Debi Pearl’s “Created to be his help meet” — a review by Avid Reader
[June 17, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
This book goes way off the deep end in craziness but the root problem is that Michael and Debi Pearl are violating God’s law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7-8). They want one spouse to sow to the flesh without reaping any consequences because they won’t allow the other spouse to set any boundaries.
(The ACFJ team encourages readers to click here [Internet Archive link] to vote on this review at Amazon where it was originally published.)
Debi Pearl writes:
Never demand a man love and cherish you because he ought to. (p. 31)
Your husband will be selfish, he will be unkind….not respect your rights….foolish…..cruel….actually walk in sin…. (p. 55)
In most marriages the strife is not because the man is cruel or evil; it is because he expects obedience, honor and reverence and is not getting it. Thus he reacts badly. (p. 79)
If some worthless men had wives who were more ______, you fill in the blank, they would not be so worthless. (p. 278)
The further you read in this book the more you find real hatred for women. Debi is so focused on blaming women that she will contradict herself in the process. Then she turns around and tries to portray God as an abusive father!
Reflecting God’s nature
There are basically three types of men. The different types are just as marked in one year olds as they are in adult men. It seems that God made each male to express one side of his triad nature. (p. 75)
Wait a minute. There’s only ONE man who reflects God — Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:3). But Debi claims that these three types reflect God’s nature: Mr. Command Man, Mr. Visionary [Man] and Mr. Steady [Man].
Mr. Command [Man] is actually the type of abuser known as the Drill Sergeant. Listen closely to Debi’s words.
Command men….are known for expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot….She is on call every minute of her day. Her man wants to know where she is, what she is doing and why she is doing it. He corrects her without thought. For better or for worse it is his nature to control….A woman married to a Command Man wears a heavier yoke than most women but it can be a very rewarding yoke….her walk….is easier because there is never any possibility of her being in control….Command men have less tolerance so they will often walk off and leave their clamoring wife before she has a chance to realize that she is even close to losing her marriage….The Command man feels it is his duty and responsibility to lead people and he does whether….they want him to or not. (p. 77-78)
That’s supposed to reflect God’s nature? This is so far from the heart of God. Jesus stands at the door and knocks. He doesn’t kick the door down. Plus, Jesus NEVER leaves us.
Now would Mr. Command [Man] ever allow another man to walk in and take control of his life? Of course not. That’s the double standard. He feels entitled to usurping authority over whole groups of people but would never allow another man to control him. Yet the irony is that Mr. Command [Man] is NOT controlling the only thing that God actually commands him to control — himself! SELF-CONTROL is God’s will for our lives not letting Mr. Command [Man] do whatever he pleases, trampling on everyone else’s boundaries.
Then there’s the other two types. Debi describes Mr. Steady [Man] as a loyal husband who works hard and takes care of his family. On the other hand, Mr. Visionary [Man] is lazy, refuses to work, and hops around the country, chasing empty frivolous things. Exactly what the Bible warned us NOT to do (Proverbs 12:11).
Debi describes him as so irresponsible that:
….if our husbands are visionaries they will yell and make our life miserable until we run back to mama and end up sleeping in a cold bed and living on food stamps. (p. 97)
They are often the church splitters….they can be real jerks who push their agendas, forcing others to go their way. (p. 80-81)
Why is Debi totally fine with allowing this guy to disobey God’s command “to settle down” and work to earn his own living (2 Thes 3:12)? Meanwhile, Debi won’t allow the wife to work outside the home so this guy is allowed to destroy the family’s finances, while the wife is supposed to watch helplessly! And then Debi shifts the burden of responsibility to God, saying that God will clean up all the messes that this guy is creating. The irony is that while God will hold this guy accountable for his sin, Debi won’t.
This whole book revolves around the sin of showing partiality (James 2:9) by consistently making excuses for the willful sin of one spouse while blaming the other spouse for everything. On page 207, Debi blames Bathsheba for David’s sins but never holds David himself accountable when she says that Bathsheba’s :
….lack of discretion cost her husband his life. (p. 207)
No! David murdered her husband. Then God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David not her. Even when David repented, he took full responsibility for his sins without ever blaming her.
Throughout this book, Debi Pearl twists Scripture to fit her opinion then rejects actual verses that she doesn’t like. For example, she slams women for working outside the home but won’t accept how God raised up Deborah to judge the entire nation of Israel. And she ignores where the Apostle Paul actually commends women for laboring with him in Philippians 4:3 (also see Romans 16:1-2).
Meanwhile, Debi keeps disregarding God’s commands to keep her tradition when He writes:
Women are simply deceived. (p. 111)
The Bible says that women “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). All the “treasures of wisdom” are in Christ who dwells in us (Colossians 2:3 & 1:27).
It is NOT God’s will for your husband to reverence you. (p. 137)
God commands husband to reverence their wives in 1 Peter 3:7 and warns that their prayers will be hindered if they don’t!
You were created to make (your husband) complete, not to seek personal fulfillment parallel to him. (p. 21)
God says, “The desire of the righteous is granted” (Proverbs 10:24). “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Dominance and control are always masculine characteristics. (p. 115)
No! God commands women “to be self-controlled” (Titus 2:5 NET).
A woman’s calling is not easy. To allow someone else to control your life is much harder than taking control of it yourself. (p. 50)
Nope! Since there’s no law of God against self-control (Galatians 5:23), Debi doesn’t get to make up rules that take away our ability to make our own personal choices. You can’t function in self-control if someone else is making all your decisions. Jesus commanded us not to allow anyone to take away our ability to say “yes” and “no,” warning us that “anything else comes from the devil” (Matthew 5:37 CEV). Yet page after page of this book tries to eliminate people’s ability to say “no” in their own lives. And this book doesn’t even try to hide the vileness of teaching people to submit to abuse.
Listen to what Debi’s husband, Michael Pearl, writes,
Wives….are not prone to be balanced or wise.
A husband has authority to tell his wife what to wear, where to go, whom to talk to, how to spend her time, when to speak and when not to, even if he is unreasonable and insensitive. (p. 260-261)
That violates God’s command in 1 Cor 7:23b (NET) “Do NOT become slaves of men.” Yet Michael actually likens wives to slaves when he writes,
Many women disobey their husbands on grounds that they are obeying God instead. (p. 259)
The wife is to obey her husband in all things. (p. 261)
The servant is not given the option of deciding that the master is not acting within the will of God and therefore should not be obeyed. It is acceptable with God — God’s will — for the underling to suffer wrongfully and take it patiently. You will surely wonder, ‘Why is it the will of God for the underling to suffer at the hands of an unjust and perverse authority?’
Two reasons are obvious….First the chain of authority must remain intact, even to the point of allowing some abuse. The other reason is….lady, you were created to give glory to God. When God puts you in subjection to a man whom [H]e knows is going to cause you to suffer, it is with the understanding that you are obeying God by enduring the wrongful suffering. And when you suffer wrongfully, as unto the Lord, you bring great glory to God. (p. 262-263)
Did God tell the Israelites to submit harder to Pharaoh’s abuse because the chain of authority can’t be broken? NO! Here’s what God actually told Moses,
I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt, and I have heard their cries when the Egyptians hurt them. I know about their pain. Now I will go down and save my people from the Egyptians. I will take them from that land and lead them to a good land where they can be free from these troubles. It is a land filled with many good things. (Exodus 3:7-8a ERV)
That’s the heart of God which this book totally misses. Jesus said it best, “Get behind me, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord thy God, and HIM ONLY shall you serve” (Luke 4:8). Yet this book keeps trying to usurp God’s authority. Debi says:
When you obey your husband you obey God. (p. 22)
Like Eve we imagine that we can disobey….God’s Word and our husband’s word. (p. 129)
Right there Debi just tried to seat man on God’s throne — the devil tried that and got kicked out of Heaven. This is pure idolatry — trying to put man’s words in God’s mouth which Jesus warned us about in Matthew 15:9.
The Bible distinguishes between obeying God and obeying man (Acts 5:29). Consider Romans 13, which tells us to submit to civil authority because “the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God” (Romans 16:2 NET). Resists the “ordinance” NOT God Himself because civil authority is not the same thing as God Himself. Remember when King Herod tried to stand in the place of God, he was immediately struck down (Acts 12:22-23).
Debi Pearl is actually teaching the same twisted theology from the 1970s Shepherding Movement that caused tremendous damage. The founder of the Shepherding Movement, Derek Prince wrote:
Christ doesn’t rule in every area directly, in His own Person. He rules through delegated authority.
Whenever God’s delegated authority touches our lives he requires us to acknowledge and submit to it just as we would to him in person….Our attitude towards those whom God sets in delegated authority over us is….our attitude towards God. (Discipleship, Shepherding, Commitment, p. 19-20)
It is the same thing that Debi Pearl teaches, when she says that:
….the degree to which you reverence your husband is the degree to which you reverence your Creator. (p. 22)
Michael Pearl even uses the same terms from Shepherding, when he says:
In those areas where God has delegated someone to be in authority he has relinquished a certain amount of control to that authority — for better or for worse. God doesn’t micromanage all spheres of authority. He allows certain latitude for the authority to be wrong and still retain the office. (p. 259)
When Saul became abusive, did God tell David to stay at the palace and pray for Saul to change? No! God repented of making Saul king and revoked his authority.
Meanwhile, this book continues teaching Shepherding theology. Michael Pearl writes:
The authority God gave to your husband is [H]is alone and God will not interfere and take back to [H]imself that power even if your husband abuses his powers…. (p. 260)
As a divorcee, she maintains the image of the persecuted and abused victim but in many cases it was her standards that created the rift that led to divorce. (p. 261)
Same thing taught by another founder of Shepherding, Bob Mumford:
Your higher power may not be doing it right according to your standards….but there’s not a thing you can do about it but submit. (Problem of Doing Your Own Thing, p. 67)
Too often we want our ministry directly from God. We want personal attention. We aren’t about to receive what we need through some delegated representative. (Problem, p. 73)
I know of a church where the members took the stand that our pastor is right, even when he is wrong. (Problem, p. 85)
The error of Shepherding theology was:
1) Disregarding 1 Timothy 2:5 by trying to put a mediator between you and God.
2) Teaching idolatry by seating man on God’s throne.
3) Disobeying Jesus by taking away the ability of people to say “yes” and “no”.
Sound familiar? That is Debi’s book in a nutshell.
To better understand how Debi tries to destroy personal boundaries let’s review what boundaries actually are. In the book, Boundaries In Marriage, Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend write:
Couples have a duty to set limits on each spouse’s destructive acts or attitudes. For example, if a husband has a gambling problem, his wife needs to set appropriate limits, such as canceling his credit cards, separating their joint accounts….to force him to take responsibility for his problem. (p. 43)
Another problem may occur when a wife stands up for the right thing, and her husband tells her she is not being submissive. She may confront her husband’s attitudes or addiction or lying or some other ungodly behavior and then she is called “unsubmissive. (p. 245)
What submission doesn’t mean is that a husband just tells a wife what to do….The idea of submission is never meant to allow someone to overstep another’s boundaries. Submission only has meaning in the context of boundaries for boundaries promote self-control and freedom. If a wife is not free and in control of herself she is not submitting anyway. She is a slave subject to a slave driver and she is out of the will of God. If a wife is being put under some law that says she is “bad” if she doesn’t submit to her husband’s cruelty and problems then she is not free at all. Likewise, if she is not free to say no without being deemed “bad,” then she is not free at all. A free person is the only one who can submit. (p. 245-247)
[June 17, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to June 17, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to June 17, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to June 17, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (June 17, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]