Tim Challies has reviewed the book Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl in a two part review. It is a very interesting review and discussion and worth considering if you have read the book or had it recommended to you.
I have read many of the Pearl’s books (included this one) and they are very interesting. There are many “pearls” of wisdom that can be found but along with those is much that must be weeded out and sifted through. Taken 100% at face value there would be many, many problems that could develop by utilizing their methods of parenting and marriage.
Example: You cannot physically spank some children until they will obey. That can and will lead to abuse which has happened with devastating consequences based on supposed instructions from the Pearl’s parenting books.
So because of the issues with the Pearl’s books I have a hard time recommending them to others so I don’t.
What is the problem with the Pearl’s books?
Remember the series on doctrine I posted earlier? Renewing the Attitudes of our Heart Series
Here are two quotes from that series:
A.W. Tozer said in The Knowledge of the Holy:
“It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.”
According to John MacArthur:
Doctrine matters. What you believe about God, the gospel, the nature of man, and every major truth addressed in Scripture filters down to every area of your life. You and I will never rise above our view of God and our understanding of His Word.
That is what happens with the Pearl’s material. Their faulty doctrine shows through and colors their teaching. A person’s teaching cannot be separated from their doctrine.
Some would say “But the Pearl’s are Biblical and use Scripture to back up their teaching.” Which is true to an extent. However, their doctrine is interpreted based on flawed assumptions.
I couldn’t begin to tell all the doctrine issues that occur in their materials but here is a sampling. Not only that but books will say one thing and then later Micheal Pearl will post a rebuttal to the criticism on their website. Either they express themselves very poorly or they tone down doctrine at times when confronted. I could spend time posting quotes from them but that isn’t my point. Just understand that faulty doctrine can be exhibited in a myriad of ways.
Doctrinal problems with the Pearls:
1) X + Y = Z (I only explained this one because it is the most obviously taught but hardest to explain.)
This is a common flaw everyone falls for at times. If you do X and you do Y the result will be Z, always. In other words, church plus stay at home mom will lead to saved children. Or maybe we don’t think life is that simple. Active church membership plus stay at home mom plus homeschooling plus family devotions plus cutting out TV plus a mission trip will lead to saved children. Few of us actually think this out but we often unconsciously think that we’ve done all the right things so why isn’t our results working out like we thought.
The Christian Life isn’t a set of hoops we must jump through in order to arrive at the right destination. Many go through the “hoops” in a different order. Others skipped “hoops” we think are important and achieve better fruit.
The Pearls teach that if your children are made to be obedient when young that the adult fruit will be good. Or that if you are the perfect wife your husband won’t divorce you or if he does you can win him back and have an even better marriage. People do not respond like Pavlov’s dogs. There are more factors to life than X and Y. People can choose to sin despite everything. Other outside influences can affect decisions. God is Sovereign over all.
2) God’s Sovereignty
3) Christian perfection
4) Gap Theory
5) Infants are born without sin or a sin nature.