February 28, 2012

Created To Be His Help Meet

This book by Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy ministries is intended for women desiring to have a joyful and glorious marriage.

I consider that this book works very well to target and address the wife's attitudes and responses to her husband. However the content is a somewhat watered down version of The Excellent Wife. The gimmicks in this book -- different text fonts, pictures, and lots of eye-catching pop outs -- turn me off.

There are many critical points with which I agree with Pearl. Throughout the work, Pearl is attempting to plea to women to change their attitudes and their responses to their husbands. Regardless of what kind of treatment the women receive from their husbands, as believers, we honor Christ when we honor our husbands, whether they believe or not. Our attitudes should be filled with joy, gratitude and appreciation for what he does do. When we serve and obey our husbands we do so as unto Christ.

Another strong point she makes is that our role as help meets is to come along side and help our husbands in the vocation to which they are called. This means that we are not to make our husbands pick up a vocation we would prefer for him or ourselves, but to aid him in what he is doing, in his dreams and aspirations. And she also makes a good point about each of our marriages being designed by God, that it is no mistake that you are with your husband even if you were in rebellion when you decided to wed. And therefore, you should serve him now as unto Christ.

My main criticism with this work is the interpretation of certain Scriptures. For example, at Creation Debi considers Satan to have fallen by the time God had completed the work of Creation and declared it all to be "very good." The Hebrew indicates that this phrase has a very strong particular emphasis to mean extremely good or perfect, without schism, fault or imperfection. How could God declare all of Creation (which includes the heavenly beings also) "very good" if Satan and 1/3 of the angels had already fallen by that time? In another instance, she states that Bathsheba was a cunning seductress looking for the perfect opportunity to lead vulnerable, near perfect King David astray when the Biblical text does not indicate anything of that sort. She is a very controversial Biblical figure, but to imply something that the text does not explicitly state is deceptive.

Because of this, the wise and discerned reader should take this work with a grain of salt.

The Excellent Wife is much more appropriate for the mature, wifely audience it's designed for. It is not filled with gimmicks. There is a more wholistic, nouthetic, Biblically systematic approach to the role of the woman in the context of marriage. The Excellent Wife can be a difficult read because it is convicting and rightly divides and applies the Scriptures. If you would like to read Excellent Wife, but feel that you need to wade a little before jumping off the diving board: read Help Meet. If you want to go straight for the deep end: read Excellent Wife. Both are convicting and both will basically say the same thing, but for many women The Excellent Wife is written with more straight talk and less filler. Previously I've heard mixed reviews from friends about Help Meet and nothing but praise and conviction about The Excellent Wife.

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