- Phone: (706) 548-2246
- Mailing Address: 2390 West Broad Street, Athens, GA 30606
“Whatever He says to you, do it.”
—Mary to servants (John 2:5)
In 2005, researchers exposed a significant deficiency in the theological beliefs of American teenagers. They entitled it “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” (MTD). This study and term appeared in Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton. The researchers defined the MTD in teenagers as the following:
God wants people to be fair, good, and nice;
Good, nice, feel good, affirm self, solve problems, good people go to heaven. Who could possibly object to a God like that? Who wouldn’t like that kind of God? The appeal of such a vision of God is compelling and most could understand how so many bought into these notions. Upon further examination, concerns arise with MTD. To begin with, MTD is a
subtle alternative and attack upon the gospel of Christ. It has no reference to Jesus Christ. In this scheme, a moral atheist goes to heaven. God expects us to be more than fair, good, and nice. He expects faith and obedience.
The primary goal in life is not happiness (and please do not tell your kids that it is) and self-affirmation but completion of the will of God. God must hear from us not only in times of need but in times of praise and worship. Only blood bought believers in Christ go to heaven when they die.
Additionally, American teenagers were not the first to embrace and spread such notions. Smith and Denton could have studied American adults and found the same MTD. Since 2005, many Baptist student and college ministries have attempted to immerse teenagers into serious engagement with Scripture and the mission of Christ, and in some ways, they set the pace for churches. Therefore, I am so excited about our own student and college ministry and the leadership of Tommy Fountain. A deacon recently said to me “We are in a unique position. We are a student led church.” I appreciate the contributions of all our members, but I think there is a lot of truth to that observation.
Finally, God gives us a framework of thinking that competes with, and even smashes, many prevalent religious notions in our world. That framework consists of Christ’s gospel and mission. Because God is Judge, sin is the greatest tragedy. Because God is love, Calvary is the greatest gift. Because God will save, repentance and faith is the greatest opportunity. Because Jesus is alive and Lord, telling the world of Him is our greatest task.
We do not hold meetings without purpose at Beech Haven. Each of our meetings serves a vital kingdom purpose. There is a sense of urgency in them all. This is true for our (1) Sunday school workers meeting Sunday morning,
August 5, (2) the start of our new Discipleship Training courses on Wednesday evening, August 1 and Sunday evening, August 5, (3) Sunday school worker’s training Monday evening August 27 with Allan Taylor, (4) our Super WOW with Scott Smith Wednesday evening October 17, and (5) our fall Harvest Crusade with Ronnie Hill, October 21—24.
Imagine if God got ahold of each of us in these coming weeks. What progress could we make with the gospel of Christ? What kind of havoc could we wreck with the competing notions of the world? What we could accomplish together is as broad, deep, and wide and the promises of God.
I Stand Amazed,