The Truth Project

Alernet.org has posted a very interesting article that dissects James Dobson’s latest attempt to bring the “truth” to Christians in America who apparently don’t posses a biblical world-view. Money quote:

“Only by understanding the immutable truth claims of Christ,” says Dobson in The Truth Project’s promotional video, can Christians successfully defend against the “postmodern worldview” in which “God does not exist”, “the family is defined as any circle of love”, and “homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexuality.”

“If we capture and embrace more of God’s worldview and trust it with unwavering faith,” says Dobson, “then we begin to form the appropriate responses to questions on abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning, stem-cell research and even media choices.”

WoW! I can’t wait for everyone to embrace a biblical world-view so all of these terrible problems can be solved! Just think…..no more gay people, no more stem-cell research, and best of all, no more rated “R” movies! Gotta love it.

It’s also interesting when someone implies postmodernity is something that is able to be resisted. Who knows, maybe Dobson has a time machine that none of the rest of us know about.

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14 thoughts on “The Truth Project

  1. Zach,
    After reading your blog, I am confused about what you believe. Do you believe that Christian are not Bible illiterate? What do you believe the Bible says about same-sex marriage or abortion?

    I believe these are difficult debates for a Believer in Christ today. How do you approach your friend who is homosexual and tell them about Christ? This is assuming they we both interpret Romans 1:27 the same way. How do you talk to some who goes to a Church led by a Homosexual Pastor?

    I can appreciate sarcasm as much as the next person but I would think you would like to convey something positive in this post not just tear apart someone else’s statements. I would love to hear how you would approach these issue. Assuming you see them as issues for a Believer living in the world today. If you don’t I would really like to hear your reasoning(sincerely, this is not meant sarcastically). Thank you.

  2. Chris,

    Romasn 6:1-15

    1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

    2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

    4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

    6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

    7For he that is dead is freed from sin.

    8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

    9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

    10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

    11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

    13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

    14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

    15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

  3. I think I know what you are getting at with your comments to the Dobson stuff, and if I am right than I don’t agree with you fully…..But the second half made me laugh. A time machine is the only escape right now for postmodernity, and if Mr. Dobson is hiding one of those from the rest of the world than I am going to be very upset.

  4. I know what you are getting at Beth, and my completely vague cynical comment didn’t really help you get my point either. I hate to turn this into a bulletin board, but let me explain further…

    Paul also said “‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive.”

    What is the reason that Christians try not to sin? Isn’t sin the wedge that comes between us and God? This makes living how God intended us to between us and God, and not for the praise of man. If we love God and are in constant dialog with Him (like a relationship) we wont sin because we don’t want anything between us and God. I understand that Dr. Dobson is well intentioned, but is he seeing it in the right context? Jesus never called his followers to be the moral police of non-believers. People change first by faith then by actions, not first by actions like “whitewashed tombs”. Jesus talked about having the faith the size of a mustard seed, and we can move mountains. It is that seed we should be planting in others, but how do we do that? Obviously not by further polarizing “us and them”, but by bridging the gap. We can’t ignore the movements of our culture, but we have to realize that God is moving too.

    Basically we need to stop misrepresenting Jesus as someone that wouldn’t have anything to do with “sinners”, and really show Jesus for who he is. The reason why I typed my initial response is because I think, for Dr. Dobson’s solution, Jesus was replaced with morality (morality taken greatly out of context from showing our love to God).

    Does that clarify what I was saying?

  5. If we capture and embrace the bibical worldview, Dobson says, we will form appropriate responses to the issues. Who on this side of belief can disagree with that statement. Christians don’t have to embrace drunks, homosexuals, or any other ‘sinners’ in a way that affirms their lifestyle in anyway. We have to embrace them and show them love and make plain to them Jesus’ demand; namely, the demand that they repent and enter the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is here now, but it is not yet fully consummated. When it is consummated there will be no homosexual marriage or abortion for sure. If Christians are supposed to live in the kingdom now, as emergents so proudly trumpet, then we have to live in a way that pursues social JUSTICE, which includes denouncing all forms of immorality that are inconsistent with the kingdom. This includes oppression of the poor, abortion (which is rather oppressive), homosexual marriage, violence, racism, et al.!!! James Dobson is more emergent than we thought, eh?
    Furthermore, having an inclusive kingdom does not mean a completely accepting kingdom. Jesus’ kingdom brought both acceptance and judgment. He accepted those who received and accepted him! His imperative from the early chapters of the gospel “repent and believe the gospel” cannot be forgotten. So, the message doesn’t change; Christians are supposed to receive ANYONE who comes, just as ANYONE who comes to Jesus will not be cast out. But, coming to Jesus means a whole lot more, biblically speaking, then continuing on in your lifestyle of sin and mouthing some “creed.” Coming to Jesus includes repentance, belief in him, and a total giving over of your whole being. In this inaugurated kingdom there are still sinful saints who must receive and give mercy, but these are not saints who embrace their sin. They hate and eschew it.

  6. p.s. blogmaster, postmodernism can’t be stemmed, but Christians should always analyze, interpret and consciously reform how they think. We do not have to think postmodern-ly. We should not think modern-ly either. Wouldn’t you say that we are supposed to “renew” our minds and think kingdom-ly? (Rom 12:1-2) We have been renewed from the course of this modern-postmodern world and the ruler of the air who influences the way it thinks! (Eph. 2:1-4) Praise God that we can reject modernism and postmodernism and consciously adopt a new worldview and be renewed in it daily.

  7. to the commenter of the seventh comment, my name is Zach. It’s quite all right if you prefer to call me by my name.

    My point is that it is simply impossible to successfully “defend against a postmodern worldview”. The cultural changes that come with the changing of the ages are simply impossible to avoid. It’s like trying to resist the sunrise. Yes, you are correct in stating that as individuals we can attempt to subscribe to a particular way of thinking (i.e. modernist or postmodernist). With that said, you and I cannot all together eliminate the influences that both the postmodern and modern ages have on us. I may want to consider myself a purely postmodern thinker, but that’s an impossible and useless claim. I cannot help but be influenced and shaped by modernity, and in the end, that’s not a bad thing at all. In my opinion, it is wrong to apply a “good” or “bad” value on the whole of both modernity and post-modernity. We need to try to understand the good and bad within each of these ages because in the end, we need both. Without both, our world-views are incomplete. Does that make sense?

  8. yes Zach, it makes sense. The only thing is…I think James Dobson would agree with you on the point! What he is probably saying (I’m not him) is that Christians don’t have to be swept away by the tide of postmodern ideas, just as they didn’t have to be swept away by the tide of modernity (for an extreme example, German-Higher Criticism of the Bible). We aren’t going to stop postmodernism or whatever it morphs into, but we do, as you said, need to pick out the bad and good elements and seek to have spiritual viewpoint about everything. …One last thing, you paint James Dobson as a provincial buffoon. Come on mate, he’s got a masters and PhD in psychology from the University of Southern California. Whether you agree with him or not, he’s not culturally ignorant, it’d strengthen any point you have by showing respect and interacting with ideas instead of sarcastically and cynically taking pot-shots.
    -Matt

  9. if Dobson believes that a postmodern world-view can be defended against, then I don’t he and I are in agreement. all i can go off of is what he says, not what he “is probably saying”. If Dobson has taken the time to talk about the positive aspects of post-modernity, then by all means, point me to it. based on his assessment of post-modernity above, his phd isn’t helping him any. it’s severely over simplified at best and, in my view, totally inaccurate….and all i have to hang my hat on are three semesters at a community college and terrible grades as a kicker.

    I don’t think Dobson is a buffoon. I’m sure he’s a very intelligent man and I do think he’s contributed some good to the world. I some ways I can appreciate his position. He needs to keep those under his influence energized and mobilized. Nothing stokes the fire of the religious right in this country more than a little gay sex and abortion. He knows exactly what buttons to push in order to keep the lights on at Focus on the Family. More power to him, I just happen to disagree.

  10. Here’s my problem: First off, Barna does a highly suspect survey of our society which conveniently determines that only 4% of Americans and just 9% of Evangelicals hold a “biblical” worldview. Even turning to clergy, the best percentage is among S. Baptists, but even they only hit the 60% mark.

    So, based on those results, the alarm is sounded ala “the sky is falling.” But not long after, Tackett and FoF come up with a convenient “curriculum” to sell that will answer this “crisis” by teaching people a proper Christian worldview – the “Truth Project.” Note the subtle change in language… “biblical” worldview versus “Christian worldview.” Two very different things, just ask a Jew.

    Red flags should begin to pop up for anybody who thinks critically and doesn’t simply hop on the bandwagons shouting “America is going to hell.” How is it possible that only 60% of S. Baptist clergy have a “biblical worldview”? Hmm. Do a little research and you discover that Barna essentially created an 8 point
    “creed” that one must fully embrace or be considered as not having a biblical worldview.

    So, my question is, who decided on those 8 points? Barna? Dobson? Tackett? A self-selected committee? And who asked them to define “biblical” worldview anyway? More to the point, why not use any number of other pre-existent documents to define that
    “biblical worldview” say for example Darby’s 5 Fundamentals, or the Chicago Confession, or, dare I say, the Apostle’s Creed? Hmm, couldn’t be because the results would have been less stark could it?

    And then, how were the questions framed? What answers were offered as options, how was the data interpreted, etc… The whole thing is subject to so much manipulation to get the dire results you want and create a crisis to which you then offer the answer. Just keep narrowing the definitions a bit and I dare say you can get it down to less than 1% who have a “biblical” worldview. I imagine from God’s perspective the true answer is 0%!

    I used to respect Barna as a researcher, but he’s become a bit of a hack, using his “research” to sell both “problem” and “solution” in a long string of books and programs he’s offered from his publishing firm or in partnership with others. Now there’s a new book out titled “UnChristian” that is based in part on more Barna “research” – and who want’s to bet there won’t be a program to buy into to fix that? The fact that I got an unsolicited copy for free in the mail is a strong indication there’s more to come on that front…

    And that’s just touching on the surface of the problems I have. Everyone touts the “Dr” status of Dobson, but folks, its in PSYCHOLOGY – NOT Theology, New Testament, Old Testament, Christian History, Apologetics, Hebrew, or Greek, disciplines that are far more relevant to understanding and defining the historic Christian faith than the very “modern”
    discipline of psychology – which I find so amazingly ironic for someone who trashes all things enlightened, modern, or post-modern!

    Sadly, it appears that discipline has proved more helpful at controlling people through manipulation and fear, etc.. than anything else. From my perspective these guys all feed on fear behind their gleeming white smiles and million dollar enterprises.
    And there are just enough folks out there who live in perpetual fear to keep them in business. Zach is right, Dobson is no buffoon, he’s a highly intelligent man who knows exactly how to manipulate people with fear and pseudo-gnostic tribalism.

    But what did Jesus say more than just about anything else: Fear not! Do not be afraid! Over and over again he told us NOT to live in fear, and yet it seems a good number of are addicted to it, and desperately searching for yet another “gnostic” salve to ease it.

    Bottom line: One either has faith that God is God and is in control, or not. From there it is really rather simple to adopt a “Jesus worldview” and lifestyle… You’ll note Jesus didn’t offer 5 fundamentals, or 8 points to define “biblical worldview” or 7 Secrets to a Happily Redeemed Life.. it was a simple two part solution: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and your neigbor as yourself. ALL the law and prophets hang on those.” In other words, do that and everything else falls into place. But of course it doesn’t sell books and programs to make it so simple. Besides, it’s always easier to write about and sell something that people can then buy and study as a substitute for actually going out into the world to live the life.

  11. I know this is a lil’ late- but I sympothize greatly with Daves last comment- I’ve read UnChristian- and while I sympothize with the books concerns, I too question things like “biblical world view” and “Christian world view”. I personally want to be Christian…which puts me at odd with many folks I know.
    I also agree that Barna has been touted as doing research that isn’t the most respectible- my church growth professor, who was very conservative might I add, even had some concerns about the organization.
    ALSO, I couldn’t agree more with your thought on Dodson- he is NOT a Dr. in areas such as Biblical studies or theology. I WISH people could remember that.

    But as the name suggest- I want truth. Truth is excellent.

    I am going through the Truth Project in September, but if anyone could give me some leads that give a BALENCED look at the program, I’d be greatful

  12. the program itself isn’t interested in “balance”. any kind of critique of the program will just be dismissed as a flimsy, post-modern denial of absolute truth.

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