DVD Review: Twisting the Truth by Andy Stanley

twisting-the-truth-stanley
Twisting the Truth is a curriculum based on Andy Stanley’s teaching series, “Twisted.” With six hard-hitting lessons, this curriculum is sure to lead to some extremely challenging and thought-provoking discussion within any small group that uses it.

The Content

Sessions one and two, “The Source of Deception” and “All is Not as it Seems,” introduce viewers to the concept of an invisible reality, that there is a spiritual world beyond the material – and a real, literal Devil. And his goal is to take what’s true and twist it. Take people’s view of God and twist it just enough that people become angry with God, make decisions based on that anger, and blame Him for the consequences of their actions.

Session three, “Says Who,” addresses our tendency to rebel against authority. When confronted by authority, we evaluate what we’re being asked to do – and if we disagree with it, we ignore it. But, Stanley contends, obedience is not about the “what,” but about the “whom,” because there is no authority except that which God has established, whether we like it or not.

Session four, “Facing Forward,” examines suffering, and how we cannot understand the purpose of suffering if we only examine our present circumstances rather than looking at the larger context that God has given us to understand it.

Session five, “It’s Only Physical,” is all about sex – what our culture says, and how it’s destroying our potential for intimacy as it focuses on sex as an activity rather than an intimate experience that is for a married couple only. And when sex is taken out of its intended context, it’s incredibly destructive.

Session six, “It’s No Mistake,” confronts our attitude toward our “mistakes” – the things we do that we know are wrong, but we try to dumb down rather than admit that they’re sin. And if we only make mistakes, we don’t sin. And if we don’t sin, we don’t need a Savior. We only have to do better.

Reactions

Without a doubt, this is a curriculum that will challenge, and, most likely, anger many of the men and women in the group you’re leading. And that’s a very good thing.

Over the last several years, there’s been such a strong de-emphasis on sin, authority and a real Satan, to the point that on a practical level, many of us deny that they exist. Rather than being sinners, we’re “mistakers.” The Devil’s just a bogeyman—certainly there’s not a real enemy of our souls whose desire is to kill and destroy? Aren’t we all getting bent out of shape about sex; I mean, it’s only a natural activity… right?

You get the idea.

While every lesson is sure to be challenging to everyone to differing degrees, I believe that the third and sixth lessons will weigh heavily on many (I know they did for me).

Lesson three, “Says Who,” is all about authority. And because many of us secretly (or not so secretly) hate authority, it’s difficult to hear the truth that when we disobey them– if we disobey our parents, we ignore our boss, reject the counsel of our pastors – we’re actually disobeying God.

That’s a big deal, and really hits me where I live, because I struggle in this area.

Lesson six will also be troubling for many because it’s, in essence, a lesson on the doctrine of sin. And Stanley rightly points out that if we’re not sinners, we don’t actually need a Savior.

These are lessons that kill pride, and I’m grateful for them.

The other things I loved

The Additional Resources: These are incredibly helpful! Providing leaders with resources to advertise and personally invite friends, family and church members is brilliant.

The Leader’s guide is very thorough and accessible for a leader of any ability to handle. The questions are very open and allow for much discussion, and leaders are provided with speaking points to help guide the conversation should it go off course.

The complete sermon series is available on the disc. Group leaders: Watch the full sermons before you start this study! They’ll add an incredible amount of depth to your discussion.

Was there anything I didn’t like?

Overall, the teaching overall was very thorough, very biblical and very helpful. There were a few places here and there where I’d push on Stanley’s interpretation, but nothing really concerned me or struck me as unprofitable. If I had to quibble, I’d say that the opening sequences featuring the CTU (Concept Twisting Unit) were a bit cheesy, but they still helped to illustrate the point of each lesson.

Conclusion

This video series is one I would encourage any group to use with little hesitation. The content is heavy and sometimes difficult to listen to, but will surely benefit all in your group who have ears to hear.


Thanks to my friends at Small Group Exchange for providing me with a review copy.
  • http://seanchandler.net Sean Chandler

    I couldn’t get through the first 10 seconds of the trailer video due to the cheese factor. I like most of Stanley’s stuff, but his creative team needs to get rid of the cheese (I almost wrote “cut the cheese” but then it occurred to me what I was writing).

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

      I kind of wish you had said “cut the cheese.” But then, I have the sense of humor of a two year old.

      • http://seanchandler.net Sean Chandler

        I’ll remember that for the future. I’ve got plenty of those jokes waiting to be told.

  • Wes

    I can’t help but think that this entire series is based on Stanley and his team thinking that they know the Bible inside and out. The unfortunate fact is that that’s not true. The Bible is left up to interpretation, and even the smartest people in the world still argue over what things actually mean.

    True, there are certain things that we know as truth from the Bible. Like you should love one another; you shouldn’t be greedy with material things; we shouldn’t be worshiping anything/anyone but God; etc. But there are a few topics in the series that aren’t so black and white.

    Take the whole sex-before-marriage issue. I’d challenge anyone to look through the scriptures and point to a verse that either blatantly says or implies that this is true. Yes, there are verses like “don’t commit adultery”, and “do not fornicate”, and others like it. But they don’t really imply the act of sex before marriage is totally unacceptable. It’s not as cut and dry as that.

    These types of topics tend to be tied around the two hinges of the commandments: love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. Continuing with the example of sex-before-marriage, the thing that I think is sinful about sex before marriage is the context that it’s in. Obviously, if a guy is using women just to get sex, then that’s not really loving another as yourself because of the detriment that goes along with the act of sex in that context. But that’s not to say that all circumstances are alike. You could have a couple who are honest-to-God in love with one another. The situation they’re in may not allow them the convenience of marriage. But neither are in the relationship for anything but love. Is this still wrong? Honestly, I can’t say that it is. And a lot of people will label me a heretic for that.

    The same goes for the topics of obedience to authority, confusing mistakes and sins, and the problem with pain and suffering. I don’t think anyone can profess to know the in’s and out’s of any of these things. I don’t. And that’s why I always say things like “I’m led to believe…” or “I THINK I know why…” when it concerns topics that I honestly can’t say for sure 100%.

    No one has it all figured out. If someone did, then they’d be God. I doubt Stanley would admit to thinking that about himself, but it seems like he’s duping himself into thinking he has it that way.

    • Hatler77

      Wes,
      There are some things that are very cut & dry.  Sex before marraige is never healthy.  Love is doing what is right for the other person at all times.  Having sex binds the participants in a way that separation is wounding.  Period.  Having sex with someone that you are not married to-wounds them.  That is not love. 
      Sex before marriage depends on the context….
      that is a self serving statement.  Simple, yet true.

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