Monday, October 15, 2007

The Truth Project? Part 2

About a month ago, I started an article about Focus on the Family's, "The Truth Project". My objections to the first episode were too numerous to list in one post, so I hope to finish up here.

One of the foundational issues that I disagree with is the presenter's assertion that Jesus came to "bifurcate" the world. This is a pretty common view amongst western Christian fundamentalists- that the world is divided into "Us" and "Them". It tends to be a rather thin slice of "Us" because there are many Christians in this equation who do not measure up either. A wrong answer on the orthodoxy litmus test will quickly put you in the "Them" category.

Before any of us spend too much time "bifurcating" our relationships, I think we should consider Paul's advice in Romans 2:

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

The presenter then continued to emphasize the "us/them" relationship by translating scripture into war metaphors. He believes the world is a battlefield and we must defend ourselves. I believe Jesus called his followers to a forward movement of love, rather than a defensive posture of fear. A war metaphor causes Christianity to resemble Islamic extremism, Mao atheism, or Rwanda warlords - submit or be conquered! How is this the good news of the Gospel? Do we submit to Christ because he is the most powerful? How is that different? Did Paul not declare "God's kindness leads us to repentance"?

My next contention would require you to watch the video to get the full effect, but basically, the presenter postulates a "What if?" concerning Satan. Personally, I love what if questions when it comes to theology. However, in the next step, he performs a quick slight of hand and begins referencing his "what if" as if it were now a given. He then uses it to buttress his argument that the entire cosmos is in a battle over these two worldviews (Satan's and God's). If there are only two worldviews, then everything can be neatly separated into "us/them".

I reject the "us/them" postulation. I believe there is only "us". Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Paul does not make a distinction here. He puts himself into the same camp as his neighbor. There is no superiority. The only one superior in the equation is Christ.

Barbara Nicolsi sums up the problem with seeing people in an "us/them" mindset:


I think that, unfortunately, a lot of orthodox Catholics and Christians are either sitting in the cave hunkered down, or they're like Jonah sitting under a Gourd plant waiting for God to vent his wrath on the world—on the ungodly—and they're going to be disappointed if He doesn't. I don't see these people having sorrow for sin; I see them having indignation towards sin. And to me, that's an important difference. Sorrow for sin is "I am a part of this." Indignation for sin is "you are the ones messing up the world!"

They did a man-on-the-street style segment where they asked people about "Truth". People with the "wrong" answer tended to be women, European, progressive looking. People with the "right" answer tended to be old, white men in suits. At this point, I felt the video devolved into a bad caricature of itself.

Toward the end, the presenter stated that he hates the phrase "people of Faith". Unless you subscribe to his standard of Christianity, your searchings are pointless. You are either with us or against us. If you are with us, you are a child of the Father. If you are against us, he says, you are a child of the devil.

I believe Jesus showed a different attitude toward people "outside the faith". The woman at the well in John 4 might have had a different response to Christ if he had called her a child of the devil.

The final question he asked was, "Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?'

My answer: What I believe about Him does not change who He is, it never has and it never will. What I believe about Him has changed over time. Many of the beliefs I felt were "unchangeable" have shifted as I learned more about Him. So I now hold many of my beliefs loosely. This does not grant me certainty or security. I have replaced those notions with fidelity. I believe this gives me opportunities to grow.
_____________________________________________

*UPDATE* For some reason, this article comes up very high in Google when searching The Truth Project. However, there are some great bloggers of Faith who have also weighed in with their concerns and observations. I have linked their pages based on a keyword search for The Truth Project.
The Hopper
God, Superman, and the Buckeyes
Recovering Sociopath
Below the Din

69 comments:

jim said...

What I believe about Him does not change who He is, it never has and it never will.

I think I've finally figured that out.

I just had a look at your pictures posted on your other web page and really enjoyed seeing the face of your family and friends. Looks like life is good!

Yael said...

This is a long comment but I thought it relates to some of what you said in your post. I wrote it last December:

I was reading tonight and ran across a statement that really hit home with me. It has been something that bothered me for a long time, that those who are so eager for the world to come to an end so their messiah will ‘return’ always assume that they will escape everything bad on that day. Their desire to see God take revenge on those ‘others’ is revolting.

It seems to me that people should be just a little leery about hoping for the end of the world. Isn’t every group of people an ‘other’ to someone else? Oh, that’s right. Some are smug in the knowledge that they hold all truth. How could I forget. But, how many of those ‘others’ also consider themselves to hold all truth? Perhaps many people will be in for a surprise someday??

I was reading in Amos:

“Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light;
As if a man fled from a lion,
And a bear met him;
Or went into the house and leaned with his hand against the wall,
And a serpent bit him,
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
And gloom with no brightness in it?
(Amos 5:18-20)

It’s easy to think, “Oh, I have nothing to worry about when the end comes.” What’s that? Oh, my future is secured or some such stuff. Yeah, well the people Amos talked to thought the same thing, that they were OK, they had gone into their house, a place of security, only to find it was no refuge. Wasn’t that the whole point of the warning, don’t be so confident, don’t think you will be so secure…

I’d rather spend my time working to make the world just a little better right where I am instead of waiting anxiously for a messiah to make everything better by destroying everyone I have identified for him!

SocietyVs said...

I really liked the post - very insightful. I have never liked that 'us and them' thing that happens in faith - this exclusion from the elitists (or as they see it - the right ones). But I think your example of what Jesus actually did runs very contrary to what is taught and believed by FOTF.

I really liked that ladies quote - I think it spoke very loudly to the idea of how judgment is used in the church - and how we need to change that focus.

Michael said...

At first, I liked the fact that you were critically looking at the Truth Project and not buying into it hook line and sinker. The whole purpose of the Truth Project is to encourage the Christian to think and to not buy into what our culture promotes. And yet,
after you accused the "Truth Project" teacher of "proof-texting," it seemed that you're doing the same thing. Did you not use "...individual scripture texts to produce apparent support for a doctrinal position without adequate regard for the contexts of the individual texts which may indicate differences and nuances"?

I quote you:
"The presenter then continued to emphasize the "us/them" relationship by translating scripture into war metaphors. He believes the world is a battlefield and we must defend ourselves. I believe Jesus called his followers to a forward movement of love, rather than a defensive posture of fear. A war metaphor causes Christianity to resemble Islamic extremism, Mao atheism, or Rwanda warlords - submit or be conquered! How is this the good news of the Gospel? Do we submit to Christ because he is the most powerful? How is that different? Did Paul not declare "God's kindness leads us to repentance"?"

Your argument that the Bible's message is one of love and not of war totally disregards the passages that clearly state that we are in a battle. To deliberately leave these passages out and then to compare any Biblical battle talk to Islam extremism is not only untrue but is "proof-texting" and hypocritical.

Of course our war is not with people (read passages below). God loves people and the Christian is commanded to love all people. But the war Paul talks about has to do with the spiritual strongholds (established systems of thought based on lies) in his culture. I quote The Apostle Paul here from 1 Cor. 10:3-6: "...demolish(ing) strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God..."

Hello? That sounds like war talk to me. And where might these strongholds exist? Could it be in one's culture? You say cultures are neutral and not good or evil. Our particular culture is about as neutral as the culture Hitler created - one in which so many Christians were duped in his day. Our culture of death promotes, no, it's exalts the right to kill innocent babies in the womb. But, hey - there's no battle going on...except the one to shut the mouths of Christians who see this evil which the culture has established as "a good thing." And the culture war is what the Truth Project is all about.

Also, you don't like that they claim the Bible talks of an "us and them," but look at how it all ends: there are the enemies of God and those who follow God (Revelation 20:7-21:8). See if you see anything but an "us and them" in these passages in Revelation.

The balance is this: we are to truly, from the heart love THEM into the Kingdom - by speaking the truth in love and not by twisting the truth.

Yes, I along with you am tired of fearful Christians making people the enemy (our battle is not with flesh and blood), and hate that Christians are not building bridges into this culture - that Christians are fearful and critical. But the answer is to get back to what the Scriptures say and not to twist them.

Here are just a few of the war passages that you conveniently disregarded. Perhaps you would like to say to Paul, "Now Paul, all your war talk...you need to stop this...just preach love like Jesus did." ...even though Jesus - who preached love - is the one who is leading the final war (WAR WORDS are HIGHLIGHTED IN CAPS)

Rev 19:11-16 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice HE JUDGES AND MAKES WAR. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

2 Cor 10:3-6 For though we live in the world, WE DO NOT WAGE WAR AS THE WORLD DOES. THE WEAPONS WE FIGHT WITH are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ..."

Eph 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms..."

One of the WEAPONS is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." Eph 6:17b

The Word of God cuts through the deceptions and lies that this culture promotes.

One test to see if we've been defeated by our culture is this: Am I brokenhearted and outraged that we allow the murder of the unborn in this land to be a legal right? If the answer is "yes" then you've not been defeated by our culture. If it's no, you have already been defeated.

Andrew said...

Michael,
Thank you for your comments. As much as you and I might disagree on some things, there are probably many on which we would wholeheartedly agree.
You articulate our disagreements, and though I do not ultimately agree with your conclusions; it is an example that there is not a Christian worldview. As a Christian, you hold a worldview that differs from mine in some respects, yet there are probably many areas we overlap.
We seem to agree that within the Christian subculture there is a fear of "the world". I believe it is this fear that casts out perfect love (to turn a phrase).
God bless you as you build a bridge to him in the culture around you! Thanks for stopping by.

poetinmotion said...

Hi Andrew,

I'm so grateful I found your posting on a random search for first hand experiences with "The Truth Project". My wife and I were seriously contemplating going to one of the "training sessions", but I've had the burden of suspicion on my heart.

Have you yet seen the rest of the DVDs? And if so, can you comment any further on the content, or what agenda you detect is being pushed?

Thanks!!!

Andrew said...

Poet,
I am glad that the article stirred some questions with you. I have not watched beyond the first episode. I have no objection to doing so, it is just that there are so many books and vids that I want to get to.

I feel that the videos are probably more bias driven than agenda driven. The approach seems to be the "THEY are out to get you" mentality. I grew up in such circles. I remember as a teen being convinced that everyone at my first job was going to be nasty to me because I was a Christian. It was how I was conditioned. Imagine my shock when I found out they were just everyday people like me.

Barry said...

To the author of this blog and the posters herein. This is what happens when you do not research a subject completely before spouting all types of comments out of ignorance, after having only viewed 1 of the 13 hours of video.

I have seen all 13, 1 hour videos – 12 “tours”, 1 being in 2 parts. So you see, the author did not even get that right. He quit too early and made a whole rat’s nest of assumptions. Most of them are incorrect.

Another error he made is that nobody is supposed to be a leader before he completes the entire series as a participant of a small group and then receives some form of leadership training. You don’t even have to pay for this training. You can view online videos that are presented via the web at no cost. So you see, I question that he is even being truthful about being asked to lead the series. It is not intended for use anywhere but in a small group of Christian friends and acquaintances.

You know what they say about assumptions. Well my friend, you made a bunch of bad ones.

This series is not about a Christian world view. It is about a Scriptural world view – God’s view of ultimate truth (you do allow for that, do you not? That God has the ultimate world view?). These are not the same – just as you have indicated, many Christians have many different ideas about various aspects of their faith and views of the world. All too often, our beliefs do not match the scriptural view and that is what The Truth Project is all about. So you are quite simply wrong about that too.

You assume that this series gives the viewer a list of right and wrong answers to spout at people. You are absolutely incorrect here. The series lays a framework of understanding that allows a Christian, possibly for the first time, to understand the difference between a Scriptural world view and “the Today Show” view of truth in the world (my words, not those of The Truth Project).

Culture is not presented as anti-God. Culture is present as naturally sinful according to the truth of Scripture, and needing the grace of God. There is a big difference in those two concepts. But then as a Christian, you should know that. Nobody demonized the culture in the 1st video or any other for that matter. In fact in subsequent videos emphasis is placed on reaching out to non-Christians with love and understanding because only the Grace of Christ separates us from them and that Grace is available to all. You are asked to always be mindful of that.

Perhaps the worst case of what is obviously “spin” on your part is in regard to the question of “Why did Jesus come into the world?”. You attempt to make the technique the speaker used to make his point seem somehow, wrong. That is a misrepresentation of what actually happened. The reality is that each person’s response was affirmed as a good answer as to why Jesus came into the world. Instead, the answer that the leader was looking for was the answer that Jesus himself gave – “to testify to the truth”. But then, you didn’t really miss that did you?

The point is this. You “judged” what the Truth Project is all about with an already very biased viewpoint. You obviously have an agenda that leans way to the left. What is really scary about this is that you are apparently a teacher. Do you actually teach our children? What grade would you give yourself for fully researching a subject before writing about it? I can tell you this. In college you would have received a failing grade.

I would find it interesting to see what you would think about this series after watching all 13 hours of it and entering into discussion with others in your peer group. You couldn’t possibly come out with the same assessment unless you wore “colored glasses” and “pre-tuned hearing aids” to properly filter what you would be hearing and seeing.

And to those who read this blog in the future. Give the entire series a shot before YOU judge it like this blogger did. The series is actually quite good and leaves the participant with more questions about how to go forward and basically no canned answers to parrot back as the blogger purports.

Andrew said...

Barry - I think you comments are awfully strong. I disagreed with the Truth Project. I took each section of the first video and listed my disagreements. I do not in any way think people should buy what I say, but I wanted to give my view for people to think about. Proverbs says that every arguement sounds correct until the other side is presented. I grew up in "Truth Project" type circles. There was only one side presented and scripture indicates that this will give a distorted view. I am not saying that you will change your view, but try "listening" to the other side. Proverbs suggests it as a worthwhile exercise.

barry said...

Andrew,

My concern is this, and without this concern I never would have taken time to post here... It appears that a couple that intended to go through the series actually abandoned participating in The Truth Project because of your comments. They will never have the chance to decide for themselves because of your blog.

It saddens me that you apparently grew up in the atmosphere that you did. Gratefully, I did not. But as life goes on I see mainstream demominations dying before my eyes. I have seen them move away from traditional values and I am convinced that this act is one of the reasons for their decline. Simply put, they are trading secular lies for biblical truth.

Dr. Tackett was a 20 year Air Force veteran who has served as 2nd in command at NORAD and as an adviser to a former president. While in DC he studied the founding documents and discover a very different set of founding fathers than what is portrayed in today's history books. That discovery launched his career as a professor dealing with world view issues and how they have changed over time.

In my lifetime of just over 50 years, I can see that change. I frankly am not happy with what I see happening. In my view, if one takes the time to view the entire series, a very good representation of the secular vs the biblical world view is portrayed.

So when a friend at work asked me to join a group to view this video series, I just did it because it sounded like somewhat interesting. I had my doubts at first and in fact was a bit upset at one point. But as the series progressed I began to realize that he was talking about the very concerns that I have for the Church and Christians today. Needless to say the content hit a chord with me and many others in the group. (FYI, this group consisted of an engineer, computer professionals, a couple of managers and was not a right wing fringe group). I discovered that even though there are a couple of parts that I had to disagree with, on whole the series is very good and on target.

Sorry if I came on a little stong. It's part of my human nature that needs a little work.

Andrew said...

"It appears that a couple that intended to go through the series actually abandoned participating in The Truth Project because of your comments. They will never have the chance to decide for themselves because of your blog."

Barry - What do you suggest? That I remove this blog post? That an alternative voice not be heard?

I do not think people should necessarily avoid watching the series, but I do think other voices need to be heard. If one consistently hears only one "worldview", then theological and intellectual inbreeding are the result. Inbreeding is bad in genetics and worse in theology. Paul said, 'When they judge themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."

Your friends who chose not to watch the series are adults, it was their choice. Removing the option of their hearing an alternative is not the solution. They probably had misgivings prior to reading my piece, and I would suspect that your reaction would only bolster their impression that they made the correct decision.

KMS said...

Andrew,
From KMS

Tonight I have the opportunity to view the 2nd hour of the Truth Project with a Men’s Bible study group I’m associated with in a town nearby. I’ve had some misgivings also about the Truth Project but since I’ve only viewed the first hour I feel I should reserve any criticism until I see more. Of course that will be my choice to make even though I’m still a bit uncertain about continuing with the series for a number of reasons.

First of all I’m trying hard to reconcile the origins of FOTF and the views of “the man up the street” as some of us relate to JD here in Colorado Springs, with the rational or motive for “The Truth Project” in the first place. Way back when I read “Prophets of Psycohearesy II” by Martin and Deidre Bobgan I had an eye/soul opening experience related to self image psychology and the basic beliefs of JD and his organization, especially where it related to “Christian Counseling”, and the inner workings of the Counseling area of the organization as to the many canned answers that Counselors were permitted (forced) to use for all the questions folks wrote in about that had previously been addressed and answered JD’s way that they simply copied in emails and all personal correspondence by mail they replied with.

But let me get back to concerns before getting off the track about the subject at hand.

This project, and any other “Truth” teaching project should be carefully viewed and evaluated in light of Scripture that says we should have a proper Biblical World View, not based upon Cultural relativism and our engagement with unbelievers, but sound doctrine and a high regard for the verbal Plenary Inspired Word of God as the bottom line for our conclusions. Remember it is the longsuffering of God and His Mercy that He doesn’t just destroy us and start all over again that we can count upon even in our ignorance of Truth. Why should the potter say to the clay, see it my way or the highway, unless there was a purpose for the clay in the first place? We all like sheep have gone astray, the Savoir of the World only had to come once, and what he accomplished at the Cross is finished; take it or leave it!

If what the Bible says is true, then we must start with God’s perspective on the proper way to study and understand the Word of God dispensationally and his plan for mankind in all the ages past, present, and future. If we do this properly we will not find a sacred-secular antisiss that is described in the Truth Project as a division in the culture since all is sacred for the believer, which by the way lies at the basis of a false belief for many Evangelicals due to the misunderstanding of the Positional truths of the Word of God regarding our (the Body of Christ) present positional standing with Christ in the heaven lies and our earthly sojourn status in this the Church age.

Since the Bible designates the Jew, the Gentile and the Church of God as the three entities God views from eternity past to eternity future, much of the confusion could be eliminated if we accept His way, His View, His Perspective as revealed through His Word and not just the intellectual musings of man’s superimposed thinking upon God’s Word in an attempt to make Christianity a Religion rather than a Relationship.

The end of the church age soon to culminate in the Rapture described in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17 could come at any moment. If we are going to reach the culture with the gospel of Grace before it’s too late we as Believers should be careful we are not attempting to Christianize our nation and ask others to look at life through the lens of Law rather than the Grace that we presently enjoy in Christ. Grace killing theologies abound and many would rather attempt to tough it out by obedience to man made ordinances and political redefinitions of how some think we should live as responsible Citizens in the temporary world giving no credence whatsoever to the eternal realities facing us all.

Let the Truth Project continue if it can fill a void in the human spirit that the Bible and the love of God cannot, however if that be true then we are only kidding ourselves with a belief that you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time, with what I contend is nothing more than replacement Theology dressed up in Psychological work clothes, nevertheless I suppose I’ll watch another hour or more just to be fair and un-biased in my review.

Thanks for listening…KMS 6/2/08

jb said...

I watched the first hour of the Truth Project last night and I was so intrigued I had to investigate the whole idea. This is how I came across your blog. Thank you for this discussion, however I would have to agree with Michael in that we shouldn't judge the whole by only reviewing a small part. I want to encourage people to view this video series if for no other reason than to get the viewer thinking about their culture. Thank you Andrew for commenting negatively regarding this series for I am not one to just follow the crowd and you at least gave me additional motivation to complete the series. I found no divisive issues or comment during the first hour and think your characterization is wholly off base, but you are entitled to your un-researched opinion. This is exactly why I intend, and encourage you, to complete the series and report back with an educated analysis.

Andrew said...

"we shouldn't judge the whole by only reviewing a small part."

JB- I don't believe I judged the whole. I think I stated many times in the post and in subsequent comments that I was only commenting on the first episode.

"I found no divisive issues or comment during the first hour and think your characterization is wholly off base, but you are entitled to your un-researched opinion."

I am curious why you consider my opinion un-researched. I am not even sure what that means. If I watch something, and then give commentary on what I saw, how does this qualify as "unresearched". I think if you have a point of contention, you should state it, rather than just trying to invalidate my points by throwing out a word.

"This is exactly why I intend, and encourage you, to complete the series and report back with an educated analysis."

Your attitude here is typical of many when debating religion or politics. You are convinced of your right position, so if someone disagrees with you they must be wrong. Your solution is to keep re-stating what I already disagree with.

Let me put your argument in a different light. Let's say you wanted me to watch a new crime drama show. I do not typically care for them, but you are so enthused that I decide to give it a go. At the end of the show, you demean me for not liking it. You insist that I need to watch the whole season... then I will know how good it is.

The next day, a mutual friend asks if I watched the show. I start to state that I did not like it and begin to list why. You cut me off, saying that I cannot judge the series based on the episode. I say that I am not, I am only commenting on what I saw. In frustration you say that I am making invalid comments and need to watch it again along with the whole series every Thursday night.

Seeing the conversation is going nowhere, I smile and walk away.

JB- I think your biases prevent you from looking at my critique objectively. I have no interest in watching the rest of the series simply because I have other things in this life to do. I critiqued the FIRST episode, hopefully it will cause some people to watch the series with a little more objectivity. What they do after that is up to them.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me having stumbled over your blog while looking for info on the Truth Project, you and your responders missed something. The information is designed to look at what our Christian, Biblical view is and contrast it with the world view of those who are not believers, and who are not disciples of Jesus Charist. Jesus has divided and will judge all humanity those who believe in His atoning sacrifice and are forgiven and are and those who don't and will be judged. Not by us but by Him.
If you are a follower of Him then you have repented of being a sinner and have asked Him to forgive you and transform you into His image.

Anonymous said...

Andrew. Do you believe that Jesus is the truth, the way and the life and that no one will get to heaven except through him? Is He your Lord and Savior?

Andrew said...

Anon (latest) - I have a dozen possible responses rolling through my head, but each of them requires me to make an assumption about the intent of your question; so I guess I can only honestly counter with another question - Is my blog "really" that obtuse?

EE said...

I read this with the idea that you had seen all of them, but were commenting on each one individually. I am not sure about the Truth Project, however, I am not sure what you have done is fair. If you took Jesus' comments about Him not coming to judge, and left out the multitude of times that Jesus talks about Hell you would get a very "different" view of God. But, when taken as a whole, the Bible shows a Holy, Loving, and Just God.

So, can you fairly post your "alternative" ideas "judging" the Truth Project without knowing the whole of what it is talking about and where it comes from?

Because of how your blog comes up on google - only this page etc... wouldn't it be better to know the whole story rather than to just judge these that wrote it as extremests and fundamentalists and move on. Aren't you really doing the same thing - it is "YOU - the one who is balanced" and "THEM - the ones who hate everyone and want them to burn and go to hell..."

I don't know your heart, but I just challenge you to be careful lest you have to answer for your actions.

EE

Andrew said...

EE

If you look back in the comments, you can see that your argument has been presented and that I have given a response. However, to put another nuance on it: My not having seen the whole series does not invalidate my comment on one episode. I do not think your biblical analogy holds up. I think Star Wars is a better example. Phantom Menace was terrible. The fact that Empire was a great movie does not change the fact that Phantom was terrible. Even if I would agree with various points in later episodes of TP(which are on other topics) that does not change the disagreements I had with the first episode. The presenter was not obtuse in his declarations; there was no fear of missing his context.

I think arguments like yours are presented by people who just assume that material like the truth project is correct overall, so any critique is misguided and should be snuffed out for its own and everyone else’s good.

Also, I guess I am doing the same thing IF you mean that the Truth Project is giving their opinion and I am giving mine. I have never endorsed people avoiding the Truth Project, there are a number of people at my church who teach it; I just feel people should listen to it with a critical ear and perhaps hear a contrary argument or two. What is wrong with that?

As to your last statement “I just challenge you to be careful lest you have to answer for your actions”. I would make an assumption that part of your pursuit of God is fear based… you follow him partially because you believe the alternative is painful and threatening. I have no fear of “being careful” in the way that you indicate… anymore than my son would have to fear me. It would break my heart if my son’s motivation for responding to me was because he feared the consequences of not doing so. If that was how he felt, I would take that as an indicator that we had mis-stepped in our relationship.

Anonymous said...

Barry has lead me one step further away from his form of Christianity.
Andrew thank you for your open and intellegent points of view. You make me want to get closer to God.

PPZ said...

Shalom Brother. a very clever article. however it seems the cat cannot see his own tail. you said,Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Paul does not make a distinction here. He puts himself into the same camp as his neighbor. There is no superiority. The only one superior in the equation is Christ. you see paul in romans also says that men are without excuse because just an honest assesment of creation one must belive in a creator. also the epistiles tell us that there is a spirit of disobedience that works through them that refuse to belive. However you are correct to point out that if one is not charitable&discerning one may become judgmental. and when that takes place in comes us vs. them. however you seem to presume and assume to much. here is a true statement. Paul says I buffet and subdue my own passions yet after preaching others I FIND THAT I HAVE BECOME DISQUALIFIED.

Andrew said...

On what point am I presuming and assuming too much?

Denverchic said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Some very conservative friends have invited my husband & I to view this, and I definitely had my reservations after a childhood of fundamentalist private schooling & people who really cared but always wanted me to "get in their box". Anyhow I especially liked the part where you wrote about Christ calling us forward in a spirit of LOVE, and not one driven by FEAR. So TRUE! I only wish more people understood this and the freedom it provides.

Anonymous said...

Without intending to be rude, it seems to me that comments from someone that crosses up the stories of Jonah and Job would be a rather poor person to consider seriously concerning the validity of "The Truth Project".

Andrew said...

Anon - Could you elaborate? I am not seeing the crossing of Jonah/Job anywhere in my article or in any of the subsequent comments.

Linda said...

I am viewing the Truth Project. I have seen six of the "tours" I hope that Christians watch, study and take notes on what is being said here. Paul tells us to defend the faith, God says "he who is not with me is against me" Pilate asked Jesus "What is Truth?" Jesus said of Himself "I AM the way, the TRUTH and the life, no man comes to the Father but by ME" If anyone wants to know the TRUTH of God, He himself has revealed it to all through nature and His Word. The Truth Project's basic message is that the truth doesn't change,as God, the great "I AM" does not change. Truth does not change or conform to the culture. (John 1:3) "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." It's PLAIN!!!Anything that waver's from the truth is NOT the truth. (John 17:17) "Thy Word is TRUTH." It is, and will always be revealed to us in Christ alone. Coram Deo

KO said...

Have you watched the rest of the Truth Project?

Jane E said...

Thanks for presenting a dissent. I'm planning to go to a small group starting next week that is women only. As I pursue my PhD, I'm hoping that I will get two extreme views of ethics and social justice: one very liberal from my core studies and one very conservative from Dr. D.

I have issues with FOTF as an organization, especially regarding the handling of their finances/taxes and their treatment of women. I wonder if The Truth Project, presented by someone other than Dr. D, will be another set of legalistic rules to subject women to inferiority or if it will be an opportunity to seek Truth through the Holy Spirit in the safety and context of a group of friends.

I'm thankful that I have an intelligent mind and a God who does listen to me. His truth is absolute. You better believe that if I watch an hour and find legalistic, pharisytical untruths promoted by a media campaign seeking followers and money, I too will post in support of Andrew's original findings. Likewise, if I find all 13 videos to be fantastic, I'll post in support of them as well.

In the meantime, Andrew, thanks for your honest and thoughtful opinions. I appreciate your openness and candor--and especially your willingness to dissent against the masses. I'll take that as encouragement to go, watch, and seek Truth. God's faithful. He will answer.

JE

Andrew said...

Thanks Denverchic.

KO- I have only seen the first episode. I have been thinking that I may view more this summer. However, it always becomes an issue of time. Reading the summaries, I am pretty sure I will view the series in much the same light as the first episode. So I am trying to think of a reasonable reason to watch it other than just critiquing it.

Jane - I hope you have a good experience with your small group, and best of luck on your Phd. I look forward to reading your take on the Truth Project.

KO said...

I'd definitely recommend watching the whole series. It was very eye-opening, Dr. Del shared a lot of revelation that made me hungry for more and want to know the real truth.

He presents many views that are very contrary to popular opinion/belief. It should be viewed with an open mind and open heart, just like you might listen to someone you know you agree with. Consider what he/they have to say unbiasedly.

A lot of what he said, especially about science, history, America and government is really good, especially the connections between them and the ways they should work (but rarely do).

Don't let anybody lie to you, don't accept the opinions of those who call themselves wise. Seek the Truth no matter what.

Ma T said...

I agree.... you should not go off half cocked after viewing one section. It gets very interesting as the lessons go on... I was especially enthralled by lesson 5 (it was in 2 parts) very exciting. Points to intelligent design.

As for the "us and them" thing.... I think WE put ourselves in those categories.... not God. In His eyes we are all loved.

Andrew said...

KO - What is, or is not, popular belief probably depends on where one is standing. I would assume that among conservative religious folks, what the TP has to say is VERY popular. My concern is that there is very little objective listening going on.

Ma T - I do not think I am going off "half cocked" because I give commentary on one episode. I do not need to see the sequels of a movie to know that I don't like the one I am viewing in a theater. Would I not be allowed to give commentary unless I watched the sequels too?

Anonymous said...

I have provided 7 of the "tours" to my small group. We will not be watching any more. The two tours on Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity are absolutely terrible. They totally misrepresent the current state of science, especially the attack on Darwin's theory of evolution. After reading several books by scientists who are also believers, I can only say that the "truth" project has nothing to do with the truth. You were right to listen to the misgivings you got after only one "tour". It doesn't get better, it gets worse!

lair e said...

To annonymous: After watching 7 tours you've decided to quit! It's unfortunate that the world has so tainted your view of creation and the "intelligent design" concept. I pray you really know and have accepted Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross. The truth really will set you free from the lies and deceptions the world has foisted on all mankind.

Carol Cornish said...

Watching the Truth Project videos with a group of adults from my church has proved a very interesting experience. We are almost at the end of the series. I am a seminary graduate. Your comment that the videos teach what to think rather than how to think is an accurate conclusion. It seems that many Christians assume that because a work is produced by FOTF it must be true and right and reliable. They fail to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 testing what they hear to see if it accords with Scripture.

Though I can appreciate that the intent of the project is to help Christians impact the culture, the methods used by the speaker are unlikely to translate into the average Christian's everyday life. It would be better to teach the viewers how to lovingly speak biblical truth to others than to try to fortify them with facts that will likely be forgotten in the near future.

I was disappointed with the frequent proof-texting and appeals to experts rather than demonstrating how to speak into the lives of others the ways in which Christ changes lives and gives hope. People are more likely to listen and want to change when we love them and speak truth to them after listening well to what their lives are like and how they came to believe what they believe.

Tour 8 has a serious error concerning what Tackett calls a "God-given inherent hunger for significance." Space prevents a full explanation but this idea is not present in Scripture. God did not give us a hunger for significance "that is similar to the sex drive" as Tackett puts it. We hunger for significance as a result of the fall. We want to be important rather than being satisified in our position in Christ.

Overall, my conclusion about the Truth Project is that though it has some strengths, its frequent weaknesses prevent my recommending it.

Jay said...

Andrew I just finished the last episode of the TP and give it a huge thumbs up for what it was intended and that is to bring the world view and christian view in to context for christians and encouraging them to grow spiritually and seek Gods face and the center of Gods divine will for them and using an awsome Professor to do so (mayby you should see his bio) someone extremely learned in Gods Truths and the founding fathers of America based on Gods Truths and where its heading today. Andrew if you go to Gods Word you will find "Judge not lest ye be Judged", "The beginning of Knowledge is The Fear of God", and If you love your child you won't spare the rod" these could be Gods appropriate answers to your earlier blogs. Finally Andrew If you are unable to confess Jesus with your mouth when you were asked in an earlier blog Jesus says he won't confess you with his. This is nothing to do with your freedon which you have simply by where your residing in America to critique not judge this or the 1st hour of the TP as I have critiqued your blogs. Your now in my daily prayers as Im sure you will include me in yours.

Andrew said...

Jay,
You and I don't see eye to eye on the TP, but I do appreciate your stopping by.

I am curious where my blog lacks in clarity that you do not think I confess Jesus (I think I confess him all over the place).

However, if you are referring to the instance where a commenter was playing word games with me, and I would not play along - guilty as charged.

I do not believe it is honoring to the Son of God to play word games with his name. He is not a Greek deity whom we gain power over by speaking his name. I believe it behooves us to remember the proper order of things.

KO said...

Jay, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, not necessarily the other way 'round. Could be important in some contexts. :)

Blessings!

Recovering Sociopath said...

Thanks for the linkage!

Cephas said...

If you're interested, there's a new web site called "The Truth Problem" which addresses, in specific, many of the factual problems in the series, as well as presenting some alternate (but genuinely Christian) viewpoints.

http://www.TheTruthProblem.info

Anonymous said...

I heard about the Truth Project and was led here through Google because I was intrigued about the information. You see, I learnt a valuable lesson many years ago regarding information, and that is "Always check the source".

I've spent the last 10 years researching "the truth" regarding our lives, beliefs, etc. In order to do this research I had to separate myself from every belief system and become neutral on all topics so as to not be incorrectly influenced. I essentially dropped off the planet and became an external observer/researcher of planet earth and its population.

I've made many, many extraordinary discoveries.

The truth is in all of us. Tune out the external noise and you'll find the truth. I promise you. It's really not what all people are taught.

Life truly is wonderful ;-))

Sean said...

Andrew,

How does professing Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord (not even in person, but on a blog of all places) qualify as "word games"?

Anon asked a simple question, that a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, should be able to give a simple answer to, with strong conviction, when he knows the Truth.

"For I am NOT ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of GOD to salvation to EVERYONE who BELIEVES" (emphasis added)

That's the same Paul your quoted earlier...

And you're right...we could sit here and "proof text" all day. But the problem with proof texting, is that once you actually go into the Word, and read it in its whole context, under a sincere prayer to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, whom Jesus told us would teach us all things, and in fact guide us into the Truth, you'll find that Truth. And if we run from that Truth, because it doesn't fit what we'd like to believe...then we run. But the Truth does not change, just as God does not change.

So, we can sit here on earth, and think all day about the god we'd like to have. The god we can live with. The god who fits our personal design. The god who is somewhat based on the Word, but only parts of it. We have that luxury...for now. But what was said earlier is absolutely right, but used to illustrate a different view. What we believe about God does not change who He is, it never has, and never will. But don't be taken captive to the idea that we cannot know the nature of our Creator! He's revealed Himself to us! If Creation isn't enough...He even gave us a book, describing His nature to us. And you're right...that nature is full of love. But it's also full of wrath. As much as God loves us...he equally hates sin and transgression. That is laid clear throughout the Scripture. But God's love is made fully known to us, in the perfect sacrifice of His Holy and perfect Son, Jesus, that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Paul again...) And we're STILL sinners! That's the amazing part about GRACE! So you're right...there's no us versus them when it comes to sin...we're all on the same side. But WE ARE NOT ALL ON THE SAME SIDE OF TRUTH - and that is being made perfectly clear.

Truth is Truth. Don't yield to self here, folks. Trust in God. Allow Him to lead you to the Truth...and the Truth shall what? Set you free. Scripture tells us many many things...but read in context, under prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit (as Jesus promised He'd give) - it will reveal God's Truth.

Submit to that Truth, and it will set you free. Jesus told his disciples, his followers, that "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Deny ourselves. And that, my friends, is what we have such a very very hard time doing. Why? Well, because Satan told us in the garden that "our eyes will be opened, and we will be like God, knowing good and evil". Why should we submit? We're like God! We know good and evil! We don't need God...dare we say...we're our OWN gods?

That's the lie of the world. And the Truth is on trial. And we, as followers of Christ, must be prepared, always, to give a defense of the hope that is within us. To testify to the Truth, as Jesus did. But before we can do that...we must know Truth.

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of this world, and not according to Christ." Paul in Colossians 2:8

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom..." Paul again...Col 3:16

Pray earnestly to God, that He would reveal His Truth to each and everyone of us. But at the end of the day, God is in control. God alone will judge, not us, and we can rest in the knowledge and the Truth of God, which He reveals to us in His Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Go in Peace, Serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Andrew said...

Sean,
Do you REALLY believe that was a simple question? Can you see no other layer there?

Go back and read the Gospels. How many times was Jesus asked a "simple" question that he refused to answer directly. Why? Because it was not simple and could not be answered simply. Should we pay taxes or not? Simple question?

Sean, you accuse me of wanting everything on my terms. When I read your sermon, that is what I hear... everything is valid when it is metered out and taken the way Sean deems acceptable. You use God's name in place of your own, but at the end of the day, you are waiting for everyone to become acceptable to you. There is a caution against this at the start of Romans 2. I am not putting you down, I am just telling you what I see and I see it well because it is a path I used to walk and in many ways still do. Sean, consider that God might be bigger than the formulas you have set for him.

Sean said...

Andrew,

Thank you for your response, and reading my post. I want to offer this...that my "formulas" for God, only come from what the Scripture reveals to us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, or at least, that's what I pray earnestly will be the case.

Do I think that the question was meant to trip you up? It doesn't matter how the person who asked the question meant it be received...the fact of the matter is, I would submit that for a Christian, there should be a simple answer to that simple question.

Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Because Jesus said that. I believe it. Because I believe it, He is my Lord and Savior.

That's the simple answer, to what I'd would suggest, regardless of intent, is a simple question. And one that EVERY Christian must be able to readliy give. Otherwise, how can we profess to believe and follow Christ, which is the very definition of being a Christian?

While I truly believe that the heated debate going on inside Christiantity today has sincerely good intentions, on both sides...too much of it is being fueled by worldly inputs, and not based on Scripture. As we said...in bits and pieces, the Word can by made to serve anyone's point...but read in its wholeness, under prayer for discernment of God's Truth...I believe, that Truth is revealed to us.

Not my Truth...The Truth. And you're right...those are MY words, but I am not ashamed of them.

Certainty is not the opposite of love. And love, is not a synonym for tolerance. It's just not. At least not in the Bible. And that's where I'm trying to base my comments and beliefs on. Stay in the Word, and away from "Christian" writers and books (on both sides of the arguement!). Stay in God's Word, and submit only to Him. I will stand firm and say that it can be done, and not only can it be done, but it's what Christ asks of us.

Deny ourselves...not easy. But it's what is asked of us.

Go with God, Brother...

Sean

Sean said...

Sorry for the little typo there...should be a comma after "Because Jesus said that", not a period.

Peace!

Andrew said...

Sean,
I find your response interesting. Do you have the same problem with Jesus being indirect - very often - when being asked simple (aka-loaded) questions? He was asked equally simple questions and I am wondering if you were there at the time, would you have been frustrated by his response? I believe many people who sit on the side of "Truth" would find Jesus objectionable were he to have touched down in our culture. He would take little interest in our causes and morality... the "Truth" proclaimers would be as irritated as the Pharisees... Jesus didn't fit the mold.

That is why I did not answer anon.. I refuse to fit that mold. I proclaim Jesus all over the place... but to Anon, I did not use the right words... I was not showing myself as part of the club. I have torn up that membership card.

Sean, you seem like a decent guy and I appreciate your civil candor. However, I have been where you are. I used quotations around "Christian" as you did to refer to others... always judging who was in, who was out... spotting the fakes... It's a damaging way of thinking over time, and (I believe) it is a way that keeps us from truly experiencing grace.

Sean said...

Andrew,

I also appreciate your candor and civility as well, and wish you all the best...and I sincerely mean that! I will close with this (and I'm assuming your reference to Romans 2 was to this passage "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.")

...you are right, it is NOT ours to judge who is a Christian, and who is not, we MUST leave that job to God, LEST WE BE JUDGED! But would you suggest that having a knowledge of the Truth and being willing to stand firm in God's Truth when challenged, equates to judgement? Or, does it simply equate to knowledge and conviction of the Truth? If we say that we believe the truths found in the Bible, and we submit to God and His Truth, who have we passed judgement on? But what we find in the world in many instances, is that willingness to stand firm in God's Truth, is perceived as judgement from the one who speaks that Truth...the messager, rather than the author of the Truth, you know? Why is that? In many cases, it may very well have to do with our delivery method! Absolutely...there's a LOT of harm being done in the name of Christ in our world! But are we also not told to expect this response from the world, when faced with Jesus and His Truth...John 3:19 - "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Who ever does what is...what? True. There's that word again! We're told that men (all men...you, me, everyone by our human nature) hate the light, and love the darkness, because we love our sin and don't want it to be exposed. And man...we know that's the TRUTH too, don't we? I struggle against sin and temptation every single day. Sometimes I overcome, and sadly, sometimes I fall. But the light of Christ exposes that sin, and if we desire to follow Him, we'll do all of what he asks...we're called follow the complete wholeness of Jesus, in whom the wholeness of our triune God is found, you know?

Our call is to love all, and to be prepared to offer a defense for the hope that is in within us, and from the words of Jesus himself, a verse that has really be speaking to me lately (obviously :) "If anyone would follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23

The biggest challenge in my walk with Christ is finding a way to stand for God's Truths, as revealed in the Scripture, while still being perceived as loving by the world and non-believers! We are told that "the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor 1:18)

But then...before any of us heard the gospel...we were ALL perishing in our sin! So, why did it make sense to us? And why does it NOT make sense to the world?

The only answer can be found in the soveriegn power of God, right? Ultimately, we're told by Jesus that "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." (John 6:44)

So humility and submission before God allows us to continue to acknowledge that HE alone is in control, and will take care of the saving. But woe to us Christians if our behavior is not in keeping with how we're told to behave! 2 Timothy 2:24-26 tells us "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."

Gentleness, and kind to everyone. That's how we're to teach and how to behave. Perhaps God will grant them repentance...but we don't get to know if He will or not. That's all up to God. And it definitely should not influence how we interact with other people! But what are we told that repentance lead to? Knowledge of the Truth. We're shown throughout the Scripture (as you saw in the first hour of the Truth Project) about the existence of Truth, the reality of Truth, and the ability for us, mere mortal men, to know the Truth, as revealed to us by the grace of God.

All I'm saying (and I REALLY meant to keep this short...sorry 'bout that :) is that to imply that I'm really replacing MY name with God's in what I've written, and that everything has to be acceptable to me - it can't be about me! And that's why we have to live in the Scripture! It is there that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, reveals to us His Truths. Not ours...His. Shouldn't that be every Christian's desire? To completely submit ourselves and abandon ourselves, deny ourselves before Christ, and turn every desire to only following Him...to get to the point where anything we say can be verified in Scripture and seen as in line with God's Truths? At that point, we lose ourselves, and only God remains, right? That's our goal. Do we always succeed? Nope...we're not perfect...never will be, and we know that. But that's why we must stay in the perfect revelation of God's nature and Truth to us, the Scripture. If what we say is in line with what God says through Scripture, then we should cease to claim them as our own, and submit only to our Lord and Savior and God, Jesus Christ.

I pray that the world would see only the author of the message that is delievered from our mouths...not the messager. We are commanded to go forth in to all the nations, proclaiming the gospel...so let's do that, and I'm exceedingly happy to hear that you proclaim Christ everywhere you go! That is awesome! Let our prayer be that our message would be the whole message of Christ, the whole nature of Christ, the whole picture of Christ, as revealed in Scripture...because as we know...there is NO greater news than the example and Truth of God's love through the perfect sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. None. It just doesn't get any better :)

Take care, Brother!

Sean said...

And I do apolgize for the length of these posts, Andrew...I definitely could use some training on conciseness! I'll quite clogging up your blog now :)

Peace!

Sean said...

Also, my wife has shown me that I've misspelled messenger all over the place...sorry for looking like a doof!

Take care!

Shawn said...

Andrew have you had a chance to go through the entire series yet? If not I highly recommend it. Not to change your mind on the content, but to allow God to do a work in you, which is what the creators intent is: to be transformed. He also admits that the tour is not as complete as he'd like it to be, that some areas were fast tracked and not a lot of time spent on them. For what they intended, they did a very good job. No evil comes from this series I assure you. If you have a discerning mind then you know no harm can come to you from going through the rest of the series. Then tell us what you think please.

Anonymous said...

My church (United Methodist) is starting "The Truth Project" in a couple of weeks. I had some reservations about signing up. One reason is that I prefer to study the Bible for what it is, not pick it apart into doctrine and theology. I am also a recovering Southern Baptist. (I wish there was a 12-step group for this). The couple facilitating the group have a reputation for being a bit fanatical, but it's unfair for me to judge them because I don't know them personally. I don't want to sign up for the group and then drop out, but neither do I want to come away feeling that I'm going to burn in hell because I like Harry Potter. I have read all the comments and blog posts with interest and I thank everyone for being so open and honest. I'll think about it for a few more days before signing up.

barb said...

I recommend The Truth Project. I think it does an excellent job of revealing the lies of the world and contrasting them to the truth of God. It is not an "us" versus "them" message. The reason I think The Truth Project is an important message is that God's Word has become so watered down and merged with society that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the two. It is much the same as the serpent in the garden or the temptation of Jesus; mixing truth with a lie. I think the series does an excellent job of clarifying what is the lie and what is truth. I definitely leave with a sense of awe of such an amazing God and the knowledge of the sovereignty of God. This series is more about who God has revealed Himself to be.

Taylor said...

I would love to read over all of the comments on this post...but I'm afraid I don't have the time to do so so I apologize if what I say has already been said in this thread. I'm planning on watching the truth project eventually but I just wanted to talk about the "us/them" mentality and see your thoughts.

I see your point in that Paul sees no distinction in people when referring to the sin that we are all guilty of. It is clear that the Bible puts no superiority on anyone except for Christ. However, I do think there is often references to an "us/them" mentality in the Bible but that is not to say that we are better or have less sin. There are many verses that refer to the righteous and unrighteous.

In Romans 8 Paul refers to those that live in the sinful nature and those that live according to the Spirit.

It seems to me that we are clearly all equally guilty of being sinners. I think the Bible still sets "us/them" mentality when referring to the righteous and unrighteous however it is necessary to remember that the righteous are only that because of Gods grace.

Paul was so determined in reaching the gentiles that as often as he could he would preach equality among all people. He was very right in doing so, but I think his point was to show that God's grace is not for just one particular people but for all.....that doesn't rule out that we shouldn't be aware of those who are consumed by habitual sin and those that are seeking a life of holiness. The bible says not to pass judgements but everyday we must make judgements about things. 1 Corinthians 2:15 "The spiritual man makes judgements about all things but he himself is not subject to any man's judgement"

Also, in the Bible I see many war metaphors for Christianity..in Psalms the psalter often refers the God as his shield, sword etc.

The New Testament is also filled with many references to our sufferings. Paul talks about God's wrath and those "prepared for destruction." I don't feel that it is wrong for Christians to have a war-time mentality..however, we shouldn't regard non-believers as our enemy.

Randy said...

I hope to read all of these comments, but just wanted to quickly say that so far it is Lesson 9 that bothers me. It seems overly political. See the lessons here: http://kingsley.locke.net/truth/truth.htm

I'm not aware of anyplace to view the actual videos online, especially since they run for an hour or so each. Our church is doing the Truth Project soon so I wanted to research it a bit.

Anonymous said...

Having gone through the first five tours of TP, I have come to the conclusion that to actually gain anything from it you must check in your logical thought processes at the door. The tour on science is especially full of erroneous and misleading information. I'm especially dismayed by the whole anti-science position and disregard for critical thinking. As a born-again Christian I'm really saddened by the way we as Christians feel that having faith excuses us from examining every word to see if it is true. I pray that we learn to rightly divide the word. Blessings.

Andrew said...

Welcome to all of the latest posters! I am glad so many are looking around to see what the critics have to say about the Truth Project!

Ryan said...

I know this several years old, but I wanted say thank you for your thoughts on this teaching series. A fellow pastor/friend of mine wants to possibly do this series this fall so I decided to look into it. I was immediately skeptical when I learned it was from Focus on the Family as they are typically very conservative, fundamentalist, and mondernistic in their views; which is quite different than the world of Jesus and the Church until the 16th century, not to mention my own theological perspective (Post-liberal). Apparently I wasn't too far off base in my skepticism from what I've been reading.

I will certainly use your insights and thoughts when I review this series and determine how exactly this should be taught if/when my friend and I teach it. I have a feeling I'll be using the Truth Project as more of what NOT to be as a Christian in our society and more of a way to help teach a Christ-centered epistemology as opposed to one founded in Modernism.

Andrew said...

Hey Ryan, thanks for stopping by! I am glad the article was helpful. If you and your friend decide to teach the series, I would be interested to hear about some of your experiences and observations.

Anonymous said...

I am currently facilitating the Truth Project series in our church. Next Sunday our group will wrap up tour 12. Although I have not gone through the official training seminar, I try to do my homework before class by watching the videos, reading the lesson guides and discussing with my wife who has helped me develop thought provoking questions that we can share during our discussion time. I also purposely seek out blogs (such as this one) that critique the Truth Project series because I feel it helps me understand what our participants may be thinking when they see the videos. So far, I have found that the Truth Project material is right on point with what I believe and those in our church. We have about 30 participants in our class.

While I continue to believe the Truth Project content is more on point than off, I have found so much value from the comments posted. Indeed, we should not divide the world between us and them as we are meant to give of ourselves to serve others and lead them to Christ. Also, the person who quoted Amos I feel was right on point (very eye opening). Why would we wish for the end when we could wish for more time to save others and make a difference? Nevertheless, I feel the content in the Truth Project is still very thorough and useful for people to understand what is being taught in our culture and how that is contrary both to Christianity and what our founding fathers intended for this country.

Historical revisionism is real and most people have not done enough homework to realize that. The Truth Project is a great resource for people to learn how to discern the Truth from Lies in the world. I agree that we shouldn't use it to destroy others. Rather, we should use it to discern falsehoods that seemed to have permeated our culture so that we may better lead others to Christ.

This coming Sunday, in addition to the content in tour 12, I plan on sharing two additional messages. First, I would like to share the points on this blog about judgment and that we should share Christ with others in love and not judgment. Second, I would like to share the points on this blog about Christians wishing for the end to come as this is not a very Christ like attitude toward serving others.

All and all I am still very much bought in to the Truth Project content. I feel there are so many insightful issues that were covered. It would be great if your blog could talk more about the content that is on point rather than your criticisms of the series.

I feel this blog has been a very healthy read and thank those who have posted.

Anonymous said...

I am currently facilitating the Truth Project series in our church. Next Sunday our group will wrap up tour 12. Although I have not gone through the official training seminar, I try to do my homework before class by watching the videos, reading the lesson guides and discussing with my wife who has helped me develop thought provoking questions that we can share during our discussion time. I also purposely seek out blogs (such as this one) that critique the Truth Project series because I feel it helps me understand what our participants may be thinking when they see the videos. So far, I have found that the Truth Project material is right on point with what I believe and those in our church. We have about 30 participants in our class.

I have found this blog to be very insightful. While I continue to believe the Truth Project content is more on point than off, I have found so much value from the comments posted. Indeed, we should not divide the world as we are meant to give of ourselves to serve others and lead them to Christ. Also, the person who quoted Amos I feel was right on point (very eye opening). Why would we wish for the end when we could wish for more time to save others and make a difference? Nevertheless, I feel the content in the Truth Project is still very thorough and useful for people to understand what is being taught in our culture and how that is contrary both to Christianity and what our founding fathers intended for this country.

Historical revisionism is real and most people have not done enough homework to realize that. The Truth Project is a great resource for people to learn how to discern the Truth from Lies in the world. I agree that we shouldn't use it to destroy others. Rather, we should use it to discern falsehoods that seemed to have permeated our culture so that we may better lead others to Christ.

This coming Sunday, in addition to the content in tour 12, I plan on sharing two additional messages. First, I would like to share the points on this blog about judgment and that we should share Christ with others in love and not judgment. Second, I would like to share the points on this blog about Christians wishing for the end to come as this is not a very Christ like attitude toward serving others.

All and all I am still very much bought in to the Truth Project content. I feel there are so many insightful issues that were covered. It would be great if your blog could talk more about the content that is on point rather than your criticisms of the series.

All and all, I feel this blog has been a very healthy read and thank those who have posted.

Anonymous said...

I am currently facilitating the Truth Project series in our church. Next Sunday our group will wrap up tour 12. Although I have not gone through the official training seminar, I try to do my homework before class by watching the videos, reading the lesson guides and discussing with my wife who has helped me develop thought provoking questions that we can share during our discussion time. I also purposely seek out blogs (such as this one) that critique the Truth Project series because I feel it helps me understand what our participants may be thinking when they see the videos. So far, I have found that the Truth Project material is right on point with what I believe and those in our church. We have about 30 participants in our class.

I have found this blog to be very insightful. While I continue to believe the Truth Project content is more on point than off, I have found so much value from the comments posted. Indeed, we should not divide the world as we are meant to give of ourselves to serve others and lead them to Christ. Also, the person who quoted Amos I feel was right on point (very eye opening). Why would we wish for the end when we could wish for more time to save others and make a difference? Nevertheless, I feel the content in the Truth Project is still very thorough and useful for people to understand what is being taught in our culture and how that is contrary both to Christianity and what our founding fathers intended for this country.

Historical revisionism is real and most people have not done enough homework to realize that. The Truth Project is a great resource for people to learn how to discern the Truth from Lies in the world. I agree that we shouldn't use it to destroy others. Rather, we should use it to discern falsehoods that seemed to have permeated our culture so that we may better lead others to Christ.

This coming Sunday, in addition to the content in tour 12, I plan on sharing two additional messages. First, I would like to share the points on this blog about judgment and that we should share Christ with others in love and not judgment. Second, I would like to share the points on this blog about Christians wishing for the end to come as this is not a very Christ like attitude toward serving others.

All and all I am still very much bought in to the Truth Project content. I feel there are so many insightful issues that were covered. It would be great if your blog could talk more about the content that is on point rather than your criticisms of the series.

All and all, I feel this blog has been a very healthy read and thank those who have posted.

Andrew said...

Latest Anon - Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

I can be with you on a lot of your thoughts.

One point I am wary of is when historical revisionism is discussed. I find that in many circles, any alternative views in perceived history are interpreted as negative. I would contest that, for the most part, it is not revisionism but greater objectivity. History is naturally written by the winners and I feel that modern scholarship is allowing us to unpack previous declarations in a more objective light.

Anonymous said...

Andrew,
I wanted to let you know that I have appreciated your honesty and your willingness to share your thoughts. Here is my own insight to what I have seen with the comments on your blog:
- posters should write shorter posts.
- those in disagreement with your view have clearly not put thought into the point you are trying to make
- the point of this video series has done two things. 1.proved your "us/them" theory to be valid. 2.failed to teach Christians how to engage the worldview's that exist around them.
- those not skeptical of this video series clearly cannot seem to fathom any other ideas than their own (or the one's fed to them through videos like these).
- I love the countless "you need to watch the whole thing" arguments. Try convincing a friend to watch a pile of garbage! "No, wait, there is good stuff in here! See, I found a toothbrush! Brushing your teeth is a good thing!"

I am on "tour" one and already have problems. I will be watching a few more to see where it goes. My concern is how quickly people buy into his arguments. The best way to mislead someone is to permeate the argument with so much truth, you miss the part that isn't.

Anonymous said...

I have watched and studied the 'Truth Project' while comparing it to the Bible and it's teaching. It is not perfect, as is nothing that man does, but it has some very good things about it. It is very eye opening to say the least.

I also read every comment and wanted to give some 'food for thought'...

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."(Matthew 10:34-39)

He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats(Matthew 25:31-46)

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:12-20)

“ Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord."(2 Corinthians 6)

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations"(Matthew 28:16-20)

In His love and praying for all who read this to be ready in season and out, to preach the gosple by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we as Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony(Rev 12:11) and without a seperation then to whom shall we preach ?

Anonymous said...

Since the Truth Project logo is used in this blog it seems only fair that one should be able to provide a link to a video about the study...

http://youtu.be/GJ8ikrDisDU

Andrew said...

Anon (March 13) - Thanks. I wrote once about the differnece between digital and analog thinkers, and the comments here give some good examples. I do find I spend a lot of time clarifying points I never made to folks who have already decided where I am coming from.

Anon (Aug 12)

There was no malice in not providing a link, just an oversight. I think on most of my other Truth Project posts I link to something of theirs. Again, I am not trying to get people to not watch it, I just encourage them to watch it critically.

I am not sure what your intent was with the list of scripture verses. The funny thing about Scripture is that , by pulling verses, I can get scripture to say anything I want. I don't even think that is being manipulative... The scriptures had many authors over many thousands of years, so it speaks with many voices. What scripture says to any one person, I believe, says more about that person than it does about God.

Anonymous said...

For those who think our current culture is out of tune with God, what about apartheid, including "separate but equal" in the U.S.? The Church at large was a supporter of segregation, and in the southern U.S., most churches were segregated. What about the battle for women's rights? What about the boys' strike in (I believe) the late 1800's for the right to go to school and for a limited work day? What about child labor in the U.S.? Yet these all took place in a supposedly halcyon age when we in the U.S. were supposedly more Christian! Alas, these darned human beings--always sinful!

Mike said...

Very well stated. I am glad you called this person's opinions for what they are: biased without contextual basis.

Andrew said...

Thanks for reading and commenting Mike!

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