Roger Olson on “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism”

“We have come with some confidence to believe that a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian religion.

“It is not so much that U.S. Christianity is being secularized. Rather, more subtly, Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by quite a different religious faith”

“The religion that is replacing “actual historical Christian religion” in America, especially among young people, is labeled “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism” (MTD for short). Dean, a professor of youth culture and ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, summarizes MTD with five beliefs:

“1) A god exists who created and orders the world and watches over 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 is not involved in my life except when I need God to resolve a problem,
5) Good people go to heaven when they die.

“I am afraid that it is becoming increasingly harder to find the gospel in America. It is either wrapped so tightly in the flag as to be virtually invisible or relegated to a footnote to messages about “success in living,” being nice and including everyone.”

Read the whole article here

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