"Many of you have read the posts I've put up lately claiming that we're dealing with another religion and not Christianity in regard to what the "seeker" movement puts forth. I believe that a man named Christian Smith has finally given an accurate name to the beast: "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism."
In the article that I'm going to link to at the bottom of this post, he lays out the basic five aspects of this religion.:
- A God exists 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.
I believe that points 1 and 2 can be debated as to being Christian doctrine. They certainly are truths, but they are half-truths, and, as Mark Kielar says, "A half truth being presented as a whole truth is a complete untruth." I believe that God is active in the affairs of life on earth and not merely sitting back watching as indicated in point 1. I also believe that point 2 is in error in that we can be "good, nice, and fair" to each other without ever believing in Jesus Christ and "loving our neighbors as ourselves and loving God with all our hearts" as Christ commands. I know professing atheists who are very "good, nice, and fair", but obviously I don't know a professing atheist who is saved from God's wrath that is to come. Look closely at points 3, 4, and 5, though, and you will see that these points are antithetical to what Christianity is.
Point 3: "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself."
This point is basically at the heart of all the fads, all the books, all the programs, all the lectures, all the legalism, and all the twisting of Scripture that is permeating much of this religion of "seekerism". The basic problem is this: An focus on self and a focus off of God unless God fits into the focus we have of ourselves. It's humanistic in its core. Sadly, though, this religion holds that this is the chief end of man (for God to glorify ourselves) whereas the great confessions of the past such as the Westminster Shorter Catechism hold that "Man's chief end is to glorify God, [a] and to enjoy him for ever. [b]"
[a]. Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11
[b]. Ps. 16:5-11; 144:15; Isa. 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil. 4:4; Rev. 21:3-4
Point 4: "God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem."
This is also antithetical to what the Bible plainly teaches. We need God for everything. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (Jas 1:17) If we hold that we need God only when bad things happen, then there is no way to get around the fact that we believe that we are capable of doing good apart from Him and His graces. This is a classical theological term known as Pelagianism. What you need to know about Pelagianism for this post is that Pelagianism teaches that man is basically good apart from God's grace, and Christianity teaches that man is wicked apart from God's grace. ("We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isa 64:6))
Point 5: "Good people go to heaven when they die."
In a sense, this statement is correct. If we've kept the law without offending it in even one point (James 2:10) and if there's no such thing as imputed sin from Adam (Rom. 5), we're good enough to go to heaven on our own. The problem is, though, that "all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God" (Rom. 3:23) and original sin is taught in the Bible (Rom. 5). If that wasn't proof enough that by our own "righteousness" we can't make it to heaven, you can just ask the Apostle Paul himself: Paul, is there any righteous enough to make it to heaven? "There is none righteous." Paul, are you sure? Do you hold that there's not even one person that's righteous? "No, not one." (Rom. 3:10)
So now we've effectively proven that the 5 points of Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism, are not only not taught in Scripture, they are the antithesis of Scripture. Yet this MTD is basically what is taught in the "seeker" movement today. For those of you that are familiar with the "seeker" movement, think for a second about the types of verses that are normally quoted by the leaders in this movement; are not the verses they usually quote, even if the verses are quoted out of context, in some sense formalizing to these 5 points that are listed above? Are not the verses that they omit quoting and actually rail against quoting often because of "their bad experience with fundamental churches as a child" opposed to the 5 points that are listed above? It's something to definitely think about, but I am convinced that Christian Smith has nailed it. It's another religion folks, and now, we have a name to call the beast."