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The Toxic Belief of Moral Therapeutic Deism

If you’re depending on your own works to earn salvation, that’s a false gospel.

It’s a pretty common belief that bacteria are everywhere. Scientists believe there are approximately 5x1030 bacteria on Earth. What’s crazy about that is that some of our more “engineerish” and scientific-minded folk are trying to crunch the numbers their head right now. “Yancey, don’t be silly. That’s five gazillion.” We get it.

Not only do we have a lot of bacteria around us, we have a lot of bacteria in us. There are approximately 39 trillion bacterial cells in human body alone where most are rendered impotent by our immune system and some are even beneficial, especially in the gut system. And yet, as most of you know, there are some bacteria outside of us that, if they get into our body, can hurt us and even be deadly.

Toxic shock
Certain bacteria can secrete an exotoxin causing major damage to our system. It can lead to what is known as toxic shock. You’re healthy, then suddenly you get fever, low blood pressure, and mental confusion that can progress to coma and organ failure. Now it may be too late. That’s why time is of the essence when toxic shock surfaces. The longer you wait, the greater the damage. That’s power of toxicity: It takes something completely healthy and deteriorates it over time.

What’s true of body physical is true of body spiritual: We must take care of what enters it. In fact, I’d argue, the potential damage followers of Jesus can experience spiritually is just as if not more concerning. It can keep you from experiencing God’s power. It can make you feel like you know him well when you don’t know him much at all. It can create in you all kinds of fears, anxieties, and distance from your faith. And so much more. ...

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Yancey Arrington is the teaching pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in Houston, Texas, and the author of the newly released Preaching That Moves People (2018). He blogs at

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