Lori Little’s “Hope and Help for the Single Mom Program” Gives no Hope or Help
I have been becoming more and more sensitive to legalism as I have been preaching a sermon series through Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. You can listen to these sermons at sermonaudio.com/crc or if you prefer, buy a copy of Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians (The Crossway Classic Commentary; be sure to read Luther’s preface) and read it in conjunction with Galatians. Powerful, freeing stuff!
Recently I was emailed promotional material for “Hope and Help for the Single Mom” a program by Lori Little. It is endorsed by a parade of evangelical names such as Charles Stanley (see his quote just below), Stormie Omartian, Jill Briscoe, Elisabeth Elliot, Neil Anderson, Kay Arthur, Josh Harris, John Trent, and on the list goes. Here is some more information taken from this material:
Lori Little is the author of the 21 Principles of a Healthy Single Mom which is a DVD curriculum and book (much like Beth Moore) for the church to use as a Sunday morning class, small, home, life or care groups, outreach, mission and evangelism through the church. (Info taken from email brochure sent to me by Lori Little)
If a single mom will follow these 21 principles, there is no way for her to fail. (Charles Stanley)
I am learning that very, very often these kinds of programs/kits/how-to’s are the typical way that man-made traditions are created that are not biblical, but which are passed off as being Bible truth. So when I see a statement by someone like Charles Stanley, claiming that here is a step by step way to achieve certain success, my radar starts flashing “Incoming!!” Sure enough, this series fires 21 incoming missiles of false information and in some cases just plain damaging teaching.
I wish that I had the time to review and critique all 21 of the “principles” Little presents in this program. It would take hours and hours. But here are just three of them that I think in themselves will be adequate to enable our readers to see the damage this series will do. They are taken directly from the promotional info sent to me. I will insert a few comments about each immediately following each one:
Principle 8: The Principle of SPEAR THROWING
You must forgive, get along with, speak blessings over, build up and pray for your children’s father. Never teach your children to take up your offense.
Speaker: Lori Little
Ok. For many if not most of our readers, step 8 is all we need to know in order to reject this series, right? Tell me, does God Himself always “speak blessings over” His enemies? Does He tell us to LIE to our children by “building up” their abuser father? Guess what? An abuse victim’s children, in a very real sense, DO need to take up their mother’s (or father’s, if the wife is the abuser) offense! And where in the world are we told that we have to “get along with” our unrepentant, abuser/tormentor! This is not Bible truth. These are man made traditions that enslave and oppress and endanger.
Principle 9: The Principle of PURPOSE
Let God create a new plan that will enable you to live a life that is both on purpose and successful in all areas of your life.
Speaker: Tammy London (Lori’s personal Life Coach)
Personal life coach. I’m sorry, but I have to ask — what in the world is that? Where are we ever told that we should have a “personal life coach?” How much does one cost, anyway? But to continue: “successful in all areas of your life.” Isn’t this starting to sound like some sales promotional? What exactly does this mean? An abuse victim, if she follows these 21 steps, can absolutely be assured that she is going to be successful in all areas of her life? Is that what the book of Ecclesiastes tells us? Isn’t this the very theology of Job’s “friends” who the Lord was so angry with? This is tradition, not Bible. And it is legalism. Just do these rules and God will bless you. Where is the Lord Jesus Christ and HIS righteousness in all of this? [I don't have time to explain at length how the series begins by treading essentially totally around all of that nasty business of sin, and God's judgment, and how we all need to believe in Christ and repent if we are to be justified before God].
Principle 21: The Principle of REWARD
Your reward will be to see the sweet fruits of the Holy Spirit in your children’s lives. They will bless you and praise you for the virtues you lived out and poured into them.
Speaker: Dr. John Trent
In some ways this last principle is the most cruel of all. Yes, cruel. THEY WILL BLESS YOU AND PRAISE YOU. Your children WILL do this! This WILL be your reward. I say again, this is sheer legalism. Do this, don’t do that, and you will merit God’s blessing. just like mixing water and bicarbonate = fizz.
This is just plain false. It is a lie. This is saying that WE can save our children. Abuse victims know full well how the lies of their abusers so often turn their children against the victim. And sometimes — even with some regularity — that alienation never ends. So what in the world is going to happen if an abuse victim buys into this 21 principle nonsense, pours herself into it, and it doesn’t work? I can tell you what is going to happen. Devastation. False guilt. Maybe even a turning her back on Christ.
I have begun to grow accustomed to the growlings that sound when we offer this kind of criticism. “You don’t understand what we are saying.” “You are too judgmental and you are running to conclusions that just aren’t true.” “You need to be less brusque and show more understanding so you won’t alienate people like Little.” Well, alright. Lori Little and company, show us you are willing to listen and that you are teachable and open to correction. Don’t be defensive. Be willing to say “Oh boy, I never even thought of that. Can you help us make this program better?” Then do it!
And I will be the first one to praise you.