tragedy, or a general response to his critics? I’m not trying to split hairs but I don’t want to take something he was addressing on a different issue and apply it to the tragedy merely because of the proximity in time by which it occurred.

    If it is related, then yes, I’m horrified at the response. If it’s not related, I’m still uneasy about it due to its timing and to–what I see–is a lack of humbleness.

    _________________________________________________

    Tulip Girl:
    You asked:

    “Do you mind if we continue to interact in the future on this topic?”

    Sure. Whenever you return from your trip.

    You also said:

    “I would encourage you (if you have time) to look at what Michael and Debi Pearl believe about sin, the sin nature, children, and sinless perfection. . . Those are some of the areas of great concern about the foundations of what they teach.”

    I sure will look into it. And with that said, I have received some info from a friend via e-mail that I will be looking into (just trying to find the time between life and all the other issues presently taking my time on DefCon). It may help me understand what it is that’s causing all the uproar. If indeed there are some serious issues, I will certainly not sugar coat them (longtime readers can vouch for that).

    _________________________________________________

    I wish to make it known to all reading this, that I am not defending the Pearls for some ulterior motive. I really have no reason to rally to their defense (as it must be appearing that I’m doing). I am simply being cautious about charging them with heresy. Everyone keeps throwing them under the bus and accusing them of horrible things without providing concrete evidence of such problems. And what I actually have seen is simply their statements taken out of context. I’m not saying that there’s not any problems present, I just haven’t seen them clearly presented yet.

    I will continue to examine the issues that have been presented. Thank you all for your kindness, grace, and patience.

  73. There has been an entire book written about the doctrinal errors of the Pearls which has yet to be published but all the chapters are available from this page.

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