Saturday, February 26, 2011

The 5 Points of Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism

In Dr. Michael Horton's lecture entitled, "Christianity and Liberalism Today," delivered at Westminster Seminary California's 2011 annual conference (Christianity and Liberalism Revisited), he made mention of the 5 points of "Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism."

The 5 points of MTD are as follows, along with my very brief commentary on each:

Point 1: God created the world.

With logical positivism dead, and with none but the stubbornest of thinkers holding on to it as a valid epistemology, it comes as no shock that the intelligent conclusion of any philosophical process is that the existence of deity at the end of all causal chains is the only rational option.

However, this output of natural revelation only gives us the "what?" and not the "who?" For the determination of the latter, we need the inerrant, inspired, and authoritative Word of God, the Bible.

To those under the vise-grip of MTD, knowing that God created the world comes as no consolation, for every human being, being made in the image of God, knows this:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things" (Romans 1:18-23)

Point 2: God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and most world religions.

Again, this is a product of natural revelation, with the Law being ingrained in the heart of every man. The trouble is that most, if not all, MTD-ers don't realize that God requires perfect obedience to His Law. One's estimation of what counts for goodness, niceness, and fairness will never measure up to God's standard. We need perfect obedience to be counted as righteous in God's sight.

Point 3: The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.

Considering Point 2, the MTD man's conception of happiness is essentially existential, not coming to grips with the true nature of his problem, i.e., the wrath of God that weighs heavily upon him. As long as the endorphins are kept pumping, everything is fine with the world—the world revolving around me, of course!

Point 4: God doesn't need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a personal problem.

Knowing that God created the universe (Point 1), it obviously is the case that He alone knows and has the ability to keep the MTD man happy and feeling good about himself (Point 3) when bumps or potholes along the road of life make the joyride less than enjoyable.

Point 5: Good people go to heaven when they die.

See Point 2.

More on MTD by Dr. Horton below:

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