How Emerson Eggerichs Misuses Scripture in Love & Respect

by | Jan 20, 2023 | Theology of Marriage and Sex | 40 comments

Emerson Eggerichs Proof-Texting Scripture in Love & Respect
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Emerson Eggerichs does not handle Scripture appropriately in Love & Respect. 

So many people defend the book Love & Respect, saying that it is biblical and rooted in Scripture. And, indeed, Emerson Eggerichs has 230 Scripture references in his book.

This does not mean, however, that the book is rooted in the Bible or that it handles the Bible correctly.

Our study of 20,000 women, done for our book The Great Sex Rescue, identified Love & Respect as the most harmful best-selling evangelical marriage book, scoring just 0/48 on our rubric of healthy sexuality.

(download our one-sheet with the synopsis of issues).

For several years, we have been endeavouring to warn people about the problems with how Eggerichs approaches sex. However, that is not the only problem with the book. This year, as we return to look at Love & Respect once again, we decided to do a deep-dive into Emerson Eggerichs treatment of Scripture.

Yesterday on the Bare Marriage podcast, Nijay Gupta, Joanna Sawatsky and I looked at how Emerson Eggerichs misuses Scripture. Today I want to share my notes for that podcast, so that others can see the issues.

These notes are not exhaustive; I tried to find several examples of each of the problems so that we could talk about it (and some of these things we didn’t mention yesterday because of time constraints). To go over all 208 references would be too onerous, and I want to make this as accessible as possible.

Even though we are specifically looking at Emerson Eggerichs’ use of Scripture in the book Love & Respect, I hope that reading this will help you be able to evaluate other books and pastors. The methods that he uses to twist and misconstrue Scripture are quite common, and so consider this an object lesson in the ways that we often go awry with the Bible.

A. Big Picture Problems with Emerson Eggerichs’ Approach to Scripture

Before we look at specific passages that Eggerichs misuses, let’s hone in on three approaches to Scripture that color all of the rest, and seem to explain why he treats Scripture the way that he does.

1. “Appeal to Authority” Method

The “appeal to authority” is a logical fallacy:

The Definition of Appeal to Authority

Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it was true, without any other supporting evidence offered.

from Logically Falacious

Marshall McLuhan, a famous Canadian socioologist from the 1950s and 1960s, famously said “the medium is the message,” by which he meant that the way something is conveyed often changes the meaning of it (for instance, TV news has way fewer words than a newspaper account, and so TV tends to make things more sensationalized because there’s not as much room for nuance).

In Love & Respect, the “medium” by which the message is delivered is to quote Bible verses everywhere. On most two-page spreads there is at least one Bible verse in a call-out box. Bible verses are sprinkled throughout the book, both in the margins and in the text.

Now, this isn’t necessary a problem (though you will see below why it becomes very problematic).

But what is the message being given by putting Bible verses literally everywhere?

This book is rooted in Scripture, and so you cannot disagree with it. 

Below are some examples of verses that are used superfluously (note how in each case, the verse does not add anything, and in many cases, only a few words of the verse are quoted anyway):

  • “As God revealed the Love and Respect message, I experienced Psalm 119:130: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding” p. 14
  • “The Crazy Cycle is, indeed, “the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness” Ecc. 7:25″, p. 16
  • “When counseling couples, I often ask “what causes fights and quarrels among you?”” James 4:1 p. 27
  • “Using the Love and Respect Connection proves that “a man of knowledge increases power” Prov. 24:5″, p. 122
  • “When you act on COUPLE you will “enjoy with your wife, whom you love” Ecc. 9:9″, p. 123,
  • “If you are angry with your wife, even for “a brief moment” she is “grieved in spirit” and “rejected,” and needs reassurance that you love her Isaiah 54:5-8″, p. 156

By quoting Bible verses, even when they add absolutely nothing to the argument or to the text, the message conveyed is an appeal to authority–you must trust this book because it is full of Scripture.

2. Treating Verses as Proof Texts

Closely related to appeal to authority is the practice of proof-texting.

The Definition of Proof-Texting

Proof texting is the method by which a person appeals to a biblical text to prove or justify a theological position without regard for the context of the passage they are citing.

from Theopedia

When proof-texting, the author starts with a supposition or theory, and then searches for verses to support that theory. Rather than approaching Scripture and asking, “what does this entire passage say? How does it fit in with the broader picture of the Bible? What is it trying to tell me?”, someone who is proof-texting will often search for keywords in Scripture until they find a verse that appears to say what they want it to say, often ignoring context.

People who make a practice of proof-texting often focus on just one verse, or even parts of verses, and rarely use whole passages. 

Most of the examples that follow below in this post are of Emerson Eggerichs proof-texting.

To give just one, on p. 31, Eggerichs says: ”Runaway divorce statistics reveal that “insanity is in their hearts” (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

Here, he is using a verse from Ecclesiastes to imply that the Bible abhors runaway divorce stats. The problem? Divorce rates are actually at their lowest in fifty years right now. We don’t have an epidemic of divorce, if you look historically. And even if we did, divorce, in and of itself, is not the problem. What leads to divorce is the problem. If abuse rates are high, the problem is not divorce; it is abuse.

To use a snippet of a verse from Ecclesiastes which has nothing to do with divorce to prove social commentary about divorce without providing any data to support these claims is inappropriate, and an example of both proof-texting and appeal to authority.

3. Sidelining the Words of Christ

Jesus is the Word of God. He is the image of the invisible God. He has shown us the Father, because whoever has seen Him has seen the Father.

Thus, it is Jesus who is central in our faith. We interpret Scripture through the lens of Jesus. 

Often, though, those arguing for patriarchy, or male leadership over women, virtually ignore Jesus in favor of quoting other verses in Scripture. It’s very, very difficult to argue for patriarchy using Jesus’ words and example, and so instead they go to other passages and leave Jesus’ example behind.

To show an example, the recent best-seller It’s Good to Be a Man, a defence of Christian patriarchy by Michael Foster, argues that we don’t actually need to follow Jesus, but instead should use Adam as our model:

This is a point lost in modern Christianity, where the focus is almost exclusively on the model of Jesus in the gospels. But while that model is of course perfect, it is not complete. It is a model of God, as the second Adam, humbling Himself to correct the mistakes of the first. It is not yet a model of Him ruling over the world as Adam should have. Jesus did not take up the rule of Adam until after His resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven (Eph.1:20–22). To see how God exercises dominion, therefore, we need to look to the rest of Scripture.

Michael Foster and

It's Good To Be a Man, p. 23

And with that sleight of hand, the rest of  the book ignores Jesus.

A good rule of thumb when judging if a pastor or author is committed to Scripture is to look at how often they talk about Jesus versus how often they talk about God and the Bible. When people insist on saying, “The Bible tells us…” or “God says…” but they don’t talk about Jesus, it’s likely because the things they’re trying to teach you are actually in opposition to how Jesus lived and acted. 

While Love & Respect isn’t as blatantly patriarchal as Foster’s book, it, too, virtually ignores Jesus. Only 11% of Scripture references in the book are from the gospel, but this does not mean that Jesus’ words and teachings are central.

Even when Emerson Eggerichs does quote the gospel, often the gospel passage quoted is itself quoting the Old Testament:

  • “Matthew 19:4 tells us that God made them male and female.” (p. 32)
  • Matthew 19:6, “two will be one.” (p. 163)

Or he quotes the disciples: 

  • “Realizing marriage demanded permanance and work, the disciples complained “If the relationship… is like this, it is better not to marry.”” (Matthew 19:10), p. 42

Even when he does quote Jesus’ words, Eggerichs often misapplies them: 

  • In a passage telling women not to speak up when something is bothering them, Eggerichs writes, “Ultimately, we must depend on “the Helper” the Holy Spirit, to “convict… concerning sin” (John 16:7-8), p. 269.
  • Telling women to put up with atrocious things on earth because we will get our reward in heaven– “Jesus is preparing us to hear, “Well done.” He wants to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” p. 272-273.
  • In the chapter these quotes are from, Eggerichs is reiterating how women must have unconditional respect towards husbands, using illustrations from husbands who were physically abusive, or husbands with such withering rage that she wants to get away and hide.

In Love & Respect, we do not see Emerson Eggerichs actually grappling with Jesus’ words and telling us how they should apply to marriage.

Those three practices–appeal to authority, proof-texting, and sidelining Jesus–color Eggerichs’ treatment of Scripture throughout the book. Now let’s turn to specific egregious examples of how Eggerichs mishandles Scripture.

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B. Specific Ways Emerson Eggerichs Misuses Scripture

1. Quotes Pagans as Authoritative

In two instances (and there may be more; I only looked in detail at about 25% of the references Eggerichs used) he quotes pagans who are actively working against God in the story sympathetically, as examples to emulate. 

a. The King’s Advisors in the Book of Esther becoming upset that wives may not respect their husbands

  • In Esther 1, King Xerxes orders Queen Vashti to dance before his drunken guests, and she refuses. In response, the king’s advisors warn the king to take strict action against Vashti, “For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.” (verses 17 and 18)
  • Eggerichs uses this passage to explain why men fear disrespect (as if we should be emulating pagans), pp. 57-58
  • He later quotes: “Women virtually ask to be unloved when they “look down on their husbands.” Esther 1:17 (p. 59)
  • It is the pagan nobles who are worried that wives will disrespect their husbands. Nowhere in the book is this lauded or called correct.

b. The Philistines’ attitude towards war

  • Eggerichs writes: “a husband is geared to hear the command, “take charge and fight” (1 Samuel 4:9), p. 50
  • In context, this is the exhortation given to the Philistines as they enter battle. The Israelites in this same story are instead relying on the ark of God rather than their own strength.
  • Once again he uses an example of pagans to say, “this is the way men are”, even though in this story too the Philistines are not the ones to emulate.

2. Edits and Distorts Scripture to Change the Meaning

Love & Respect hinges on the thesis that women must show unconditional respect to their husbands. The only verse that Eggerichs uses to “prove” the unconditional part, though, is this:

  • “The Bible teaches unconditional respect: “show proper respect to everyone… Not only to those who are good and considerate… but… harsh” (1 Peter 2:17-18), p. 43

The only problem? That’s not what these verses say, as I will share on social media later today:

Emerson Eggerichs Misusing Scripture in love and Respect
Emerson Eggerichs Misusing 1 Peter 2

Eggerichs took a command given to one group of people, and used qualifiers for it from an entirely different command given to an entirely different group of people. My husband cynically said, “Perhaps Eggerichs believes wives are slaves,” but regardless, this is an abominable way to treat Scripture.

But let’s assume that Emerson Eggerichs is right for a minute and that this text does teach us that we should give unconditional respect even to those who are harsh. Who is this text directed at? All believers. It is not written to women or to wives, but to everyone. Thus, if he is going to use this text to argue that women should give husbands unconditional respect, he should be intellectually consistent and use the text to argue that husbands should give wives unconditional respect, too. 

3. Draws Conclusions Never Intended by The Text

a. Uses 1 Corinthians 7 to tell women, “if you think your husband doesn’t care about you, you’re wrong.”

Here is what Eggerichs gleans from 1 Corinthians 7:33-34:

“A scripture passage I often reference regarding goodwill in marriage is 1 Corinthians 7:33-34. Paul assumes that married couples in Corinth have goodwill toward each other. He points out than an unmarried man has more time for doing the Lord’s work but that a married man “is concerned about… how he may please his wife” (v. 33). Paul goes on to say that it s the same for a wife who “is concerned about… how she may please her husband” (v. 34). A good-willed husband does not try to displease his wife but to please her, as Paul clearly states in 1 Corinthans 7:33. I always urge a wife who is feeling unloved to be slow in asserting that her husband is unloving or does not want to love her. That is impugning an evil motive upon her husband, which is too drastic a judgement. True, a husband may not be as loving as he ought to be, but he is not consciously, willfully, and habitually trying to be unloving and displeasing. During those moments when a husband displeases a wife or a wife displeases her husband, it helps to keep certain scriptures in mind: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41) and “Indeed there is not a righteous man [or woman] on earth who continually does good and who never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)”

Emerson Eggerichs

Love & Respect, p. 188

The purpose of 1 Corinthians 7:33-34 is Paul telling people that it is better to be single if you can, because a single person can devote their lives entirely to God, while someone who is married must focus on his wife as well.

Emerson Eggerichs uses this to tell women, “See! The Bible tells us that men are good-willed and care about their wives!” This is not what Paul ever intended by this passage.

b. Uses 1 Thessalonians 2:7 to say that the Bible teaches women are best qualified to care for children. 

  • Eggerichs says: “Despite feminism’s cries, a wife best qualifies as the one who “tenderly cares for her own children”” (1 Thessalonians 2:7), p. 200
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 actually says: “Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
  • This has nothing to do with women being best-qualified to care for children. Yes, women can nurse babies. But nowhere does the Bible say that women should be the primary caregivers, let alone this passage.

c. Uses 1 Peter 3:1-6 to tell women that they should not speak up if they are upset about something in marriage

Throughout the book Emerson Eggerichs quotes 1 Peter 3:1–that she should “win him without words”, and 1 Peter 3:4, that she should have a “gentle and quiet spirit”–to tell women that they should not speak up, but should stay silent and listen to their husbands’ insight.

It is said so many times I don’t want to list them all, but here are a few:

“The apostle Peter wrote to wives that if any husbands were disobedient to God’s Word, “they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Peter 3:1–2; italics mine). Peter is definitely talking about unconditional respect. The husbands he mentions are either carnal Christians or unbelievers who are disobedient to the Word—that is, to Jesus Christ. God is not pleased with a man like this, and such a man does not “deserve” his wife’s respect. But Peter is not calling on wives to feel respect; he is commanding them to show respectful behavior. This is not about the husband deserving respect; it is about the wife being willing to treat her husband respectfully without conditions.” p. 18.

“What he is saying is that your quiet and gentle spirit will melt your man’s heart. If you’re in a conflict and you remain respectful and quiet as you distance yourself a bit instead of preaching, lecturing, or criticizing, what will he do? Well, it depends. If your quietness is the right kind of quietness—respectful and dignified, not pouty and sour—he will move toward you. He will want to comfort you and take care of you. In essence, he will want to show you love. For the good-willed husband, the wife’s quiet and respectful behavior will act as a magnet.” p. 220

Emerson Eggerichs

Love & Respect

The problems:

  • Peter is not talking about how a Christian couple handles conflict. Peter is talking to women in ancient Rome married to unChristian husbands, telling them how to help their husbands see Christ. In that society, wives could be killed for being disrespectful, and Peter and Paul’s aim was not to disrupt the social order, but to work within it. To use Peter telling wives to help their husbands come to Christ without preaching to them as instead Peter telling women not to speak up when something is bothering them in a Christian marriage is to misapply the passage.
  • The Bible contains many positive examples of wives speaking up when husbands are in error: for example, Zipporah (Exodus 4:24-26); Sarah (Genesis 21:10-11); Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19). It shows strong women making up for the weaknesses of their husbands (see Abigail, 1 Samuel 25). And it condemns women for following their husbands unquestioningly (Acts 5:1-11).

d. Asserts incorrectly that only Eve heard the serpent

Totally deceived, Eve ate some of the fruit. Then Adam came up (or perhaps she went and found him). Eve gave Adam some of the fruit, and he ate as well (see Genesis 3:1–6).

Emerson Eggerichs

Love & Respect,

It’s very telling how Eggerichs gets this wrong. The Bible tells us that Adam was with Eve the whole time (Genesis 3:6). One has to wonder why it is that when Eggerichs makes mistakes about Scripture, those mistakes line up with excusing men’s behaviour, and painting women’s in a worse light.

5. Uses Bible Verses to Disparage Women, but Not Men

Eggerichs quotes the Bible verses about nagging wives liberally in this book, but does not have an equivalent for husbands. Keith and I have already done a podcast looking at a blog post where Eggerichs uses the verses about nagging wives to silence women who may disagree with him. Just a few examples of what he does in the book:

  • “It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman” (Proverbs 21:19), p. 63. Eggerichs tells women that when they get negative in response to a husband’s stonewalling, they only hurt their marriages.
  • “A wife “who brings shame” on her husband “is like the sickness in his bones.”” (Proverbs 12:14),  p. 63. Eggerichs says that a wife’s scolding (again, speaking up when the husband is doing something wrong, like leaving wet towels on the bed) can start the Crazy Cycle.

The use of these verses paints women in a negative light compared to men, who are not given the same treatment.

Paints a Patriarchal Picture the Overall Context of the Bible Does Not

a. Asserts women are deceived so we shouldn’t listen to them

In his CHAIRS acronym of what respect means to men, I stands for Insight, or listening to his insight rather than hers. The main reason he gives for this is that women are deceived.

  • “Is one automatically chauvinistic for asking a good-willed wife to consider that “it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman?” (1 Timothy 2:14), p. 230

Yet the 1 Timothy passage is written to correct a particular heresy rampant in Ephesus, and was not meant to be a treatise on women being deceived, because that interpretation is not in keeping with the rest of Scripture.

  • Paul (the author of 1 Timothy 2:14) refers to 10 women in Romans 16, 7 of whom were his co-laborers in the gospel, among whom are apostles (Junia); teachers (Priscilla); and a deacon (Phoebe).
  • God told Abraham to obey Sarah’s voice (Genesis 21)
  • Mary Magdalene was appointed the apostle to the apostles, to tell them that Jesus rose from the dead. In a world that did not believe women’s testimony was equal to men’s, to put this message in the mouth of a woman was astounding.
  • Women were prophetesses, such as Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and more. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul gives instructions on how women can prophesy in church. 
  • While 1 Timothy 2:14 does say that Eve was deceived, it does not say that women are any more likely to fall to deception than men. It merely sets the record straight about the Genesis story.
  • The idea that women are not be listened to because they are deceived is not evident in Scripture–unless you choose to look at one verse out of context of the rest of the passage; out of context of how the author of that verse interacted with women; and out of context of how Jesus treated women.

b. Asserts that the main problem in the Genesis story is that Adam listened to his wife

  • “Apparently, Eve concluded that she knew far more about what was best for her and her husband, and she influenced him to follow her lead. Adam “listened to the voice of [his] wife” and was cursed.” (230)
  • Eggerichs believes Adam was cursed because he listened to the voice of his wife. Yet nowhere in Scripture do we find a theme that God is upset at men for listening to their wives. The issue in Genesis was not that Adam listened to his wife but that he listened to her about eating the fruit. 
  • Many counter-examples of men listening to women, or men refusing to listen to women at their own peril, can be found throughout Scripture. Curiously, Eggerichs doesn’t seem to mention them here.  

To bring this home, let’s look at how Eggerichs practically applies this thought that men should not listen to their voices of their wives, while women should listen to the voices of their husbands:

For example, on occasion a husband may venture into that dangerous territory known as “Honey, you’re putting on a few pounds.” In truth, it is far more than a few pounds—his wife has let herself go, and he feels it is time to be honest. What he usually gets in return is, “You should love me no matter how I look.” Or he may be told he knows nothing about her eating disorder and that he should be checking on his own potbelly. If the husband is on the trim side (as many men with very overweight wives often are), she will bring up some other log that he needs to get out of his own eye—that time she caught him viewing Internet pornography or overindulging in alcohol.

The point is, it’s easy for a wife to discount or disparage a husband’s suggestion that she has some problem that needs correcting. Even if he is gentle and diplomatic in suggesting that she needs to make a correction to avoid hurting herself or others, he is quickly silenced. She is offended, wounded, and angered by his assessment. He is accused of being without understanding and compassion. He has no right to speak. And he will often wind up being shown contempt.

Emerson Eggerichs

Love & Respect, p. 233-234

 Eggerichs prefaces this passage using Scripture to say that women are frequently deceived and often resist listening to their husband’s voice, insisting instead that he listen to hers. 

And then, once he’s “shown” that this is God’s will, Eggerichs writes this passage about a poor husband married to a wife whom he wants to lose weight. Please note that in this passage, the husband is asking the wife to lose weight, while the wife is replying that he may be drinking too much or watching porn. And Eggerichs says that to mention his porn use or drinking would be defensive, and giving him “no right to speak.”

I hope you can all see why this is problematic.

In Summary: Eggerichs Proof Texts Scripture to Support His Point that Men Should be in Hierarchy and Authority over Women.

He uses out of context verses, or even snippets of verses (or edited verses) to prove his point. He steers far from Jesus’ words or Jesus’ example, choosing instead to use verses that can more easily make his point. 

He does not look at how the authors of these verses actually acted, nor how they treated women. He does not tell us the broader context or the story behind these passages. He does not use the passages for their original intent. Instead, he finds creative ways to use Scripture tidbits to prove patriarchy. He does not attempt to stay faithful to the original stories in Scripture, or the original intent in many of these passages, but instead uses them to support his view of male authority and female subordination.

This is not in line with how we should use Scripture, and it shows that Eggerichs is more committed to his own position than he is with learning what Jesus is actually teaching.

 

Emerson Eggerichs Prooftexting Love and Respect

What do you think? Have you seen pastors do this with Scripture? How can we fight against this? Let’s talk in the comments!

Other Posts about the Issues in Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

Must Read Overall Synopsis:

Our Resources:

Basic Issues with Love & Respect:

Problems with How Emerson Eggerichs Handles Abuse:

Podcasts Discussing these Issues:

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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40 Comments

  1. Angharad

    The thing that really bugs me is the number of preachers who will read a whole load of stuff into Scripture that isn’t there, so that the blame for a man’s actions can be put on his female relatives. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard ‘obviously, his wife must have…’ or ‘it is likely that his daughter…’ or ‘his sister had probably…’ And NONE of this is anywhere in the actual text. They then use the ‘fact’ that the man’s wrongdoing was ‘obviously’ caused by his female relatives to prove that women are emotional, illogical, less able to make wise decisions…

    Which is kind of funny, because I’m then going ‘where is the evidence for this?’ and ‘what Scripture supports that statement?’ and I’m supposed to be uninterested in evidence, according to these guys, because I’m female!

    Reply
    • recoverymode

      Sounds like a major cop-out. Everyone is responsible for their own decisions. Blaming others is just a way of trying to justify, minimize, deflect, or excuse. People need to listen to Taylor Swift’s song — “it’s me, yeah, I’m the problem it’s me…..” 🙂

      Reply
  2. Nessie

    “If your quietness is the right kind of quietness—” Love how he sets the women up to be 100% the problem. If he doesn’t treat her well, clearly she wasn’t quiet the “right” way.

    Switched out the pronouns and this is too often a depiction of what does happen yet is defended in men because she did it wrong:
    “The point is, it’s easy for a [husband] to discount or disparage a [wife’s] suggestion that [he] has some problem that needs correcting. Even if [she] is gentle and diplomatic in suggesting that [he] needs to make a correction to avoid hurting [him]self or others, [she] is quickly silenced. [He] is offended, wounded, and angered by [her] assessment. [She] is accused of being without understanding and compassion. {She] has no right to speak. And {she] will often wind up being shown contempt.”

    Reply
    • recoverymode

      sounds like a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario”. Maddening.

      Reply
    • Tim

      Same thing occurred to me. If you can reverse the genders and the scenario makes just as much sense, maybe you’re really just talking about human nature and not gender traits!

      Reply
  3. recoverymode

    The hypocrisy of some of these beliefs/sentiments is actually quite laughable! Picture this — so these “men have authority” types actually want to use the Adam/Eve story to prove a point that she was deceived, and ergo brought about all the problems that ensued, and therefore carries the blame? Where is the “high priest of the home”, and the “authority” type thinking in this context? If they want to use that line of thinking, then should Adam not have stepped in and said; “Honey, this is a bad road. Let’s not do this”. No, he doesn’t, and thereby goes along with the deception. So he basically stood back, did nothing, and then went along with it. That shows even worse judgment than being deceived since he actually knew better. This example sure backfires spectacularly for those that want to use it as a model to show women are more easily deceived and their decision making can’t be trusted.

    Reply
    • Nessie

      That’s probably why the author makes a point of altering that scripture- “Then Adam came up (or perhaps she went and found him).” Throw that pesky Eve under the bus.
      Sad thing is he probably actually believes it happened that way. And women are the only ones that are “easily deceived” (according to him, et al.)

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’m honestly amazed no copyeditor caught that. When I think of how picky our editors were, and then I look at what big name male authors get away with–well, I just don’t understand it.

        Reply
        • Angharad

          Check out Matthew Henry’s commentary, published first in 1706, but still recommended and used by preachers today: ‘ “She gave also to her husband with her.” It is probable that he was not with her when she was tempted (surely, if he had, he would have interposed to prevent the sin), but came to her when she had eaten.’

          So for over 300 years, ‘Bible teachers’ have been saying ‘oh, yes, we know the Bible says that, but what it really means is…’

          No wonder it’s so hard to dismantle false teaching when it’s been passed down so many generations.

          Reply
          • Nessie

            I’m recovering from the teachings of an SBC church and Matthew Henry was the predominant commentator suggested by the pastor. We were told that older references/books were better because they hadn’t been tainted by modern thoughts and cultures. Yes! Let’s go back to old texts, like the Bible, and look at it through the culture(s) surrounding it!

            I think this exact scripture may become my barometer for if someone is abusing the Bible or not.

          • Angharad

            I destroyed my Matthew Henry commentary after finding how much he ‘read into’ the Bible to prove that women were worse than men. It’s horrific how many times he uses ‘obviously’ and ‘probably’ and ‘she would have’ to show women being to blame for men’s actions. If you found someone twisting an original source (of any kind) like that today, to make unfounded accusations, you’d probably be sending them for counselling. He must have had a seriously messed up head.

          • Angharad

            E.G. The most egregious example is probably his commentary on the rape of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, in Genesis 34. The actual Bible text states: “Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her.” And that is it – the Bible says nothing else about the circumstances, and merely states that Dinah was visiting the WOMEN of the land. But Matthew Henry says “Dinah…proves neither a joy nor a credit to them [her parents]; for those children seldom prove either the best or the happiest that are most indulged. She is reckoned now but fifteen or sixteen years of age when she here occasioned so much mischief. Observe, 1. Her vain curiosity, which exposed her. She went out, perhaps unknown to her father, but by the connivance of her mother, to see the daughters of the land (v. 1); probably it was at a ball, or on some public day…Her pretence was to see the daughters of the land, to see how they dressed, and how they danced, and what was fashionable among them. She went to see, yet that was not all, she went to be seen too; she went to see the daughters of the land, but, it may be, with some thoughts of the sons of the land too…The pride and vanity of young people betray them into many snares… Dinah went abroad to look about her; but, if she had looked about her as she ought, she would not have fallen into this snare…It was true that Shechem had wrought folly against Israel, in defiling Dinah; but it ought to have been considered how far Dinah herself had been accessory to it. Had Shechem abused her in her own mother’s tent, it would have been another matter; but she went upon his ground, and perhaps by her indecent carriage had struck the spark which began the fire: when we are severe upon the sinner we ought to consider who was the tempter. ”

            So he’s taken two sentences from the Bible, imagined an entire story around them and presented his story as fact. Yet I can’t find one single Bible teacher or commentator who mentions this – on the contrary, every single time I find Matthew Henry mentioned, it’s to see him praised as a wise, insightful and godly Bible teacher…

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I knew nothing about Matthew Henry (except his name) until your posts. This is fascinating (and horrifying)!

          • Nessie

            I looked at Psalm 119:130 and find it hilarious that eggerichs omits the final phrase “to the simple.” Most versions I found used the word simple, but others used, “meek men,” “inexperienced,” “untaught,” and “simple folk.” He cannot even bring himself to admit he is simple even though he wants the rest of the verse to apply to himself. That gave me a good laugh.

            Proverbs 24:5 is rather telling if you look into the next verse which speaks of waging war. Trying to address marriage using a verse of scripture that sets the stage for how to handle waging war sure doesn’t sound good or godly.

            The more I see by Matthew Henry the less I find anything worthy of respect coming from him. I was busy raising kids and didn’t take the time to explore his works. How presumptuous, pompous, and women-hating he is!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Very true! Although I think these guys often use the argument that Adam’s sin was not acting as head, and so that’s why men need to step up and be even more domineering? Basically, they can twist just about anything to make it sound like God wants marriage to be a hierarchy.

      Reply
      • Tim

        I’ve heard John Piper make that exact argument.

        Reply
  4. Jo R

    Looks like fun! Can I play this game?

    In 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul tells women to be oikodespoteo, compounded from “oikos” meaning “home” and “despotes” meaning “cringing subservient sex slave.” Oops, my bad, despotes means, well, lookee here, “despot.”

    So, fellas, when you wife “asks” you to take out the trash or get the kids through bath and bedtime, she means NOW!

    Elsewise, off with your heads!

    😇

    Reply
    • Sequoia

      Thanks Jo, made me laugh.

      Reply
  5. Phil

    The best I can do today is skim hour post and I do mean skim…p. My brain is fried today as I am working on a huge proposal. What I got out of it was the main problem with L&R is that it is based on authority aka hierarchy. A couple days ago I got into this conversation with a friend who believes in the hierarchy view. We both know we dont agree in this area and we tend not to go there and just choose to respect each others views. Anyway, it went there as he was trying to tell me what an anabaptist is and he started trying to relate his faith tradition of Men are the final decision maker and that its all over the bible. Well I lost it and went off. It was not offensive but I am certainly not going to back down. Here is how I ended the conversation – quite loudly as I tend to speak loud almost yelling when I am passionate. (ALL CAPS HERE) So you think God sent some guy to earth to be in charge? Why does your faith not allow women to preach! THE ONLY GUY GOD SENT TO BE IN CHARGE ON EARTH WAS JESUS!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Phil

      Oh then I hit em with a 12 step line that only 12 step people will understand. THANKS FOR SHARING!

      (Then we say keep coming back).

      My old sponsor used to say “The message will be repeated until you get it!”

      Reply
  6. Mara R

    From blog post above: “Even though we are specifically looking at Emerson Eggerichs’ use of Scripture in the book Love & Respect, I hope that reading this will help you be able to evaluate other books and pastors. The methods that he uses to twist and misconstrue Scripture are quite common, and so consider this an object lesson in the ways that we often go awry with the Bible.”

    One of the most important statements from the post IMHO.

    On Warren Throckmorten’s blog back in the day (2014… sheesh.) I got into it with some dude about The Songs and how he though it was basically the Christian version of the Kama Sutra. To make his point he copied and paste a large section of a “Song of Solomon Study guide” concerning it in the comment section and told me to shut up and be teachable and learn from his wisdom and the wisdom of the study guide.
    Which, of course, I didn’t. Because it wasn’t wisdom. It was narcissistic high-sounding nonsense.
    Instead of letting him beat me down with his bullying and power posturing, I copied and pasted the ‘study guide’ into my blog and began dismantling it piece by piece. It was easy to do because if was just a lot of words, proof texting, twists, and turns trying to prove things that were not true concerning the Songs.
    I am not sure where this study guide came from, but suspect that it was Driscoll’s since that was what we were talking about.
    And I don’t know who the guy was, but he was a huge Driscoll supporter who took Driscoll’s proof texting, big words, and irrelevant historical stories as gospel truth.

    The only way to fight the patriarchy proof-texting is to expose it as such. It has been allowed to grow and fester for far too long.

    Reply
  7. Andrea

    THIS: “It’s very, very difficult to argue for patriarchy using Jesus’ words and example.”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yep! It totally is.

      Reply
  8. Laura

    “If the husband is on the trim side (as many men with very overweight wives often are)” according to Eggerichs. Where are the statistics to back this up?

    In his mind, it’s okay for a man to have a potbelly, but gosh forbid if his wife has put on some weight. It’s also okay for a man to look at porn or indulge in alcohol, but his wife cannot be overweight. If he comments on her weight, he’s just doing so because he’s a “good-willed” man who only cares about her health. Hint, the sarcasm.

    He sure makes a double standard about this.

    Reply
    • Megan

      I also love the fact that weight gain (which likely came after bearing his children, so while perhaps not desirable to her is at least explainable) is placed on the same level of sin/wrong-doing as…*checks notes*…PORN??

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yep. He lost major points for that when we rated the book on our rubric!

        Reply
  9. Healing

    I’m reading Love & Respect for the 4th time and it’s super interesting the things that I discover each time.

    The thing I caught this time (that goes along with his misuse of Scripture) is that the most common Bible translations Eggerichs uses are NIV and NIRV. Do you know an instance where he did NOT cite either, he actually lists scripture without noting which version he got it from??? 1 Peter 3:7!!! The NIV verse says, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with RESPECT as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” Eggerichs words it, “…show her honor as a fellow heir” (pg. 52 and then again on pg. 173.) He then further adds on pg. 174 is that “When I say that your wife wants “honor” (respect) it is a different kind of honor from what you seek as a man. For her, respect is a part of love. So why didn’t Eggerichs use the NIV verse??? Because it goes against his “MEN NEED RESPECT, WOMEN NEED LOVE” narrative of the entire book. When he says women also need respect… it’s oh, a different kind of respect though or oh, when you love her, you’re showing respect too. (Pg. 47 “A woman does need respect, and if a man loves her properly, she will get it.”)

    So it’s just odd to me that he specifically didn’t go with the NIV for a verse that says husbands respect your wives.

    Reply
    • Mara R

      Odd.
      Or very telling of how hard he works to divide men and woman and make them so different, like two different species. By making such a big difference, it can justify treating women different instead using the Golden Rule.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, that’s something Keith often says. If we’re supposed to treat others as we would want to be treated, but the other person is a totally different species, we can get around that, because “they don’t want what I do.”

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I wish I had picked up on that for the podcast! That would have been great to add. Awesome catch!

      Reply
      • Healing

        It’s like he went out of his way to hide the fact that husbands are told to RESPECT their wives. I mean, if your go-to Bible is NIV or NIRV and it specifically says husbands respect your wives and you choose to NOT use that version… seems deceptive. I had to search versions through the Bible app to FIND one that didn’t use the word respect. Even with this “Esteem” chapter in L&R… “She wants you to honor and cherish her” he just CAN’T bring himself to say respect because again, it doesn’t go with his narrative.
        (I did find on the publishing page that scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise indicated.)

        One of the reasons I was reading through the book this time was to see if he admits that men and women need BOTH love AND respect. I have heard him say it in an interview before and wanted to dig through and see if he said it in his book.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3H6lHokAP2o

        At about the 1:04 minute mark, Eggerichs says, “We all need love and respect. There is no question, EQUALLY we do. I need love and Sarah needs respect.” If you KNOW this, is it in your book??

        Then, in a box of marriage materials from our church, I found a “Love & Respect Building Blocks small group study guide.” on page 11 of it, it talks about when you’re in CONFLICT, do you feel unloved or disrespected? It then says, “WE ALL NEED LOVE AND RESPECT EQUALLY. But, during conflict our felt needs are as different as pink is from blue.” So if this is a study guide for the book… wouldn’t that phrase “WE ALL NEED LOVE AND RESPECT EQUALLY” actually be IN the book??

        The other aspect that Eggerichs mentions in the study guide is that the “felt needs” are different IN CONFLICT. I also do not recall the Love & Respect book mentioning this tidbit of knowledge. So I’m confused, is Love & Respect a book on how to deal with conflict?? The L&R introduction says, “This book is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs- respect.” So in addition to that sentence clearly stating this is book is for WOMEN and what WE have to do, it doesn’t say “during conflict.”

        Needless to say, I could go on all day about inconsistencies in this book, this post is already long. I have some ideas on how he uses Gottman’s work.

        Loved this podcast! And P.S. your hair looks great in the video!

        Reply
        • Mara R

          I think it is amazing that you are going through EE’s words like this and applaud you for it.
          And I think all your finds of his discrepancies, inconsistencies, and how far he will go to force the Bible to agree with him need to be laid out for all to see.
          Because, No, Virginia, the Bible doesn’t support patriarchy as the prescribe, God-ordained way of doing marriages and families.

          A term I keep wanting to use but can’t because it goes too far is Word Salad. I looked it up and it has to do with mental disorders making one’s speech a muddled mess that makes no sense.

          But the very first time I heard of it, it was used wrongly to describe the verbal acrobatics and aerobics that Narcissists do to confuse and confound their targets.

          This one also doesn’t fully apply, but I still think of it when dealing with guys like Eggerichs and Driscoll:
          “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with you B.S.”

          These finds of yours demonstrate even further the amount of twisting, turning, cutting out, and avoiding that Eggerichs is willing to do to the Bible to give authority to his worldly opinions.
          He uses the Bible as a sock puppet that always agrees with him (wish I knew who originally said this because I would credit them if I knew.)

          Reply
        • Laura

          The L&R introduction says, “This book is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved.” Hmmm, this statement contradicts the subtitle of L & R. In the subtitle it says, “the love she desires.” I guess Eggerichs cannot make up his mind about whether love is a desire or a need for women.

          Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Thank you, Healing! Yes, it is a big mess.

          Reply
  10. Kay

    On his blog, referring to book, I think his word choices are interesting:

    “I explain Biblically what God’s Word reveals about respecting the husband’s deepest desires as a male.”

    And on how to show love to wife, it begins:

    “ Husbands, in the Love and Respect book, I explain Biblically what God’s Word reveals about loving a wife. ”

    I’m not sure I’ll explain my point well, but one is affirming “maleness.” The other it says, “wife.”

    Male & wife.

    That irks me.

    Also, The wife’s actions are all about being thankful & grateful…. But ironically in the acronym for men, there’s no thanks or verbal affirmation to the wife.

    Also, “man’s desires”…. Haven’t we learned that we are a sinful people. My desires are often not what God desires. There’s a many Bible verses talking about our desires & selfishness.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That definitely irks me too!

      Also, just the fact that he’s saying we’re going to the Bible to to see what it reveals about THE THING THAT I HAVE ALREADY DECIDED EXISTS. Like we’re not going to the Bible to figure out what it says about marriage or how we should treat each other. No, we’re just looking at the parts that justify my thesis.

      Reply
  11. Mara R

    Male – the default human
    Wife – the appendage of the central and most important character in Eggerichs ideal marriage, the male.
    Maybe?

    Reply
    • Jo R

      Well, duh! 🙄

      Reply
    • Scott

      I am new to your book and podcast after you recently were a guest on the With All Due Respect podcast in Australia (hosted by two people from different parts of the evangelical spectrum).
      I am saddened to learn how wrong so many of the existing books are. Thank you for shining a light on this darkness.
      Does L&R mention Eph5:28? Or Gen5:2? How does it treat them? (I don’t want to support the book by buying a copy to find out). I would have thought that verses such as these are clear and provide context in which to read others?

      Reply
      • Nessie

        Scott-
        I don’t know about these verses specifically, but if you have a public library nearby, you might could find it there and thumb through the book. You may not even need to actually check it out. (I’m from an area of the USA with decent access to libraries/books. Not sure of your situation.)

        Reply

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