Category Archives: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

How Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Almost Torpedoed My Christianity

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Taken at the Dreamland Wax Museum in Boston

Last week I included Leslie A’s blog post, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism: America’s New Religion in my Saturday Sampler collection. I’d seen this term before, most notably in Michael Horton’s book, Christless Christianity. Horton’s book sort of reminded me of how my involvement in Christian pop-psychology eroded my theology over the years, but reading Leslie’s post really alerted me to the fact that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism poses a serious problem in evangelical circles.

To explain Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, let me borrow from Leslie, who in turn borrowed from Wikipedia:

There are five main beliefs of MTD–

  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.

(from this Wikipedia Article)

While I probably would have intellectually disagreed with pretty much all of those tenets when MTD influenced my thinking, on a practical level I lived out those basic attitudes. The church and ministry I belonged to at the time used Scripture, yes, but often we used it to buttress psychological or mystical ideas rather than evaluating those ideas through the lens of sound doctrine.

I hasten to say that some of us in that group were genuinely saved. I believe I was. Sadly, the overwhelming prevalence of psychological ideology distracted us from properly interpreting and applying God’s Word to our lives. Despite our insistence that we believed the Bible, we in fact followed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism in how we ministered to each other. Slowly, at least in my personal life, fundamental Christian doctrines took a back seat to the “deeper ministry” of Christian pop-psychology.

During the height of my deception, I had conversations with two non-Christians who used the same psychological terminology that we had been using in the counseling ministry I worked for. Additionally, I watched Oprah Winfrey on my days off, intrigued that she also used the same psychological jargon. I found myself entertaining the unbiblical idea that, even through someone didn’t acknowledge Christ, they might know Him through pop-psychology.

Mercifully, the Holy Spirit never let me fully embrace such blasphemous notions, but I relate my experience here to augment what Leslie wrote last week. Bible-believing Christians must vigilantly guard against Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, recognizing how subtly it blends in with popular trends in evangelical thought. I anticipate writing more about this topic in future articles, as I believe it’s a top threat to Biblical Christianity. Thankfully, the Lord has power to rescue people as He rescued me.

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Saturday Sampler: August 13 — August 19

Birds SamplerElizabeth Prata gives us tiny glimpses into why The Bible is so amazing in The End Time. What a wonderful encouragement to be in God’s Word regularly!

I implore you to go to excatholic4christ to read Tom’s post, An evangelical writes to “Your Holiness,” the pope. Incidents like the one he reports show me why we need education on the Protestant Reformation.

For a better understanding of the theological deterioration of evangelicals, visit Leslie A.’s blog, Growing 4 Life and read Moralistic Therapeutic Deism: America’s New Religion. This blog post explains a lot about why we have drifted away from Biblical Christianity. Leslie also offers a Biblical response to this escalating problem.

Iceland boasts that 100% of women who test positive for carrying unborn children with  Down Syndrome choose to abort. Writing in adayinhiscourt, John Ellis repudiates Iceland’s Genocide of Babies with Down Syndrome to remind us that abortion can never be justified. As someone actually living with severe birth defects, I find the practice of aborting disabled babies thoroughly reprehensible!

Lara d’Entremont of Renewed in Truth Discipleship recently asked several Christian bloggers how they schedule their personal Bible Study time. She compiles their responses in How Crazy Busy Women Make Time For God’s Word as an encouragement to us. You’ll find several practical ideas here to jumpstart your own time in Scripture.

Modesty involves external obedience, certainly, but take a look at Sunny Shell’s blog post, Our External Sensuality Reveals Our Internal Depravity in Abandoned to Christ. A good reminder during hot August weather.

If Lara’s post didn’t give you enough ideas for your time in God’s Word, check out One Degree to Another for Scott Slayton’s 4 Biblical Reading Strategies for Reading Plan Quitters. I found some things that I might try.

Once we read God’s Word, of course, we gain the responsibility to actually obey it. In  Basic Training: Obedience: 8 Ways To Stop Making Excuses and Start Obeying Scripture, Michelle Lesley tells it like it is. Her blog post may not be comfortable reading, but it definitely says things all of us need to hear. Please make this one a high priority.

Writing for Bible Thinking Woman, Kesha Griffin lists 5 Benefits For Bible Thinking Women. I haven’t fully vetted this blog yet, but Kesha writes this particular essay from a solid Biblical standpoint, giving me hope that the rest of this website proves equally solid.

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