First Congregational Church
Stanton, MI

Love for Truth  *  Passion for Righteousness  *  Enthusiasm for Service


Open Door Newsletter

Full-Hearted Affection

             --Pastor Jamey Nichols                     

          One modern style of Christianity is what many like to call “moralistic, therapeutic deism.” Breaking down each term, all it means is:

                            DEISM: The simple belief that God does in fact exist.

                            MORALISTIC:  We ought to be nice to others because God says things like lying, stealing, and name-calling is not nice.

                            THERAPEUTIC: God’s primary purpose is to help us feel better about ourselves. He fixes our emotional problems, our                                      relationships, and our diseases.

          If you look carefully at the concept, you can see that this style of Christianity is not about letting God be God, but rather making practical use of God for personal or societal benefit. The Bible has no place for such a view and considers such ideas anemic at best and idolatrous at worst. The God who made and redeems his people is mighty and glorious! He doesn’t deserve an occasional tip-o-the-hat on a Sunday morning with a periodic plea to enrich our lives. He deserves our undying devotion! He didn’t have his Son executed on a Roman cross just to make us nice people. He didn’t pour our punishment upon innocent Jesus just to offer mankind a steaming bowl of chicken soup for the soul. God gave his only son that whoever believes might not perish.

          In other words, without Jesus, we’re goners! He wants us to live in him! To flourish! Whoever does not believe stands condemned because the wrath of God hangs over every single person unless and until it is satisfied by the righteousness of Christ through the grace of God. This is what it means to be “saved.” Church is not a club—we’re a family. Our membership is comprised of forgiven sinners, cleaned and adopted by One who cared too much to simply let us die. Most of us understand what it means to love one’s parents. We understand what it means to love our kids. Our challenge is to understand what it means for God to love us.

          In fact, the only reason we love him at all is because He loved us first (1 John 4:19). Our task is to grasp the wonder of His love—it’s height, depth, length and breadth (Eph. 3:18-19). I’m not merely fond of God, I adore Him! Let us repent of moralistic-therapeutic-deism and announce with King David, “I love you, O LORD, my strength” (Psalm 18:1, NIV).