Making a Pinto point about a Lexus topic 15

The culmination of Perry Noble’s much-hyped sex sermon was a multi-part questionnaire that married couples were asked to take home and ask each other. The first question was, “Have you had sex with anyone besides me since we have been married?” (A quick aside. How many marriage counselors did NewSpring hire to have on call that afternoon and evening? Talk about life change…)

Noble interrupted the list of questions to publicly announce to his wife that the answer was no. Then he said to her, “I don’t need a Pinto when I have a Lexus.”

It’s encouraging that he thinks so highly of his wife’s appearance, but the statement–repeated in multiple services–undoes whatever biblical teaching he’d presented earlier in the service. Marriage is based on a covenant promise that is a symbol of Christ’s covenant with us. It’s not based on anything we do or on how we look.

If Noble explains his faithfulness by his wife’s Lexus status, what happens if she loses that status? New model years come out. Perhaps the engine stops running or one of the tires blows out. A few nicks and dings, a few more miles on the speedometer, a bit of hard driving, and even Lexuses can start to look unappealing. (This is not about Mrs. Noble, by the way; I do not doubt Perry’s claims for her beauty, nor the sincerity of his praise for her.)

A few Lexus-quality questions to ponder:

  1. Is this a good example for other husbands? How do you persuade someone to stay faithful once they realize they’ve married a Pinto? Rephrase the question, and you see why it’s so bad. “Honey, why would I have a Lexus when I get to have a Pinto?” Hosea married a Pinto, yet he loved and overpaid for Gomer as if she were a Lexus. (Hosea 2:14-20)
  2. Does this build confidence in women? Perhaps our lady commentators can answer this more authoritatively, but I would imagine that this rationale could create a great deal of personal insecurity. “Honey, so long as you keep looking like a Lexus, I won’t stray on you.” Where’s the rest and trust based on the assumption that promises will be kept at all costs?
  3. Is a wife a thing to be owned and used? This idea that women are assets to be used is often what leads to the problems Noble’s sermon was complaining about. Ask Noble’s friend how that attitude worked for him.
  4. Where’s the love? Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. How does he love the church? While we were yet Pintos, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

15 thoughts on “Making a Pinto point about a Lexus topic

  1. JT Oct 1, 2009 9:30 am

    You’ve built your arguments in this post on the assumption that a Lexus is only superior to a Pinto in terms of appearance.

    Noble made no claims that the Lexus comment is about physical beauty.

    However, when I heard Noble make that comment, your third argument did pop into my mind.

    By the way, I’m glad to see you are starting to listen to the sermons of the man that you publicly criticize. This will lead to much better conversations than the regular tweet-bashing.

  2. Sylvia Oct 1, 2009 10:21 am

    Can you imagine how hurtful this would be to a woman who had been cheated on? Here’s Perry with his questionnaire forcing couples to delve into the issue, and then he offers only insult to the offended parties. I’m sure there are tons of women in his congregation that have been cheated on, and who have already been through painful divorces. But, of course, none of that is as important as Perry’s need to prove the the congregation that he is a loving husband.

  3. Ben Oct 1, 2009 10:42 am

    I don’t want to read anything into this so let me make sure I understand you correctly. Perry Noble is unbiblical because he compared a Lexus to a Pinto in describing his feelings for his wife. Is that what you are saying? I have no doubt that you already know this but I’m going to explain just in case. I’d rather talk about my wife though than Perry’s.
    “Why would I want a Pinto when I have a Lexus?” My wife is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. Beauty has many levels and I can say with 100% honesty that my wife is the most beautiful woman ever in my eyes. That’s what she is to me. It’s not about what she looks like on the outside, although she is beautiful by the worlds standards, it’s the whole package. If I went blind would I change the way I feel about my wife just because I couldn’t see her outer beauty? Absolutely not! If something tragic happened like a burn that disfigured her would I love her any less? NO! She will ALWAYS be a “Lexus” to me. I know that Perry was saying the same thing….so do yo u.
    YOu said “Marriage is based on a covenant promise that is a symbol of Christ’s covenant with us.” I couldn’t AGREE with you more. So would Christ ever stop loving us? Would he ever love another more than he loves you or me? Would he ever tell us “you used to be a Lexus to me but a new model has come out and I’m going to drive that one now”? No, he wouldn’t. That’s the exact covenant I have with my wife.
    One way that I make sure I’m not going to trade my wife in on a new model is that I’M NOT OUT SHOPPING FOR A NEW ONE! If we were really talking about cars, I wouldn’t go to a car lot! I wouldn’t gaze or dream about my neighbors car! If offered a ride, I would say no!
    Go home today and tell your wife that you do not think of her in terms of the best the world has to offer. Tell her that you can’t compare her to the “top of the line” model because you just don’t know when a newer model might come out. See what reaction you get from her. See how Godly that makes you feel. See if that coincides with Ephesians when God says “love your wives just as Christ loved the church.”
    Answering your questions…
    1) Is this a good example for other husbands? HECK YES! It reminded me that I can’t let my guard down, not even for one second! I have no desire to go out and make an impluse buy so I have to be constantly aware of20that possibilitiy. Are you sure you meant to use Hosea 2? The “she” in this chapter refers to Isreal, not an actual woman. It’s a metaphore…they seem to be tripping you up.
    2) Does this build confidence in a woman? If said with sincerity and love I would say you betcha it does. I make a point to tell my wife every single day that she is beautiful. That she is the most beautiful woman alive. Judging from her reaction to it everyday (and each day for the last 16 years) I would have to say yes!
    3) Is a wife a thing to be owned and used? Never once did I hear Perry say he owned his wife. Did you? The Bible does say that husbands and wives are to be as one flesh. In that sense I would say a husband and wife do own each other. When I married my wife I gave her ownership rights, so to speak, of me and she did the same. As long as this question of ownership is a two way street, I don’t have a problem with it, nor would my wife. Now if Perry had said that I’m sure we would be reading a blog about how Perry is the master of his house and has enslaved his wife as a prized possession and servant. Again, that’s not what he said and not what I mean.
    4) Where’s the love? Your grasping at straws here. “While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 is about how we are undeserving of God’s love. He died for us at the mo st undeserving moment in our lives. I loved my wife 16 years ago when we were married. But that is no comparison to the way I love her now, now that she has become even more beautiful to me over the years.

  4. James Duncan Oct 1, 2009 7:31 pm

    It looks like this was the Pinto post today and the Gary Lamb one was the Lexus, judging by the traffic and comments. So let’s show this little Pinto some love.

    JT,

    I wasn’t assuming his comment was based solely on appearance, though that’s the most obvious interpretation. Note my reference to engines–internal stuff. Injury, disease, psychological and psychiatric issues can all work over time–though often instantly–to turn Lexuses into Pintos. There are so many ways that we can lose the qualities that attracted our spouses to us, that we all need to assume that we will turn into Pintos ourselves. Our only hope is that our spouse honors his or her promise to us even when we become worthless.

    Ben,

    I don’t buy the argument that he meant that just because he was her wife he saw her as a Lexus all the time. Why boast about his statement (after she left the service, he continued to beat his chest and tell everyone what he’d told her)? If being his wife ipso facto makes her a Lexus, why not just say, “Why would I want a mistress when I’ve got a wife?” It’s a good question, but it doesn’t make any sense in the context in which he said it.

    Re. building confidence, it didn’t seem to have that effect on Mrs. Noble. Judging by his response to her after he said it to her live, she didn’t like it at all. Of course she didn’t.

    Re. wives as objects. He’s comparing her to a car, for crying out loud. Does my car own me back?

    Re. Hosea. Yes, I meant to use that. Gomer was a real person, just like Israel. Chapter 2 describes both God’s love for Israel and Hosea’s love for Gomer. That’s part of what makes Hosea so amazing. At the outset, Hosea knew what was going to happen and that his family was going to be the story of Israel personified, yet he was obedient and faithful to a corrupt and faithless woman.

  5. Ron Oct 2, 2009 6:03 am

    A quick and parenthetical thought on that first question on the aforementioned questionnaire and Perry’s response to his wife. I would have to ask Perry if he has ever committed adultery in his heart since he as been married, if he as every taken that second or third glance at an attractive woman. I wonder if he would/could say no. Even President Carter had to admit to that one….. I think what one finds is a weak view of sin in much of the shenanigans that go on at NS.

  6. Josh Oct 2, 2009 9:19 am

    I was checking out the groups guide and the couples questionnaire and noted that both contain an admonition to confess sexual sin to the other spouse. The questionnaire includes this question: Are you engaging in anything online that I would be ashamed of if I found out. The groups guide instructs facilitators to “challenge married couples to confess sexual sin to their spouse.”

    Setting aside the grammatical issue of a married couple having a spouse, is this really good advice? Should a husband (or wife) tell his or her spouse every time he or she entertains a lustful thought? If so, why does the questionnaire limit the inquiry to online conduct? Obviously they are talking about internet pornography, but shouldn’t the question, if valid, ask whether a spouse is engaging any any conduct anywhere that would make the other spouse ashamed.

    I’m not excusing lust as an “okay” sin by any means, but realistically EVERY man struggles with lust and sexual temptation. That isn’t to say that every man commits adultery or is a regular porn viewer, but God’s standard of sexual purity, which includes even lustful gazes, is pretty high. Is it really uplifting for a wife for her husband to tell her every time he has a lustful thought? Should a spouse really be the go-to person for confession of sins & accountability?

    Obviously there may be some sins we commit against another person wherein we should ask that person for forgiveness. Actual adultery is probably one of those, though I can imagine scenarios where it might be better to let sleeping dogs lie. But I can’t think of many things that would engender more distrust in a marriage than for a husband to tell his wife every time he has a lustful thought about another woman.

  7. keitho Oct 2, 2009 1:10 pm

    Josh,

    Great questions. I observe that of 6 comments, 5 are from guys. We are treading on thin ice here. What is the girl’s perspective. Sylvia, can you help us?

  8. James Duncan Oct 2, 2009 1:47 pm

    The issue of confession to aggrieved parties is a complicated one, but it seems to me quite different to confess an ongoing affair than one that happened 50 years ago, yet Noble wants it all out in the open.

    I’m also not sure how you go so quickly from “Against God, and God only, have I sinned,” to making a demand that everyone unloads their sin onto their spouse.

  9. JT Oct 2, 2009 3:56 pm

    James 5:16

  10. Josh Oct 2, 2009 4:21 pm

    James 5:16?

    Ok, JT, go ahead, confess away.

    We’re listening.

    Or do you not really believe all believers are to confess all sins to all other believers?

    Just wondering…

  11. JT Oct 2, 2009 5:41 pm

    No, but I think a spouse would qualify as a good person to confess your sins to for two reasons:

    1) A spouse should be the closest Christian relationship that we have.
    2) A spouse has a vested interest in your sexual sin.

    Should we confess all our impure thoughts to our spouses? Probably not. I have a feeling most wives would get sick of the daily hours-long session! But does adultery require confession? Absolutely! Pornography addiction? Yes.

  12. Sylvia Oct 2, 2009 8:58 pm

    Thanks for asking Keitho. My thinking actually comes pretty close to Josh’s original post. I think I’d go boogots if I was married to a man who confessed every lustful though to me. I certainly would not do that to him, I think it would be cruel. I can’t imagine doing that with a godly motive. If it came to a thing where I had to explain that I wasn’t comfortable being alone with his cousin Fred, or he needed help staying off the computer late at night, then there would be a godly motive.
    As for the more manifest forms of adultery, I’ll tell you what: If that were to happen, and there were any possible way that I could not know about it, that would be my preference. What can I say, I cannot think of a more painful thing in the world. Obviously, It’s not so simple. There is at least one extra person involved in the situation and things come out. I SUPPOSE I’d rather find out from the cheater himself than from the gossip mill. He would do right in manning up and telling me the truth.
    I think it’s really important for us to examine our motives in confessing these sins. I have known husbands and wives who have “confessed” infidelities in order to hurt their spouses—very ugly. I think that the motive always needs to involve the Golden Rule. There are some very legitimate reasons for confessing these things to our loved ones, to protect them, to explain confusing behavior, and to otherwise strive to recover the marital bond. There are also motives that are, at best, cowardly, and at worst, cruel. I definitely don’t think that it is the place of a pastor to handout questionnaires forcing every married sheep in the flock (whom he is not even willing to visit in the hospital, much less do marital damage-control with) to deal with these issues in the exact same, indelicate, way.

  13. James Duncan Oct 2, 2009 9:10 pm

    Thanks, Sylvia.

    You make a good point about combining a lack of shepherding with unthoughtful efforts to bring storms into the flock’s lives.

    JT, what do you do with your confession when one spouse is not saved?

  14. Josh Oct 2, 2009 10:17 pm

    JT,

    You get an awful lot of nuance out of James 5:8. Any biblical basis for it, or is it just your opinion that adultery and pornography addiction require confession, but lustful thoughts don’t? The context of James 5:8 is confessing to another believer who can join you in prayer about the sin, not confessing to a wronged person. It doesn’t suggest that this confidant should be our spouse especially if, as James Duncan pointed out, that spouse is an unbeliever.

    If what you wrote in your last post is just your opinion, that’s all good. It’s certainly not opposed to what the bible says, and in matters of opinion we have freedom. However, if it’s just a matter of opinion, once again, I’d question the wisdom of the church challenging married couples to confess all their sexual sin to each other.

    I’d also point out, from a guy’s point of view, that women lust too, even though it may not be about sex. I’d suggest that most married women commonly covet the lifestyle of other women who have more financially successful or otherwise “better” husbands. This covetousness is also clearly a sin, but I don’t want to hear my wife confess to me every time she covets the lifestyle of the Joneses next door or the great romantic trip Mr. Smith took Mrs. Smith on for their. It’s much like when it dawned on me that my parents who are married had/have sex: I know it’s true, but I don’t want to think about it!

  15. KeithO Oct 3, 2009 2:11 pm

    Sylvia,

    Thanks. You said,

    “There are some very legitimate reasons for confessing these things to our loved ones, to protect them, to explain confusing behavior, and to otherwise strive to recover the marital bond. There are also motives that are, at best, cowardly, and at worst, cruel.”

    Great point. I have to ask what the purpose of the confession would be? Is it helpful? Or is just being done to broadly follow a biblical command so you can say that at least I did the right thing, now it’s my partners problem and burden to bear?

    The problem is, the spouse may take a long time to forgive you, if ever. And telling them they have to forgive you because that what Christians are supposed to do isn’t going to be very helpful either.

    I suspect NS will have to step up their counselling network very soon to handle the fallout.

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