"President Carter, am I a Christian?"

"President Carter, am I a Christian?" April 15, 2017

I love President Carter.
I’ve written about him here:

President Carter

 
and here:

The desire to find peace on Memorial Day

 
and here:

You met a president

 
New York Times reporter Nicolas Kristof had a great e-mail interview with him, concerning Carter’s faith.

Here’s a great highlight, with which I agree.

“I look on the contradictions among the Gospel writers as a sign of authenticity, based on their different life experiences, contacts with Jesus and each other. If the earlier authors of the Bible had been creating an artificial document, they would have eliminated disparities. I try to absorb the essence and meaning of the teachings of Jesus Christ, primarily as explained in the letters written by Paul to the early churches. When there are apparent discrepancies, I make a decision on what to believe, respecting the equal status and rights of all people.”

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  • Barbara LeFevre

    Author of the Article~
    I’m not sure why you chose to select one particular passage from Carter’s interview as though it truly represents his view of the Bible because, clearly, for those who read and understand ALL of what he said, it does not. Here are my comments about Carter’s true opinion.
    With regard to a literal six-day creation, I read something some years ago that bears repeating. If God isn’t telling the truth at the beginning of His Word, then when does He start telling it? As Scripture itself (II Tim. 3:16) testifies, everything from Genesis to Revelation is the Word of God, so when people start deciding for themselves what they will and will not accept, then they are exchanging the work and promise of the Holy Spirit to guide the believer into all truth (Jn. 16:13) for their own finite and fallible opinions, not the way we are to approach, examine, or understand the Word of God.
    Carter takes issue with the literal six-day creation because it doesn’t agree with his “scientific background,” but it is important to remember that God can do many things with His own creation. For example, when He planted the garden (Gen. 2:8), do we really think He planted seeds or seedlings, or did He circumvent normal “scientific” process and plant fully mature trees? Clearly, He did the latter or else Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had any food to eat.
    Carter doesn’t seem to think that Gandhi could possibly be in hell, but Jesus Himself said that there is no way to the Father except through Him (Jn. 14:6), so unless Gandhi received Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and was born again (Jn. 3:3-6) before he died, then, yes, he will be spending eternity in hell. Carter seems to be missing a very critical and non-negotiable element of the gospel, which is that we cannot, in ourselves, earn our way into the Father’s presence (Is. 64:6, Eph. 2:8-9).
    Finally, Carter’s “judge not” comment illustrates an abysmal understanding of God’s Word. The passage to which he refers, Matthew 7:1-7), is not condemning judging per se, only hypocritical judging. Believers are very much commanded to judge righteously (Jn. 7:24), meaning according to the truth of God’s Word.

  • jim

    Thanks for sharing. I’d encourage you to read some of my other posts, including this one https://faithonthefringe.com/2016/06/29/understanding-christians-in-fowlers-stages-of-faith/

  • John

    Barbara, primitive languages could never have scientifically explained a creation that occurred over millennia. Think of the six days as six eras. This is where I began my journey into the meat rather than the milk of my faith. We don’t worship the bible. Jesus didn’t tell us that a book was coming to guide us. He specifically mentioned a holy spirit, however. Interperet that with all of the freedom Christ bought for you! God bless!

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