CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A review of The Truth Project. Presented by Dr. Del Tackett.

Jul 15, 2007

Focus on the Family, 2006.

Unfortunately most Christians today know very little about what they believe or why they believe it. Many are biblically illiterate, and most are not operating out of a biblical worldview. That is, most believers simply bring a secular worldview to bear on the issues of the day, and fail to integrate the biblical message with the big questions of life.

The Truth Project is designed to correct this problem. It is a Christian apologetics and biblical worldview teaching kit designed for small groups. The set includes 12 one hour lessons on 7 DVDs, as well as a study guide. Taken together, the kit provides a comprehensive and solid presentation of what a biblical worldview is, and how we can think biblically about every aspect of life.

In the presentation, the teaching is done in a classroom setting, headed by Dr Del Tackett. Short snippets from various experts are also included, featuring outstanding Christian thinkers such as Ravi Zacharias, Os Guinness and R.C. Sproul. The course provides a comprehensive and systematic exposition of the biblical worldview, and its application to our world today.

The content is very rich and full, thus the need to break the whole package down into 12 parts. All the big worldview questions are addressed, such as: Is there a God? What is man? Is there such a thing as truth? How can we know? What is right and wrong? What is the meaning of life? And is history meaningful?

Also, biblical foundations are laid for the various important spheres of life: law, politics, economics, history, science, the arts, sociology, education, and the media. All of these crucial areas are examined in terms of the biblical worldview, and students are taught how to apply biblical principles to all these key fields.

The cumulative effect of all this is transformation: transformed minds leading to transformed lives. And that nicely fits in with the goal of the apostle Paul when he wrote in Romans 12:2 that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Unfortunately too many believers seem to read that passage as if it says we are to be transformed by the removing of our minds.

The mind is important. God made us in his image, and that includes the area of intellect. But for too long Christians have ignored the mind, minimised learning and ignored biblical worldview thinking. But that error must now be abandoned. We must love God with our minds as well as our emotions, our will, and so on.

R.C. Sproul rightly says that this may be the most important project Focus on the Family has undertaken. It is absolutely vital that believers today love God with the totality of their person, and offer clear biblical understanding in the key areas of thought and action today.

For too long we have marginalised ourselves and our faith, and allowed a growing secularism to call the shots in every area of life. But the Lordship of Christ demands that we extend his kingdom in every sphere and every domain. And this teaching series will help equip believers to do just that. It is a much needed tonic for the relativistic, secularist and postmodern times we find ourselves in.

[535 words]

42 Responses to A review of The Truth Project. Presented by Dr. Del Tackett.

  • Where can I get it from?
    Dale Flannery

  • Thanks Dale
    Focus on the Family Australia has it: http://www.families.org.au/
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I note that CMI is selling it too.
    http://www.creationontheweb.com/

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Bill, may I circulate a hardcopy of this among my colleagues? I teach in a Christian school and this article is very timely in the light of a discussion we are having.
    John Nelson

  • Thanks John
    By all means, go right ahead.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill,

    I’ve only just stumbled upon your site.

    I’m a practising Christian from a mainstream denomination, and I’m probably one of the many Christians who you would describe as “not operating out of a biblical worldview”, although I am most certainly not “biblically illiterate”.

    The “biblical worldview” is not a term I have encountered before in all of my years of regular worship and study, but my research suggests it incorporates a literal interpretation of the Bible, particularly the Pentateuch. I have a problem with that, since there are many things in the Old Testament that are simply not in accord with human observation or with known history of the Jewish people.

    To me, the New Testament is of far more importance to a Christian, and I am somewhat perplexed by “Christians” who seem focused on the Old Testament. I wonder if they would be better off aligning themselves with Judaism.

    While I have every respect for your right to practise Christianity in your own way, I am disturbed at your implication that the “biblical worldview” approach is the only way to live the Christian life. Such a view can only further fracture Christianity. I note that the Pope has recently reaffirmed that the Catholic Church is the only true church. Surely it is time for all Christians to unite in their faith, rather than individual elements declaring their interpretation to be the only true one. These divisions only give further reason for non-believers to assert that religion is man-made.

    Marge Williams, Melbourne

  • Thanks Marge

    You raise a number of weighty issues here: the relationship between the two Testaments; the nature and composition of a biblical worldview; the reliability of the Pentateuch; and so on. All of those important points cannot here be fully discussed.

    But a few comments: all three streams of biblical Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox) have all agreed on the basics of the Christian worldview, as expressed, say, in the Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed. Those would be basic non-negotiables for those who call themselves Christians.

    And all three streams would affirm the Old Testament as part of God’s inspired word. Bear in mind that when the New Testament writers speak of the inspired writings, there was no New Testament at the time, only the Hebrew bible.

    While divisions in the body of Christ over minor issues are to be lamented, what distinguishes Christianity from other religions and worldviews is a core set of teachings and doctrines which one must ascribe to, in order to be labeled Christian. Holding to the exclusive truth claims of Christ will always result in some division, just as it did in Jesus’ day (see John 7:43, for example).

    But you raise some important issues which I can perhaps further tease out in articles in the near future.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Marge, the fact that you say that the term biblical worldview “is not a term [you] have encountered before in all of [your] years of regular worship and study”, kind of reinforces Bill’s point made here and elsewhere that the church has neglected this issue.

    You say you are “most certainly not biblically illiterate”, and then go on to imply that the Old Testament is not relevant to a Christian. Nobody here focuses more on the Old Testament as you also imply, it’s just that we take the Bible as a whole as did the church fathers of the past approximately 2000 years. It’s just the modern day liberals who want to excise the Old Testament (and much of the New Testament too for that matter) from the Bible.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Marge, a biblical worldview does not necessarily include an over-emphasis on the Pentateuch. It is possible to read the Old Testament literally, without being literalistic. As long as our ‘centrepiece’ is always the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Biblical worldviews vary in much the same way that theological belief can from denomination to denomination. Experience and culture also impact on an individuals’ worldview.

    A Biblical worldview is when the truth of the Gospel is incarnated into an individual’s beliefs, thoughts and behaviour; much in the same way that God Himself was incarnated into human flesh. Due to our ‘humanness’, this is not always a perfect representation. In order to be a Christian, you must have a Biblical worldview; at least in the basic sense i.e. You believe in what Bill has called the “basics of the Christian worldview”.

    Luke Beattie

  • I wonder whether Marge’s self-professed biblical literacy extended to clear statements by Jesus Himself about the authority of the OT. This included “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

    Indeed, Jesus affirmed the very parts of
    Scripture that misotheists and their liberal churchian allies love to mock today
    . These include mankind’s origin from a single couple who were there “from the beginning of creation”; (Mark 10:6 ff.), the authority of Moses (John 5:46–47) and the Prophets; (Luke 16:31); the reality of the Flood, Ark and Noah (Luke 17:26–32), Jonah’s being swallowed by a huge sea creature as a type of His Resurrection (Matthew 12:39–41) …

    I also don’t know who these “literalists” are. The proper way to understand Scripture is how an original reader would have. See for example Should Genesis be taken literally?.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Over the years I have studied the Bible and I have found that it is not sufficient to just accept the modern English translations. Please, I am not saying that these translations are flawed and that the intention of the translators was biased, but I do say that there are many misunderstandings arising from people placing meanings on sayings that are entirely opposite to the meaning that Jesus actually spoke.
    As with any role or occupation that people pursue in society, study is required – didn’t Jesus tell us to love the Lord our God with all our minds.
    Unfortunately the limit to many Christian’s knowledge tends to be a half hour sermon on Sunday and it is on this that a “Biblical worldview” is established.
    I have learnt one thing about “free thinkers” and “new age” people and that is they are very competent, persuasive and extremely knowledgeable. To offer any response to their views we should be the same.
    Jim Sturla

  • Hey Bill,
    Thanks for the review. Readers may also be interested in reading Del’s blog on Christian worldview. It’s located at deltackett.com.
    Jeff Caylor

  • Bill,

    Thanks for your comments. Your article seems to suggest that the two main worldviews are the “biblical” and the “secular”. But many Christians would not agree with all aspects of the “biblical worldview” as defined by Focus on the Family, but might operate under a “Christian worldview”. There are many different interpretations of scripture, and while each of us might be convinced that our particular approach is better, none of us can say with absolute certainty that another Christian’s interpretation is right or wrong in the eyes of God.

    I am also very concerned about apparent associations between a “biblical worldview” and the Reconstructionist movement, which has some (to me) really strange ideas about Mosaic law and eschatology. A Reconstructionist viewpoint also implies that Christians must adopt particular attitides to politics and economics, e.g. free-market capitalism. To me these are secular matters and Christians are free to form their own opinions about government and economics.

    Perhaps you might elaborate sometime on exactly what you mean by a “biblical worldview”. I feel that the term is bandied about without clear definition.

    Marge Williams, Melbourne

  • Thanks Marge

    But I nowhere here mention Reconstructionists. So why your paranoia? It seems a secular humanist or an atheist worldview would be pushing this bogeyman, but why you?

    As to interpretations, it depends on what you mean. If you are saying we all have our interpretations, and each is as good as another, and we cannot really properly interpret Scripture, or get to its meaning as intended by the authors, then you are simply speaking as a postmodernist and deconstructionist, not as a biblical Christian.

    However, if you mean we are all fallen and finite, and therefore our understanding will be limited and partial, and we all need the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, then I have no problem with your comments. But there are still core Christian beliefs which we all can and should hold to, as I said in my earlier comment, such as found in the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.

    And that answers your other point about what is a biblical worldview. At a minimum, a biblical worldview would indeed embrace the basics as offered in the early Christian creeds. Do you have a problem with any of those early creeds?

    From there on, there is the application of these basics. For example, are there biblical principles that can be applied to the sphere of economics or law, for example? Sure, there will be discussion and disagreement about these matters, and Christians may well differ on the specifics.

    But every area of life should fall under the lordship of Christ. That should not be problematic for any believer to hold. After that, it is a question of seeking to apply biblical themes and principles to everyday life. While that is a complex and ongoing project, it is something all believers should be striving for.

    I don’t see anything too sinister about all that. I am not sure why you seem to.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    I found links between with Reconstructionism and Focus on the Family while trying to pin down a definition of a biblical worldview. It wasn’t anything you said.

    I’ve been trying to research what a biblical worldview means. I don’t have any issue with the Creeds as core beliefs, but you have indicated that the biblical worldview lays down foundations in “law, politics, economics, history, science, the arts, sociology, education, and the media.”

    My point is that different Christians, while each having the same core beliefs, could hold very different opinions about various aspects of everyday life, as evidenced by your examples. I don’t think there can possibly be a consistent or common biblical worldview on these issues.

    If you can demonstrate how this is possible, I’d certainly like to see that.

    Marge Williams, Vic

  • Thanks Marge

    As I have said here and elsewhere, there is room to move on how believers think about specific issues such as economic policy or foreign policy, and so on. There is no clear biblical blueprint for many of these specifics, although there are broad principles and general themes that can be drawn upon from Scripture. But the main thing is to recognise that Biblical Christianity does indeed speak to all areas of life, that the Lordship of Christ should extend to every sphere, and that believers should be doing the hard work of thinking and praying how we might think Christianly and Biblically about the various domains of life.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • The identifying features of Biblical Christianity are:

    1. Justification by Faith in the Biblical Jesus alone
    2. Repentance from sin
    3. The Authority of The Scriptures as the Sole Rule of Faith for living a life that is pleasing to the God of the bible.
    4. The availability of the Holy Spirit to ALL Born Again believers and ONLY Born Again Believers.
    Wayne Capell

  • I am a pastor in New Zealand. Any ideas where and when these resources are available? Thanks.
    David Brod, NZ

  • Thanks David

    Since this is a Focus on the Family product, your local FotF should have it: http://www.focus.org.nz/
    If not, the Australian FotF does: http://www.families.org.au/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Perhaps reading the book “Understanding the Times,” sold at Amazon.com, would help everyone understand the difference between a Marxist worldview, a Biblical worldview, a Secular Humanist worldview, a Socialist worldview, and much more. This book covers the topics of economics, history, morality, and much, much more, each from the perspective of different worldviews. I can’t recommend “Understanding the Times” highly enough if you want to understand the amazing worldview that Christianity gives a person. It is a best worldview because it elevates us to the highest level possible as human beings. A fabulous resource to help Christians in today’s increasingly secular world.
    Michele Libor

  • Thanks Michele

    Yes David Noebel’s book is a fantastic resource. It is now in its revised second edition. You can get it at amazon or at Summit Ministries which David leads: http://www.summit.org/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I was introduced to the Truth Project by Focus on the Family Australia and have been viewing the DVDs for a couple of days now. What I have seen and studied so far have been and eye opener and have been blessed so much. I would thorughly recommend to anyone who read this post… if you have not yet take this course or have seen the DVDs then go purchase the DVDs or take the course. I hope that the Lord will bless you as much as I have been and more.
    Michael Yoo

  • Marge your comment; “I don’t think there can possibly be a consistent or common biblical worldview on these issues. If you can demonstrate how this is possible, I’d certainly like to see that.” Simply put; The Bible demonstrates its view, the Bible’s view is a ‘Biblical Worldview’. All views contrary to the Bibles view is NOT a ‘Biblical Worldview’. I have heard “Christians” time and again say that ‘every one has a different view so we should try to come together’ etc. If we cant recognize the depravity of man with this idea then we’re too absorbed in the postmodern culture.

    God’s word is clear, the perspicuity of scripture is one of the fundamental principals of the Christian faith, God does not mumble, God is not a god of confusion….man is. Scripture teaches that it alone is our final authority on all matters of faith and practice, it is our standard and we are held accountable to know it. Marge if you cannot reconcile this reality with your personal presuppositions, you need to do a radical review and spend more time in scripture, if you are indeed a Christian born of God, willing to bend your knee to its Truth as opposed to your own truth, you will find a solid rock to hold onto that will sustain you eternally, becasue what God says is true!

    However, confusion is bound to reighn when, in English, we have SOOOO many ‘versions’ of what God said (sorry Jim, I DO believe modern translators are biased, the corruptions of modern versions are apparent to those who do the comparisons and have a concern for Truth). Indeed how can we not suspect Satanic influence in this area particularly when we see the state of the Church today? Do we not question the source of this confusion? Do we not ask why the Bible teaches of Apostacy in the last days? or why the love of many will grow cold? or Why Jesus himself asks the question when he returnes “Will i find faith on the earth?”

    So many of us are destroyed by the secular colleges dressed as Christian theological institutions, we forget the Satanic ploy to destroy our exaltation of the Very Word of God. We belittle the subtle deceptive influences of popular culture and we reject our own depravity. We trust our own hearts, but the Bible says the heart is deceitful above all things and who can know it? (Jer 17:9) Marge, a Biblical Worldview is the View held by the Bible, not the Pope! Truth is narrow, not broad, Mary does not plead for us, Christ is our mediator. No-one can be UNIFIED in error, its a contradiction in terms.

    Edi Giudetti

  • Good article, but is it OK for a spokesman for the project to write a review. I thought reviews are supposed the be the opinion of third parties who are independent unless they disclose their bias.
    CG Miller

  • Thanks CG
    But what exactly is my “bias” and how exactly am I a “spokesman for the project”?
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    Our old small group started reviewing the Truth Project DVD collection and we really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, that group is not the one I attend anymore (seeking another) but wanted to see how we could obtain those DVDs ourselves … where can they be purchased from?

    Peter Kasson

  • Thanks Peter

    Focus on the Family Australia has it: http://www.families.org.au/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Our Church is currently going through this series and I’m currently finding it hard to place the value of this information in which it is being estimated.

    Whatever happened to reading the Word and home Bible studies anyway..? 2 Timothy 2-15 2 Timothy 3-16

    http://www.thetruthproject.org/whatistruthproject/
    Because of this, today’s believers live very similarly to non-believers.

    This statement comes from the website as indicated. If this is true how will this material override or change these views by what is clearly written already, via our Bibles. If the believer is not moved or change by the foundation on which we all need to stand then God help us.

    Jos. 1-8
    This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

    My concern may be the fact that we somehow need another program or material to convince us of what is already TRUE..!

    Bryan Lafleur, Iowa

  • Thanks Bryan

    Yes the Bible is the heart and soul of Christianity. But none of us exist purely on the Bible. Every time you hear your Pastor preach a sermon, he is supplementing and building on the Bible. Every time you read an edifying Christian book or biography, you are supplementing the Bible. Every time you worship and sing Christian hymns, you are supplementing the Bible.

    The Truth Project is simply another tool which Christians can use to supplement and expand upon the Bible. It is a tool to help us see how the Bible deals with many of the challenges to the Christian faith today. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it helps Christians to fulfil their responsibility to be salt and light and to answer everyone who enquires of the reason for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15).

    It is a tool to equip us to better help reach non-believers, and to answer honest questions with honest biblical answers. It is simply a means to help bring the lost into the Kingdom. I should think every Christian would be in favour of those sorts of things.

    But as I say, some believers may get more out of it than others. And we should not be dismissive of those who are indeed being blessed by it, and may be using it to reach others for Christ.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill,

    Give me prayer or give me a DVD??
    http://www.brfwitness.org/Articles/2001v36n4.htm

    God Bless & Merry Christmas

    Bryan Lafleur

  • I’ll take both, thanks.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I just read a review of part 5 of the Truth Project by Dr. Dorothy Boarse. Although I personally reject theistic evolution, Dr. Boarse make an honest and accurate assessment of part 5 of Tackett’s lecture. Since we are not God, we really don’t know HOW God really created the universe – we just know that God did it. Thus, good, honest Christians – devout believers disagree on this, and some are very serious scientist like Dr. Boarse. Only arguing the extremes views without at least mentioning other views filters the information. Other problems she notes is the definition and differences between evolution and philosophy. You can read her review for yourself here:
    Dr. Boorse’s Review

    I am generally supportive of what Focus on the Family does that is DIRECTLY related to families, raising children, marriage support, etc… I love MOST of the Adventures in Odyssey series. However, when they branch into apologetics, politics, and theology, they often get parts of it wrong or at least are limited in scope. I say, leave these things in the hands of the Norman Geisler’s and R. C. Sprouls of the world who are much better equipped. Partner with them to create things like “The Truth Project”. It will get a larger audience and avoid potential flaws. Why can we in the Christian Community work together anyway?

    Fuller Ming, Jr.

  • Thanks Fuller

    In one sense they did partner with Sproul and other apologetics heavyweights. If you watch the whole series you will see them featured throughout, providing brief commentary.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Just saw the 1st session of the TP at my church and I have to say that it reminded me of a sermon with a couple of guest preachers. My 18 y.o daughter left after about 20 mins. It was, well, boring. Given all the hype, I expected a more creative presentation, possibly more inserts from “real life” venues? But a college lecture hall with an authoritarian speaker? Been there…..
    Warren Beacom

  • Thanks Warren

    But with all due respect, your comment is telling for at least two reasons. One, it tells us how much contemporary Christianity has deteriorated into the need for entertainment, showbiz, amusement, and so on. We see to have little time or patience for sound theology, the use of the mind, loving God with our intellect, and so on. We easily get bored with ‘mere’ content, and prefer to be entertained.

    Also, I would have thought that for at least around 99 per cent of church history, the teaching and preaching of the word was done somewhat in lecture style, by ‘authoritarian’ – in the good sense of the word – speakers.

    One suspects that many contemporary Christians would quickly tire and walk out of a sermon by Paul or Peter or any of the great church teachers through the ages. This is a rather sad indictment on the modern church I would say.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, Thank God someone has seen the light, and need to teach Christians what they should get from their church & pastors but haven’t. I was a Youth Pastor 45 years ago, in Oregon, putting up with what parents told me about their kids losing their faith, when attending a secular college or uiversity. Even in most cases these kids, never made their salvation “theirs” instead of their “parents faith”, (what I call ownership).
    Because of this I developed a Bible study for them, and used, called “Basic Beliefs” Some grew in the knowledge of Christ, so well they became their high school debaters. It did a great job, but often hoped that someone would develop a study for new Christians to indoctrinate them how to live in a secular world.
    I am still teaching, in retirement, and want to order your DVD’s to round out my teaching years, and “commiting the word to faithful men.”
    Faithfully,
    Dean W Schlosser, Pres, GGF

  • Hi I stumbled over this material while in the US recently.

    It is very good is there a list of places where one can join with a group who are participating in sharing this material.

    Thanks

    James W

  • Thanks James

    (I require full names here!)

    Probably contact Focus on the Family Australia and they may be able to help you here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill,
    I just found your site while looking up reviews on the Truth Project. I’ma youth pastor of a conservative Bible Church, and several of our small groups went through this material, including my own. While I am a big fan of apologetics and worldview studies, I’ve come to the point where I simply can not recommend this product for several reasons:
    1. Frequent misuse of scripture throughout the series through classic proof-texting.
    2. Making false and misleading statements about the views of others in order to create “straw men”, which are then easily knocked down.
    3. A consistent us vs. them mentality where you either agree with the presenter’s view or you fall into the camp of Satan, the world, perniscious liars, etc. with no room given nor any discussion of faithful Christians who hold other viewpoints.
    4. Displaying a lack of understanding of the very concepts and ideas being criticized, particularly in the areas of science and philosophy.

    Like I said, I think the concepts of apologetics and worldview studies are very helpful, but this particular study actually undermines a Christian’s ability to think critically and to either defend their beliefs or engage the ideas of the culture. It does this by equipping them badly with facts and arguements that are going to be quickly exposed as erroneous, thus making the individual Christian and conservative Christianity as a whole look ignorant foolish. While most of the time I would agree with the conclusions, the path he took to get to those conclusions was too often filled with errors.

    I think there are very good, sound arguements and evidences for our faith that are consistent with logic. I just wish this study had used them.

    James Edward, USA

  • Thanks James

    While it is not my purpose here to defend the TP, it seems your comment differs little from what I expect from atheists: throw out a number of vague and unsubstantiated charges, and think you have made your case. The TP is far from perfect (is anything a believer does in a fallen world?) but it seems you want to throw out the baby with the bathwater here. By making such wide-ranging accusations without providing any detail or evidence for such attacks makes me wonder just how much of a fan of apologetics and worldview teaching you actually are!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I’m looking for a good study-Bible. Can you recommend one that aligns most closely with the way that Del Tackett presents his material? Thank you very much.
    Jackie Lynn

  • Thanks Jackie

    The TP itself I believe has study questions or a study guide provided, but others come to mind. Over 30 years ago apologist Francis Schaeffer put out a book called Basic Bible Studies dealing with worldview issues. It would cover similar ground, and is still available: http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Bible-Studies-Including-Realities/dp/0891078932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287357808&sr=1-1

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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