CTBHHM: Women Can Be Effective Leaders—So What?

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 119-121

Some of you have noted that Debi’s getting a bit repetitive. In future posts I’m going to try to move more quickly through parts where Debi’s simply restating what she’s already said. In this section, though, Debi says something I don’t think she’s said before.

God expresses a clear and sure mandate when he tells us: “But I suffer not [do not allow] a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, [that includes your pastor] but to be in silence.” (I Timothy 2:12).

I call your attention back to the argument in a letter we read in chapter 5. [I reviewed that section in this post and this post.]

I have been deeply blessed by women speaking on the platform. I don’t understand how God could move so profoundly through women who are not in accordance with his will.

The assumption of this woman’s argument was that the only reason God would command women not to preach is because they are not very good at it. . . . What she does not realize is that it is on the very grounds that women can be effective public ministers that God commands them not to do so. It is not a question of being qualified; it is a matter of being authorized. . . . If she is effective as a replacement for her husband’s ineffective leadership, that makes it all the more wrong! For then she is, as the Bible says, usurping authority over the man—usurping glory . . . usurping honor . . . usurping control . . . usurping leadership. That is, she is doing what a man should be doing, and thus getting the recognition a man should get.

Yes, this section really happened. This is like arguing that women shouldn’t be artists because art is a male thing, and responding to someone pointing out that women are capable of just as great works of art as men are by saying that that’s not the point—or even that that makes it only more important for women to not be artists. And indeed, Debi finishes this paragraph with concern that if women are great preachers, pastors, and leaders, effectively teaching people the Word of God, men won’t get the “recognition” for being the ones to do those things. Silly women, always getting in the way of men’s desire to be the most important and most lauded.

Modern Christianity has steered women into a perversion of their nature, allowing, and even encouraging, them to be in spiritual authority over men. The fruit of this false doctrine is evident in the unhappy women and dissatisfied men of the last couple of generations. It is a shameful matter of statistics that the fundamentalist Christian home is not as enduring as the general populations.

Debi’s trying to do two things here and I don’t think she can pull them both off at once. First she says that women can be good and effective leaders and teachers but that that’s not the point, and then she says that allowing women to exercise spiritual authority is “a perversion of their nature.” But if women can preach and teach effectively, how can doing so be against their nature? Bringing the art example back in, it would be like saying that even though women are capable of being just as great artists as men are, creating art is nevertheless “a perversion of their nature.”

Also, what is this about pointing out that evangelical Christians have much higher divorce rates and then claiming it’s because of women exercising spiritual authority? Is Debi seriously going to blame feminism in the church for these higher divorce rates? If this is the case, shouldn’t we expect the culture at large, which has a ways to go but is definitely more feminist than evangelical Christianity, to have the higher divorce rates?

Next Debi works to head off feminist influence within evangelicalism by addressing Deborah and Priscilla. Deborah was a judge who ruled Israel, and Priscilla was a missionary in the early church. These two women, along with many others throughout the Bible, are held up by Christian feminists as examples of female leaders or preachers who were praised and esteemed. First, Deborah:

If you actually read the story, you would know that the text makes much of the fact that the men were shamed by allowing a woman to take the place of prominence. There is no question that Deborah performed her job well, that she saved Israel, that God used her; that is just the point. When the men allowed a woman to take their role and perform their job successfully, it resulted in shame to the nation of Israel.

So I just went back and reread the story of Deborah. I honestly have no idea what Debi is talking about here. There is absolutely nothing there about Deborah’s ruling resulting in “shame to the nation of Israel”—in fact, it’s rather the opposite: Deborah’s reign as judge brought Israel victory and prosperity. There is also nothing there about men being “shamed by allowing a woman to take the place of prominence.” Honestly—nothing. Read it yourself.

God’s rule that women not take the lead is not a statement about our being inferior or not as capable as men; it is a statement by God about it not being within our sphere of authority or nature to take leadership over men, to teach them, or to gain a place of prominence among them. Yes, we are capable of teaching, and teaching well. I am teaching you, but this book is not written to men. It is written by an “aged” woman teaching younger women to obey God and their husbands—just what God commanded me to do (Titus 2: 3-4).

I include the above paragraph merely to remind readers how Debi justifies her own leadership role.

And now Priscilla:

Priscilla is never mentioned alone. She is always with her husband, as I am with mine. When my husband goes to speak at a seminar on family and child-training issues, they usually advertise us as “Michael and Debi Pearl.” He takes the stage and does the teaching, while I sit in the audience and support him.He sometime s calls on me to publicly answer questions about child training or homeschooling, but I never publicly teach doctrine to men or women. I counsel women and make sure my husband gets plenty of rest, has something good to eat, and is able to remember where he is and what he is to do next. . . . My role is a support role, as I am sure was the case with Priscilla.

It’s rather hard to respond to this, because Debi is simply making an assertion without any evidence whatsoever. Yes, Priscilla is never mentioned without her husband Aquila (and vice versa), but those mentions are things like this, from Acts chapter 18:

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

It doesn’t say “they invited him to their home so that Aquila could explain to him the way of God more adequately while Priscilla made sure they had something to drink.” Of course, Debi is right that conferences bill her together with her husband even though he speaks and she doesn’t, so it’s not like I can prove that the same thing wasn’t happening with Priscilla and Aquila. But then, Debi can’t prove what she’s asserting either, because she doesn’t have any actual argument to back up her claim that it was. For someone who claims to approach the Bible literally and take it at face value, Debi does an amazing amount of reading into the text things that aren’t actually technically there.

But then, even if Priscilla were preaching alongside her husband, or even if the text were different and had her preaching alone, Debi would probably simply respond by saying that just because Priscilla could preach and teach effectively doesn’t mean she should have. Oh, and also that she might have won converts but she brought shame on the Christian communities she was involved in.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Hat Stealer

    Well remember that God is a tremendous dick, that loves to create people who are incapable of following his word. Like gays, whom as the Catholic church so lovingly tells us are called to a life of chastity. Or atheists, who, thanks to God’s free will shenanigans, will be tortured for all eternity. Making women good at stuff, then telling them they’re not allowed to do it is just the next logical step.

  • Baby_Raptor

    This woman makes my head hurt.

    Also, remind me again why she’s writing books if women aren’t supposed to teach? I thought it was just “women aren’t supposed to teach men,” but she appears in this tangent to be saying that women shouldn’t be teaching at all. Yet, that’s exactly what she’s doing. Surely some of her readers will notice this?

    • ZeldasCrown

      Excellent point. She’s gone from “women should only teach younger women” to “women shouldn’t teach at all.”

      I daresay that many of her readers are well versed in double speak (ala NFP is the most effective form of birth control while simultaneously not being a form of birth control, thus leaving one “open to children”), and possibly won’t remark on it at all. “Women should only teach other women, except for when they shouldn’t teach anyone at all.”

    • Sally

      Well, she does make a point to point out something she said in an earlier chapter about it being right for older women to teach younger women.

      “I am teaching you, but this book is not written to men. It is written by an “aged” woman teaching younger women to obey God and their husbands—just what God commanded me to do (Titus 2: 3-4).”

      So I think she has a justification for it right out of scripture. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the few scriptures she doesn’t twist. I’m not saying this isn’t nutty; I’m just saying I think it’s one small area where she’s being consistent with what she claims she’s doing.

      But along the same lines, my thought has been how can she make sure a man doesn’t pick up her book and read and “learn” from it too? Maybe she shouldn’t write a book to women but only speak to them live where she can make sure the only people who can hear her are younger women. I think she’d have to turn away any woman who wasn’t, say, at least 10 years younger than she, right? Oh, what a challenge to become a well-known teacher yet be sure not to teach anyone too old or too male. I can see Debi standing at the door checking birth certificates and doing pat downs to make sure she stays in her proper role… which is her nature, after all.

  • NeaDods

    This whole section screams of Michael’s narcissism and insecurity, doesn’t it? A strong and centered man wouldn’t so blatantly and anxiously make sure the “little woman” was kept so thoroughly in her place at all times “regardless of competence” in the Perkins phrase. I can’t help but think we’re hearing Debi’s own original arguments from the Bible about her desire to preach (and her ability to see the outside world) and Michael’s inconsistent, incoherent, brainwashing due to his Bible learnin’ and male equipment.

  • Alice

    I don’t know if this is true, but I read in a Bart Ehrman book that some experts say Priscilla’s name comes before her husband’s name because she was more prominent in the church. A few manuscripts changed the order because the scribes couldn’t stand to put a woman’s name first.

    Maybe the shaming in the story of Deborah was the fact that a woman, Jael, killed Sisera because Barak didn’t want to go into battle without Deborah? But Jael isn’t Deborah, and it doesn’t say anywhere that /Deborah’s/ leadership was a punishment, so that still doesn’t make any sense.

    • Baby_Raptor

      This piece from Fred Clark is another example of what you bring up in this post, I think.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/01/27/when-the-bias-of-our-blinders-changes-the-bible/

      It talks about how the “Junias” referenced in Romans was originally a woman named Junia, but certain people had issues with a female being prominent among the apostles.

    • Cathy W

      Were the other tribes supposed to be pointing and laughing at Israel because they were following a girl, thus prompting a man to step up to make the pointing and laughing stop? Except… that girl’s army just whupped those other tribes…

    • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

      I figured the “shaming” in the story of Deborah had to do with sexist cultural assumptions back then. Sort of like how nowadays people say “you play like a girl” as an insult. But that way of thinking is, you know, sexist and bad. Not “God’s plan” or whatever.

    • Heather

      Yeah, exactly. I believe Deborah prophesied that since Barak didn’t want to lead the troops himself, a woman would kill Sisera… and I think if you read that through the lenses of the ancient world, that is supposed to be embarrassing to Barak. No one said anywhere that it was embarrassing to the whole nation though… at all. Instead there’s a long poem about how great the victory was, which includes the phrase “I, Deborah, arose/Arose a mother in Israel…” It’s quite a good poem, really, and there is no good reason it would be in there (and without snarky commentary) if the whole episode was meant to be an embarrassment.

  • Jayn

    This reminds me of the zero-sum view of equality, where any power or prestige held by women must have been taken from men who deserve to have it so women shouldn’t have any even if they are otherwise worthy.

    • Renee

      How very MRA! They think the same way (if you call what they do “thinking”).

  • Composer 99

    Debi writes:

    When my husband goes to speak at a seminar on family and child-training issues [...]

    In a just world, this would either never happen, or (especially if international travel was involved) would rapidly lead to Michael’s arrest.

  • ZeldasCrown

    Well, at least Debi has moved into somewhat new territory. It’s almost a little refreshing. I guess most of this section pretty much boils down to “women should know their place”, and “men are embarrassed or insecure (which is obviously not their own personal problem-it’s the fault of the woman) when they witness a woman doing something other than being a house wife well”. I’m sure there are men who feel threatened by women doing the same things the men in question do well, but to apply that to all men is a great disservice. I’ve been fortunate that most of the men I’ve worked with have been happy to have someone to help divide the work with and that someone has done their part well regardless of the person’s gender-and I’m a female graduate student in a traditionally male-dominated field.

    Though I shouldn’t be surprised. Debi does live in a black and white world. Everyone conforms to gender stereotypes, and there is only one correct way to do things. It is a little surprising that she didn’t just say something to the effect of women who are good leaders only think they’re good leaders-they’re actually not. Though how being good at something goes against a person’s nature doesn’t quite make sense to me.

    • Alice

      “Though how being good at something goes against a person’s nature doesn’t quite make sense to me.”

      Obviously she got help from the man downstairs, as do all people who don’t fit in boxes. /snark

  • dj_pomegranate

    The fruit of this false doctrine is evident in the unhappy women and dissatisfied men of the last couple of generations.

    Yes, women have only been unhappy since the 1960s.

    I am so, so tired of hearing this “everything was so much better BEFORE” canard (and am so glad that people like you, Libby Anne, are pointing out the fallacies in such a thorough and systematic way!) I just want to yell at Debi and her ilk: people have always been people! Families have always been happy and sad and functional and dysfunctional and big and small and terrible and wonderful. Women (and men!) have always been struggling and marrying and seeking happiness and having affairs and staying faithful and working outside the home and working inside the home. Men (and women!) have always been good leaders, been terrible leaders, been satisfied, been dissatisfied, loved their wives, hurt their wives, gotten drunk, stayed sober, led revolutions, tried to squelch revolutions.

    It takes real anti-intellectual gall to claim that it’s only in the past 50 years that people have suddenly started being dissatisfied and unhappy in their relationships.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      I’ve heard that every other generation or so, people have a hankering for the “good ol’ days”. Which, incidentally, happen to be around the time of their childhood.
      Frankly, while I remember parts of my childhood with rose-coloured glasses (Lion King roller skates!), I certainly don’t want to go back to being powerless and voiceless…
      Oh wait…I guess that makes me a Jezebel? Dammit.

  • sylvia_rachel

    WOW. I mean, Debi’s book is illogical a lot, but this seems to take illogic to the next level … like … anti-logic? Is that a thing?
    And I cannot even begin to imagine where she’s getting that thing about Deborah. *So not there* in the text. It’s getting so every time I read the words “literal” or “literalist” in connection with the Pearls, I get Mandy Patinkin’s voice in my head going “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” …

    • Composer 99

      I believe the technical term is either not even wrong, or possibly (noted near the end of the article) “wronger than wrong”.

    • Alice

      The nonsensical Deborah reference is more evidence for my theory: On Debi and Michael’s honeymoon, as soon as she fell asleep, he crept out of bed, kidnapped her Bible, and then spent all night fixing it with white-out and a black pen. She never noticed, which is why it often seems like she is reading a different book. :)

      • sylvia_rachel

        Well, that would sure explain a lot…

        I’m just now noticing the irony of her being named after Deborah, and misreading Deborah’s story this badly.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    This brings us to a problem that I’ve seen run rampant in the conservative complementarian circles for the past few years, and that problem is the inability to concretely define what they mean by “nature.” When they talk about a woman’s “nature,” are they talking about her natural abilities? Or are they talking about her role? Women can have many different abilities, but roles are a bit less flexible. The problem is, because they don’t clearly define it, they can use the word “nature” either way according to which way suits their purposes at that moment.

    For example, John Piper has made much of the supposed fact that God created man and woman with separate natures such that if they try to take over each other’s roles, something in their heart will ache. This seems to imply that nature is distinct from role, that it is something heart-deep, that it coincides with one’s giftings and abilities. He uses this argument when he’s trying to coerce people into seeing feminism as emotionally oppressive (your nature means how you feel, and feminism will make you feel bad). By this definition, men and women do not have the natural abilities of one another, and trying to act out those opposite abilities will be too exhausting.

    At other times, I’ve seen him turn right around and admit that women can do everything that men do, and feel just fine doing it, but that the reason they shouldn’t is that God has decreed that their nature be something else. In this instance, he’s implying that nature IS just your role, regardless of how you feel.

    By using two different definitions, he’s able to argue down just about anyone’s reasoning, because the words are fluid enough to do whatever he wants.

    • Alice

      Yeah, all of the doublethink is so easy to see now. There are also people like the author of Fascinating Womanhood who say that women in egalitarian marriages only /think/ they are happy because they’ve never experienced *real* happiness. When leaders train people to always mistrust their emotions and gut instincts, they can get away with all kinds of shit.

    • Scott_In_OH

      Yes, this section is another impressive step by Debi/Michael toward completely breaking a woman (or by any Christian authoritarian toward breaking a follower). Many branches of Christianity acknowledge the possibility that God speaks to His people in many ways. They look for “signs” about what they are supposed to do. In this section, they have ruled out the possibility that talents (not just “sinful” desires, but “God-given” abilities) are signs.

      And you are right about one of they ways they cloud that teaching linguistically.

      • Rosie

        Since all of my abilities are apparently not “womanly”, I guess it’s no wonder I thought I had nothing but sinful desires for a good long while. Turns out I love sheep shearing and carpentry, though.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    Wait so Debi’s argument is… women DO have the ability to teach and be good at it, but shouldn’t, because… apparently no reason?

    • Composer 99

      Of course not! It’s because Jesus, that’s why.

      There, that clears everything up, amirite?

      • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

        Oh, because Jesus! Now when you put it that way, it makes so much more sense. -_-

      • Newbie

        Yes, Jesus, and also, according to Debi, it’s because when a woman is good a teaching and leading, she’ll get praised for her job, but only men are supposed to get credit for what they do

    • NeaDods

      Because, and I quote Debi’s own terms, if she’s competent at it she takes away a man’s glory, honor, control, leadership. Interesting set of words, isn’t it? Not his pride or reputation or his actual accomplishments, but his “glory.” His control. His penis.

      Those words aren’t creepy and insecure at all, now are they?

  • Gillianren

    Dear Debi,
    “Helpmate” is actually a word. And a noun. It’s probably what you mean.

    There. I have just been more helpful to you than you have ever been to any woman ever. You’re welcome.

    Love,
    Gillian

    • Tim Butler

      “Helpmate” itself is actually just an alteration of “help-meet.”

      source: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=helpmate

      • Gillianren

        Sure, but it’s still a noun. And it’s several hundred years old, so I’d say we can use it now without worrying too much about the fact that it comes from a misunderstanding of what “meet” means. It makes a certain amount of sense (unlike Debi), and it comes from about the era of the King James Bible, so clearly, it, too, was Ordained by God to be perfect and right.

  • Heather

    There’s rather good evidence against Debi’s assertions about Priscilla and Aquila if you just bother to square up the way they’re talked about against the tendencies of the ancient world.

    - As stated, Aquila’s never mentioned without his wife

    - Priscilla’s name is always first

    - They’re stated to have done things like explaining doctrine under both their names

    And this in a set of books that, as was normal for the cultures they were written in, routinely leave out the names of women completely, as if they were invisible. Hey, did you know the apostle Peter had a wife? We know this because at some point Jesus healed his mother-in-law! What were either of their *names*? What the heck do you mean?

    So if the author of Acts is making sure to include Priscilla’s name every darn time, it’s not as a courtesy. There was no such courtesy in those days. (If any courtesy was involved it was likely to Aquila, in the event that he was the less active partner but culturally the author felt he couldn’t be left out.) If Priscilla was not doing actual leadership, we wouldn’t have heard Aquila had a wife.

    • Alix

      this in a set of books that, as was normal for the cultures they were written in, routinely leave out the names of women completely

      The example of that that always amazes me, personally, is that we are told Jesus had sisters (as in, more than one) and we don’t know their names. Yet we know the names of all his brothers.

      • sylvia_rachel

        I’ve read (this may or may not be accurate; i can’t remember the source) that in ancient Rome, girls didn’t really get their own first name (praenomen?), just a feminized form of their father’s name and/or a number, so you’d get, e.g., Iulia Quinta, the fifth daughter of a dude named Iulius, with older sisters named Iulia Prima, Iulia Secunda, etc. This may be totally made up, but it does square with the way the Bible basically treats wives as legally kind of appendages of their husbands and daughters as straight-up property of their fathers, so I don’t find it totally implausible. (More precise and/or accurate information welcome!)

      • Alix

        That’s more or less accurate. Admittedly, male Roman names were also extremely limited, but with a lot more individuality and variation than female ones. A male name was (basically) three parts: praenomen (given name; from a very limited set), nomen (more or less your clan), and cognomen (a relatively later development, basically a sort of family name). Women were known by their father’s nomen, with additional names if needed, such as birth order or their father/husband’s name appended to their own; men could accumulate other names indicating various accomplishments, etc.

        So yeah, very much a “women are just extensions of men” thing. Sure, guys were often known by birth order too, and there was a really restricted list of given names, but they had given names, not simply a clan name, and they could gain more and have nicknames.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Thank you! Yes, I knew that about praenomen/nomen/cognomen, but I didn’t know some of those details.

        I also kind of knew that the birth-order thing was applied to men too (I mean … Octavius …), but I hadn’t connected it to there being very limited stock of available given names. Makes more sense now!

  • Kristen Rosser

    Debi really ought to have been more concerned about Phoebe (Romans 16:1). Not only is she mentioned without a man attached to her, but Paul’s words in the original Greek amount to something along the lines of “she has been a leader of many, including myself.” The KJV has “succourer,” but Paul also commands the church to “assist her.” According to Debi’s own mindset that the “helper” is subordinate, this makes the church at Rome subordinate to Phoebe!

  • wanderer

    So far, the trend I’ve seen is that Debi basically says “women shouldn’t (fill in the blank), because god said so (according to Mike), and the proof that he’s right is that if you disobey you’ll be unhappy. Like…duplex-level unhappy.” That seems like the total of her argument & logic. Am I missing anything?

    • Whirlwitch

      I practice witchcraft, am a lesbian, married another woman, have an egalitarian marriage and have been known to teach men. I am very happy and at peace with all of this, and I co-own a house and 14 acres of land, no duplex. Do you know, I think Debi might be wrong here.

      • Leigha7

        To be fair, I think two women would HAVE to be in an egalitarian marriage. Otherwise, you’d both just be trying to bend over backwards to serve the other, but you wouldn’t be able to tell them what to do because you’re a lady, so they couldn’t serve you (and vice versa), and nothing would ever get done.

        I’m pretty sure she’d consider that a solid reason against lesbian relationships, however.

    • Alix

      I really, truly wonder what the hell Debi has against duplexes. It sounds almost like a specific dog whistle, but damned if I know what it’s meant to refer to.

      • NeaDods

        Sharing a structure with someone you can’t whip, probably.

      • thatotherjean

        Sharing a structure with someone who will turn you in to the police for abusing your children/wife?

      • NeaDods

        Good point!

  • BobaFuct

    My mom does women’s ministry and although she’s not an idiot like Debi, she refuses to teach men, for pretty much all the same reasons Debi lists. It’s baffling to me.

  • Barbara

    “There is no question that Deborah performed her job well, that she saved Israel, /that God used her/…”

    …wait just a minute.

    Debi has acknowledged that Deborah was “used by God.” In other words, God chose Deborah and worked his will through her. Then, she goes on to say that this is still wrong, because God says that women shouldn’t be leaders.

    So even when God /legitimately chooses a woman to do things for him/ then it’s still /going against God for her to do them?/ How in the world is she supposed to respond when called? “Sorry God, I can’t obey you, because to obey you would be to disobey you?”

    My brain. It’s shattering.

    • Sally

      Well, God uses people who are not living in his ways to do his will, though. Think of God using the Assyrians and the Babylonians to punish Israel for not keeping their end of the covenant. I don’t know if Debi is really thinking that big or not, but that might be the argument, anyway. Yes, it’s crazy-making.

  • Maryjane

    If the bible is to be taken literally then why don’t people just read it? Why do they need somebody to interpret it for them and then explain it? Do people really not understand that all interpretations will be convoluted according to the attitudes of the interpreter?
    Do the Pearls minister to a lot of illiterate simpletons? Because their writings, especially Debi’s is as if they are writing for children or the intellectully stunted. I cannot see the attraction. Do people find their backwoods demeanor charming? Am I the only one that thinks they are really SCARY!

    • Sally

      Well, that’s the thing. A plain reading of the Bible leaves one with a mess. So doctrines are constantly constructed to substitute for it, but based on it by cherry picking from it. Most doctrine that I’m aware of makes some kind of sense. This one (Debi’s) is one that doesn’t, although I have no doubt others have preached a similar doctrine and done it more logically with less scripture twisting.

      I saw a story recently about a cult in Siberia where the girls and boys are educated separately. The teacher in the girl’s school explained the basics of what the girls are to learn. It sounded exactly like Debi’s doctrine. So this isn’t unique. Of course the brief explanation didn’t get into Bible verses, so I have no idea how well justified they’ve made their views with scripture (not to mention how much of it might come from their cult leader directly and be considered “devine” directly through him.)

      But my point is that the reason people write books like this is because they have to tell us what the Bible says because just reading the Bible itself certainly won’t give us much to live by. Unfortunately this makes the Bible a source for almost anything one wants to say or do with it. But I agree with what I think you’re saying. Why doesn’t the fact that someone like Debi feels the need to write this book “based on scripture” tell her and everyone else that the Bible is quite insufficient?

      • Maryjane

        Yes, but also do people not think about that fact that these humans’ interpretations may be incorrect? And because of that misinterpretation maybe living in a manner not according to god?That has always been one of religions’ biggest questions for me. As well as one of its biggest pitfalls.

      • Sally

        I think with the Catholic church (and other original churches like Eastern Orthodox), they lean heavily on the church leadership as if their interpretation is devinely inspired. Of course the protestant movement was all about going back directly to the Bible. And look what that gets us – so many denominations who can count?

        To me, it’s all smoke and mirrors. If Christianity were its doctrine (pick one I guess) and the social aspects, I’d still be a Christian. But it was reading the Bible that messed it up for me.

  • Mogg

    This, ultimately, was one of the major things which caused me to leave Christianity altogether. How is it possible that a woman could have been lovingly created with abilities consistent with leadership and/or teaching, and be expected to not use them? It makes no sense at all. Having both personally experienced church leadership trying to quite literally change my personality, interests and talents, and in less overtly sexist churches later on observed women with enormous leadership potential being ignored or trying to repress themselves in service to the church, this makes me so angry I want to spit, first at Debi, then more so at her husband.


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