Cultural News Commentary: On Jimmy Carter disassociating with Southern Baptists

Back on July 12th, 2009 in a Guardian Observer article Jimmy Carter announced severing ties with the Southern Baptist denomination related to the unwillingness to ordain women. Now the point of this commentary is really not to get into the ins and outs of the place of women within the church. Rather, it is to take a look at what Jimmy Carter said in this article in the name of Christianity. However, it is worth outlining some initial thoughts on women in the church. There is much misunderstood and poorly applied within the various aspects of the corporate church. Many folks take and interpret scripture in accordance with their own views on male female relationships. It takes a much more thorough examination of male and female relating to grasp the intent. The lack of allowing woman in authority by corporate church is not about discriminating or devaluing women, rather it is following God’s design and elements that reflect things God intends us to learn. Now with those initial thoughts expressed this commentary will move on to examining the areas of concern with Jimmy Carter’s statements.

The first concern is that Jimmy Carter and the company he keeps, known as “the Elders,” basically are attempting to set forth what they consider to be the proper morality for the world. In his article Jimmy Carter referenced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration was declared by the United Nations back in 1948 (the year Israel became a nation.) It seems that the Jimmy Carter and the Elders are all about seeking to give voice to those UN declarations. Now that declaration and Jimmy Carter’s comments are taking that declaration and the underlying concepts and setting it is the standard of right and wrong. It is a declaration of rights and as such it is about stating that of which all of us are globally entitled. Anything that appears to deviate and appear to violate these declare rights are considered immoral and not benefiting the global community. Now the reader may state that those declarations are good and worth pursuing. However, that misses the point. This is humanity setting a declaration that all should abide. It is what comes first in the minds of Jimmy Carter and the elders. For Jimmy Carter the Holy Bible is viewed in relation to how it relates to these declared entitlements.     

Now not only do we have humanity declaring what are universal entitlements that shape universal morality but an overall view of humanity and religion. Jimmy Carter, the Elders, and the United Nations are about the agenda of Universality. Jimmy Carter’s statements are filled with concepts that embrace a multi-faith view that essentially express that what is important are the core elements found in each faith and view. This concept espouses the view that what one believes doesn’t matter and that all faiths are but a shadow and reflection of a mysterious whole. So, they point to the universal areas of agreement. This is displayed in Jimmy Carter’s following statement: “This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.” This has absolutely no founding in the Bible or in Christianity. It is found simply on the way and wisdom of the world.

Ultimately the main concern is that Jimmy Carter expresses this view or morality and a universal religious viewpoint in the name of Christianity. He even throws out the name of Billy Graham in order to try and give strength to his support. However, the views of Jimmy Carter and the Elders are not surprising. They are expressing views they think will offer solutions to the ills of society. They are all about building the community of mankind. The community of mankind is the Kingdom of the World which stands in opposition to the Kingdom of God. Yes, there are good concerns that the likes of Jimmy Carter, the Elders, and the United Nation advocate. One needs to be aware that these things that appear to be good concerns with meaningful political answers are faulty and limited. These matters will have the appearance of wisdom and hope. Many people will agree with the find sounding principles espoused but they are all fool’s gold. It looks good but ultimately worthless.

Ultimately for this writer in reflecting the words of Jimmy Carter, the works of the Elders, the agenda of the United Nations the reality of Joshua 24:15 is all too clear. The verse reads “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (NIV)” We each have two paths to choose from and only two paths. The path of the Kingdom of the World with temporary solutions to long lasting problems that are either rooted in or resulting from the sins of humanity or the path of the Kingdom of God which gives an eternal answer to the root of the problems that plague the world. So do you serve humanity or serve God?