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What is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 25, 2022 8:00 am

What is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 25, 2022 8:00 am

It's a mouthful to say and a lot to unpack- Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Though, it's just another in a long line of false belief systems that have appeared throughout history. Today, Pastor Don Green begins a new series titled Deception Close to Home.--TheTruthPulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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Moralistic therapeutic deism describes the presuppositions that define the worldview of many who claim to believe in God, it's a mouthful to say and a lot to impact moralistic therapeutic deism. Really though, it's just another in a long line of false belief systems that have appeared throughout history.

Hello, I built right and this is the truth talking today as he continues teaching God's people of God's word pastor Don Greene begins a new series titled deception close to home and on what can we expect in the days ahead will I think this may be one of the most important series that we have ever broadcast on the truth pulpit. My friend were going to examine a vague philosophy that is called moralistic therapeutic deism, that's a mouthful, but it's a vague philosophy that dominates most churches throughout America were going to break it down and compare it to Scripture and by the end of the time you'll be able to identify common errors in the church and know how to respond to them to stay with us today.

Thanks, Don, and friend. Let's join her teacher now in the truthful, the term moralistic therapeutic deism was first coined in a book that was published in 2005, in the name of this book was soul searching the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers by a researcher named Christian Smith Christian having no connection with you know Christianity, just his name, and in this book.

What they did was they reported on the results of a comprehensive study that they did of the spiritual lives of over 3000 American teenagers based on telephone and face-to-face interviews now this is a very important subject. A very important term. Even if you have never heard of it, which I suspect is perhaps the majority of you, moralistic therapeutic deism has attracted the attention and commentary of such prominent names in organizations is our molar.

The league in here conference the Gospel coalition, Detroit Baptist theological seminary, among others of lesser renown and they all consistently say that they believe that what the authors and soul-searching identified is an accurate diagnosis of religion in America today and so in light of that, we believe that it is important for us to understand now before I go any further. What I want to say is, is that even though the term may be unfamiliar and some of the things we go through today may be packaged in a way that sounded new to your ears.

I think that you will quickly come to identify and say all that's what I see.

That's what I've heard in no other so-called Christian churches. That's what my neighbor say about God.

You're going to find that this is something that that is very real and practical and powerful. Even though you may not know it by this particular name what is moralistic therapeutic deism, moralistic therapeutic deism describes the presuppositions that define the worldview of many who claim to believe in God and let me just repeat that it describes. It summarizes the presuppositions that define the worldview of many who claim to being believe in God. Now here's what makes this difficult. Here's what makes the slippery. Here's what makes it so elusive. There is probably not a single person in the world that would declare themselves.

If you asked them who they are, spiritually, probably no one who would say I happen to be a moralistic therapeutic Deist. It doesn't work that way. It's for more subtle than that. It's much more vague than that it's vague enough to find root in nominal Christianity the spirit in this mindset can be found in Catholicism in Mormonism in Eastern religions and Islam. Even though none of those religions, and none of their teachers would explicitly promoted certainly under the name by which it has been labeled this mindset, moralistic therapeutic deism is powerful enough to generate genuine hostility against true Christianity is subtle enough that it can seduce Christians who lack discernment and so what we want to do is we want to pull it out of the shadows expose it to the light and at the end we are going to have.

I believe a far clearer idea of what true Christianity is and what it is not, and were not only going to see in a negative sense. What is wrong with this prevailing spiritual sentiment that animates Western culture, but we are also going to buy the time were done have a far clearer idea of what true Christianity looks like and what the true practice of Christianity is what the authors of soul-searching did was they had identified five basic principles that are at work in the mind of teenage culture that was their object of study that was their field of study.

Where do you think that teenagers get their spiritual thinking from if not the adults in their lives in the church is that they attend what these authors uncovered in all of their interviews and their research what they uncovered is simply a reflection of what churches had been feeding into young people and what the adults in their lives have been had been conveying to them about what the reality of God is in the fact that the teenage thinking is so distorted is simply a reflection of the fact that this is what adults think. Also, okay, moralistic therapeutic deism, moralistic 10 syllables in those three words moralistic therapeutic deism. Let's understand what it says.

First of all what we want to look at today is simply to identify what the creed of moralistic therapeutic deism is there are five principles that identify the spiritual worldview of moralistic therapeutic deism. What we want to do here is just kind of see it in a broad overview fashion. See how it all ties together and then start to unpack it. What is it that marks the thinking of Western culture when it comes to God. Generally speaking, the prevailing sentiment that crosses even not just denominational boundaries within Christianity but but jumps across to express the thinking of people in other religions, the authors listed five they were not exactly systematic theologians I might've express things a little bit differently in a different sequence but will take it in the way that they presented first of all first of all you find in this worldview. This poorly articulated worldview in the thinking of many. First of all, it's this a God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth. God exists, there is a God he created the world.

He ordered the world and he watches over human life on earth okay. You might think that doesn't sound so bad. That's kind of what I believe. What could be wrong with that number two.

What does this God want he wants people to be good nice and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and by most world religions, who could be against people being good and nice to each other and being fair. How P against that.

What's the problem here is this is pretty subtle, but it goes somewhere.

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

It feels kinda good to hear things like this doesn't number three. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about yourself. Why do we live. What's the purpose of life.

What should we be seeking out of life, what is the reason that you exist. The reason that you exist. What should be happening what you want out of life according to moralistic therapeutic deism is your personal happiness that you feel good about life feel good about yourself inside you have a sense of wellness that wells up within you and makes you feel well well well well number four.

God does not particularly need to be involved in your life, except when you need him to resolve the problem. God doesn't need to be particularly involved in your life, except when he is needed to resolve a problem. One of the ways that you can tell when one of the ways you can identify in yourself you been influenced by the mindset of moralistic therapeutic deism, even if you never heard that term before. One of the ways that you can recognize it in others. Is this I only prayed when I wanted something I only prayed when I needed something prayer was a means to get what I wanted that I couldn't get on my own so I appealed to a higher power. I appealed to the God that I thought I knew to give me what I couldn't get on my own.

Otherwise, I was more than content when life was going well. I was more than content when I was happy to have nothing to do with God. However, I was defining him in my heart at that time so prayer was just simply a selfish exercise to get what I want, or to get me delivered from my problems or to help me get an a on my exam that had nothing to do with rendering true worship and praise to God for his inherent worth.

There's a huge distinction. There, and the practice of prayer helps to expose someone who has adopted this as their mindset.

They only turn to God when they want something they only turn to God when they got a problem only think and pray to him when life isn't going the way that they wanted to. That's a moralistic therapeutic Deist for you and will leave it there for now will come back to that in time to come. Fifthly, and finally, good people go to heaven when they die.

Number one, a God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth number two God wants people to be good nice and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and by most world religions number three. The central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about yourself. Number four. God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life, except when God is needed to resolve the problem and number five good people go to heaven when they die. Now over going to do as we proceed now, having set forth the so-called creed of this informal religion.

This worldview going to examine this worldview biblically to protect you and your loved ones and to equip you to interact wisely with your circle of influence have a measure of discernment that leads you to be able to zero in on this misguided, mistaken, thinking, and to be able to apply biblical truth to it in order to bring truth to bear on the souls of those around you, and perhaps even to sanctify your own thinking about what it means to be a Christian free to grow in your own in your own mind and your own hard for you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory forever. Amen a second Peter chapter 3 verse 18 says now with all of this said, and just to repeat myself this is not a formal religion and it makes it hard and difficult to refute. That's why I've been at work at this for a few months now. People hold these views and in an ill-defined way. No doubt, sometimes in self-contradictory ways they hold them in a way that allows them to apply selected Bible verses out of context.

In support of what they think, rather than systematically teaching through scripture rather than systematically reading Scripture just cherry picking certain verses that would seem to prop up this worldview and here's the problem.

Beloved, it insulates them.

It inoculates them against truth against the true gospel against that which would convict them of sin and bring them to their knees before Christ in repentance and saving faith. This is there are souls greatly at stake here that make it critical for us to deal with it in a thorough way.

So here's what we want to do with seeing the creed of moralistic therapeutic deism with those five points so question number two today is what does moralistic mean within this worldview, what does moralistic mean within this worldview well this religious viewpoint is moralistic because it teaches that a happy life is found in being a good moral person you can be happy if you're good and moral. Now their defining morality in a way that has very little to do with actual biblical truth. It's more morality.

According to the prevailing sentiment of culture at the time the church is kind of going along with and you agree with what everybody else thinks.

That's what they mean by it to be moralistic in this worldview means that your nice that you're kind that your pleasant, respectful, responsible, you work on self improvement. You take care of your health and you do your best to be successful. Your moralistic your moral in the sense that your nice and pleasant near easy to get along with your moralistic in the sense that in this and you you this, you start to see where this is leveraged against people in and social discourse and how it's leveraged against Christians in in moral the moral issues of the day in moralistic therapeutic deism, beloved, you must be someone that others like you must not be disruptive or obnoxious in this morality you are supposed to be agreeable with others and to feel good about yourself you're not to confront people with truth from Scripture you're not to say that there is an absolute right or wrong you let people have their truth you have your truth, and we all get along together without asserting truth claims against one another and so religion broadly defined spirituality. If you prefer that term religion exist to serve that horizontal end that horizontal goal that we would get along with each other and be nice to each other and accept each other no matter what the other person is doing and so embedded in the sense that that we should use the preferred pronouns of transgender people did irregardless of what their biological sex actually is what's embedded in that is the sense of morality that says you need to be agreeable and go along with everything and don't raise questions about truth in the midst of it. Don't raise questions about the true biblical nature of homosexuality or of homosexual marriage. If this is what people want to do you go along with it because that's what spiritual people do. That's what's right and you see start to see anyway how embedded in this worldview is that which would marginalize the absolute truth claims of biblical Christianity because it's not nice to disagree.

That's not kind that's not pleasant. So keep your views to yourself and let me be me. You can recognize this moral person in MTD because other people like him like her. He or she accepts others without being judgmental there there. The key Bible verse for this moralistic aspect of MTD would be Matthew 71. The truncated version of Matthew 712 not judge now you don't need the rest of the context of that. You don't need to know worry about what Jesus was actually teaching in the sermon on the Mount.

It's simply enough to assert that we are not to judge one another and in this moralistic view. You go along with what society is doing you go along with one another. You're not disagreeable you don't judge others, you help or just simply nice and kind and pleasant in the whole sphere of things and that lets you get along and that's what you are expected to do in this worldview now notice that this kind of moralism is completely horizontal. It is directed toward men. It's directed toward human relationships. There is no verticality to it.

There is no God centeredness to it, it's all about how you get along with your fellow man.

That's what they mean by this kind of moralism.

Beloved, if you're getting along with your fellow man then then there is no reason for you to search further for anything further spiritually oriented. You need not worry about whether you've offended a holy God. What is that matter.

If, as long as you're getting along with men here on earth it's horizontal, it's not God centered.

Now for third point.

What does therapeutic mean in this mindset. What does therapeutic mean in this mindset, or is Barney Fife once famously said it's therapeutic.

It's therapeutic. Andy will go by therapeutic. The word therapeutic comes from the Greek verb therapeutical meaning I heal to heal. It has a healing aspect to it. It makes you feel better and MTD is therapeutic in the sense that office is so important. It is therapeutic in the sense that it provides psychological benefits to its adherents to the people that have this mindset it's therapeutic in the sense it makes them feel better. Religion exists to make people feel good, happy, secure, and at peace. The point of religion is what it does for you subjectively how it makes you feel about life and how it makes you feel about yourself.

If your religion makes you feel good about yourself, then it is achieved its purpose. It helps you to resolve problems and to get along well with others. The authors of soul-searching quote one conservative Protestant saying this, a teenage girl. As I recall, she said, quote God is like someone who is always there for you.

You'll always help you go through whatever you're going through. When I became a Christian I was just praying and it always made me feel better." The idea here is that that's the purpose of religion is to make you feel better and if you feel better. You've gotten what you need out of it rather than I know that I've been reconciled to God after my sinful nature manifested itself and I became aware that I was worthy of judgment seeing people will testify about becoming Christians and and explain it in terms that I feel better about life on better able to face my trials, rather than having any kind of vertical sense that I was an offense to God and Christ died in order to forgive me of my said the youth you can have that testimony without even referring to the cross. My concern as a pastor has always been over the years. When I see testimonies of this person even understand the gospel today on the truth. Pulpit pastor Don Greene has introduced the concept of moralistic therapeutic deism and helped us begin to better understand it, the better to combat it. When we encounter it. Don will continue our series deception close to home on our next broadcast, and we hope you will be with us, then meanwhile, we invite you to visit our website. The truth pulpit.com. There you can download free podcasts or find out how to receive free CD copies of Don series and messages.

And if you want to go even more in depth. You'll also find the link follow Don's pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons not subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts. Also, if you're in the Cincinnati area.

Be sure to check out our service times for truth, community church that's also on our website and plan a visit would love to welcome you again.

That's all at the truth.

Pulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright will see you next time on the truth pulpit as Don Greene continues teaching God's people


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