real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

october 5 podcast

podcast logo “I want to begin this discussion by looking at a book that, in the past couple of years, has taken the homeschooling community by storm, selling tens of thousands of copies immediately when it was released. A friend of mine told me of the women she knew who were taking the publisher up on the offer to purchase a case of 24 books at a discount and she saw literally hundreds of these books being handed out at homeschooling support groups…. The bottom line for me, about the entire book, my number one concern, is how the authority of the Scriptures was undermined throughout, both by confusing actual biblical truth and by replacing it with Debi Pearls’ own pearls of wisdom.” Listen here for this week’s podcast entitled Patriarchy and Patriocentricity: Part 5 that features a discussion between Spunky and thatmom on the effects of patriocentricity on wives and moms.

Spunk reviewed the Created to Be His Helpmeet book a couple years ago on her blog and you can find it here.



  Carol wrote @

Sounds like the slippery slope to Afghanistan and Iraq. Such beliefs make me so sad. I think it’s not just the Pearls that believe in submitting to abuse. For years, I have heard Christian women described as godly when they suffer in silence. I wonder about the actual number of Christian women who suffer from emotional and verbal abuse in the name of submission. You mentioned that the Pearls draw the line at criminal behavior. That is certainly arbitrary – every state and country has different laws. Take spanking for example – the Pearls’ method of beating babies and children with a switch or stick is illegal in Canada.

  Cally Tyrol wrote @

It is in California as well.

  Cally Tyrol wrote @

Another great one Ladies!!

I’ve not read CTBHH and I don’t intend to. Aside from the very blatant theological errors found in the Pearls’ theology, I just can’t abide their writing style. It is unclear in many places and I just don’t have the inclination to sort through the mire to find whatever good advice might lie there. I tend to throw the baby out with the bath water where they are concerned. What they say that is good can be found elsewhere and what they say that is bad is SO BAD that I cannot abide it.

Of course, that is not to say that others should feel the same way. I consider myself to be a discerning reader and I can usually spot bad theology from a mile away. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of patience for the Pearls so I just stay away entirely.

This was a very informative podcast and I’m grateful for it. I appreciate the discussion on Debi Pearl’s advice to “Sunny”. I wrote a blog post long ago responding to an article on the Pearl’s website where they basically told a wife whose husband was guilty of sexual abuse against their children to stay married to him, let him to go to prison, and then welcome him back into the home after he’d done his time. I hope I don’t need to point out why that is just plain BAD advice. Michael Pearl makes the caveat that the “children will be grown” but people don’t always go to prison for “10 or 20 years”, especially if its their first offense. The recidivism rate of sexual offenders is extremely high., not to mention the fact that the husband has committed adultery against his wife with their own children, an obvious ground for divorce.

To me, this is just outrageous and I don’t even know where to start when discussing the ideas in this book. FTR- I don’t hate the Pearls. I have serious issues with many of their teachings and underlying theology. I think I lack the maturity needed to discuss my feelings rationally, so I am very thankful for the example provided by you both, Karen and Spunky.

  Cindy Kunsman wrote @

I think this was the best podcast thus far. Although I am not familiar with the Debi Pearl book, I am very familiar with these concepts from my experience with the followers of Gothard.

The best concept that you both elucidated was the difference between concepts of sin and sanctification within and outside of patriarchy. Patriarchy revolves around man’s intervention rather than what I view as God’s sovereign work within every believer. Certainly, all believers are called to labor or to strive to enter God’s rest in the kingdom, seeking holiness. However, the Holy Spirit and the circumstances of our lives through the steps that God orders for the righteous man (and woman, too). The movement focuses so heavily on the intermediary, that enlightened individual whom God has ordained for the underling within the hierarchial structure. There is no intermediary and no room for sarcedotalism under the concept of the priesthood of all believers.

Karen, your comment about Debi Pearl essentially handing that young woman “a tube of mascara” rather than encouraging her about the mighty weapons of our spiritual warfare was great! The kingdom of God is not a carnal kingdom, and our effectiveness comes through the Spirit rather than our own might, power or performance. Performance sometimes yields great results, but not always. Job was an upright man before God who was put to the test, suffering not because of his inadequacies but for his successes and virtue. In the fullness of time, Job was restored just as we all shall be one day. For the exceptions to the patriarchal rule, the “patriarchs” just parrot the inadequate and very limited (“boxed in”) view of Job’s friends.

We walk by faith and not by sight. It seems that the Pearl outlook places a great deal of emphasis on external factors, looking to them rather than the author and finisher of our faith.

  Cindy Kunsman wrote @


Forgot the last half of this sentence in that second paragraph above.

However, the Holy Spirit and the circumstances of our lives through the steps that God orders for the righteous man (and woman, too) performs the primary work of our sanctification, conforming us into Christ’s image.

  TulipGirl wrote @

I just finished listening to the two podcasts with Spunky Karen. What I most appreciated was that y’all addressed the roots of the issues in a way that wasn’t the “same old, same old.” What I heard was hearts of concern–not crusading after a “cause.”

I believe that it IS important to find encouragement, teaching, help, inspiration along our pilgrim journey as Christians and as wives and mothers. Y’all brought out the point that so often, however, we as Christian women wanting to do the “best” for our families, get sidetracked by the writings and teaching and “principles” that other Christians set forth. I know that I do desire to look to the Lord first–as I assume other Christian women do.

And yet, it has only been in retrospect that I’ve recognized the times that I allowed human teachings to take priority over seeking the Lord first. In the midst of living it out, I have thought that I WAS looking to Christ and the Bible and not to human teachings. I would be interested in the future in hearing a series on discernment and recognizing when we are being personally sidetracked by man’s teachings in the midst of things. . .

I’ve listened to quite a few of the ThatMom podcasts this week as I’ve been driving and cleaning. I’ve appreciated how often I hear the words of God from Scripture, and not just encouragement (though needed) from your experience and wisdom of having already walked this path.

  Anne wrote @

Karen & Karen, thank you so much for these podcasts. I have to listen to them again because there is so much to absorb!

  Denise wrote @

I must say that I have enjoyed your podcasts on patriarchy and I have been especially encouraged by Spunky’s Berean spirit, here and in the comments section of other blogs, in regard to this whole subject.

I think Spunky really hit on the heart of the matter when she pointed out how we women want to succeed in our roles as wives and mothers and so we search out resources to aid us in our endeavor to succeed. But as she pointed out, we need to weigh everything we read against the Word of God. We need to pray for, and read, with discernment. We also need to remember that God has given us …‘all things that pertain to life and godliness’. He has not left us to flounder on our own but has given us the best resource – His Word.

Yes, we are to encourage, admonish, and exhort one another but in order to do that we need to be immersing ourselves in the Word. As an avid reader I understand that godly authors can do the work of encouraging and exhorting, but only as far as their ability to ‘rightly divide the Word of truth’. And it is my responsibility to search the Scriptures to see if what the author says lines up with the obvious teaching of God’s Word.

I think a mature Christian author, with a genuine desire to minister to the saints, will continually point their readers back to God and the Scriptures. Their writing will call attention to our great Lord and not their own ‘agenda, movement, etc.’ Yes, all men are fallible so even the best books will contain error or areas where we may disagree, but the underlying theology, as Spunky mentioned, is what matters. If that is in error then our benefiting from it on any deep level is questionable, and if we read without discernment or maturity we can even be harmed by it.

As you have pointed out, that is what is happening to many marriages and families seeking to live up to the patriarchal ‘blueprint’ put forth in many of these books on family and married life.

I am especially concerned about the harm that is being done to women (and men and marriages) by the erroneous teaching on spousal abuse among Christians. I heartily encourage anyone who is in this kind of situation, or anyone who knows of someone in this situation, to check out the following links and resources.

I have read both “Marriage: A Taste of Heaven”, volumes I & II as well as listened to the complete tape series “Challenges in Marriage” that are offered at this site. I highly recommend them. The author is a remarkable woman, a pastor’s wife, who is totally accessible to her readers! She has done the hard work of research and searching the Scriptures and points her readers to God’s Word for the answers to their struggles. How are these for a few quotes?

“One mark of maturity in a Christian is the ability to use God’s word to help others who stumble in everyday life.”

“Christians need to convict others with the word of God, not with their opinions and powers of debate.”

“Too many Christians underestimate the power of the word of God. When problems arise, they buy popular marriage manuals and try one philosophy after another.”

As Spunky aptly pointed out on your podcast, authors need to make a living and therefore need to sell their books. Well, this author is in the process of making her books and tapes available online for free because she knows how desperately much of the material is needed.

I should mention how I came upon her work. I know a Christian very dear to me who was in a marriage situation where she truly needed help. Her heart’s desire was to ‘do the right thing’. I was frustrated by all the marriage books I had read, including the one you’ve critiqued in your podcast, because they just didn’t do much to help a woman in need.

I sat down one day, fed up by the lack of Biblical teaching within the church and Christian circles on troubled marriages, and simply did an in depth search on what my friend was struggling with in her marriage. That’s when I came upon the above site and resources. I contacted the author, Patsy Rae Dawson (whom I had never heard of because she’s not a part of any ‘movements’ that I am aware of) via email and asked for her suggestions on where to start. She responded with excellent help.

I read Marriage: A Taste of Heaven, Vol. II first. I listened to all the Challenges in Marriage tapes, and then read Vol. I. I can say that after more than twenty years of being a believer, sitting in churches listening to sermons, and reading books on marriage and godly womanhood, I learned more from these materials on what GOD’S WORD teaches than I did my entire Christian walk. Yes, I knew women were to submit and men were to lead. But how does that work itself out in everyday life? And what about serious problems in marriage? How does one help a fellow believer who finds themselves in a desperate marriage? I came away from these books rejoicing that God had saved me, rejoicing that He had made me a woman! Rejoicing because He has not left us without guidance when it comes to marriage!

These books are saturated with Scripture, each word in a verse being defined. The reader is continually pointed back to God’s word again, and again, and again. Here’s a quote from Volume I, chpt. 2 on solving marriage problems,

“When it comes to solving marriage problems, only the word of God provides a dependable source of information. Thus, the first part of the formula for solving all marriage problems is to go to the word of God to learn the truth about marriage. Paul says the next logical step is to go to God in prayer for help to practice the learned truth”

She completely concurs with what Spunky stated on your podcast about what sanctifies a marriage — God’s word and prayer.

At the end of every chapter are study exercises — and one question that is at the end of every chapter is “Do you disagree with anything in this lesson? If so, explain in detail giving scriptures for your reasons.”

Now that’s encouraging a Berean spirit!

As I stated above, all men are fallible and we’re bound to find something we may not agree with when reading a book. One example with these books would be that I believe in eternal security. In a few instances I’m left thinking that the author may not believe as I do, but it in no way effects the overall teaching on marriage. Everything needs to be read with discernment, these books as well. One other note — I cannot say a word for, or against, the other books by other authors on the above site — simply because I haven’t read them and am completely unfamiliar with them.

Anyway, I have a real burden for the Christian marriages that are being harmed by the erroneous teaching within the patriarchal camp. I also have a burden for those women who are ‘suffering in silence’ because of the lack of solid biblical teaching on troubled marriages. We all need to do the hard work of searching the scriptures to see what the Lord’s clear teaching is on marriage — so that we can be a blessing in our own marriages, and can minister correctly to those who are in need in their own marriages.

I haven’t been one to make comments on blogs on the subject of patriarchy (or any subject for that matter). But your podcasts on patriarchy – and Spunky’s excellent commenting on several blogs – have moved me to make these (long) comments that have been on my heart as I have read through all that is being discussed. Ultimately, we need to ask who is being glorified when we read and study anyone’s writing. If our thoughts and hearts aren’t being continually turned back to the Lord and His glorious plan for marriage then something is indeed amiss!

  Denise wrote @

Here’s an excellent read on the subject of honor in marriage that fits in nicely with this discussion.

  corriejo wrote @


It was great reliving the whole CTBHH. 🙂

It seems like so long ago that the book came out. I find it interesting how quickly the hoopla died down. It is like any other fad in Christianity (ie., Purpose Driven Life)- a flash in a pan.

I was amazed that women were buying cases of that book. I wondered where the discernment was until I realized that the Bible takes a backseat to these new moements and fads.

If I was going to buy a case of any book, it would be the Bible. We are getting together money so we can buy cases of the Bible for people in China.

I don’t really see that people are in love with God’s word, nor do I see an exhuberant passion for God’s word. We really need to return to our First Love and lift the Bible to its rightful place.

I know that in some countries people will never lay another book on top of the Bible because in their minds they want to make sure that the Bible is preeminent above all else. Were is the Holy awe for God’s word? I see an awe for some Christianized books but not the same awe and passion for the very word of the Living God.

Debi Pearl’s book is not the very word of God. She might have some good advice but most of it is based on her opinion and its foundation is on very shaky theology.

This podcast brought out a lot of the concerns I had about the book.

I do wonder where Sonny is? Does she have a blog? I asked Rebekkah that a couple of years but never heard an answer. If this couple is ministering to others, I want to hear their story from their own mouths and to see what they learned is still in place today. And what happens to the woman with a violent husband who doesn’t stop being violent no matter how hard she tries to employ Debi’s advice?

It seems to me that if it is the woman’s job to sanctify her husband and get him to act in a godly manner, then she is truly the spiritual leader in the family. So, why do people conintue to teach that the husband is the spiritual leader when, in reality, it is really the woman who is the one who is responsible for her husband and her childrens’ spirituality and obedience to God’s word?

  Trina wrote @

Just wanted to say thank you for all your recent podcast. I’ve just finished listening to all 5 you’ve done from the last series. I appreciate your willingness to speak against a large majority of homeschoolers for the sake of concern and truth. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve had many “leanings” towards these circles of influence because all they had to say sounded so Godly and good. Thank you for encouraging us all to have more of a “Barean Spirit”. Can’t wait to hear more.
Many Blessings,

  thatmom wrote @

Denise and rina,

Thank for the words of encouragement. I continue to pray that more and more moms will be drawn to the Word of God and that they will hold up the patriocentric teachings to the light of the truth. You encouraged my heart today.

  Denise wrote @

Spunky said –

“It seems to me that if it is the woman’s job to sanctify her husband and get him to act in a godly manner, then she is truly the spiritual leader in the family.”

Great point. So many of the ‘marriage’ books I have read place such heavy burdens on the wife when it comes to problems in marriage. Yes, there’s always room for improvement in any of our lives, but women in desperate marriages are often left to feel like they must shoulder the responsibilty for their husband’s sin. They’re left feeling helpless and with no where to turn and many are in some very dangerous relationships.

Women are counselled to be submissive and ‘keep silent’ about their husband’s abusive behavior. They are taught that they are gossiping and slandering their husbands or that they are resonsible for their husbands sin by not being submissive.

On the contrary, the bible teaches quite the opposite. As wives, we are at all times to conduct ourselves as Christians. That means we will not knowingly participate in our husband’s sin. If a woman is in an abusive relationship she has a responsibility before God to confront the sin and if her husband refuses to repent and turn from his sin, then she has the responsibility as a Christian to go to others according to Matt. 18. The goal, of course, is always restoration. In actuality, when the husband refuses to repent he is deciding how many people will end up knowing of his sin!

As far as the argument about a husband who is an unbeliever – our Lord expects everyone to obey the laws of basic human kindness whether a Chrisitan or not! Even an unbelieving husband has a knowledge of right and wrong (Romans 1:28-32).

A woman in a dangerous situation should follow Christ’s own example. Remember the angry mob that wanted to throw Him over a cliff? (Luke 4:28-30) He didn’t just submit to their mistreatment. He escaped out of their hands. The only time he submitted to mistreatment was when it served His Father’s eternal purpose of dying for the sins of mankind. Hence, there is a difference in dying as a martyr for your faith and dying at the hands of your husband’s abuse!

Why is Ephesians 5:11- “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” ignored when it comes to serious problems in marriage?

Look what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Sapphira was aware of Ananias’ sin of keeping back some of the proceeds from his land sale. She lied in covering up his sin and God struck her, too, for partaking in Ananias’ sin.

There are many men in churches today who are elders or deacons who are practicing grievous sin in the home and their wives remain silent. And the church suffers for it.

That said, these sisters who find themselves in these situations, and attempt to follow correct biblical teaching on this subject, need the support of their brethren, not their judgment and condemnation. They certainly don’t need to be told that they are gossiping and slandering their husbands or that they are responsible for their husbands sin by not being submissive.

In the end, it all gets back to what Spunky said about lifting the Bible to its rightful place. Not only do we need to be women of the word, we need to make sure that the women, and girls, who are writing these books on marriage and family are ‘accurately handling the word of truth’ (II Tim. 2:15)

As Spunky pointed out, the bible seems to take a backseat to all these movements. Maybe we women need to wake-up and realize that we don’t need to buy a copy of the latest book or video in order to be good Christian wives and daughters. Yes, older women need to teach the younger women how to love their husbands and children. But when it gets right down to it, isn’t that best taught by example?

And if mature older women are lacking in your part of the world God has not left you without help. Ultimately His word is the best manual for marriage, family — and life! It contains everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. And He’s given us His Spirit to teach us as we diligently study and seek His will in prayer!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should never read anything other than the Bible. I love reading theology (I love reading period, for that matter. 🙂 )and we live at a time when we have so many books and resources at our fingertips. But let’s make sure we’re reading with discernment.

I agree with Spunky – and I’m speaking to myself here first – we need to return to our First Love and honor His word by giving it the priority it deserves in our lives!

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