The Lord saved me at the young age of nine. It is obvious to me from the time before that and the time after that He has worked a desire into my heart to pastor a particular flock of His. I remember in 5th grade I came to career day dressed as a preacher. In sixth grade, I started writing my own sermons from the book of Second Timothy. In seventh grade, I started a Bible study in my school founded upon 2 Tim. 3:16 (looking back on it now, I’m quite surprised at the few things I got right, but usually I look back at the thousand things I got wrong). In eighth grade, I moved to a private Christian school in order to prepare myself for such a vocation. It was here where I realized my faith was being challenged not only form the outside world, but also from other Christians (or at least what I thought to be other Christians). I was somewhat of an outcast from my “Christian” classmates, considered perhaps “radical” or “goody-two-shoes”.
When I realized what was going on, I began trying to troubleshoot and resolve the issues. I noticed the school chapel services were heavily traditional compared to the very contemporvant church that I went to. So, I tried that route. I made a point to bring my NIV to KJV only (not KJV-onlyist, mind you) Bible classes. Later when I spoke in chapel I had messages entitled Super Love (expositing C.S. Lewis’s Four Loves more than the Bible) and Transformers to emphasize the “hipness” of Christianity. I tried to make the Gospel cool rather than letting it be the stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:23) that it is. All the while what was “in” for the “in group” among my peers was sin, and more sin. I couldn’t make Christianity cool enough.
So, then I resorted to (evidentialist) apologetics. I figured maybe they don’t want to continue in sanctification because they don’t understand the reliability of it all as much as I do (also note the amount of pride in all my troubleshooting, that probably still continues to this day). I started a “Bible” study using Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ (and I put Bible in quotes because we didn’t study the Bible, not because Strobel’s work is bad). I also started this (school admin approved) “Ask Me Anything” journal at the front hallway where anyone could ask me anything and I would answer. The one and only legitimate (not mocking me) question was “Do animals go to heaven?” So it seemed where apologetics increased, disinterest increased all the more.
Sadly, I settled upon, “Well, I’m called into ministry, and my peers aren’t.” And though I would never have put it this bluntly at the time, that basically amounted to “I’m just better” (note again the pride thing). I never brought into the question their eternity if I knew about their profession of faith and baptism (I mean, we were at a Christian school!). I was never taught the fundamental difference between once saved always saved and the perserverance of the saints (well, at the time if I heard the “P” was apart of the TULIP of Calvinism I would have ran away as fast as I could in the opposite direction). I never fully understood “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27) or “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6) or “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13:5).
But what really struck me was when I was doing some research online last year. I can’t remember if I first heard the term in a White Horse Inn podcast, or if I first found the article. Either way, I came across what was dubbed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (which, by the way all this research was out when I was in sixth grade; see Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, copyright © 2005 by Oxford University Press, Inc.). When I read this article, tears began to flood my eyes. I know now how foolish I was. As B.B. Warfield has said, “Christian, you can’t move ‘beyond’ the Gospel” (a paraphrase, mind you). And that’s just what I had done. I thought my peers had gotten the gospel (because of their “profession of faith”), and they needed “deeper” things (no telling how much that affected my own sanctification).
Which is the main point of this article. Maybe the majority religion among Christians is not Christianity, but Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. It’s five major tenants are summarized as follows:
1. A God exists who created and orders 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 he is needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die
Quoted from this article
I can’t help but hear this religion almost every time I turn on the mainstream Christian radio; I read this religion when I pass the local church sign, “May your dreams be bigger than your fears”; I see this religion when peers absorb this music and enjoy these churches, but have not a single desire to be holy as Christ as holy, no desire to be in the Word daily, no desire to proclaim the Gospel to the nations all because they have moved beyond the gospel and are content. And this breaks my heart the most.
So maybe the majority religion among Christians is not Christianity. Perhaps MTD has won the day, but Christ has won all. My brothers and sisters reading this I pray we examine ourselves to see where we’ve moved beyond the Gospel and away from Christ. I pray we continue to be a light in this dark world. I pray for those who claim the name of Christ, but actually hold to the tenants enumerated above; that they would remove their itching ears and see the true Gospel and know Him who is from the beginning. But above all I praise Christ who has overcome all evil and false gospels including this false promise of MTD. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.