“Before we study today, I just want to say that I read the book, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge which you both recommended and it was a complete waste of my time.”
Carole and Susan stared at her. “Why was it a waste of time?” Susan asked, peering over her glasses.
“I have a huge issue with God being my boyfriend. They spent an entire chapter suggesting that God is interested in a woman in a romantic way. Stasi went as far as saying, ‘He loves me as a lover loves.’ God does not love us that way. He’s our Creator. He is our Father. He loves us as a Father loves a child. His love is unconditional, not romantic.”
“The book is just helping women to find out what makes them unique,” Carole interjected. “Most women want to feel beautiful.”
“I already know that I’m beautiful because I was created in God’s image. And the Bible clearly teaches that true beauty is internal not external. Peter describes what a beautiful woman is. She has a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. This kind of beauty doesn’t fade.”
“Laurie, we live in a world where physical beauty matters. I know women who grew up hearing that they weren’t pretty like their sisters or pretty enough to be asked to the prom. Look at Leah and Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah because she was the beautiful sister. The Bible says Leah was tender eyed. I googled that the other day and came across a website, I can’t remember its name, but it explained that tender eyed means that Leah was ordinary looking, a plain Jane.”
“Yes, Susan, but God showed compassion and love toward Leah when He saw that she was unloved by blessing her with children. External beauty isn’t important to God but what’s inside is. John and Stasi are supposed to be Christians but it seems to me that they are placing too much emphasis on outward beauty. Look at Jesus, according to Isaiah, He wasn’t much to look at but He is the beautiful and precious Son of God. The beauty of Jesus transcends any earthly idea of beauty. I would rather have spiritual beauty than physical.”
“Most women grow up wanting to be physically attractive. They wear makeup and jewelry and other things that would help them to achieve this. Are you saying that this is wrong?”
“I’m not saying that women shouldn’t make themselves look attractive, Carole. What I’m saying is that what truly makes a woman beautiful is that she was made in God’s image. It doesn’t say that Eve was beautiful. She was created for man to be his companion. Her beauty comes from being made in the likeness of God. In God’s eyes, makeup, jewelry, clothes are not what make a woman beautiful. A godly character does. In this book, the beauty comes across as superficial.”
Susan sat forward in the chair as she shared, “When I was a little girl, my father used to tell me that I was pretty, prettier than the princesses in the storybooks. That made me feel very special. My husband did the same thing with our daughter, Lisa when she was little.”
“My parents never did that. They told me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. They didn’t have to tell me that I was pretty to make me feel good about myself. I did because God fashioned me in love, making me unique. And when I was a little girl I didn’t want to twirl in front of my father in a skirt or grow up to be a princess.”
“They made some valid points though, about what most women want,” Carole said.
“Do your seriously think that “all women want to be conquered, provided for, and protected; any signs of spirit, leadership, or wisdom are evil spirits”? What about women like Esther who courageously went to the king when it could have cost her her life or Deborah who judged her people or Abigail whose wisdom deescalated a tense situation between her husband and King David? Did they have evil spirits because they showed spirit, leadership and wisdom? Women don’t want to be conquered, that’s romantic foolishness. God is their Provider and Protector. Women aren’t fixated on being romanced as the Stasis would like us to believe and I certainly wasn’t thinking about marriage when I was a child. What about education? Shouldn’t that what should have been uptmost on a girl’s mind, growing up? Education can open so many doors for her, especially when you think about girls in some parts of the world who don’t have access to education or are forced to leave school because of child marriage and pregnancy. When I get married and if I should have a daughter, I would encourage her to place more importance on learning than on her looks.”
“Women are essential and that’s what the book is trying to impart. One of my favorite quotes of the book was that the woman was the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish, not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch… Given the way creation unfolds, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought… She is God’s final touch…”
“Yes, woman was created after man but that was because God saw that Adam didn’t have a companion comparable to him. God saw the need for a woman so He created her. She wasn’t an afterthought, of course, she was purposefully made just as Adam was. But I disagree that Eve is the crown of creation. It clearly says in 1 Corinthians 11:7 that man is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. One could even argue that if it weren’t for Eve, there wouldn’t be any sin in the world.”
“To be fair to Eve, Adam didn’t exactly ride to her rescue,” Susan said. “Where was he while the serpent was tempting her? He was right there because it says in Genesis 3:6 that she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”
“I strongly disagree with you, Susan. Adam wasn’t with Eve when she was being tempted. If he had been, he would have prevented it. He would have grabbed her by the hand and pulled her as far away from that tree as possible and not let her go anywhere by herself after that. Adam’s crime was that he wasn’t the one who was deceived, Eve was but, still he went ahead and ate the fruit. That’s what he was guilty of. He knew what he was doing.”
“I think he was with her and he said nothing. He just stood there and watched her take the fruit and did nothing,” Susan insisted.
Laurie took a deep breath before asking, “If that were the case and he just stood there like a statue and watched Eve disobey God’s commandment, why didn’t God call him out on that?”
The two women looked at her blankly. “Didn’t He?” Carole asked.
“No. All God said to Adam in relation to Eve was and I quote, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ and then He goes on to pronounce His judgment on Adam. He did not say to Adam, ‘Because you did not prevent your wife from eating from the tree about which I commanded you, saying you shall not eat of it‘ Adam was not there during the temptation but he must have joined her after she had picked the fruit and was eating it. If Adam hadn’t taken the fruit and eaten, we would not be in this mess we’re in right now.”
“What would have happened if he hadn’t eaten the fruit?” Susan asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate. The point I’m trying to make, though, is that God held each of them accountable for their action. Eve, for eating the fruit. Adam for listening to her and the serpent for deceiving her. And I see this attack on Adam by the authors of Captivating as an attack on men in general. Instead of blaming men for everything that happens to women, we ought to encourage women to be independent, fight for what they want and have faith that they can accomplish anything they want with God’s help. My advice to women is to stop playing the blame game, stop being helpless damsels in distress and stop seeing yourselves as victims. Get out there and take on the world.”
There was a brief moment of silence, then Carole said, “Shall we begin our Bible Study now?”
Laurie nodded. “Sure. Let me go and grab my Bible.”
“I guess it’s safe to say that you’re not going to recommend Captivating to anyone?” Susan asked her when she returned.
Laurie shook her head. “No, I won’t recommend it because I think it’s a very dangerous book.
Earlier this year, I began reading the book, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge but I stopped reading it because I had a lot of issues with it. I visited Amazon and Good Reads to read the comments. Some people said that it was a waste of time reading it and that they had issues with the content. Some found it irritating, boring, stereotypical, disappointing and painful to read. One person commented that the book failed to use evidence from the Bible and instead used examples such as the movies, Titanic and Cinderella to explain the roles of women. And the book is written on the premise that most women have had bad or unhappy childhood experiences making it hard for those who have enjoyed a happy childhood unable to relate and feel guilty.