Moralistic Deism


Here's a term I recently encountered: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. It's a fascinating label for something many of us have sensed but have had difficulty describing: a relatively new direction in American Christianity.

See here for more info:

The implication is severe--that today's "Christian" youth (and I would suggest, the adults as well) have essentially rejected the central tenets of historic Christianity and embraced a relativistic and universalist ecumenicism.

It All Boils Down to This

"As long as you're a good person, or something, you'll probably get to heaven or whatever."

The "doctrinal diet" we provide our parishoners consists increasingly, of musical and theological materials generated by an industry whose profit margins depend on reaching the largest potential market share. Should we be surprised? No. Should we be alarmed? Yes!

The embrace of youth culture (and the co-opting of popular culture for a vehicle for youth engagement) began in the 1940s and 1950s, with the desire to retain or increase church membership. The appeal was generally to social action (e.g. the laudable goals of combatting communism, moral rot, poverty, and racial prejudices), at the expense of pure doctrine.

The result? The youth have grown up and are now leading the church. Certain congregations appear to have become weak social entertainment clubs with the vague goal of creating "good citizens," and Scripture is left behind. Nobody sensible person argues that malaria is a Bad Thing that should be eradicated. We all agree that we should help our neighbors and creatures in the animal shelter. On this, the Moralistic Therapeutic Deists and the Orthodox Christians can agree. The difference is that the "MTD Crowd" tacity assert that social activism is the main duty of the churchgoer. Historic Christianity places faith in a Crucified Christ at its center, with good works following naturally as a consequence of Sanctification.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism--Is it possible we've "hollowed out" Christianity to the point where this is all that's left? Have we forgotten to guard the "good deposit?" (2 Timothy 1:14)