Teaching Children How To Appolgize

JoEllen from CuppaCocoa explains how to teach children A Better Way To Say Sorry.  This method is phenomenal as are the results of teaching it.  As Dara Stoltzfus said on the Facebook page for this site.

I’ve used this approach with my kids and it’s really the best way to go. Just forcing the “I’m sorry” thing doesn’t help anyone or teach kids “why” they should be sorry. I find too that when you talk to them about what they did wrong, once they’re used to this way of apologizing, they do it on their own. They will spontaneously offer an apology and ask forgiveness without being prompted to do so once they understand “why” what they did was wrong.

And, the funny thing is…once my oldest…did something and then she came to me and asked me to forgive her and I realized at that moment that here…I’d been wanting to wallow in my anger. I wanted to stay mad at her. I wanted to somehow “make her suffer” for what she’d done (the effects of having been spanked showing thru in me) and when she asked me that I had to deal with that IN ME.

Thoughtful parenting really changes US in such amazing ways.

This post is part of a larger series on How To Shape Children’s Behavior.

She also has some good marriage advice.

What Is A Helpmeet?

If you think that woman was made only to serve man then you need to read Dan Wilkin­son’s explaination of what the Bible means by Helpmeet.

Wifely Submission

Dulce de Leche has a series on Wifely Submission

Part 1 Intro
Part 2 Before The Fall
Part 3 The Fall
Part 4 What God Has Joined Together
Part 5 Wives, Submit Yourselves to Your Husbands
Part 6 Spiritual Leadership
Part 7 Who Makes the Final Decision?

Also Eric Pazdziora explores The Myth of the Weaker Vessel.

More On Raising Christian Teenagers

C.L. Dyck of Scita Scita Scienda shares her reaction to Sharon Lathan’s recent post (which I shared yesterday) in Parenting Teens in the Christian Culture.

Is Debi Pearl to Blame?

Livinginblurredlines shares how the advice in Debi Pearl’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet negatively affected her marriage.  However she does not want to put the blame on Debi Pearl saying,

Blaming Debi Pearl’s “Created To Be His Helpmeet” book for what I am going through is like blaming a cookbook for your burned dinner.

I’m not so sure I agree with that. If the cookbook tells me to cook the dinner for 30 minutes at 350 and I cook the dinner for 3o minutes at 350 and it burns, I’m going to warn people that the cookbook has some bad information in it.  Sure, I should have kept an eye on the food and noticed if it started burning and saved my dinner.  But whether I saved my dinner or not, the cookbook has shown itself to contain unreliable information and people should be warned about it.

That said, she makes some  good points, especially that one should look to God first and foremost.  Amen.

A Complementarian’s Concerns With Created To Be His Help Meet

Complementarian Tim Challies analyses Debi Pearl’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet and points out his concerns with the teachings therein.

Part 1 looks at the harsh and critical spirit and the foolish counsel.

Part 2 looks at “poor theology, poor use of Scripture and far too little gospel.”

This is an excellent review to share with complementarians.

Abuse Without Hitting

Dulce de Leche features an anonymous testimony about the damage of emotional and mental abuse in But He Never Hit Her.

A Warning About Extreme Submission

Mrs. Jacks shares her testimony of How Submission Books Nearly Ruined her Marriage.

What Does The Bible Teach About Unquestioned Submission?

Bob Bixby looks at what the story of Ananias and Sapphira teaches us about Unquestioned Submission in, Sapphira – When Standing by Your Man Will Kill You.

CTBHH – Dangerous Advice with Heresy

ChucklesTravels reviews Created To Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl which he deems Dangerous Advice mixed with a lot of Heresy.

How To Be A Good Wife

Aubry Grace  looks at the fallacy of trying to follow the advice in books like Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl and An Excellent Wife by Martha Peace in her post, The Gospel Driven Marriage: How To Be A Good Wife.  Excellent advice which I think every married person should read.

And in the interest of fairness, here is a good post for the unmarried to read. <3

Submission and Children

MamaPsalmist has some thoughts about Submission which I thought you might find interesting.

How Marriage Reflects Parenting

Heather, from My Life, posts an argument for using gentle parenting based on the pattern given for marriage in Ephesians. But I’m not doing this post justice, so here is a small excerpt:

If the Scriptures speak of a marriage relationship full of respect and love, why do we read and implement teachings of parenting that exclude respect, love, grace, understanding,….? Are those things only reserved for a husband and wife’s relationship and when it comes to parenting we can pull out all the stops and physically punish our child(ren) and treat them as a wild animal that needs training?

Renouncing Patriocentric Teachings

pFamilyGal renounces her belief in patriocentric teachings and explains why in Freeeeedoooom.

Putting Spouses Before Children

Dare to Disciple has a mini blog carnival on the topic of putting spouses’ needs before that of children in:
Myth Busting 5: Put the marriage first by Claire
and Husband vs. Children? by Barefoot Betsy

Wife Only Submission vs Mutual Submission

I have noticed a confusion about the difference between WOS (Wife Only Submission) and MS (Mutual Submission) so I would like to clarify the difference and add some thoughts.

WOS is the belief that, in marriage, husbands are not obligated/called to submit to their wives out of reverence for Christ.

MS is the believe that husbands and wives are both obligated/called to submit to their spouse (and others) out of reverence for Christ.

WOS is often tied with patriarchy — which is the philosophy that, in marriage, the male has authority over his wife due to his gender.

In my opinion, patriarchy can be mostly-healthy, when the man is choosing sacrificial love towards his wife and/or when he uses his perceived authority in wise and godly ways — which would generally include trust, respect some ‘delegation’ of that perceived authority, etc.

In that ‘mostly-healthy patriarchy’ case, WOS is not what is truly going on — because ‘sacrificial love’ fits the Biblical definition of ‘submission’, even if neither spouse would use that word for it, and even though it depends on the (in my opinion, inaccurate) perception of inherent male authority. If the husband is submitting to his wife (by loving her sacrificially) that is a MS scenario, and anything else is just semantics.

The reason WOS (the idea that males are not obligated/called to submit to their wives out of reverence for Christ) is a bigger problem than ‘mostly-healthy patriarchy’ is because if men do not submit to their wives (no matter what vocabulary they prefer to use about it) they are not obeying God’s commands to them, and that’s a problem — often a problem that has effects on many others (the wife, children, children’s spouses, grandchildren). It’s hard for me to see people ‘normalizing’ the disobedience of one gender, while twisting the obedience of the other gender to compensate for it.

Now I believe that the NT describes a situation in which a husband had legal and civic responsibility over his wife, who was, by law his property. He had the full authority granted to him by the Roman government, and he could not ignore it. No one could.

Therefore I find it quite understandable that, in reading the New Testament some readers would draw the conclusion that because that hierarchy is described in the Bible, it is to be understood as ‘the right thing’ for Christians. I hold nothing against people who have honestly come to this conclusion — it’s easy to come by!

Patriarchy was the building block of Roman society. Equality between men and women would have been illegal. Therefore the New Testament gives commands as-to how a man with legal/civic authority is still capable of submitting to his wife, and is not exempt from the command to do so.

Therefore I consider marriages that involve ‘presumed authority’ of the male, ONLY WHEN combined with proper Christian submission (to each other) — to be within the Bible’s definition of a godly way to live.

Patriarchy-with-mutual-submission worked for the 1st Century Roman Christians, and it can work for our brothers and sisters if they want it to. We have no place to stand against them as if their conclusions and choices were sin.

What can’t work (as far as I can possibly see) is patriarchy-without-mutual-submission… because the belief that some Christians are free not to submit to other Christians (for reasons of gender and marital status) is completely out of step with the Bible — encouraging disobedience to direct commandments as well as disregarding the very core of the character of the Christlife.

Patriarchy can hurt people — and does — but it does not always hurt people, and it can be done ‘well’ according to the New Testament.

WOS (the belief that husbands are free to behave unsubmissively towards their wives) is the real poison. Living with someone who claims Christ but lives with a me-before-you attitude, and believes and preaches that it is right and proper to do so… that’s just not right… and people are definitely going to get hurt.

Mixed feelings about Created To Be His Help Meet

Elizabeth, at Virginia Is For Mothers, reviews Created To Be His Help Meet. While she got a lot of positive things out of it, she has some concerns.  I am linking to this post for 2 reasons.

1) This is a good review to share with people who got a lot out of the book and are wondering what could possibly be wrong with it.  If you share a very negative review with them, they will likely be resistant to the message therein.  This review brings up concerns from someone who, for the most part, liked the book.

2) She is interested to know what others got out of it.   I assume that she will find her way here and may be interested in the other reviews which I have collected.

By the way, she asks what we think about the allegation that Bathsheba can be blamed for enticing King David by bathing on her roof. The roof in those days was what our patios are today, it was probably enclosed and she probably did not expect anyone to be able to see her. I’m not sure if that was the usual custom or not. Also, the Bible says that it was the time when Kings go to war. I have heard many sermons teach that King David had no business in the palace at all because he was supposed to be at war leading his men. It seems to me that she thought that all the men were at war and would not be spying on her. But even if she were trying to entice him, the fault would still be his for not looking away and resisting. We can look at Joseph in his encounter with Potiphar’s wife to see how God expects a man to react to temptation.

Bethany Breaks Free

Bethany Basset, of Coffee Stained Clarity, reflects on the sadness she feels at finding out that her high school friends are following the Pearls’ teachings.

I see that Bethany was raised in the VF/Patriarchy mindset.  She posts her story in 5 parts:

The Preface: The Stuff of Brains
Part 1: The Net
Part 2: The Reality
Part 3: The Hope
Part 4: The Outcome

And she has an epilogue about parenting with grace here.  I love a happy ending.  <3

My Thoughts on Submission

Ever since my good friend, GreenGem, posted her Thoughts On Leadership I have been pondering my own thoughts on submission. When someone actually emailed me to ask me whether I believed in Wife Only Submission (WOS) or Mutual Submission (MS) I pondered even harder.  Now I am feeling led to solidify my thoughts.

MS starts with Eph 5:21 which says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  WOS starts with Eph 5:22-24 which says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.” (Note that the words in brackets are not in the original Greek but were added by the translators.) Crystal Lutton has very good explanations of what the word, “submit” means, and what the word, “head” means.  You might also  want to read this explanation for more information.  I’m very thankful for theses explanations because I knew that I did not agree with the patriarchy explanation which leads to so much abuse. I have seen many healthy marriages which claim to believe in WOS yet they are really following MS. This is not to say that a WOS marriage cannot be healthy, I just have not met any.

Now, I’d like to note that both those verses are followed by Eph 5:25 which says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  It occurs to me that I have never seen anyone teaching Husband Only Love (HOL.)  It seems obvious to everyone that the wife is still supposed to love her husband.  The fact that this passage tells the man to love  his wife and does not tell the woman to love her husband seems to suggest  if the man is loving his wife, she will naturally love him in return.  So, maybe if the wife is submitting to her husband’s will while he is loving her, his natural reaction is to want to please her and so will naturally submit his will to what she wants.  So, as they love each other and submit to each other, they work together to try to meet each other’s needs.  Which is exactly how I understand MS.

Note, someone commented below that the Bible says that women should love their husbands in Titus 2:4.  I would like to point out that while Eph 5:25 uses the word agape (perfect and sacrificial love), Titus 2:4 uses a variation of phileo (brotherly/family love).  Also, the Bible teaches in many places that we should love everyone.

Dolly Mama

Since yesterday’s post was about Patriocentricity and I have this link which mentions Debi Pearl, I might as well share it.  Dolly Mama writes about some parallels she sees between the FLDS movement and the patriocentric movement in Escape, FLDS, and some parallels.

An Open Letter to Debi Pearl

Another wife has tried and tested Debi Pearl’s Book, Created To Be His Help Meet and found that it nearly destroyed both her and her marriage. She tells her story in An Open Letter To Debi Pearl.

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

Created to be his Help Meet – A Review (sort of) is an exposé of Created To Be His Help Meet. He does a very good job of responding to the problematic parts of this book with Biblical corrections.

Homemaker’s Corner Examines the Pearls

At first glance, Mary Stephens of the Homemaker’s Corner looks like a typical Pearl follower.  She is strictly King James Only and believes strongly in submissive wives who are keepers at home.  However, she uses God’s Word as her light and the Pearls’ persuasive prattle did not fare well under the searching light of Scripture. She has written an in depth examination of the Pearls. This is not limited to Michael and Debi, but also includes Rebekah and her husband as part of the Pearl Family.

This is quite an undertaking she has started.  She apparently has not had time to finish her study, having only answered 3 out of the 8 questions she presents.  However, she already has quite a lot up there and I find it quite interesting on a few levels.

For one thing, this is the first time that I have noticed someone who feels strongly that the King James Bible is the only real Bible speaking out against the Pearls. While Michael Pearl does, indeed, use KJV only; she determines that he does not always use it correctly.  She also brings up the very valid concern that Pearl appears to believe that the KJV more than the original Greek. (!)

She exposes the fact that the Pearls use very little scripture to back up their conclusions.  She actually counts the scriptures they use.  The has done a very thorough investigation here. Her conclusion is:

From reading their material it appears that the Pearls are basically offering their own homebrewed child psychology. A little psychology, a little Bible and a lot of the Pearls’ philosophy and ideas go into the mix.

Another good  observation is how Pearl seems to have undue influence over his followers and how dangerous that is.  Here is another quote from the link in the above paragraph:

Please notice how the Pearls’ speaking, leadership and words have become so important in these people’s home. This is pathetic. Where is God’s word? Why is it that she feels they would benefit so much more from having the Pearls right there to help them? They have the God of the universe, the Almighty, the Great I AM, the Creator of the human race and the Institutor of the family indwelling them if they are saved! And, if they possess the King James Bible, they have His very words and instructions for mankind in their own hands and language. Isn’t that enough?! Apparently the Pearls’ teachings have conveyed to them that God and His word are not enough! This is horrifying.

She also has posted a critique on Debi Pearl’s study of the book of Esther.

I have not found her saying anything anti-spanking so I’m going to assume that I have found another pro-spanker speaking out against the Pearls teachings and tag it according.  I also base this assumption on what she said about discipline in her ABC’s of Raising Children (under D for Discipline).

Edited to add: Mary has clarified her position on spanking in a comment to this post.

ThatMom Responds to Joy about Debi Pearl

I just came across an interesting post from ThatMom about Debi Pearl and her book, Created To Be His Helpmeet. She is responding to Joy, who defended Debi Pearl in a comment on a previous post back in March of 2010:

Responding to Joy about Debi Pearl

Behind Closed Doors

Glenys shares a heartbreaking and powerful blog entry about an abusive marriage and exposes how damaging the advice contained in Created To Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl, is.

Preparing To Be A Help Meet

I find it odd that Yahoo News has a good review of Debi Pearl’s newest book, Preparing To Be A Help Meet.

You may comment on that article there as well as on the Topix site.

Yahoo did not allow me to submit my comment, probably because it was a link to this site.  My concerns about this new book are based on my concerns about the original book Created To Be His Help Meet.  I have links to many book reviews of that book which explain the dangerous teachings in that book.


Edited to add:  As of Dec 23, 2010 those link are no longer valid.  Just as well.  😉

Kristina’s Keepsakes review of CTBHH

Kristina’s Keepsakes has started a series analyzing the Pearls’ books, starting with Created To Be His Helpmeet.
Created To Be His Helpmeet Part 1
Created To Be His Helpmeet Part 2

Zooey’s Arguments

It began with a feeling of uneasiness…..

I started to read what had been described to me as a “Christian book for women”. That seemed OK. I mean, I am a Christian woman. But I rapidly became more & more uncomfortable with what I was reading. There was a coarseness about it that jarred with my understanding of Christianity.
By the time I was only partway through, I was partly nauseous, & partly appalled that this little missive was being passed around in Christian circles. The name of the book was Created To Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl….and not just the book, but Mrs Pearl was appalling me. Her husband’s contributions were even worse.

I was raised in a “ Holiness “ church. I had met all kinds of people with all kinds of convictions, many of which I found odd, but it never crossed my mind that these folks were anything other than genuine Christian people……and now I had my first encounter with the Family Pearl, and I devoutly wished I had never heard of them. Frankly, they scared me to death. And that was before I heard anything about their “child rearing” techniques. I had only one thing to go by: CTBHH. It was enough to send me back into my Bible, trying to find out in what manner these people could possibly have interpreted Scripture, in order to draw such bizarre conclusions from it.

I had been raised to be discerning, especially in the matter of Biblical interpretation. It didn’t take me long to realize that here was a strange  breed: These people were a “Bible-based cult”. I had never heard of such a thing; I had believed that cults were odd sects which clearly departed from the words of my Bible. Now, I was facing a cult that claimed to be rooted in Scripture. How could this be???
I should have remembered World History class. The fact that history was (& is) awash with the names of groups who also claimed to be “true Christians” whilst promoting another gospel—that should have been my tip-off.
It wasn’t. My tip-off was that queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I wish it had been enough. Enough to enlighten me as to how insidious the Pearls & their skewed theology could be. It would take years, & an exposure to more of their poison, before I broke free of my “different people interpret Scripture differently” mentality, long enough to smell the whiff of sulfur that signaled that the Pearls were being inspired, all right; the problem was to awaken to who & what was their inspiration.
But, one thing was clear very early on: This was not the truth. This was not of God. And this was most definitely NOT Christian teaching. This is what the pastors of my childhood would have called “carnality”.

Thus it begins.

What I want to talk about is another book by Mr & Mrs Pearl: “To Train Up A Child”– hereafter, TTUAC.
The Pearls’ teaching flows from their theology. Their theology, that is, determines how they behave. Michael Pearl states that he has been “ teaching and living” a life free of sin.
He claims, that is, to be what my elders in the faith called “sanctified wholly [holy]”. (He spends a lot of time denying this, but it is in print on his own site. He says his position is that of Baptists; I have yet to meet a Baptist who believes this. Not even my grandfather, the Baptist minister’s son, & the Free Methodist local preacher, who surely knew what each believed!!).

Let me begin with what I was afraid might take the most time to find, & turned out to be as easy as calling up my own church’s website, & doing a little minor checking of links:
http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1648

I am copying & pasting here, from :
http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1653

Of Sanctification
Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.
[The following provision was adopted by the Uniting Conference (1939). This statement seeks to interpret to our churches in foreign lands Article XXIII of the Articles of Religion. It is a legislative enactment but is not a part of the Constitution. (See Judicial Council Decisions 41, 176, and Decision 6, Interim Judicial Council.)]

One of MP’s defenses, you see, is that what he believes is standard doctrine in a Christian church. He uses language which might easily lead readers to think that he is teaching the  standard Wesleyan sanctification.
Let’s examine that for a bit:

(A) “that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost”.
What does that mean? Well, first, let’s say what it does NOT mean: It does not mean that when, upon salvation through faith, by the grace of God, we become regenerate [are saved; enter into a state of grace; accept Christ as Saviour; etc]. It does NOT mean that we never sin again. It does not mean that we can never sin again. Because look at what it says: “renewal of our fallen nature”.
Now a renewal means that something is made new again; not that it has just become new, but that something occurs after that initial ‘becoming’. My grandfather—would that he were here to explain it; he would surely do better than I!– He called this ‘entire sanctification’, and he knew that it meant something apart from salvation.
I know this for a very good and sufficient reason: He talked about it, studied it, read Wesley, and then…..He decided that as a born-again Christian, he could not claim something that he did not believe.
Which was when, before a gathering of Free Methodists over an area of several states, when he was asked (as every FM pastoral candidate—like UMC candidates—is asked), “Are you expecting to be sanctified wholly in this lifetime?” as part of his proposed ordination as a deacon, he said, after a long pause: “Well, truthfully, NO “ .

It was clearly not his salvation that was in question. Without that, he would have never been a candidate. No, it was something subsequent to salvation: entire sanctification in this lifetime.

(B) “ received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin”
John Wesley did not preach  what has been called “cheap grace”. No, he preached that it is the duty of every Christian to grow, to increase in faith, and to live more and more closely to Jesus Christ so that we may be presented before Him on “That Day”, not with our sins merely “covered over”, but with them washed away, gone, that we may be as holy as we can be, that “we may not be ashamed”.
He & his younger brother Charles and their friends at university were called “The Holy Club” because of their constant striving to be as pleasing to God as was possible in this world. It was a taunt, but they accepted it, & gladly. It was, after all, what they sought to attain.
In time, they would be convinced that they were never to achieve it, and then, one night in Aldersgate Street, John Wesley wrote, “My heart was strangely warmed”, and he realized that as we are saved by the blood of Christ, so are we also:

(C)”whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power”. We are not able to make ourselves holy any more than we are able to make ourselves regenerate. It is Christ, & Christ alone Who can make us live holy lives. It is to God alone that the glory for sanctification is due. And then we :
(D) “and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless”.
And it is here is where the Pearls go terribly, terribly wrong. Here is where they lose all touch with  sound Christian doctrine. Because they teach that the “rod” which they call for using on children can cleanse from guilt. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary can do that. Anyone who says otherwise is teaching another ‘gospel’, as the Apostle Paul warned us, and said of such a teacher, “ If we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, if anyone preaches another gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed”. (Galations 1: 8-9).
I am not a theologian. I have never pretended to be.
But when my Bible says, twice in as many verses, that anyone who preaches anything other than “Jesus Christ and him crucified”, that that teacher is a false teacher; and that such a teacher is to be accursed–
When that happens, I say, I am fearful. And I put down that book, TTUAC, and I put down Mrs Pearl, & I put down NGJ Ministries, and I stand well back from it, and from every word that comes out of the Pearls’ mouths and pens.
Because I remember also what Paul said, of himself, that he prayed “lest [he] should be a castaway”. Michael Pearl, & NGJ has claimed for a piece of wood (or perhaps even more bizarrely, for a piece of rubber hose) what the Bible claims only, ONLY for Christ Himself, & Him crucified.
This is serious business, folks. This is not a small matter. He who is not with the crucified Christ is not with us; is not of us. And there are only two positions where we can stand:
We can stand with Jesus Christ. Or we can fight against him.
When it comes to a choice between Michael  & Debi Pearl’s TTUAC (& the rest of their writings), and the One With the Nail-Scarred Hands….For me there is no choice. I will stick with the Christ who suffered & died for me.
Whose side are you on??

– Zooey

Responses to Created To Be His Helpmeet and other marital advice

Spunky’s Blog entry about Created To Be His Helpmeet

The Pearls Respond to the Blogs by Spunky

“Created to Be His Help Meet” discussion

Today, I’ll let Mr. Pearl speak for himself… by Rebecca

I feel sorry for Debi and Michael Pearl! from Emotional Abuse and Your Faith

is debi pearl’s “created to be his helpmeet” really biblical? by ThatMom

Razorbackmama’s commentary of Created To Be His Helpmeet