Moralistic, therapeutic, narcissistic deism

“I have tried to articulate some of the contours and reasons for the dominance of ‘moralistic, therapeutic deism.’ We come to the Great Commission with our questions. As Paul reminded Timothy, the last days are marked by narcissism, greed, disloyalty, and selfishness. It follows that we gradually transform the Commission’s message into something about us rather than something about God and his saving purposes, work, and destiny for us in Jesus Christ. Consistent with this new message, we transform the Commission’s mission into a kingdom that we are building rather than receiving, and we exchange its methods of delivering Christ through preaching and sacrament for our own clever programs, techniques, and principles for effecting real transformation of ourselves and the world.

“However, the result has been not only an increasing failure to reach the lost but a growing tendency to lose the reached. We place our hope in laws, principles, programs: things that we do to ascend to pull God down to us, instead of a gospel that is brought to us by a herald as completely counterintuitive Good News.”

-Michael Horton in The Gospel Commission (2011), p. 298



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