In our service this past Sunday we introduced the idea of Moral Therapeutic Deism. The term was coined by sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Denton to describe what most Americans believe in 2005. You can read more about their findings in their book Soul Searching or with Al Mohler's analysis. Moral Therapeutic Deism is basically legalism or moralism. Here are the five core beliefs:
The fundamental problem with Moral Therapeutic Deism is essentially this: mankind is good enough to find its way to God, we don't need God's saving grace. They think that being moral or good law-keepers is the key to salvation.
The problem with this is that it is subtle, and often goes by the name "Christian," even though, underneath it is anything but.
So what do moral therapeutic deists look like? How do you spot them?
Here are three possible examples of Moral Therapeutic Deists:
Churchgoers: Sometimes they are really moral people. People mistake things that Christians do: reading the Bible, going to church, praying, etc. for good things to earn their way to heaven. They think that if they are really religious people, that God will accept them. They need to hear the gospel of grace, that these things will never be enough for them to get to God, but that God provides them a free way.
"Good People": Sometimes these moralists don't think church is necessary. They think that if they vote Republican, don't lie, don't cheat, send their kids to get baptized, then they will be good. They mistake being a good Christian with being a good human being. They think that being a good member of society is enough for God. They are those people you say, "Well they're good at heart." They need to know that they can't be good enough husbands or wives, good enough workers, good enough fathers or mothers to get to heaven.
Ashamed: These are the people who have tried to be a good Christian or tried to be a good husband and they have just not measured up. These are the people who are afraid to enter a church because they feel so ashamed. They carry around the weight of guilt. They are the prodigal sipping pig food out of the trough. These are the people who need to hear, "God has provided his son to save you." They need to hear the words of Jesus that all who are burdened by sin can feel at peace because his yoke is light.
Do you know anyone like this? Will you share the good news of the gospel with them?
Southern Heights Christian Church
Come here for thoughts on how to follow Jesus in our every day life!