Many evangelical churches have been using Focus on the Family's new video curriculum, The Truth Project, taught by Dr. Del Tackett, in an attempt to educate their members in a Christian World View.
However, I think it would be wise for us to understand the manipulative slant that Focus on the Family gives in this video series.
Two bloggers that I just discovered take The Truth Project to task. Check out these insightful critiques of this series:
On not taking postmodernism seriously enough
This video highlights how unhelpful terms can be. "Postmodernism" according to Tackett is a false worldview that he groups next to "secular humanism," "Islam," among others. From my understandings, the philosophical foundations for this argument is not very accurate. Towards the end of the video the professor uses a chart which shows "Truth" on one side (what we're all after) and all the other "world views" on the other side throwing their lies at us, deceiving us. That is foundationalism. If we could just see those foundations, just weed out all the manipulations and half-truths and lies, we'd only be left with "truth." Tackett never addresses how we can do that when the only thing we have to work through are all those -isms and -ologies that shape our thinking.On the nature of Man and God
His (Tackett's) discussion of sin was largely individualistic (our choices). His discussion of God was entirely individualistic (our own personal relationship). The remaining "pillars" that he sets out to address in the end of this series (economy, work, politics) are going to be malnourished because of this complete ignoring of the communal aspect of the essence of God: in theological jargon, a "functional trinitarian theology." This is where theology has moved in recent years, and to ignore it completely shows the reliance of antiquated, foundational modernistic philosophy underlying this entire video series.On faith as it relates to science
The unfortunate aspect of the sessions are his insistently argumentative and combative tone when it comes to those to whom he disagrees - and in science he finds his enemy in Darwin. On several occasions, as he has throughout this series, he mocks and laughs at those who do not believe. If he had left the tone worshipful and awe-inspiring of the created order God has made . . . I would have nothing negative to say in regards to these two weeks. However, Tackett cannot leave it at that. He must deal with the "perniscious liars" who "manipulate truth" and are basically out to get us. I, again, cannot follow the rationale that gets him there. For Tackett, it's basically a black and white issue. God created everything (nearly, if not completey) literally as it is portrayed in the Bible. Anyone who sheds doubt on this fact is a pernicious liar and the Evil One has overtaken them. When you get through the two-week lesson you are led to believe that anyone who believes is evolution is completely ignorant and totally misled by the lies of the world. He, once again, builds up a strawman and blows him down.On faith as it relates to history
I find it truly ironic that he accuses the "world" of myopia when that is exactly the problem I see inherent in his belief system in regards to history. He has a great moving moment in light of a painting of the Pilgrims and talks of the great sacrifices they made to follow what they thought of as God's will - coming to America, expanding the kingdom he even says. What a great people they were, following God's will even to the point of death from the elements. It's interesting that he determines that this is the meta-narrative, the guiding story and following of God's people that will lead no doubt to where he's headed with the session entitled the "Great American Experiment" looming. It was God's will that this nation was founded. Upon the great principles of God. Perhaps that discussion can be had in political circles - but NOT theological ones.On how faith relates to work
I knew there would be some underlying agenda-driven points along the way. It met me squarely with this video on labor. Now, I do applaude the inclusion of this topic in the series. He is right that we too often do not speak of the place of labor in our theological framework. And for the first part of his video I felt he did a fair job of presenting a biblical perspective. Our role in work is rooted in God's working in the Genesis account. God worked. He created us to work. Work is not inherently evil. The Fall did affect work...On "Culture" being evil and the enemy of Christianity
When he moves away from Genesis, however, he begins some hermentuetical gymnastics to make his right wing political ideology fit the Bible... Some of his statements and teachings in this series are downright misleading and un-biblical. I am flabergasted that he would spend 15 minutes of his hour long session on the gleanings passage and NEVER mention jubilee. Jesus reads from the text in Isaiah at the beginning of his ministry in Luke stating that he has come to fulfill this (in their hearing). Israel was intended to be built around the idea of redistrubtion of wealth - something he lists on the screen that the Bible teaches is a SIN! A sin! It is a biblical teaching! I'm not supporting socialism or anything like that . . . my point is that Tackett has allowed his culture to dictate his understanding of the text. The Bible does teach that this is a sin.
One of the first things the presenter does, and continues to do throughout the video, is refer to culture in a negative light. Culture is portrayed as "anti-God"... I think culture needs to be critiqued and looked at objectively, but it is neither good nor bad on its own. A demonizing of culture leads to an unhealthy view of those outside of the Christian subculture. This creates a fear response and often paranoia amongst many of the Christian populace.On the purpose of Jesus' incarnation
At the beginning the presenter poses the question "Why did Jesus come into the World?" His "class" gave varied answers, many of which could be justified scripturally, but he stated that they were wrong (he might argue that they were wrong in reference to his particular scripture reference, but he never made that clear). He uses Jesus' statement in John to build his case. "In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37bHave you seen The Truth Project? What have you thought of it?
The video seeks to prove to the listener that Truth is the point of everything God ever did and that one is either for or against it. Much of his argument throughout the video relies on proof-texting. Henry Neufeld gives a good definition of proof-texting:"By proof-texting I mean the use of 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."
To discuss the scriptural reasons of why Jesus came would not have helped his argument. He wanted to divide everything into black and white terms. Therefore, other reasons were not mentioned and the answers of his class were dismissed.
Here are a couple of other reasons Jesus came: (these are just a few of the more blunt ones; inferred would be much longer)
These scriptures, and others like them, do not lend themselves to drawing a line in the sand... The purpose of this video was to bifurcate (his word) humanity to those who follow the Truth (by his definition) and those who do not.
- "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:17
- "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." 1 Timothy 1:15
- "Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrew 10:9-10
- "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
- "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me."John 6:38