Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. DeMario Hood

Second Advisor

Dr. Sam Storms

Third Advisor

Dr. Jim Vigil


Research indicates a pronounced discrepancy within American Christianity between self-professed Christians and individuals who embody a biblical worldview. Overwhelmingly, those who identify as Christians are not adhering to the teachings of the Scripture in their daily lives. The American church faces an imminent threat of Christians claiming to believe in Jesus even though their lives express the opposite. This chasm between profession and practice can be traced to an alternative gospel that has saturated the context of American Christianity: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). MTD, under the guise of Christianity, promotes a false gospel that has led many believers astray regarding the authenticity of their faith. To bridge this gap, there is a pressing need for unequivocal gospel communication. The following research question has guided this project: How can principles and practices of clear gospel communication be used to counteract the impact of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism on American Christianity? This research question is answered by defining the word “gospel” extensively and outlining its implications. Additionally, an explanation of the nature of MTD reveals the current threat it presents to contemporary gospel proclamation. Finally, an analysis of the sermon contents of four prominent American preachers informs the presence, or lack thereof, of the gospel in current preaching. Regardless of the degree to which MTD has contributed to the unwillingness of professing Christians to live out the gospel, Scripture never conceives of belief in the gospel as being anything but a consistent, fully surrendered living out of the gospel. The hope of this project is that the gospel will be more clearly proclaimed in an MTD-saturated world, resulting in more Christians living out the gospel they claim to believe.