CTBHHM: In Which Debi Twists Scripture

by Libby Anne

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 21-23

Debi starts by looking at the Genesis story of the creation of Eve. She explains that Adam was completely delighted that God gave him Eve as a gift, and that every woman’s husband should similarly be delighted in having her as a gift.

And then comes this nasty bit:

When you are a help meet to your husband, you are a helper to Christ, for God comissioned man for a purpose and gave him a woman to assist in fulfilling that divine calling. When you honor your husband, you honor God. When you obey your husband, you obey God. The degree to which you reverence your husband is the degree to which you reverence your Creator. As we serve our husbands, we serve God. But in the same way, when you dishonor your husband, you dishonor God.

Reverence? Now might be a good point to mention that “worship” is a synonym of “reverence.”

What Debi is doing here is sick. She is explaining that women are to obey their husbands as they are to obey God – absolutely and without question – and that by obeying their husbands, they are obeying God. In other words, God has created women to be helpers for their husbands and commanded them to obey, honor, and reverence their husbands.

No. Just, no. I mean, isn’t this blaspheming or something? It’s placing man in the place of God. It’s demanding that man be treated as God. It’s sick and it’s wrong.

But I promised that I was going to tell you about Debi twisting scripture, didn’t I? After discussing Adam and Eve, Debi turns to the question of whether God “changed his mind” in the New Testament. The answer of course is “no.” She explains that “Paul, Timothy, and Peter wrote to us, telling us God’s original plan was still the same as it was in the beginning when Adam and Eve were first learning to be husband and wife. … God’s will is that you be a suitable helper to your husband.”

And then Debi backs this up with scripture. One verse. Just one. Here it is:

But she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (I Corinthians 7:34)

See? God affirms here in the New Testament that women’s sole purpose is to be helpers to men and married women are to serve, reverence, and obey their husbands. What, you don’t see all that in this one verse? Here, let me put it in context:

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

You see that? Right there, in this passage, God confirms that women’s sole purpose is to be helpers to men and that married women are to serve, reverence, and obey their husbands.

Wait a minute. Um, actually, that passage actually says the exact opposite of that!

This passage says that those who are unmarried can focus on pleasing God, and if you read even further up in the passage, Paul suggests that Christians – of both sex – are better off single and serving God, and should only marry if they truly feel they must. So, does this passage say women women were created to be helpers to men, to serve the men while the men serve God? NO. Not in the least. In fact, it says the exact opposite.

But this passage does say that the married woman should honor, obey, and reverence her husband, right? Um, actually, no. Instead, it says that women who are married care about pleasing their husbands – a statement of fact, not a command – and that men who are married likewise care about pleasing their wives. The exact same language is used here. Unless Debi is suggesting that men ought to honor, reverence, and obey their wives too, she’s completely out of luck. This passage treats men and women as equals, and treats their situations as identical – focusing on God before marriage, focusing on each other after marriage.

How Debi thinks she can do this and get away with it I do not understand. This passage does not just not say what she wants it to say, it says the opposite. If someone was reading and open to listening to Debi and following her advice, this should be the point where they stop. (Actually, they should stop way earlier, probably right about the moment Michael Pearl talks about “the taming of Debi” in his brief introductory endorsement.) How anyone could take Debi seriously after this (or before this, really, but that’s neither here nor there) is beyond me. This isn’t just a sloppy reading of the Bible. It’s lying. It’s deceiving. It’s intentionally misleading (or else having no idea how to read, and since Debi homeschooled five kids and wrote this book, I’m going to make the assumption that she can read.)

After twisting a poor unsuspecting passage of scripture to suit her diabolical needs, Debi finishes this section with the following:

It is not a question of whether or not you can do a better job than he;  it is a matter of doing what you were “designed” to do. If you successfully do the job of leading the family, you will not find satisfaction in it. It is far better that the job be done poorly by your husband than to be done well by you.

In other words, your individual gifts and talents do not matter. God gave you a gift of public speaking, or of managing money, or of opera singing? Too bad. Your individual gifts and talents do not matter. You think you can go out and do great things for God? No! All that matters is that you fit yourself into this little box that Debi, er, I mean God, has created for you. All that matters is that you serve, reverence, and obey your husband. So says the Gospel of Debi. Period and full stop.

Comments open below

Read everything by Libby Anne!

Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Libby Anne blogs at Love, Joy, Feminism
The Beautiful Girlhood Doll by Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the religious right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving fundamentalist and evangelical religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the problems with the “purity culture,” the intricacies of conservative and religious right politics, and the importance of feminism. Her blog is Love, Joy, Feminism

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • westipher grey

    The author would be the first signal for me to ignore this one :) She say in “to train up a child” that it’s ok to beat infants with pvc pipe

  • http://efcgraceblog.wordpress.com Tom Corcoran

    Great analysis. I don’t know Debi Pearl but it appears that she fits into the special class my father warned me of. “Anyone can be wrong but it takes a special talent to be EXACTLY wrong.”

  • madame

    Debi’s (and all complementarian/patriarchal) writings only prove that the Bible can be read to mean whatever the reader wants it to say.

  • Nightshade

    So let’s see if I’ve got this right…she’s taking what the Bible says is a reason to remain single, to ‘attend upon the Lord without distraction,’ and getting that it’s God’s plan for all women to marry and worship the ground their husbands walk on??! Yeah, riiiiiight.

  • http://lostreef.blogspot.com/ Lasseter

    I Corinthians 7 is cited by a good many who cast men in the role of god in the household. Verses 36-38 come to mind too, particularly in support of fathers’ authority over adult daughters. What often seems to be overlooked is that the Apostle Paul states outright several of times that certain portions of his commentary are his advice (albeit apparently strong advice) and not God’s commandments.

  • http://beyond-the-wand.tumblr.com Flynn Phoenix

    “How Debi thinks she can do this and get away with it I do not understand. This passage does not just not say what she wants it to say, it says the opposite.”

    That’s the trouble with the sufficiently brainwashed – they can blind themselves to huge chunks of information and not even realize it. Unfortunately, the chapter/verse format of most Bibles makes it incredibly easy to do this, as when you’re looking for something specific you just tend to hone in on the verse you’re looking for and tune out the rest.

  • Pingback: CTBHHM: Smile, Giggle and Simper

  • Dorothy Young

    And are the advice of an unmarried man at that. ;)


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