Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

Since at least 2003, this term “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” has been around as an apt description of the thing that most in our culture would call Christianity but that the Jesus and the Apostles wouldn’t recognize. 

The Benedict Option“Sociologist Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton examined the relgious and spiritual lives of American teenagers from a wide variety of backgrounds. What they found was that in most cases, teenagers adhered to a mushy pseudoreligion the researchers deemed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD).

       MTD has five basic tenets:

  • A God exits who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.
  • God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  • The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  • God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem.
  • Good people go to heaven when they die.

This creed, they found is especially prominent among Catholic and Mainline Protestant teenagers. [Editorial comment: No surprise there.] Evangelical teenagers fared measurably better but were still far from historic biblical orthodoxy [Italics emphasis added]. Smith and Denton claimed the MTD is colonzing existing Christian churches, destroying biblical Christianity from within, and replacing it with a pseudo-Christianity that is ‘only tenuously connected to the actual historical Christian religion.'”

—Rod Dreher
The Benedict Option, p. 10

The Church in America is adept at running programs and events but it simply isn’t making disciples of Jesus. We aren’t making real progress in raising up a new generation to praise His name. 

Six things we must change immediately?

  1. Start teaching doctrine (Acts 16:4).
  2. Get serious about discipleship (Luke (9:57-62).
  3. Stop giving lip service to daily Bible reading (Joshua 1:8, Deut. 17:18-20, Mt. 4:4).
  4. Get out of our buildings and love people with the truth (Mt. 28:18-20).
  5. Start praying with fervor for workers to be sent into the harvest (Luke 10:2).
  6. Start living passionately for and like Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14).