Crazy. CNN has even picked up on the MTD (moralistic therapeutic deism) terminology when most people in our churches are unfamiliar with this phenomenon. Check out the CNN article for yourself.
I will say this about the article. It clearly shows the infiltration of MTD into todays youth culture and contrasts that with a “committed” faith. So on that part I am thankful that even CNN recognizes the inadequacy of MTD as sincere faith. Unfortunately this picture of the truly committed Christian does not include Jesus Christ.
No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.
In this article you will find a level playing field for varieties of “christian faith”, Catholic and Protestant. I believe if you hone in on the evangelical, Gospel-centered denominations you will find more resistance to the infiltration of MTD. Yet the problem is present in all faith traditions. Even in the best churches you will find members, and particularly teenagers, who cannot speak accurately about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and what that means for us today.
“If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation,” wrote Dean, a professor of youth and church culture at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Not only parents, but churches receive the brunt of blame for this weak understand of christianity among teenagers.
Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy as well, says Corrie, the Emory professor. She says pastors often preach a safe message that can bring in the largest number of congregants. The result: more people and yawning in the pews.
Read the article and see what you think. It is from a secular perspective but has a fair treatment of MTD. It is my prayer that more youth leaders and parents will understand the reasons teens drift toward this watered down version of the Gospel, and then fight against it! We must teach and live the truthfulness of the whole counsel of God. We must understand it is not about us but about the Glory of God!
Your fellow worker in the field, Adam