Friends, Romans, Triablogue Posse,
I will be returning later today to some of the comments that are in the threads like overripe fruit laden on the vine. But for now I wanted to draw your attention to a journal article I wrote for Christian Scholar’s Review in 2009 which I just uploaded to the academic articles section here. The paper is called “Learning in a Time of (Cultural) War: Indoctrination in Focus on the Family’s ‘The Truth Project’.” As you can guess, it is a critique of Focus on the Family’s curriculum “The Truth Project”.
Never heard of it? Wondering why you should care? “The Truth Project” is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by Focus. They spent over two million dollars developing and producing this video series of thirteen one hour sessions and they have spent lots more promoting it in churches throughout North America and around the world. I first viewed a couple sessions in September 2006 when the curriculum first came out and I was shocked by the indoctrinational framework in the very first section on veritology. Del Tackett, the host, sets up an indefensibly stark framework between the people of truth and the people of the lie.
Well I said I needed to get back to this because I knew many people would be watching it. So in February 2007 I sat down and watched the entire curriculum, all thirteen hours, while taking extensive notes. Ugh, what a way to spend one’s winter break. I then delivered a paper on the topic at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in November 2007. After getting a great response on the paper from many evangelical scholars of like-minded concern, I came back and finalized the paper. Then I attempted to contact “Focus” in early December, asking whether they’d like a copy before I sent it out for review so they could respond. Apparently they weren’t interested, but they did take the liberty of adding my email to their emailing list so for a time I was getting the latest updates on “Focus” and “Truth Project”.
In the summer of 2008 I finally sent the paper out for review to Christian Scholar’s Review. Then in the fall of 2008 I delivered a presentation on the topic at my seminary. In attendance was Brian Siewert who was at the time a regional director at Focus in Canada. While he found the analysis I presented disturbing, he didn’t disagree with it. And in fact he informed me that the very next day he would be seeing Del Tackett in Winnipeg so I gave him a copy of the paper to pass on. So I know Mr. Tackett is aware of my criticisms.
The paper was published by Christian Scholar’s Review in 2009. Sadly, I have never had a single response from Focus. I bother to include the backstory because inevitably there are people who will protest “You shouldn’t criticize a Christian brother!” Needless to say I did all I could to dialogue with Focus on this curriculum but to no avail.
At this point “The Truth Project” has impacted tens of thosuands of Christians who have been fed its simplistic, binary categories. So I would encourage you to read the article, familiarize yourself with the problems, and speak out when you see “The Truth Project” being used.
One: I also talk about the curriculum in my new book You’re not as crazy as I think.
Two: Os Guinness is interviewed in the film. I had dinner with him in March 2008 at which point he still had not seen it and he was shocked and dismayed when I informed him of some of the content. So his presence in the curriculum should not be taken as his approval of it.