Podcast: On Emerson Eggerichs Gaslighting Emotional Abuse Victims, and Stop Seeing Women as Dangerous

by | Mar 25, 2021 | Uncategorized | 50 comments

Emerson Eggerichs and Gaslighting Abuse Victims Podcast
Merchandise is Here!

We simply MUST change the way we talk about women in the church, because what is happening is DANGEROUS.

In today’s podcast, we look at two examples of the dangerous ways we can talk about women: Steve Arterburn and the Every Man’s Battle team portraying women as “enemies” in your battle against lust; and Emerson Eggerichs gaslighting abuse victims in his sermons.

Today is the last Thursday of the month when we tend to focus on men’s stuff, but this podcast is really great for both men and women!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

0:52 The Book is out, guys!
1:40 What the News can Tell us About the Church
8:00 Keith and Connor give testimony that it is NOT every man’s battle
14:54 We set up a Patreon!
16:09 Our Copyright drama
20:11 Walking through the sermon with transformative critique
58:05 What we’re prepared to do for our voice not to be silenced
1:01:58 Closing off with a man’s review of our book!

Why we have to address these issues

Ever since The Great Sex Rescue was released three weeks ago, high ranking people in the evangelical church have been upset with us because we’re taking on big name authors and saying that what they’ve written has hurt women. We surveyed 20,000 women for our book, and measured how the things that are taught about sex and gender dynamics in these books impact women’s sexual and marital satisfaction. We have the numbers.

The Great Sex Rescue

Now Available!

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

Nevertheless, some have been upset at us, and last week Emerson Eggerichs put a copyright infringement notice against a video on YouTube where I commented on clips of his sermons at Houston’s First Baptist, and put a copyright claim on my Twitter account.

I decided that it was time that the people who are trying to silence us understand that we aren’t going to be silenced.

We will always be fair. We will simply quote what they have said or written, and we will, when possible, link back to original material. And this is not personal, about them as people. This is only about what they have written and what they are teaching. When bad ideas in the church are hurting people, we need to allow people to see that the ideas are bad and reject them!

We do not want to cancel these authors; in my mind, the best case, win-win scenario would be that they repent, recant of what they taught in the past, and start teaching healthy things. After all, they already have the platform! If they started teaching healthy things, it would make such a difference! I don’t mind if they still earn a ton of money and get a ton of speaking engagements–as long as they’re teaching what is healthy. 

I would also point them to this discussion in Acts 5 among the Sanhedrin, when they were trying to figure out what to do with the apostles who were preaching things they didn’t like:

When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Acts 5:33-39

I want to say to these authors, if what I am saying isn’t true, you have nothing to fear from me. If you are sure what you’re saying is true, then defend it. Keep speaking. Keep writing. But there’s no point in trying to silence me. If I’m wrong, that will become evident.
But if I’m right, you’ll be fighting against God. And nobody wants to do that.
Instead of summarizing what we said in the podcast today, I’d encourage you to click on the links below. Much of what we said was covered in some of the blog posts from the last week, and you can read most of it there.
I just want to add one question: one thing that we haven’t discussed yet, despite the many comments on the post yesterday, was why no one on staff at Houston’s First Baptist recognized that these sermons were problematic? (some parishioners did; they sent me the links after trying to talk to staff about it). How do we help churches understand that talking about abuse like this from the pulpit is dangerous? This church actually has licensed counselors on staff. How could this have got past them? I don’t understand.

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

On Gaslighting Abuse Victims by Emerson Eggerichs Podcast

What do you think? Is the conversation changing? Is there hope? And how do we get churches to realize that sermons like Eggerichs’ are dangerous? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Becky

    I generally don’t get to listen until after my kids are asleep, but I did want to hop on and say that I appreciate that your desire is for the authors to keep their platform and start teaching better, rather than canceling. The cancel culture thing here in the States is getting so toxic so fast, and you’re setting a great example of how the church can do better even when (necessary) disagreements need to be worked through.

  2. Kelly Ann

    Great podcast!! Loved to hear Connor break down the clips & getting men’s perspectives from both him and Keith!
    So much wrong with what Eggerichs spoke on in those clips. Attempted murder isn’t part of the crazy cycle. It’s a crime!!
    Don’t expect Eggerichs to ever apologize. He won’t. But we will fight back against his damaging messages!!
    Sending your entire team prayers for strength! You are all doing good work for the kingdom of Christ!

  3. Phil

    Hey all – I got disturbed about the statement about how men dont have to apologize to each other. I have a strange work environment. The guy I was hired to manage is now my boss because my original boss couldnt handle me. It is strange but I dont really care because I have been given the freedom to do my job. My first boss is a woman whom I set boundaries with regarding me being mistreated. I was accused of mistreating her in return all because I am male and she is woman WRONG. I refuse to allow ANYONE TO MISTREAT ME. Two Fridays ago my now male “boss” (no one knows who’s really in charge LOL) called me at 2 in the afternoon and took this nasty tone with me about how I am going to do xyz and like it and thats how its gonna be. After we hung up I absolutely went through the roof! I called my buddy and proceeded to yell at him at the top of my lungs THAT NO ONE IS GOING TO MISTREAT ME! MALE OR FEMLE. After I vented I proceed to call back my colleague and calmly call him out on it. He proceeded to apologize and told me it had to do with a previous situation and I accepted his answer and made clear that I will not tolerate being abused or mistreated PERIOD. Everything has been fine since. That folks is the REAL way men handle situations together. Sure I need to calm down and vent and even “walk a way for a minute”. But real men talk to each other and real men do apologize. Now, I have had some conversations with my buddy about this topic and there is a shred of truth that men share some common ground and we can let things go (the mature ones) with each other but that is just a general statement that can be true for all – but there is a male bond that we can share in understanding each other…I find it interesting how many times the speaker uses the word respect. I personally put high value on respect as well. In my house we dont have rules so much but rather we have principles. When my kids jam a chair up against the wall and jump in it to the point they have gouged a mark into the wall – that is disrespectful to me. Here is the thing: I have a responsibility to be respectful back in my discipline – children or not. Now I am not always the best at this but that is the goal. It is so SUPER IMPORTANT on how I deliver the message. My language is important. My tone is important. My body language and demeanor is important. Personally I think the dude has a poor way of communicating his message by using poor language, poor tone and well there are just a bunch of issues. The crazy cycle? Hmm…I am first to admit I could fall into a category such as that. However, I choose to deliver the message of Jesus through my story in a positive light not by telling people what they are doing wrong and “how things are going to happen to them just because it happened to me” but by telling them the results of following Jesus and how it has effected my life and the people around me. Thats the message of hope that my Jesus wants me to share with ALL. I STAND WITH YOU SHEILA, KEITH, JOANNA, BECCA, CONNOR, TLHV TEAM,BAREMARRIAGE, PATREON and OUR COMMUNITY!! Sign me up for the army please 😂

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much, Phil! We appreciate you so much, too. And I really like what you had to say about how we have to discipline with respect, too. YES. Children need respect as well. Don’t we want to raise our children to expect to be respected? If they expect to be treated with respect, then they will choose partners and choose friends who respect them. If they expect that people can dismiss them and treat them badly, then should we be surprised if they choose spouses or friends who treat them badly? We are training them what to expect in others’ behaviour towards them, so we have to treat them with respect. Absolutely.
      (And I think real men apologize to each other, too!)

  4. Margie Payne

    Keep talking. There should be some “Love & Respect” (I mean, it is the title of his book) and allowance for ongoing conversations that are OBVIOUSLY needed.
    These kinds of messages, from books, preaching, or any form of teaching, are damaging and need to be examined. Not to point fingers, belittle anyone, or hurt anyone, but to do better. HOWEVER, when there is not a willingness to dialogue, a judgment made towards the people that want to talk, and then additionally efforts to silence, I do feel like that is a huge symptom of additional problems! Completely outside of the many that are already evident in the book and video! (His attitude towards women, and honestly, the lack of maturity he seems to view people with, is astoundingly demeaning.)
    I can’t help but imagine how this might’ve gone differently, and still could, if only the authors of these books and messages would, instead of defending and shutting down, they would offer a message of hope, humility, and discipleship. That they instead allowed the Spirit to help them learn. Surely just b/c you’ve been, let’s say, preaching a message and written books for a specific amount of time, that doesn’t mean that you’re infallible. Nor does that mean you’re an expert. What if you could do better? Correct things? Show that you genuinely care?
    To be honest, shutting things down, mocking people’s pain, and basically walking away, well, it doesn’t feel right in your messages, in my marriage, or in how this specific author seems to be walking away from being called out. Maybe he just needs some time to collect himself, and he will come back ready to talk. If he does “return” and is willing to have the conversation, just be sure to have one point only and something at the ready you can also apologize for equally. Maybe he should expound on what a real apology is meant to be and then apply Jesus to that. There is no 50/50 in all things. Jesus wouldn’t be my covering if that was so. Real apologies aren’t tracking b/c they’re more focused on changing themselves. His teaching implies that if an apology isn’t returned at that moment when she does not want to connect. Additionally, forgiveness can always be given. Reconciliation takes two people willing to dig in and dialogue about the things that are separating them. This takes more than two sentences most of the time. If one person feels justified in not giving that vulnerability to the other b/c they demand respect after disrespectful behavior, there will be many unfilled holes in the relationship. The husband looks at the holes and says, “see what you’ve done with your lack of respect; this is proof of why I can’t talk to you.” Literally crazy-making. And what about Jesus and his definition of love, sacrifice, humility, and ALL OF THE ONE ANOTHER scriptures?!
    Literally, I could go on. There are so many toxic things about this teaching. Experience is teaching me that it’s going to be a hard thing for some men to relearn and notice in their own thinking patterns. Where they have assumed so much rightness, additionally, such men would have to be healthy, humble, and emotionally mature. Unfortunately, it seems that the men that can’t spot these issues, these incorrect thinking patterns, and filter them on their own are the ones that will be the most impacted and, in turn, the ones that will damage their wives and other women around them. ESP the women they feel are not up to the acceptable level of “respect,” in how they prefer women to speak, and this is the web of reactions that is currently occurring over this issue, and purity culture and men having authority over women in the church.
    Well, I guess I’m what he would call a troll now.

  5. Judy

    Much love and respect to the 3 of you and your whole team. 🙂 I feel so grateful to you, especially for exposing that the “masculinity” described in these teachings isn’t actually masculine at all, but rather immaturity. Or maybe I’ve been thinking, a trauma response. It sounds like Emerson had a very painful childhood. It seems normal to me that he would want to make sense of it, and create some meaning from all that pain. It’s so unfortunate that his teachings are often perpetrating the very cycle of abuse that he is trying to heal. That would be a heck of a possibility for him to entertain. Cannot imagine.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it? I do find it difficult when someone that we know grew up in an abusive home doesn’t give clear instructions as to what abuse is and how to protect yourself. Usually when people have processed their childhood trauma they’re quite good at this and do it a lot. It is strange that he seems to do the exact opposite.

      • Andrea

        Ah, if only the rest of us could become millionaires by dealing with our trauma through publishing toxic books. Most of us actually have to PAY to deal with our trauma and therapy ain’t cheap! So we have sex addicts (Steve Arterburn) writing masturbatory manuals that masquerade as purity guides and we have domestic violence survivors (Emerson Eggerichs) writing abuse-instruction manuals that masquerade as Biblical marital advice. Welcome to U.S. evangelicalism, y’all!

  6. EOF

    Thank you for all you do, and all the stress involved with it! I wanted to comment on yesterday’s blog post but was too sick to my stomach to do so.

  7. Wild Honey

    Emmerson thinks that “warrior mode” is unique to men? Clearly, he is unfamiliar with “mama bear instinct.”
    Sheila, thank you for putting your inner mama bear to the task of protecting the abused and edifying the church. Praying for you and the team.

  8. Sarah

    As I listened to the podcast today, I had a sudden lightbulb moment. I would love to hear what tou have to say about it, Shelia. You have published multiple articles about the “All men lust” and “every man’s battle” ideas and how these books more or less prime men to think that even looking equates lusting, and also for women to live in constant fear of their husbands being constantly tempted. This sets couples up for many unintended hurts and unnecessary confusion. Here was what I thought today. The way Eggrich sets up his love and respect theory, men are being primed to think that their wife is being disrespectful anytime she dare have an opinion that is different from his, or ask him to change, or set healthy limits within thd relationship. For some men, no matter how their wives express themselves, it is ultinately considered disrespectful. He then feels justified in going all “warrior.” There is so much emphasis placed on womeñ submitting and being respectful that it’s like we’re priming the men to practically assume that their wives are just going to be disrespectful all the time, kind of like we’ve primed women to think their husbands are thinking about sex and the attractive jogger he saw all the time. My husband has never once given me reason to think he has been unfaithful to me in any way. We have talked about all the teaching, especially from Shaunti Feldhaun’s books. But I have to say that I have been made to feel like I was being disrespectful more times than I care to count over 23 years of marriage. Some days it feels like there is literally no way to be perceived as respectful and it is incredibly discouraging. And then certain books teach that men get angry over disrespect like women cry when they don’t feel loved. They just can’t help it. What do you think? Is the comparison a fair one? Are we priming men to believe that their wives are extra disrespectful?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely, Sarah! I think that’s a really good observation. I think I’ll use this in a post next week!

      • Sarah

        Shelia, if you do use it as a direct quote, could you please make it from Anonymous? Thank you.

    • Kay

      I second this. And I’ve found that most complementarian theology unintentionally taught couples that disagreement **IS** inherently disrespectful. She is supposed to defer to him, according to this teaching, so if she won’t, she is therefore being disrespectful. How horribly unhealthy!
      And by extension, we’ve often been taught to overidentify with our beliefs, so that if someone critiques something we believe, we take it as more than just disrespect but actually as a personal attack—even though it’s neither of those things. (See also: how commenters say you’re attacking Dr. E and his ministry even though you are only critiquing at his teaching. Again, a failure to differentiate between the person and the belief.)
      You cannot have healthy relationships when folks are taught that disagreement is inherently disrespectful . 1. Men see it as disrespect when it is not. 2. Women learn to simply sit down and shut up after while. (Ask me how I know.)
      Maybe that’s what all of this boils down to, pedaling emotional fusion and immaturity instead of healthy differentiation. People deserve healthier resources than this.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I wrote a post a while back about how the underlying premise of what you believe marriage is impacts what you expect.
        Complementarianism, or hierarchical marriage, assumes that you need a “tie breaker”. Therefore, people will assume, when there are disagreements, we won’t be able to work this out, so he will have to decide.
        Couples that focus on following Jesus together, on the other hand, assume that the norm is agreement. So if they disagree, they assume it’s a temporary thing and we’ll be able to work this out together, so they try hard.
        I wonder how much our basic expectations about marriage actually can make arguments more common, or last longer? I think the idea that the husband must be the tie breaker has many couples taking a shortcut. Instead of working things out and praying more and talking to mentors, they just let him decide. And then they miss out on what they would have gained by working through it together, and they build walls.

  9. Feeling Misled

    When I first clicked over to the blog and now podcast, I thought you were actually going to give an example where Emerson was abusive because Rebecca tweeted about Emerson “listen to the abused victims he has harmed.” Do you think a caveat is needed here?
    On Emerson’s mother being strangled, Keith said it was clearly abuse. Sheila said strangulation = abuse. Connor says that Emerson says “If you’re in harms way, get out.”
    Is there really someone in the pews that thinks strangulation isn’t abuse and that if being strangled they shouldn’t seek help?
    Since you aren’t talking to the people in the pews at First Baptist when you tweet… is it not the right thing to do to make a note to your followers that Emerson does indeed believes that strangulation is abuse? Connor added a link to Emerson’s blog where Emerson talks about it being abuse, so I know that you know what Emerson believes. But Connor never clearly says that Emerson thinks strangulation is abuse even when he clearly knows it! He just says, he doesn’t want to speculate. Sounds like an abdication of responsibility. How can you folks be trusted?
    You also said Emerson mocked an abused woman. I listened to the clips expecting to hear Emerson mocking an abused woman. Instead, I heard Emerson talking about a hypothetical situation where the young married wife thinks she is abused when she wasn’t (similar to you being terrified by Keith early in your marriage when he showed a temper and stormed off). I don’t see the high pitch tone as Emerson mocking the woman, but as the woman mocking what Emerson is suggesting (which he wasn’t actually suggesting). “I’m not going to let him do whatever he wants to do. I’m not going to worship him with palm palms.” It clearly makes since to use a mocking tone of this advice. That’s not Emerson mocking an abused woman because the woman wasn’t being abused and Emerson was using a high pitch tone in referencing how she might quote him in giving advice.
    Feeling misled here.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Just curious–did you read the post yesterday where it was all laid out? Please try to imagine yourself sitting in that congregation with a man who consistently verbally berates you and yells at you and that you are scared of. Now listen to those clips, and ask yourself, “who has felt encouraged here? Is it that the man has felt encouraged that he is doing nothing wrong, or has the woman felt encouraged to speak up and say, this isn’t right?” I think what you’ll find is that Eggerichs says over and over again, “If you think you’re being abused, you’re wrong. He’s just being honorable.” And the angry man hears, “I’m just a man.” And the woman hears, “I’m wrong.”
      Look, no one says, “It’s okay to abuse your wife.” Of course not. But you have to look at the underlying message. And that is what is being said here.
      Also, I can see from your email that you are a pastor. The fact that you can’t see how dangerous this is, and that you are actually in a pastoral position, is extremely alarming to me. Would you even recognize abuse if a couple came into your office? I strongly suggest that you read some books on how to recognize abuse, because the fact that you can’t see the problems here makes me very scared for the women in your church.

      • Feeling Misled

        Sheila, why didn’t you address my concern of me feeling misled? Instead you’re gaslighting me with personal attacks.
        Only through the lens of Rebeccca’s tweet, you/Connor’s commentary, and finally your selected clips would anyone think it was abuse. I’m just thankful I decided to read/listen to it with an open mind. Hope others will too.
        I also reread the blog post per your comment, nothing in Connor’s “Caveats” or the rest of the post clearly says that Eggerichs does in fact believe strangulation is abuse. But plenty of commenters who were misled in thinking the opposite, which was sadly my point.
        Why can’t you just say, “Eggerichs doesn’t condone abuse, he likely would be the first one to speak up against it given he saw it first hand. However, here’s how we recommend he handle this better next time.” Instead you attack a victim of abuse (Eggerichs) by suggesting he is an abuser to which everyone piles on in the comments.
        I just felt misled and had to tell you. Thank you.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          How do I know Eggerichs doesn’t condone abuse, though? If someone says, “I don’t condone abuse,” but then gives anecdote after anecdote in his sermons and his books that would hurt abuse victims, then which should I believe? The anecdotes, or his statement?
          For instance, let’s say that I say, “I don’t condone child abuse.” But then I talk about how my mother beat me until I bled and it made me the person I am today. I talk about how important it is to break a child’s spirit so that the evil is gone from them. Would you think I didn’t condone child abuse, or would you think I didn’t know what child abuse was and didn’t recognize it when it was right in front of me?
          Eggerichs says he doesn’t condone abuse, but then in his book he tells a woman who has been physically beaten by her husband, who separated from him, and then he repented and she let him back into the home–he says that she now has to learn to respect him and not react to his anger. This shows me that Eggerichs knows NOTHING about the abuse cycle and does not understand abuse. Abusive spouses are contrite and they apologize until they are let back in, and then the cycle starts again. To tell women that “repentance” is all that is needed, and then you have to forgive and start respecting again, shows that you have no idea what love bombing is.
          To describe a marriage where a husband has “withering rage” against his wife so much so that she wants to “get away and hide” that she shouldn’t hide, but instead offer him unconditional respect, does not sound like a man who truly does not condone abuse.
          And then to watch these sermons, and see him talking about his dad strangling his mother, and NEVER saying that choking someone makes you 7 times more likely to murder them later; that this is a crime and the police need to be called; that this is abuse–well, it shows me that he doesn’t take abuse seriously.
          And as a pastor, you simply MUST know this. If you do not know this, it is incumbent upon you, it is your professional duty, to learn how to recognize abuse and understand abuse dynamics. That is not a personal attack; that is a stern warning in Christ.

    • Connor Lindenbach

      I know a lot has been said here, and you feel your initial comment has not been properly addressed, so allow me to do so point by point.
      1. I am sorry you feel misled by my wife’s Tweet. I understand that when you saw the Tweet you thought we were saying one thing, and when you saw the post/podcast, you thought we said something different. I believe both the letter and the spirit of what Rebecca said holds up to the truth, but I can understand why you expected a clip of Emerson actually abusing a specific person directly.
      2. Yes, there really may have been people in the pews or who watched the clip on Youtube who think strangulation isn’t cause enough to take action and seek help. People who are reluctant to label the behaviour abusive because of the messages they have been taught by evangelical marriage teachings. We know this because our job is to hear their stories. We hear the countless stories of people who put up with abusive situations for years because of the way the church talks about abuse, and who were only able to name their abuse after seeing or hearing people call out the specific problems like we are doing here. Or who stayed with their abuser out of fear because they felt the church would take the abuser’s side and they would be alone without shelter and support.
      3. In my post, I detailed why it was important to look at the context of the video in isolation, explaining why it is not pertinent to my argument whether he acknowledges abuse elsewhere. The only time I break from that and bring in outside context is to DEFEND Emerson as a person separate from his teachings. I state that Emerson does lay out a personal stance on abuse. But it is not mentioned in the video, and the article is not linked. You have to look specifically for it to find it. I actually talk about Emerson’s condemnation of abuse in my article on his videos more than he does in the videos themselves. So I believe I have been fair. You may disagree.
      4. You interpreted his rant with the mocking tone one way. I will not deny your interpretation. Many many women have spoken out that they interpreted it in another way that was harmful and encouraged them to be silent, and to reinterpret their abuse as something benign. We shouldn’t deny their interpretation. Emerson does not specify that he is only talking about some women, nor does he provide an example of when things actually are bad, nor does he make any attempt to draw a line between the two. He never talks how to identify abuse. He only talks about reasons you shouldn’t. And that’s the problem.

  10. Kay

    Observation about those tone policing this conversation (esp. on Facebook): these folks seem to think that NAMING harm is harmful.
    Nope. Nope, nope, nope. We can’t change what we refuse to name.
    Name it. Change it. Heal it.
    Instead they defend the status quo. How many more people have to be harmed before they will be able to see that it’s toxic? I hope they continue to read the rest of the comments and anecdotes that demonstrate the harm we are talking about—and that we are fed up and aren’t willing to accept this mistreatment any longer.
    This stops with me. And all of us here. No more.
    And the fact that they cannot see the problem is part of the problem. Either you’re fighting against toxic theology or perpetuating it; there is no middle ground. They’ve made it clear which side they’ve chosen.

  11. Kay

    One final thing, and then I’ll take my sassy pants off for the day. (Maybe. 😂)
    I often see this “disagreements are disrespectful” misunderstanding again when Christians talk about cancel culture. Disagreeing with something is NOT the same as cancelling it.
    For example, I was talking with a small publisher recently who was trying to get a one star review on their book taken down. Because it was the top rated review (people up-voted it), the publisher was claiming that Amazon was trying to cancel the book. No, friend, that is not cancel culture. The review was an honest critique of the book, and so many people found it helpful that it became the top review. That is literally how reviews work. In fact, I would argue that trying to get the negative review removed shows a lack of integrity on behalf of the publisher.
    Say it with me, folks: dissent is NOT disrespect (or cancel culture).

  12. Feeling Misled

    Please stop gaslighting me, for a third time, why didn’t you address how I was misled into thinking I would see Eggerichs mock an abused woman; instead he described a hypothetical situation where the abused woman wasn’t being abused.
    I now have to reread your book that I (and my wife) originally thought was helpful and compare what you say about authors to what they actually say. I read assuming that you were representing them accurately.
    Feeling misled.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Did you not see the body language in clip #5 when he was pretending to be an abused woman saying that Eggerichs’ advice hurt him? What else would you call that other than “mock”? He uses ridiculous body language and a ridiculous voice to make fun of people who say they’re married to narcissists or married to emotionally abusive husbands. If you can’t see that this is making fun of and mocking, then I wonder what you would count as that?
      Like, seriously: Look at this clip. How can this be anything other than mocking abuse victims? And please remember that 1.5% of men are diagnosable narcissists. In the audience where he was giving this sermon, there would have been around 100 women married to narcissists–like real, diagnosable narcissists. Can you not see how he mocked those women and gaslit them?

      • Feeling Misled

        Did you read my original comment in full? Copy/pasting:
        You also said Emerson mocked an abused woman. I listened to the clips expecting to hear Emerson mocking an abused woman. Instead, I heard Emerson talking about a hypothetical situation where the young married wife thinks she is abused when she wasn’t (similar to you being terrified by Keith early in your marriage when he showed a temper and stormed off). I don’t see the high pitch tone as Emerson mocking the woman, but as the woman mocking what Emerson is suggesting (which he wasn’t actually suggesting). “I’m not going to let him do whatever he wants to do. I’m not going to worship him with palm palms.” It clearly makes since to use a mocking tone of this advice. That’s not Emerson mocking an abused woman because the woman wasn’t being abused and Emerson was using a high pitch tone in referencing how she might quote him in giving advice.
        Adding – in this hypothetical situation the woman is mocking the advice – which is justified because who thinks it’s reasonable to worship their husbands.. and Eggerichs would agree.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          He was talking about a woman married to a narcissist.
          Honestly, I’m not going to defend our position. I think it’s clear. Again, what concerns me is that you are a pastor and you can’t see the problems with this. Please, again, why don’t you stop arguing here and read Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick? Or anything by Lundy Bancroft? Please, just do that. That would be a lot more fruitful for the people in your congregation.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          And one more thing–do you think it’s appropriate to talk about women married to narcissistic husbands like this? To make fun of any woman saying that she is married to a narcissist–especially since we know that 1.5% of women are? Do you think that’s a good way to talk to them? That this is Christlike? That this protects them and honours them? That this is pastoral?

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          One more thing–sorry, I can’t leave this alone. In a very mocking, condescending voice, he says, “I’m certainly not going enable emotional abuse, but other than that, I’m open to what you have to say.”
          Why is that something to laugh about? What is this his punch line? Isn’t this an eminently reasonable thing to say? Isn’t this what we should want EVERYONE to say? Do you think that women SHOULD subject themselves to emotional abuse?

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Yes, his tone implies, “Oh, these silly women–they’ll follow it but only if it doesn’t lead to emotional abuse. HA! Silly women.”

  13. Stephanie

    Such a fantastic podcast!!! I seriously love to hear two men so passionate about this!!! And to know that they are genuine is so wonderful. And no matter what is happening, I am very thankful for you as well, Sheila!!! You keep fighting for the truth! I’ve been so ignorant to these topics. I am spreading the word! I share your blogs and podcast as much as I can!
    It is SO apparent that everything Emerson says flows from the moment he saw his dad try to strangle his mother. It’s sad, but at the same time very frustrating because he should’ve gotten counseling for that. He should know that counseling is beneficial. He’s so blinded. I pray that he will realize his errors and make amends as much as possible.
    Thank you for taking the time to dissect his message. This is needed. It’s way past due and I hope that the evangelical community will open their hearts and minds and eyes.

  14. Feeling Misled

    Feeling misled, being gaslight, and personally attacked… but sure I’ll take your advice and read your recommended books… SMH.
    Also, it’s clear that in Eggerichs hypothetical situation… the man isn’t a narcissist.
    You’ve made a whole lot out of nothing. And that made me feel misled. Then you gaslight me. Then you make personal accusations and attacks. Then you pile on. These are abusive behaviors Sheila.
    Done here and now no need reread your book because it’s in the trash.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      I recognize what you’re saying. But what we say about hypothetical situations has implications in real situations.
      He may be talking about narcissists hypothetically. But some women in the audience are married to them. And for them, his flippant attitude and dismissal of their concerns was very, very real.
      He may have been talking about emotional abuse as an “excuse” hypothetically. But in the pews were women who are struggling every day at the hands of abusers who have been told by pastors that their abuse is likely because of something they have done. They hear Emerson’s words and it’s not hypothetical to them.
      He may have been speaking hypothetically about a man who would strike his wife if she didn’t let him walk away. He may not believe this actually happens. But for some of the women in the pews, it was not hypothetical. And at home, when they’re in an argument and he strikes her, she will remember his hypothetical words and think, “I must have done something wrong.”
      This is not a whole lot out of nothing, unless you consider the experienced of abused women to mean nothing. I recognize this may not be your experience, but as Christians our job is to step out of our own experience, have humility and actually consider how it affects “the least of these,” those who are the downtrodden, the forgotten, the vulnerable. And it is those people for whom we must fight.
      “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” So let us not neglect those who are suffering in the name of “Well obviously he didn’t mean it.”

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Exactly. And as a pastor–he has even more reason to understand this stuff.

    • Anon

      Feeling Misled, I would really encourage you to bring an open mind to this – you may not see this man’s teaching as harmful, but many people have been harmed by it. A dear friend of mine stayed in an abusive marriage, endangering the physical safety of herself and her young children, because of his teachings. I don’t think anyone here is saying that he MEANS to enable abuse, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And a sign of spiritual maturity is to acknowledge that you have got things wrong in the past and correct those mistakes.
      For example, when Gary Thomas was accused of something similar in his writings (and with much less justification) he acknowledged that even though it hadn’t been his intention, he realised some people had misunderstood what he was saying. He apologised, wrote a very strong statement against domestic abuse/in support of abuse victims and has done all he can to undo any damage he might unintentionally have caused. THAT is how a believer should respond when they realise their words have inadvertantly been used to cause harm.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes! Gary’s been a great example of that, and then he wrote a whole book on When To Walk Away so he was sure people couldn’t use his words to justify staying in abusive situations.

  15. Anonymous

    When I heard him mocking a woman for saying she would not submit herself to emotional abuse, I heard nothing funny. There was no reason for laughter. What I heard was a woman asking for respect and to be treated respectfully. Why is that awful? Why is that proposed as humorous that a woman would want to be respected? He rants on a little bit and uses a “funny” tone, but boiled down what his woman is saying is “treat me with respect and we can have a conversation about this.” That is not absurd but he shows it’s completely fine to dismiss her feelings. To me his woman is saying “I do not feel loved or valued” and he makes her out to be crazy and hell bent on ruining “your son.” So his overall message is men can think everything and anything is disrespectful and get “honorably” angry but a woman asking for respect is just being a troll.

  16. Rebecca

    “Your sons will be called abusive.”
    I have sons and daughters. I have called out behavior as my sons were growing up and said, “If you do this, that will be being abusive.”
    Call it out. Do you want your daughters married to someone who is going to BE abusive?

    • Lindsey

      Same. I’ve told both my sons and my daughters: If you do that as an adult, they will put you in jail. It’s illegal. You must learn to control your anger. It’s unacceptable, and it will ruin your life if you let it.
      I’ve also told them that someone using their words against you is never a justification to escalate to violence. Just tel them that you won’t play with someone who treats you badly and walk away.

  17. C

    I can’t thank you enough for speaking out. God has used your teaching to bring some serious healing to my marriage. EMB and L&R did some major damage. Both of us felt imprisoned for years and didn’t understand why. Now we understand none of that was from God, and as we approach our 20th anniversary, we are closer and healthier than ever.

  18. Sue

    Ooooh, I get it. I have been wanting to ask why you keep harping on Emerson Eggerich and Steve Arterburn. Just do your own correct teaching in a positive way and let these guys eventually drop off the radar. Christian writers wax and wane.
    I didn’t want to watch this podcast, but I stuck with it. I appreciate that you had Keith and Connor there. Maybe you could also call in one of the body language experts. Just kidding. I especially appreciate Keith talking about himself early in your marriage and how he had to adapt. I had a similar incident with my husband.
    Steven Arterburn is a self-proclaimed former sex addict, so that is the angle he is coming from. He probably does have to behave the way he describes toward women to keep from getting himself in trouble again.
    Listening to Emerson in the clips makes it obvious that he has suffered childhood trauma. Just that one incident of seeing his mother attempt to kill his mother rates high on the trauma scale. If there was that issue, there must have been others. How was he treated by dad? He says he went to military academy at age 16 because of family issues. I would bet that he also has had childhood sexual trauma and. He does seem to have a lack of respect for women. Does he also mock/ imitate men in describing their behavior?
    Shutting you down, rather than having a conversation, might be displaying his desire to dominate women.
    Years ago I read his book, and thought it was better than some, because it was based on the Ephesians 5 passage. I tried harder to respect my husband. Meanwhile, unknown to me at the time, my husband was carrying on with his sexual addiction.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, we’d like to leave all of this behind, but people keep threatening us behind the scenes. So what we’re trying to say is simply: if you keep doing that, we’ll keep talking, and our reach is large. So please just stop, and repent, and recant, and we’ll go on with other stuff!
      And it would be interesting to have body language people analyze this. The smirking alone is awful.

  19. Sue

    I know you have plenty of stories, but I am just now bringing this to mind. Many years ago, at least fifteen, possibly twenty, I bought and read Every Man’s Battle although my husband did not. I emailed Steve Arterburn directly to ask him how I should deal with knowing that my husband fantasized about BSDM while we were having sex and desired for me to participate in reality with him. Steve told me to make sure I was having regular sex with him. That’s all I remember him saying. I wish I had a copy of the email, but I deleted it because in those days we had a shared account.
    Fast forward to four years ago when I learned my husband’s addiction included other activities and of course he had childhood trauma and early unhealthy introduction to sex. No amount of my having sex with him could eliminate this problem. It only grew worse and became more ingrained over the years.

  20. Emmy

    Awwww, so E.E. really means, when I walk out of the room, in order to not punch my husband or scream with a red face, I’m doing the honorable thing? I thought I just had anger issues and needed to grow up.

  21. Emmy

    I listened to your podcast and read your article and liked them very much, but I could not stomach to watch the video clips of E.E. because I’m afraid it’s not going to be good for my heart beat rate, which on turn will not be beneficial to my health.
    I’m afraid if I’ll listen to his clips and see his disrespectful body language I might get all triggered and wound up. I’d might even feel like punching someone, and there might not be rooms enough in my house to walk out from. I just had to bounce my eyes.
    I mean, women may have anger issues too.


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