Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

The first time I encountered this term, I was reading Dr. Michael Horton's book entritled, "Christless Christianity." The book was widely acclaimed by many evangelical church leaders for its deriding in the first few chapters of the Joel Osteen line of thinking of shallow optimism, aka, how to live "Your Best Life Now" in three easy steps. Yet, Horton goes on to cut to the quick of not just a few of those evangelistic preachers in his later chapters when he introduces the topic of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

What is MTD? Let's check out what the original authors who coined the term have to say. 

In Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton find that most young people subscribe to moral statutes that are not exclusive to any of the major world religions:

1.A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.

2.God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.

3.The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.

4.God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.

5.Good people go to heaven when they die.
While these points of belief were compiled from interviews with approximately 3,000 teenagers both in and outside of the church, estute theologians and pastors who have their fingers on the pulse of evangelicalism are noticing that much of what passes for preaching in pulpits is nothing more than the same.

If we are to have any discernable impact whatsoever on the unsaved, the unchurched, and the sheep in the fold, we MUST be about the gospel. People are simply bombarded with MTD. It's everywhere. The only thing that is radical anymore IS Christ. The Gospel itself. Do you know what the Gospel is? (Hint: it's not moralistic therapeutic deism).

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