March 5th, 2007 by David Dansker
Churches across the land will be exposed to compromise again this year as pastors relinquish their pulpits to psychologists. Already, speaking schedules are being booked at near capacity for these counselors to come in and take authority over flocks, and to instruct them in the intimacies of marriage and romance. Take for example Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapists. This year their “Becoming Soulmates Seminar” is being held at churches all over the country, and in Canada, and includes twenty-nine bookings to date.[i] The Parrotts have also appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, The View with Barbara Walters, NBC Nightly News, and Oprah; and their work has been published in Family Circle, Redbook, Men’s Health, Focus on the Family, Brides, and USA Today.[ii] Insight as to their message might be gleaned from another of their series also appearing at churches entitled Love Talk, which includes the book by the same name, online assessment, DVD’s, small group workbooks, and leader’s guide.
In Love Talk, the duo claims to translate “psychobabble” into an “easy to understand language,” which can be used by them to teach couples how to “speak each other’s language.”[iii] It is fitting that these psychologists have finally come to accept the arch pejorative of their craft as a descriptive neologism: babble means confusion of tongues.
The concern that pastors should have regarding these counselors is that they continue to be received by major audiences through popular, nationwide secular programs. By this it may be presumed that they cannot be preaching the exclusive message of the gospel. Indeed, when going to the world marketplace with their merchandise, they should cast a broad net. A look at their product description for Love Talk gives an idea of how broad:
In this six-session Zondervan GroupwareSmall Group Edition DVD curriculum, acclaimed relationship experts and real-life couple Les and Leslie Parrott are back with a wonderfully insightful guide for improving the single most important factor in any marriage or love relationshipâ€” communication![iv]
The term “any marriage” sounds all inclusive and applicable to the saved, unsaved, and unequally yoked, but do they expand their claim of nourishment and efficacy to explicitly extra-biblical unions? The terms taken together, “any marriage or love relationship” (emphasis added) would seem conclusive that they do. The point is that their product of therapy is designed and marketed to people in non-Christian, extra-biblical, romantic unions. It cannot be purely comprised of Christian corrections and reproofs, or even predominantly Christian. The short is that for the world this is a therapy of the world, but for the Christian to turn towards this instruction they turn away from biblical counsel.
Sincere, but negligent pastors are in for a rude awakening when they see and hear how Biblically anemic these programs are. In the aftermath, they will be scrambling to supplement them with scripture. Then will it finally occur to them that they had the material all along, could have done a better job; and that they did not need to hire famous, smiling faces, but only seek the face of God?
[i] Speaking Schedule for 2007.
[iii] Love Talk.
[iv] Product Description, Zondervan, publishers.