Death by Submission

Misty Horner passed away in 2007 from an infection she sustained in an unassisted homebirth. Her husband and the cult they followed did not allow her to seek medical intervention during the 31 days it took for her to die. Her parents filed a wrongful death suit against her husband, Caleb Horner, his brother, John Horner and their cult which teaches extreme submission. You can read about the verdict in the El Dorado Springs Sun. This story is also covered by Fox TV. This is the first time I have heard of this story which was finally brought to my attention because the Sun article mentions Michael and Debi Pearl’s book, “Created To Be His Helpmeet.”

Old excerpts from this story can be found here.

In January of 2012 Caleb filed a wrongful termination suit against the city of Lee’s Summit which let him go after the death for which no criminal charges were filed.  I cannot seem to find any news stories with an update about this suit.

Update: Feb 15, 2013 Misty Horner wrongful death lawsuit: Horners want new trial after $108M ruling.

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.

Christians Who Do Not Spank

Many parents have convictions against spanking.  Many parents have convictions to obey the Bible, no matter what the cost.  Some parents have both convictions.  It was for those parents that I started this site back in 2004.  We feel strongly about both convictions and have studied the arguments carefully and prayerfully.  I am one of those parents and The Leen is another one, as she demonstrates in this post which is a sequel to her post about attending Mark Driscoll’s church, Mars Hill.

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.

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.

Looking at Bill Gothard

Dulce de Leche has shared some memories of Bill Gothard’s seminars and how his teachings affected her during her formative years in, Peering Underneath the Umbrella: Musings on Gothardism.  This is an exposé as well as a testimony as she gives us an inside look at Gothard’s teachings.

Speaking of Bill Gothard, E. Stephen Burnett has an interesting post at Quivering Daughters called, Bill Gothard and Patriarchy: Re-routed Feminism? which analyzes a quote from Bill Gothard about submission and looks at why so many of Patriarchy’s promoters are women.

Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull

Kristen Rosser has started a series over at NLQ called, Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull. I think this checklist of sorts actually pertains to all Patriarchy teachings. This is good reading for someone who is dabbling with Quiverfull/Patriarchy and thinking that they can separate the “meat from the bones.”  These posts are written specifically for those  “who have chosen to accept the Bible as authoritative for faith and practice. ”

Here are the posts so far:
Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull: Isolation
Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull: Hierarchy & Control
Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull: Perfectionism & Elitism

A Quiver Full of Information

A Quiver Full of Information offers “The Who, What, Why of the Quiverfull Movement & Lifestyle.”

The intro says:

This site aims to collect information on all aspects of the burgeoning Christian “Quiverfull” movement. The information is presented in neutral environment. The opinions expressed in the documents are those of the author and not of the creator of this site. To navigate click on the page links in the right sidebar. Please note: This is not a site for evangelizing or for flaming either side! This is just to provide links to information on all aspects of the topic.

But her site is not limited to Quiverfull. She even links to my list of Who Is Affiliated with Vision Forum. 🙂 So, it appears that her site is really about the Patriarchy Movement. Anyway, her site is a good resource for anyone wanting more information about anything to do with the Quiverfull Movement.

The Root Problem

Dulce de Leche uncovers the root problem with the punitive mindset in her post, Authority, Submission, Control and Discipline.

Yes, the root problem is control. Now that you have seen why we should not try to control our children, Lucy explains why she cannot control her children and what that looks like in her house.

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

Testimonies from No Longer Quivering Moms

No Longer Quivering has a new series called Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World.   Part 4 of this series is Acknowledgment & Apologies which could be considered testimonies of the damage done by the quiverfull mindset.  Part 5: Confessions of a Quiverfull Hero and Part 6: Soul Binding are long testimonies about how raising children in the quiverfull mindset almost destroyed them.  Heartbreaking.

Series about Vision Forum

Sue Talbert at A Mother’s Heart Blog is writing a very interesting series called Vision Forum, Patriarchy and FLDS, Oh My!

In part 1 she explains how she came to find Vision Forum and read one of their books. She starts describing some objections to their teachings.

In Part 2 she expands on their teachings that women should not go to college or work outside the house (or from the house) and compares that to the FLDS as well as the taliban.

In Part 3 she discusses Bill Gothard and his teachings and how they relate to Vision Forum.

In Part 4 she begins to analyze problems with their teachings. She starts with Clothing / Modesty.

In Part 5 she discusses Reproduction / Quiverfull and the fact that they discourage adoption.

In part 6 she takes a look at their Politics and how they are working to create an Army For God. She also mentions child rearing, perfect obedience of children and wives and the Pearls’ teachings.

In Part 7, She explains Patriarchy and their teachings on Marriage and Wife Only Submission.

In Part 8 she concludes her series by looking at whether the group is Christian or heretical, what draws people to join such a group and her reason for writing the series.

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.

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.