No Greater Joy Ministries Capitalizes on Tragedy with the Release of Michael Pearl’s New Book: "Training Children to Be Strong in Spirit"

by Vyckie Garrison

Michael Pearl is getting a lot of media attention lately in the wake of the controversy fueled by the discovery of his child training book, “To Train Up a Child” in the home of yet another couple accused of killing their daughter by the excessive use of punitive discipline.

Pearl defended TTUAC to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and he was also interviewed on HLN last week.

Writing an official statement for No Greater Joy Ministries Facebook page, Michael Pearl vowed to redouble NGJs efforts in light of the Hana Williams tragedy.

In a calculated and appallingly callous move, greedy Michael Pearl is taking “pre-orders” for his newest book, “Training Your Children To Be Strong in Spirit.”  The timing of NGJ’s release of Strong in Spirit capitalizes on the increased web traffic garnered from the media storm surrounding Pearl’s unabashed advocacy of dangerous child-rearing practices such as utilizing a piece of ¼-inch plumbing supply line to hit children as young as six-months old as a form of “biblical chastisement.”

From the NGJ product description:

This is not a time for weak spirits. Some call it intestinal fortitude. I call it guts — spiritual guts. The timid and afraid will fall victim to their appetites and not have the moral earnestness to be men and women of character. The greatest gift you can give your children is to train them to be strong in spirit, courageous, unbending in the face of adversity and temptation.

Yes – Michael Pearl knows something about “guts” – though I would call it “All The Gall.”

I’ve said before, It’s About MONEY – NGJ Ministries is no exception …

“Buy 12 or more and save 40%! We are currently offering this book at a 25% Pre-Order discount.”

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Adventures in Recovery – Scaredy Cats: Why So Fearful?

by Calulu

Aretha Franklin - “You better think about the consequences of your actions.”

Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy – “ Oh shut up woman!”

(Loving borrowed from the movie “The Blues Brothers”)

A few months ago I lent out a book by a newer young minister to a friend of mine named Georgia. Georgia has recently made it out of the mess Possum Creek Christian Fellowship devolved into. We’d been talking about new teachings we’d encountered and I’d explained that I liked this guy’s style, I steered my friend Georgia to his teachings on You Tube and lend her that book. Minister X actually has a new book out but I lent her one of the older books first.

Georgia is one of those ladies I had remained friends with even after she stayed and I skedaddled out of PCCF. She’s one of the more relaxed ones and I thought maybe she’d enjoy looking at faith from a different angle. I guess I was sorely mistaken.

Today I got the book back, sent through someone else we both knew. It was shoved down in a bag underneath a thick sheath of clippings from many magazines, newspapers, computer printed papers, several tracts and pamphlets. On top of those were plastic bags for me to recycle craft, my two compartment crudites serving bowl, a baggie of cooked squash and a few late fall vegetables from her garden. I was confused by this, particularly as I unpacked the bag, realizing that the book and accompanying papers were wrapped in brown paper and garden twine like some sort of trash or porn, something disgraceful and yuck. Something you’d bury to keep others from seeing.

When I unwrapped that bundle I knew this just wasn’t any kind of a good sign. I’d hit a nerve or something so I was relieved the paper didn’t contain white powder or nuclear waste. As I read through the clippings, print outs, tracts and other nonsense I finally got to Georgia’s long handwritten screed. She admitted she’d only read a few pages of the book, not many at all, but that Reverend So-N-So on TV Station Y, Pastor Jinks on Radio WJDG, Teacher Itchy-Man at Look At Me Ministries, ad infinitum just didn’t approve of ANY of Minister X’s writings. X was going to Double H E Hockey Sticks for his various writings.

I mean, I found this all very confusing because the book I loaned out was basically about how if you going to be a Christian you needed to be very naturally that way, that your relationship with the Divine should not be like an old coat that stays in the back your closet you put on only when you feel like. It’s not too different than teachings at conferences we’d attended in the past. You’d think he’d written the Evangelical Anarchist Cookbook with directions on how to get high on communion wine and wafers. Or sticking a banana in the tailpipe of your least favorite pastor’s car. Or overthrowing polite society for fun. Or Halloween, don’t get me started about Halloween.

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Me? Obey Him?

A review of “Me? Obey Him?” by Elizabeth Rice Handford. Trigger warning for former Quiverfull believers who actually read this book and tried to live according to the principles … this post is a disturbing trip down memory lane.

by Vyckie Garrison

Those fortunate enough to have never actually read “Me? Obey Him?” may be shocked and appalled by the teachings in support of “biblical patriarchy.”  This review is simply quotations of Handford’s own words (in italics), followed by comments from my personal experience as a former Quiverfull Believer.

God’s Perfect Creation Required Order

Jesus, the Creator of Heaven and earth, submitted Himself to God the Father.  He took His place in the chain of command. … It is no shame, no dishonor,  for a woman to be under authority, if the Lord Jesus — very God Himself — submitted to the authority of the Father. (p. 14)

The submission of the Lord Jesus is our example.  He submitted not just to the tender ministrations of the Father.  He submitted to revilings and curses, persecution and suffering.  He was our example, not just to obey a gentle and kind husband but a harsh and mean husband as well.

You may find that your obedience to your husband and your obedience to God are all tied together.  You may not want to obey your husband because you are in rebellion against God. (p. 51)

By intimately linking Christ’s willing subjection to God the Father with a woman’s submission to her husband in “the chain of command,” the teachings of patriarchy create such an intricate tangle of enmeshment that it’s nearly impossible for an abused woman to extricate herself from the bondage of her husband’s tyranny without also throwing off her spiritual bond with Christ.

Kristen Rosser, who writes the FAQs for No Longer Quivering, is currently working on an article which will address the popular Christian teachings on the absolute necessity of hierarchy – coming soon …

Woman’s Nature Requires Obedience

We’ve had the impression that women as a class are more spiritually minded than men, with sensibilities more refined, and purer thoughts. Scriptures say the opposite is true!  Women are more often led into spiritual error than men.  Perhaps it is caused by her intuitive, emotional thinking.  (Intuitive thinking is God’s gift, not to be despised, but it needs the balance of a man’s reason.)  I should add too, that a woman does not have to be led into error.  That is the reason God commanded her not to usurp authority over the man, so she can be protected from false doctrine. (p. 17)

Sexist generalizations are never useful in understanding human relationships.

In reality, I am no less rational than my (ex)husband.  He also is gifted with a strong intuition and emotional intelligence.  Convinced as we were that I was more susceptible to Satanic deception, our family was deprived of my reasonable input in decision making.  My intelligence was squelched, my intuition was distrusted and my feelings were denied.  My husband developed an artificially inflated sense of his own powers of logic.  I can’t count how many times he said to me, “What you are saying sounds reasonable, but how do I know that Satan is not using you to deceive me?”  I had no good defense.  According to the Scriptures, we had every reason to believe that I was indeed being used to lead my husband astray.

His authority and my obedience did not protect us from tragic deception which ripped apart our family.

What Do the Scriptures Say About a Wife’s Obedience?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Scriptures say a woman ought to obey her husband! …  [Note, these ellipses represent page after page of scriptural support given by Handford to bolster her argument that God commands wives to obey their husbands.] If you are intellectually honest, you will have to admit that it is impossible to find a single loophole, a single exception, an “if” or “unless.”  The Scriptures say, without qualification, to the openminded reader, that a woman ought to obey her husband. (pp. 24, 25)

1) She Is to Obey Regardless of His Spiritual Condition

The wife who obeys her husband may win him by her meek and quiet spirit, her loving behavior. (p. 25)

2) She Need Not Fear Conflicting Authority

There is no hint that a woman may have to choose between conflicting authority. …  If it is needed in order to fulfill both obligations, God will do a miracle to make it possible. … It is safe to conclude that when God told a woman to obey her husband, He intended for her to be able to do it without risk of offending other authorities. (pp. 25, 28)

3) She Obeys Without Reference to Her Feelings About the Will of God

The Scriptures say a woman must ignore her “feelings” about the will of God, and do what her husband says.  She is to obey her husband as if he were God Himself.  She can be as certain of God’s will, when her husband speaks, as if God had spoken audibly from Heaven! (p. 28 – emphasis added)

When a concerned friend reported our family to Child Protective Services, my ex-husband lost custody of the children due to his abuse.  The social worker told me that I was guilty of “failure to protect.”  The only thing that prevented me from having my parental rights terminated and my children placed in foster care was my willingness to submit to a full psychological evaluation, undergo individual and family counseling, and cooperate with random unannounced home visits by Social Services.

My older children rightfully blame me for not protecting them against their father’s abuse.  Even though they know that I was influenced by books such as “Me? Obey Him?” to believe that it was God’s will to submit to the abuse, my children cannot be fooled into thinking that I was not really responsible for their suffering.  I have apologized for my neglect.  Most of my children have forgiven me — still, the damage is done and some things can’t (and shouldn’t) be forgotten.

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NLQ FAQ: The Bible & Accountability in Marriage – Part 2: The Marriage Covenant & Covenant Breaking

by Kristen Rosser ~ aka:KR Wordgazer

Part 1 of this FAQ addressed ideas for helping your marriage when following the teachings of Quiverfull does not work as you had understood it was supposed to. But the Bible does not teach that being a Christian is a formula, or that your actions will guarantee the response of someone else. Each person has his or her own choices to make, and ultimately, they are that person’s choices alone. You cannot force your husband to do the right thing, and this brings us to the very difficult question asked at the end of Part 1:

But what if my husband is completely unrepentant and refuses to change behaviors that, if I am honest with myself, I must admit are harming my children, our marriage and myself? Is there anything I can do then?

The Bible regards marriage as a solemn contract, or covenant. A covenant is a kind of treaty between two parties, characterized by promises that need to be kept. When a covenant has been violated– when one of the parties breaks the covenant promises so frequently, callously or heinously that the wronged party must consider it irrevocably broken– there are ways for the one who has been wronged to end the covenant. Marriage is no different. In Jeremiah 3, Israel’s covenant with God is pictured as a marriage contract. God had kept His covenant promises, but Israel had continually broken them without repentance or any attempt to right the wrongs. In verse 8 God says, “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce. . . .” God describes Himself here as the wronged party in a marriage covenant. The promises of the covenant had been broken beyond repair– not by God, but by Israel. God’s divorce of Israel did not break the covenant; it merely acknowledged that the covenant had been broken. But God nevertheless described Himself as getting a divorce. Since God would never sin, it could not have been wrong for Him to get a divorce– because He was not the one who broke the covenant. Covenant-breaking is a wrong that we must avoid; but when the other party has irretrievably broken the covenant, the wronged party is not obligated to pretend that the covenant is intact. It is up to the wronged party to decide when enough is enough. Forgiveness is important, but forgiveness alone will not restore a broken covenant. The party who broke the covenant must repent and bear the fruit of repentance, showing a real desire to change his ways and beginning to honor the covenant again. Israel refused to do so in Jeremiah 3, and the Bible gives us a picture of God finally deciding that enough was enough, and withdrawing from His covenant with Israel.

But doesn’t God say, “I hate divorce” in the Book of Malachi? And didn’t Jesus say, “what God has joined together, let not man separate’”?

We will examine more closely what Jesus said shortly, after examining the shared understandings He and His audience would have been working under, that we today may be missing (see the FAQ “Quiverfull and the Bible” for more about original intent and shared understandings between the author and audience of biblical texts). As for Malachi 3:11-16, here is what it says: “Judah hath dealt treacherously. . . and hath married the daughter of a strange god. . . Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; yet she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. . . Therefore take heed your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away, for one covereth violence with his garment. . .”

God was angry because in this case, the divorce itself was a breaking of the marriage covenant, for the women who were being divorced had done no wrong. Instead, it was the men divorcing their wives without cause who were doing wrong, committing treachery against the covenant by marrying other women. It was the breaking of the covenant that God hated, for He looked at it as tantamount to committing violence and then covering it over. When the marriage covenant has not been broken, then divorce itself breaks the covenant and is therefore wrong. But in the case where the covenant is already broken, divorce could not be wrong, or God would not have spoken of Himself as initiating a divorce.

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NLQ FAQ: The Bible & Accountability in Marriage – Part 1: Bringing Real Change to Your Relationship

by Kristen Rosser ~ aka:KR Wordgazer

I have done my best to be a submissive and supportive ‘helpmeet’ to my husband in every way possible, but though I hardly want to admit it, it doesn’t seem to be working the way I thought it would. Sometimes I feel torn between being a good wife and protecting my children from potential damage from a lack of Christian character in their father. You are saying Quiverfull teachings could be making matters worse. How, and why? And what can I do to help make things better? 

If you have read the FAQ entitled “The Bible and the Nature of Woman,” you may remember that the words translated as “help meet” in the KJV are the two Hebrew words “ezer,” meaning “strong aid or rescuer” (which is most often used of God as the “help of Israel“); and “kenedgo,” which means “facing him” (or as we might put it today, “face to face”). God intended the woman to be her husband’s “face-to-face strong aid,” not his subordinate assistant. This is what a man needs. After the Fall, according to Genesis 3:16, the man began to rule over the woman; but in so doing, he was cutting himself off from what he needed most.

Christ came to bring a new kingdom, or a new Creation, spiritual rather than fleshly, in which the damaged relationships of the Fall are being healed. This is why 2 Corinthians 5:16 says, “Wherefore henceforth we know no man after the flesh,” and why Galatians 3:28 says, “there is neither. . . male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” What a husband needs is for his wife to become that face-to-face strong aid that God originally designed her to be. This means seeing yourself as his co-leader, stepping up to shoulder with him the responsibilities of leading the home and children, side by side.

This may surprise him at first, but many men, once they experience it, will gratefully welcome the co-leader relationship. Sometimes a man, feeling the burden of being the sole leader in the family, fears failure and feels alone, because as they say, “it’s lonely at the top.” He shrinks back or slacks off, coasting on his wife’s subordinate service and submission as she desperately tries to do all the work while still making him feel like “king of the home.“ The result can be a man who secretly despises himself and resents his wife. The combination of taking care of him and treating him like royalty (or a spoiled child) can be extremely unproductive– for both of you.

At other times a husband might become a micro-manager, feeling that the sole responsibility for everyone’s spiritual well-being is on his shoulders. Letting all the responsibility rest on him may seem right, but you’re not doing him any favors. He needs an “ezer kenedgo.” He needs the two of you to be adults together, facing the adult responsibilities together. And he needs to let the spiritual well-being of the family rest where it belongs– squarely on the shoulders of Christ Himself. A mere human man cannot be anyone’s savior or sanctifier. He must let God be God in the lives of his loved ones. Your husband needs to be allowed to be merely human, but also be held accountable to be a responsible adult.

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