EDITORIAL: Former president should practice what he preaches
During the opening session of the “New Baptist Covenant Celebration” in Atlanta Jan. 30, former President Jimmy Carter called for Baptists of all races, political leanings and theological stances to unite around a common belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to set aside the differences that have caused divisions.
It appears the President would have done well to take his own advice when he was a Southern Baptist. Rather than unite around a common belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and set aside differences, the former President is promoting divisiveness.
Rationalizing his reasoning for leaving the Southern Baptist Convention, Carter stated, “It’s not the dedicated and inspired work of our missionaries. It’s not the great preaching of Billy Graham or others who inspire people. It’s the image of divisions among brothers and sisters in Christ as we struggle for authority or argue about the interpretation of individual verses in the Holy Scriptures,” Carter said to an estimated crowd of 9,000 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Take another look at what he said. “It’s not the dedicated and inspired work of our missionaries.” Really? Then why is Jimmy Carter turning his back on the most effective missions sending organization in the world by bailing out on the Southern Baptist Convention?
“It’s not the great preaching of Billy Graham or others who inspire people.” No, his issue is not with the preachers he mentioned. His issue is with the inerrant Word of God.
“It’s the image of divisions among brothers and sisters in Christ as we struggle for authority or argue about the interpretation of individual verses in the Holy Scriptures.” Since when do two Southern Baptists agree on everything when it comes to interpreting scripture? Does Jimmy Carter really believe the new denomination will function without differences in interpretation?
Was the former President for real when he called the celebration of a New Baptist Covenant the most momentous event in his religious life? With all due respect Mr. Carter, what are you thinking? The most momentous event in your religious life was when a group of former presidents got together to support a new denomination because they failed to influence the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention? This is the most momentous event in the former Presidents religious life? How sad. It certainly has to be one of the most arrogant!
Think what you might about the politics of former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, but one thing is for sure, they would do better by sticking to politics and serving to facilitate change from within the greatest evangelical organization in Christendom rather than causing division.
The former President would do well to heed his own advice when he asked, “How many believe that like the early Christians, we should put aside our deeply felt personal differences and work in unity to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” Sounds like excellent advice. To bad the former President isn’t willing to practice what he preaches.