by Libby Anne cross posted from her blog Love Joy Feminism
Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 221-222
Debi starts this section with these reassurances:
So, is a woman a second-class citizen of the kingdom? Is she to be a subdued, brow-beaten servant to the male species? Certainly not! What the Bible teaches will not put women back into the Stone Age, nor will it turn us into a bunch of Muslim-like women who stay covered in black, sweaty bourkhas. If you knew me (and by the time you finish reading this book, you will know me), you would know that I ma the farthest thing from a mousy, brow-beaten wife. But I know what God teaches about women, and I know that for you to be happy—really happy—as I have been happy, you must follow and abide in God’s role for women.
First, I’m surprised that Debi believes in a Stone Age. The young earth creationist view is that the supposed “Stone Age” lasted a few hundred years max, occurred after the flood and before people settled down and began farming, and was a period when people had a higher mental capacity than today (before human DNA had degenerated as much as it has today, goes the argument). This makes Debi’s Stone Age remark rather anachronistic. Also making it anachronistic is the fact that one widely held theory of the origins of patriarchy holds that gender relations were much more egalitarian in the Stone Age and became patriarchal with the origins of farming.
Second, Debi’s reference to Muslim women smacks of Islamophobia. Muslim women are not a monolithic identity, and most Muslim women do not actually wear burqas. While it is true that some Muslim women are pressured into wearing the burqa, but the reality is far more complex than just that. Some Muslim women cover, and some do not—it’s generally considered a deeply personal decision, one that is ultimately between a woman and God. To criticize Islam as a whole based on the fact that some Muslim women wear burqas is structurally no different from criticizing Christianity as a whole based on the fact that some Christian women wear long skirts and head coverings. Debi’s Islamophobia yet another example of the same arrogant cultural superiority that characterizes the rest of her work. It’s also extremely hypocritical.
God has spoken frankly as to why he made us as he did and what our role is to be.
Yet, so-called Bible teachers today tear apart what God has said and make the average young wife reading these Scriptures feel as though what God has said to her is an insult. I, too, am a woman. I have spent my life counseling women. After almost 35 years as a wife, counseling ladies, reading thousands upon thousands of letters, and chalking up my own life experiences, I have concluded that what the Bible says on this subject is rock-solid truth, and it works! I have also seen the sad results of the teachings that reject the plain sense of Scripture.
When people speak with extreme confidence, people are more likely to believe what they say. The more confident you are, the more likely that they’ll believe you. I think Debi is capitalizing on that here.
My conclusions can be said to be scientifically correct. That is, the “evidence” that leads to my conclusion is reproducible: Anyone can test it and get the same results. The Creator knows best, and His way does work. His Word is meant to be taken at face value. And, when any woman does as I have done, the blessings are incredible!
I don’t think Debi understands how scientific evidence works. You don’t just say something works for you and you’ve seen it work for others and that makes it scientific. And I think she’s also forgetting things like variables. For example, women in the sort of communities she is writing to are often under a lot of pressure to act as though things are okay, even if they’re not. Also, Debi admitted last week that evangelical Christians are more likely to get divorced than are other Americans. How does that square with her assertion? Actually, I think I know the answer to that: Debi would say that most evangelical Christians have adopted feminism in whole or in part, and are not actually following God’s plan for a heavenly marriage.
I have received thousands of letters from women who have entered into God’s miraculous, blessed plan by simply believing and obeying his Word concerning our place as women. I have seen lesbians set free and become wives fit for the kingdom. I have seen broken whores, drug addicts, and church-taught, rebellious ladies all become women who honor their men and become good help meets. I have seen marriages born in hell and then reborn in heaven.
I’m really curious to know more about Debi’s ministry. Thousands of letters? I’d give a lot to actually see Debi’s an mail, the good and the bad. Further, these letters Debi receives (assuming she is being truthful) don’t necessarily present the full truth. How does Debi know these letter writers aren’t glossing over the problems and fitting their articles to a standard evangelical redemption narrative?
When someone tells you that the Greek doesn’t read submit, obey, or silence, just ask that person, “How is your marriage? Would you say it is glorious? Will God use your marriage as an example in Heaven of how he wants Christ and the Church to be?” Those who change the Word of God concerning a woman being a help meet do so because they don’t know the wonder of a marriage made in heaven. I do.
I would not call a relationship where one party does all the leading and the other does all the submitting “glorious.” Also, Debi is creating a strawman of Christian feminists here. The argument isn’t that the Greek doesn’t say submit, obey, and silence, but rather the statements need to be read in their historical, sociological, and literary context—and in the context of the rest of the Bible.
Also, is “How is your marriage?” Debi’s equivalent with Ken Ham’s “Were you there?” gotcha question? It’s certainly not anymore effective. Debi doesn’t have scientific evidence, she has “gotcha” questions, anecdotes, and overly confident assertions. That’s not how scientific proof works. You know what would be interesting? An actual study. I’m not sure how one could be set up, though, because it would require those in the patriarchal relationships to be honest, and there would probably be disagreement on exactly what made a marriage “heavenly.”
Comments open below
Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Libby Anne blogs at Love, Joy, Feminism
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