"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Jimmy Carter: A Genuine Christian Character

Jimmy Carter is a member, deacon, and Sunday School teacher at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. He is also the 39th President of the United States. I met President Carter for the first time two years ago on a visit to the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Since that initial meeting some of my friends have spoken to me about Mr. Carter and have condemned him for what they call his "lack of Christian character"--as if attacking him as a person would cause me to see the true evil nature of the former President.

Allow me to set the record straight.

I am a Republican. President Carter is a Democrat. We don't see eye to eye politically. I am pastor in a church active with the Southern Baptist Convention. Though President Carter's church still gives 50% of their mission offerings to the Lottie Moon offering, Maranatha is no longer active in the SBC. We don't see eye to eye ecclesiologically. I am calvinistic in my soteriology, partial-preterist in my eschatology, open communion in my ecclesiology, conservative in my theology, inerrantist in my bibliology, and continuationist in my pneumatology. President Carter would probably agree with me in less than half of the foregoing theological positions. We don't see eye to eye theologically.

Yet, in my opinion, President Carter is a man of the highest Christian character and integrity. It should be an honor to all of us who name Christ as Lord to call Jimmy Carter a brother in Jesus Christ.

(1). He professes privately, publicly and without apology that "Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ."

(2). He serves his church as deacon, mowing the church lawn on a set rotation, fulfilling the responsiblity of being a church deacon with humility and grace.

(3). On two occasions that I have spoken privately spoken with him, not one time has he spoken a critical word about a fellow Christian in terms of their character, in spite of the fact he has been criticized, condemned and censored by several Christian leaders.

(4). He teaches Sunday School every Sunday that he is in town. Last Sunday was his 503 time to teach, and hundreds from all over the world came to hear him in a town with a population of only 600.

(5). His mission in life is to make the world a better place to live, striving to eradicate disease, educate children, and initiate peace between countries known for war.

(6). The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 to Mr. Carter for "his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democrac and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

(7). Every year the President Carter and Rosalynn volunteer one week to help build homes for the homeless through Habitat for Humanity.

For the above seven reasons alone, not to mention what could be said about his marriage, his family, and his tireless support of Baptists worldwide, every follower of Jesus Christ with Baptist convictions should refrain from attacking the character of this man. Disagree with him? Of course. Question his Christianity? Not unless you wish to answer to His heavenly Father for your attacks.

There are four areas that Christian leaders seem prone to use as an occasion to incessantly attack Mr. Carter's Christian character. I would like to show how one may disagree with Mr. Carter with civility and respect--while upholding the dignity of his Christian character.

Israel, Palestine and the Middle East

Many evangelicals are pro-Israel because of a seemingly uniform eschatalogy (pre-tribulational pre-millenialism). As a result, some Christian leaders castigate President Carter's advocacy for a Palestinian state and his defense of the Arab people. I happen to believe the United States should protect Israel, not because of my eschatology, but because I believe Israel stands alone in her democratic principles in a region known for autocratic dictatorships, religious theocracies, and other dysfunctional forms of government. Nevertheless, all of us must deeply appreciate what President Carter has done since the 1970's to bring peace to an area that most simply believed would never experience it. Whether you agree or not with Carter's position on the Palestinian question, no fellow Christian should feel compelled to attack Carter's character as he fulfills his role as statesmen in the Middle East. In fact, that in itself would be un-Christian.

Women in Ministry

See my previous post. Whether one agrees with his position or not, it would be prudent for all to treat his views with respect and to respond with civility due the dignity of his person. I predict that within a few decades even the Southern Baptist Convention will believe Carter's views on women in minsitry to be orthodox and biblical.

Universalism

Christian universalism is the belief that all people are redeemed by Christ and will eventually be brought to faith in Christ--either here or in heaven. Mr. Carter has repeatedly stated that the only way to be delivered from God's judgment is "by grace through faith in Jesus Christ." I have asked him why some insist that he is a universalist when he is so clear about how a sinner is delivered from God's judgment. He says he believes people misunderstand his views because he is gracious, respectful and tolerant of those who disagree with him, even those from other religions. Of course, he does not change his own views, but he is uninterested in condemning people who do not agree with him. He simply shares his views and believes God will do the saving.

Homosexuality

If there is one thing that keeps some evangelicals from seeing the call of God on women, it is the fear that recognizing "women preachers" is the first step down the slippery slope of recognizing "homosexual" preachers.

I don't understand that kind of thinking--unless of course, one believes homosexuality is part of one's personhood, rather than one's choice of behavior.

Let me illustrate.

Our church views homosexuality the same way we do adultery, or sexual activity before marriage, or any other sexual act outside the confines of a husband/wife marriage. We have many people who attend our church that are involved in these particular sins. We love them, we help them, and we encourage them, but we let them know that their lives will never be holy or genuinely happy until Christ enables them overcome their sinful sexual behaviors. We don't single out any one particular "sexual activity" as worse than others. We identify them all as sin before God.

There are some Christians who believe that God makes "homosexuals" the way they are and that having sex with a same sex partner is not "sin" if the relationship is monogamous, committed, and loving. We believe that the sacred text in several places, both Old Testament and New Testament, disputes this. The essence of Christianity is repentance of sin--and same sex homosexual behavior is sin. At the same time we love the person whose heart tends toward this sin - we will simply help him or her overcome it by the power of Christ just like we help the adulterer, the pedophile, the sexually immoral, overcome their urges toward sexual sins. We no more believe a homosexual is qualified to be pastor than we do an adulterer, a pedophile, etc . . . because of abnormal and sinful sexual behavior. For those who want others to believe that homosexual or lesbian sexual behavior is normal, just remind them that it's a good thing their parents didn't homosexuality normal sexual behavior. Again, homosexuality is a behavioral choice.

But a black man who preaches the gospel can't change the color of his skin. A woman who preaches the gospel can't change the gender of her person. A homosexual who preaches the gospel can change his or her behavior. Homsexuals are not part of a minority group, they are part of a behavioral group.

President Carter is not opposed to the government recognizing "homosexual unions." All of us know that the government must designate people in various civil unions for tax purposes, census taking and other government reasons. Carter himself, however, called "homosexuality" a sin at the conference where I heard him speak this past week. What baffles me is why we Christians rail against the United States government recognizing "homosexual" unions while we are often stone quiet when it comes to the practice of our government recognizing civil unions among men and women who live together outside of the covenant of marriage--and this type of civil union has been recognized by our government for decades. Both types of sexual unions (homosexual and heterosexual), outside of the covenant of marriage, are "sin" as defined by the church. Could it be that Christians like Jimmy Carter don't believe governments should be involved in the business of the church and vice-versa? In other words, just because a Christian is not opposed to homosexual civil unions being recognized by the government doesn't mean that Christian doesn't view homosexuality as sin.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Carter's views in the above four areas, my point in this post is to remind those of us who follow Jesus Christ that it is important that we refrain from attacking the character of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters and simply voice our disagreements with the grace of Christian love. Respect, civility and dignity should be the accompanying disciplines of all us who have been saved and are being transformed by our Lord Jesus Christ.

And I believe with all my heart that this Christian grace, civility and love should be shown toward Jimmy Carter, a man of genuine Christian character.

In His Grace,


Wade

186 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

The qualities you share, with reference to Pres. Carter, seem to me to be pleasing to God. They should please those who know, and know of, Pres. Carter.

But we all know that pleasing everybody pleases nobody.

Even among Baptists, sadly. And that is a reflection solely on us.

"... and I will show you my faith by my works."

Nate said...

Wade,

Someone at the Carter luncheon told me that President Carter went to your table and said he wanted to shake hands with "one of his heroes" and then told you he reads your blog regularly. Is that true?

Thy Peace said...

Amen.

I have admired President Carter for his humanitarian work and on human rights for the past 30 years. And I have also discovered he is a humble person. He may not be the best politician, probably because he is one of the few with a conscience. Of course in politics, this is not an asset. I have admired the work he has done for Habitat for Humanity. How many people do we know, especially celebrity politicians, pastors and actors who contribute one week of their time doing handyman's work?

That being said, I have not always agreed with President Carter with his Peace work and efforts in the middle east. My views are somewhat different than most. I find fault with both arabs and israelis in this regard.

For many reasons, I am reassured of my simple faith and trust in humanity and sense of hopefulness, by reading Pastor Wade's blog and thinking of the positive aspects of President Carter's work. Clearly trust in men or women is lot of times misplaced. The only trust we can be assured of is of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Healer.

Thanks Pastor Wade for fixing the comments problem.

happy gram said...

in my opinion, your views of president carter best exemplify what christianity SHOULD look like. sadly, it often doesn't.

Joe Blackmon said...

President Carter is proof that while not every political liberal is also a religious liberal, they most often are. Thanks for the reminder.

Michael Ruffin said...

Wade, Wade, Wade.

Welcome to the fringe, which used to be the center, and which one day will be again.

Bless you, brother.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

What a joy it is to read someone who can separate truth from prejudice, tradition,superstition and hear-say.

Christiane said...

I think of President Carter as a humble man, who in honoring Christ, does not walk past the less fortunate in our world without responding to help them.


Love, L's

Wade Burleson said...

Nate,

Yes. He was very gracious to both me and my wife.

Wade Burleson said...

Michael, Happy Gram, Aussie, and Christiane,

Thanks to all of you. I am just hoping we all can move toward civility in our discussions as Christians and you all give me hope that it can happen.

Kaylor said...

Wade: Very excellent post and a much needed word. I hope that more of Carter's brothers and sisters in Christ will consider your comments.

david b mclaughlin said...

great post. well said.

dm

Byroniac said...

President Carter is too liberal on some issues as far as I am concerned. But I did not know all of this about him. That speaks very well of him, and his Christianity.

Chris Ryan said...

Wade,

I have to admit, I read this post quite a bit earlier and I was eagerly anticipating the riot that would follow.

But I look at the responses and some who have responded and I can't help but notice one thing: if we dig behind the politics and simply focus on how a person, even an ex-president, has been formed and used by Christ then suddenly all those politics don't matter as much and we can all praise God together that He invites us to fellowship with Him and each other. If we can focus on God and the person whom God has redeemed, maybe the spirit of love and civility would once again be the norm rather than the exception.

Thy Peace said...

I have to admit, I read this post quite a bit earlier and I was eagerly anticipating the riot that would follow.

I was expecting this for the previous post. But for some reason it has not happened yet.

knock said...

I appreciate your shedding a new light on Mr. Carter. But I wish you would have addressed his comments in the statement he issued when he left the SBC. I found that statement to quite frankly loony.

Wade Burleson said...

Knock,

Why don't you give Mr. Carter's statement so we know what it is he is reported to have said about the SBC, then offer to us your civil disagreement (and your identity), and allow us to determine the validity of what you write.

Accepting a statement that what Mr. Carter said was "frankly loony" from someone anonymous as yourself is probably unwise on all our parts.

Paula said...

It is known that Muslim leaders say one thing to the west and quite another to their own people.

Is there evidence that Carter and Warren et al speak the gospel clearly and boldly to people of other faiths? Have they told Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. that Jesus is God in the flesh who died for our sins and rose again, and that no one will get to heaven unless they accept this Jesus and who He is?

Thy Peace said...

Paula, I highly respect your writings. But from personal experience, when a Christian says that to people of other religions, they get very defensive and the message is not understood. But if there was a personal relationship to begin with or some other bond, then they are more receptive to what you say. Mostly out of respect for you (or a Christian in this case).

Granted the actual conviction is done by The Holy Spirit. But at least they are receptive.

One thing I have seen is most people talk past to each other. That is each person is saying their own piece without listening to the other. This is very difficult.

Thy Peace said...

But if they offered their personal testimony, it might be the best.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

I could not, in my opinion, respond to Paula's question in a better manner than you have above.

Paula said...

Thy Peace,

I agree that most of our witnessing is non-verbal and indirect. But what I'm saying is that we as Christians should not be "ashamed of the gospel of Christ". These former presidents and global travelers are not new kids on the block and are not making "cold calls". They have developed relationships with world leaders and frequently say so.

But, especially when the whole reason for this dialog is allegedly "Christian", how can any believer enter into alliances with unbelievers? Being unequally yoked is rarely, if ever, remembered in our blind pursuit of "peace". If Carter et al are doing what they're doing for the cause of Christ, then Christ should be the first topic of discussion. Haven't they said this isn't political? Then what is it?

Muslims absolutely drip with their religion, in public, in everything they say, no matter who is around. They will say to westerners that "we all worship the same God", but they openly reject Jesus as the Son of God and deny that He died for anyone. They will not say that Jesus is the only way to be saved, but that we all worship the same God, giving the impression of cooperation for a greater good. But anyone who has studied Islam knows that such impressions can never be trusted.

If Carter is witnessing without words, then how is his behavior different from anyone else practicing their religion faithfully? How is his good behavior going to witness to these lost people, if all of them have agreed on what's "nice" to say and do? In other words, if a Christian and a Muslim agree on how to achieve peace and treat each other kindly, how is the Muslim going to know about Jesus unless words are said?

I believe Carter and Warren are naive at best in light of many of the things they've said. They are playing with fire. This is no time for diplomacy but urgency to spread the gospel to places the rest of us cannot reach. They are in these high places for a reason, and time is short.

Thy Peace said...

Paula: Rationally I agree with you. But my heart is saying, this will not work. Lot of times, unbelievers will know more about Christ by examining who we are. That is by our life and example, than more so by what we profess and say. I am not saying that words are not important, but they do not get through another person's heart. But our actions and our being, for some reason does.

Thy Peace said...

I just finished listening to this excellent sermon of Pastor Wade:

#4. Confession and God's Justice (I John 1:9-10), of the Series on I John: The Christian and Complete Joy. If you watch the video, it's titled "Confession and God's Justice", January 25, 2009 - Part 4 of series (1 Jn. 1:9-10).

Very convicting.

Also you will learn about frog legs. :)

Thy Peace said...

Paula, as I read your comment several times, it is slowly sinking in.

But what I'm saying is that we as Christians should not be "ashamed of the gospel of Christ".

Amen.

There are times when we should be bold in proclaiming the gospel. As Paul did in Jerusalem and Rome. I think he was driven by The Holy Spirit to do this.

Thy Peace said...

Sorry for making serial comments.

But this is important. Ellis Orazco said in his speech that Christianity always did best when being on the fringes. Or another way of putting it is, when Christians are being persecuted the most, Christianity spread the most. When Paul went to Rome and was boldly preaching the Gospel, he was clearly being persecuted. He knew what the end result was going to be. And he seemed content with his decision and of this foreknowledge as revealed by The Holy Spirit.

Rex Ray said...

“Honor your father and mother.”

I was astounded at Carter’s desire to work in pleasing his father at a young age in his book “An Hour before Daylight.”

Around five years old, one of his jobs was to carry water to the workers in the fields.

Once his father wouldn’t let him work because he had a sore hand.
Carter hit his hand until the infection broke, and he convinced his father it didn’t hurt anymore.

I don’t know the ends and outs of Carter, but I believe he still tries to please his Father.

ABClay said...

It seems as if Paula is saying that the Gospel necessarily needs to be preached for one to be saved by God (I think I have read that somewhere).

And "Thy Peace" is suggesting that God saves outside the clear preaching of the Gospel?

Am I correct?

Also, I read the entire post and all the comments, and not a single comment about Carter's support of those who murder unborn children.

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?...Anyone?

cutting down the trees to see the forest....

ABClay

Grosey's Messages said...

Wade,

You stated:

“[Carter] professes privately, publicly and without apology that “Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Does Carter profess privately, publicly and without apology that “Salvation is by grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Jesus Christ.”?

Cordially,

chadwick

Rex Ray said...

Bob Cleveland,
This is me, getting my dandruff up over your quote: “…and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Have you thought what his works were?

His knees were hard as a camel’s from praying for the sins of Israel, and he was a scoffer before Jesus rose from the dead

Why didn’t he quit his job if he realized he was replaced by Calvary?

Why did he keep his Christian identity a secret from men he rubbed elbows with every day…those that killed his Brother? What kind of works is that?

Did he hear the blows from the holy place when Peter and John were beaten in the temple for testifying for Jesus?

Being hero of Pharisees, one word from him at Paul’s trial, and Paul would have been free - never to write, “No man stood for me.”

When push came to shove, he became a martyr for Jesus.

I believe as a cowboy movie said of a bad guy who spurred his horse at his hanging, “He didn’t live right but he died good.”

knock said...

Here is Carter's statement. He has apparently left the SBC twice. Once in 2000 and again with this statement this year.

[M]y decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

Paula said...

ThyPeace,

First, thank you for even trying to understand my view. Most people just don't want to hear it. :-)

But I agree that the Spirit prompted Paul to preach in Athens. I also believe this same Spirit prompts us today, but few listen and obey. Jesus told His disciples,

"On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles." (Mt. 10:18)

Are not Carter and Warren "before kings"? Are they faithful witnesses to those kings, speaking boldly to them about Jesus being the only way? (good point, Grosey) Were those disciples to worry about political fallout? I'm asking everyone who speaks glowing praise of any Christian "rubbing elbows" with the world's leaders to consider these questions.

@ABClay: I didn't know of Carter's position on abortion, but now that you mention it, didn't he support Obama?

Kaylor said...

Knock: Actually, Carter only left the SBC once. There were several inaccurate news stories recently claiming he left now. All he actually did was refer to his earlier departure in a column(apparently some journalists did not know that he had already left and don't know how to google).

ABClay: Actually, Carter is against abortion. Consider these quotations:

-"I never have felt that any abortion should be committed--I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors," Carter explained in 2005. "I've never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion."

-While campaigning for president in 1976 Carter stated, "I think abortion is wrong and that the government ought never do anything to encourage abortion."

-In 2007, Carter offered: "Well, my views on abortion are certainly compatible with almost all Southern Baptists. I'm strongly opposed to abortion and always have been. When I was president, I did everything I could to minimize the need for abortion."

This is one of those areas where people need to heed Wade's words in this post.

Paula said...

Also, ThyPeace, your quote about Christians doing best when on the fringe...

This is exactly what many influential Christians are saying, Warren boldly so. Those who oppose his "PEACE" plan are "resisters" who are to be gotten rid of. Such are derisively called "fundies" by him because they hold strongly to scripture and oppose the watering down of the gospel.

Like the RCC has done in the past, again we are beginning to see the return of persecution of Christians by the "church". Are the Carters and Warrens champions of the gospel-- or the instruments of our coming persecution? Whether they realize the roles they're playing or not is irrelevant. And as alleged Christian leaders, they cannot plead ignorance of scripture, nor as former or pseudo politicians can they plead ignorance of their influence.

As I would ask any faith healer why they don't spend their time in children's hospitals, so also I would ask any Christian rubbing elbows with world political leaders why they don't do what God put them in high places to do. Where is the gospel in all their talk?

Rex Ray said...

Knock,
Thanks for Carter’s quote, but I believe Carter had the wrong conclusion.

Jerry Fawell was asked why he changed to join the SBC.

The reply of Fawell says it all: “I haven’t changed – the SBC has come around to my way of thinking.”

Jesus was asked to send Mary to the kitchen as the SBC has done, but Jesus said, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. (Mark 10:42)

The BFM 2000 makes itself a hypocrite with a great statement: “Baptist deny the right of ANY secular or RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches”; then turns around and contradicts the statement by declaring two NEW confession of faith:

1. “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.”
2. “The office of pastor is limited to men.”

Why can’t people see this boots priesthood of the believer and autonomy of the church out the window?

The old conventions of Texas and Virginia, fired missionaries, and Carter were not so blind.

Carter’s conclusion should have been: ‘The SBC has severed ties with me.’

jasonk said...

Funny thing is I remember in the 1970s, when Mr. Carter was running for president, the churches all campaigned for him. They said he was "one of us." The Baptist Messenger seemed to turn into a political tool for him. I was young both times he ran, but I was saved and a member of an SBC church. In spite of my youth, I found it strange that the convention seemed to be so enamoured with this politician just because he was a Southern Baptist deacon.
Having said that, I've always respected him, and prayed for him while he was in office. I appreciate this post, and the importance of loving Mr. Carter as a brother, even though we disagree on some issues.
I think that Carter's alleged universalism can be explained pretty easily. Yes, salvation can only come through faith in Christ. But the New Testament says that at the name of Jesus, EVERY knee will bow, and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Some interpret this to mean that in the end, every person--Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, agnostic, etc., will confess that Jesus is Lord, and will thus be saved.

Wade Burleson said...

Kaylor,

Thanks for answering Knock for us. It is helpful to have quotes from a person who allows us to know who he is (like you) in order to verify the source. Kaylor, I appreciate you pinting out that actually Carter is against abortion through offering the following quotations:

-"I never have felt that any abortion should be committed--I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors," Carter explained in 2005. "I've never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion."

-While campaigning for president in 1976 Carter stated, "I think abortion is wrong and that the government ought never do anything to encourage abortion."

-In 2007, Carter offered: "Well, my views on abortion are certainly compatible with almost all Southern Baptists. I'm strongly opposed to abortion and always have been. When I was president, I did everything I could to minimize the need for abortion."

Cathy said...

Paula,

Jimmy Carter has had a long history of witnessing before and after attaining high office.

He came under criticism as a sitting president for witnessing to the president of South Korea who was a Buddhist.

Wade has also already noted his many years of service teaching Sunday School at his home church. I don't think that Jimmy Carter shrinks away from sharing his faith.

It is a shame that someone should have to bear the criticism from both sides to the degree that Jimmy Carter has.

Cathy

RRR said...

Wade,

I agree that President Carter is a really nice guy. I too felt sure that he must be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ given his devotion to his Baptist church, teaching Sunday School and wonderful humanitarian projects.

The matter that threw me off as to the genuineness of his faith in Christ was when he stated publicly that he believes that Mormons should be considered as "main stream" Christians.

That really befuddled me and I even wrote him a letter asking him if he really considers Mormons to be genuine Christians.

Given his intellect and knowledge I couldn't imagine that he would be ignorant of Mormon beliefs. That being the case, it led me to wonder if Jimmy Carter actually understand what being a born again follower of Jesus Christ actually is!

Say what you want about his lifestyle and wonderful humanitarian feats. They are impressive.

He never answered my letter and I attributed that to being that he is very busy.

Paula said...

Kathy,

If that's true then of course it's a good thing. But I share RRR's concern about consistency. Can anyone who knows the gospel call Mormonism "Christian"? What exactly did Carter say to the president of S. Korea? Was it the same as he says to believers in the US, and does he specify that Jesus is the ONLY way for anyone in the world to be saved?

My point is that there are many unanswered questions, and we must never whitewash any believer. Scripture calls King David "a man after God's own heart", yet also details his adultery and murder-- and genuine remorse and repentance.

Carter's statements about Jews have to be considered, along with statements about Mormons, and anything else inconsistent with the gospel. It is highly commendable that he is openly egalitarian and doing many acts of charity, but more is required of those believers with great influence. They must have correct doctrine to go with a soft heart; those two things balance and guard each other.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula said...

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"


Good deeds are not the gospel. They can open up the heart and make it receptive, and they are to be the norm in the life of every believer. But no one can be saved without faith in the risen Jesus, and that faith needs an Object. Somehow, one way or another, a person must understand facts about Jesus, or all they have is a vague sense of the divine.

Balance, balance, balance... I'll keep saying it as long as necessary. "... in Spirit AND in Truth".

Thy Peace said...

Amen, Paula.

Joe Blackmon said...

Is there evidence that Carter and Warren et al speak the gospel clearly and boldly to people of other faiths? Have they told Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. that Jesus is God in the flesh who died for our sins and rose again, and that no one will get to heaven unless they accept this Jesus and who He is?

Nope. There is none. That would be exclusive. Those on the political and theological left don't tolerate exclusivity.

Debbie Kaufman said...

There are many who 'talk at' others about Christ. They use the usual 'you are going to hell if' threats and promises. Their strong message is very compelling.

But, in the end, maybe it IS the simple witness of love for a brother, being 'with him' in his need, that speaks with a more forceful voice of the transforming love of the Savior.


L's that is perfectly said and perfectly right. Scripture interprets scripture and it always has amazed me that some passages are use while others disregarded. All of scripture is true, not just bits or pieces or what Rachelle Burleson has aptly called "popcorn verses".

Lydia said...

One of the most loyal, loving, compassionate, generous and caring people I have ever known in my life was one of my former bosses who was an athiest. He was more "Christlike" than any Christian I have ever met.

He modeled it but it was not of Christ. Had he been a believer and told someone the truth of Christ, would he still have been considered so loving in the eyes of others?

Paula said...

The Offense of the Cross

RM said...

I'm glad Carter is saved and a good man but that doesn't negate the fact that he was probably the very worst President that we have ever had.

BTW, his graciousness did not often extend to his attacks and comments about George Bush. There are still plenty of us who love and respect President Bush and remember Carter's comments and actions quite well.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Lydia: The Bible says any good works that anyone performs is from God. I believe that would include unbelievers as well. Reread Wade's post. He is not basing his post on just Jimmy Carters performance. It is the fruit of Jimmy Carter's faith. In fact according to Matthew Christ said that the greatest commandment is love for God and others. This is how our faith shows itself. The world has a right to question our faith if we show no love and compassion and simply shove the gospel in someone's face. In fact that is not the gospel.

Paula: We are not to deliberately go out and offend. It's the cross and Christ's life, resurrection, that may be offensive, but unfortunately it's our behavior that is offensive. The world rejects it. They should. And that is something the Bible never condones.

Jimmy Carter speaks of Christ, speaks of the gospel. He did during his Presidency. Many of you are too young to have been around then. I think you are listening to rumors.

We are to give the gospel verbally, but if our actions or the way we give the gospel is harsh and unloving, according to 1 Corinthians it means nothing.

linda said...

Excellent post!

I've often thought that if we Christians return to being about salvation rather than morals, the moral issues will get taken care of by the Holy Spirit.

Instead we try to force our moral agenda without the heart change necessary to implement it.

Doesn't work!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Question? We are to model ourselves after Christ. How did he handle the Pharisees? How did he handle the gospel and those who were unbelievers, the worst of the worst? Who did he stay with, eat with, spend time with? That is our model.

Paula said...

Paula: We are not to deliberately go out and offend. It's the cross and Christ's life, resurrection, that may be offensive, but unfortunately it's our behavior that is offensive. The world rejects it. They should. And that is something the Bible never condones

Why do you think I ever said any such thing?

Lydia said...

Hi Debbie, I wasn't really thinking of Carter when I wrote that. I believe he is a brother even though I disagree with him quite a bit not only about politics (his embrace of Arafat who was a terrorist despite the Nobel Prize) but also some things he has said about some of his Christian brothers.

I was thinking of the slant I see in some comments here about works being the gospel. I am afraid you read much into comments that is not there. And that comes from me not communicating better.

Christiane said...

Good Morning Everyone,

It's me, L's

The Gospel.

It calls me to be with my brothers and sisters who need me, as I need them, to do what we can to relieve suffering in the name of Jesus Christ.

The key words are 'TO BE WITH MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS'.

President Carter understood this, in Christian humility. He knew that, before the Lord, we are all equal in dignity, each having been made 'in His Image'. And that dignity requires genuine respect of a kind that must be shown openly.
This is a quote from President Carter:

""Habitat has successfully removed the stigma of charity by substituting it with a sense of partnership," Carter said. "The people who will live in the homes work side by side with the volunteers, so they feel very much that they are on an equal level."

He knows: 'work side by side'.
He understands the Gospel at this very deep level: the preserving of a poor person's dignity as a human being, as a child of God.

There are many who 'talk at' others about Christ. They use the usual 'you are going to hell if' threats and promises. Their strong message is very compelling.

But, in the end, maybe it IS the simple witness of love for a brother, being 'with him' in his need, that speaks with a more forceful voice of the transforming love of the Savior.


Love, L's

Christiane said...

Sorry good people: I changed my opening and reposted. I sure messed up the flow of conversation.
Please forgive.
I love you all, L's

John said...

Wade,
Thanks for your perspective on President Carter. I'm sure you've read it, but Al Mohler gave his perspective on him a while back. You can read it here, http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=4140

There is much about President Carter to be admired, but there are many things that some good theology would really help.
thanks again,
john

Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: It must be the series on Calvinism you wrote that I read. :)

Paula said...

And you don't consider your commenting here about another blog off topic? Or any other comments you've made to me in this blog offensive?

Okaayyy....

Lydia said...

We have a problem here, friends. While Jimmy Carter was building houses for poor people, he was also purposely and publicly supporting terrorists who strap on suicide belts and kill innocent people. And lob missles into hospitals and schools. And supporting the people who oppress women and some he supported he knew had laws about circumsizing women in their country. Does it matter that the innocent children killed by terrorists he supported were not Christians but Jews?

And most of this was AFTER he was president. And they are not rumors but facts that can be verified with a little research.

Here is just a sample of what I am talking about:

http://www.terrorismawareness.org/jimmy-carters-war/

I will be forever grateful he was not president during 9/11.

He is still a brother but this is why I am having a problem with the "good works" theme around here.

Many of us have a problem with the culture war that the SBC has taken on over the last 30 years. I believe Carter has done the exact same thing but with a different slant.

Wade Burleson said...

Lydia,

It seems to me we have a hard time separating our politics from our relationship with Christ, or possibly, being able to separate a fellow Christian's politics from his or her relationship with Christ. In other words, regardless on which end my brother in Christ falls in terms of his politics (liberal or right), he is my brother.

I'm not asking anyone to agree with Carter's politics, only that he is a brother in Christ due our respect and love as a person.

In His Grace,

wade

Paula said...

So it is incumbent upon any of us who sees a brother or sister harming the cause of Christ (which certainly includes aiding those who kill and maim), to confront them. Has any of Carter's Christian friends done this?

Lydia said...

Wade, I totally agree.

I was having a hard time with the 'good works as gospel' presenting itself here and the problems that come from focusing on them. I have the same concern with the culture war that presents itself as 'good works' in the SBC.

Blessings.

Christiane said...

Dear LYDIA,

In the matter of "good works" as Gospel:

how can caring for the 'least of His' not be a part of the Gospel of Christ?

If there is a 'disconnect' or is the Gospel of St. Matthew teaching us that there is a connection (in Chapt 25)?

I'm sure I am not seeing the whole picture here. Love, L's

Joe Blackmon said...

You know, I don't know why I bother saying it but it seems interesting that the only time I've read where Carter says salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is not from him but a second hand comment on this blog. If he really believes it, you'd think he'd come out and say it himself. But then again, that would put him on the outs with other theological and political liberals.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe Blackmon,

Go watch his speech from the archives provided in the link from my last post. He doesn't say it once.

Jimmy Carter says it five times.

"We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ."

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

I am partial to YouTube mainly because it is free, it's downloads speeds are high, redundant servers and locations around the world and it makes it very easy to view and embed videos everywhere.

Uploading video to YouTube, length of videos, sizes, qualities ...

The best example I can find related to Wade's blog is:

YouTube Channel: James White - Alpha & Omega Ministries.

They have video in length all over the place. That is more than 10 minutes in length.

YouTube Help in Uploading.

Once a user makes a YouTube account, and if they convert it to a Director Account and opens a channel for subscriptions ... I believe YouTube lets you upload videos in length longer than 10 minutes and it's free. This has to be tested. This knowledge comes from reading online info.

For best quality, one needs originals.

I think this will benefit Pastor Wade to post his speeches and sermons.

I will continue to dig up more information on this.

Christiane said...

Dear JOE,

No, it wouldn't. Not at all. :)


How are you doing?
Love, L's

Paula said...

"We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ."

ALONE?

Aussie John said...

Wade,

I seldom comment here because I am so much not a part of the Baptist scene to which you folk belong, but this old feller feels compelled at the moment, to bang the keyboard.

Some things seem to often stand out amongst some of the comments:

Many seem to consider themselves as having the final definitive word on any subject, and therefore able to correct everyone else.

Many seem to have a problem discerning the fact that when a finger is pointed at someone the one pointing becomes the recipient of three fingers pointing back at themselves.

Above anything else, the evangelical disease of believing that Christians are called to make converts is very evident, and nowhere to be found in Scripture.

The Great Commission requires us to make disciples, which during fifty years of ministry, I am confident, more often than not requires the building of relationships, before sharing the precious Good news.

I am amazed at those who profess to have had stony hearts softened by God's saving grace in Christ, commonly using harsh or antagonistic language towards their brethren.

Lastly a question: When did terms such as liberal, fundamentalist, Arminian, Calvinist, etc., etc.,become the defining term for one who has trusted in the life and finished work of the risen Christ?

And yes, I am qualified to write as I have, because I've been there and done all the above, and I now know better, although some may say just old and senile :)

By the way: the old adage is true: When I was young I thought I knew everything, when I was in my midyears I thought I knew something, now I am old I know that the knowledge I have is infinitesimal.

Thy Peace said...

Amen, Aussie John.

Lydia said...

Dear LYDIA,

In the matter of "good works" as Gospel:

how can caring for the 'least of His' not be a part of the Gospel of Christ?

If there is a 'disconnect' or is the Gospel of St. Matthew teaching us that there is a connection (in Chapt 25)?

I'm sure I am not seeing the whole picture here. Love, L's

Tue Aug 11, 05:21:00 PM 2009

The whole picture is your focus on the gospel being as good works. This then requires that we look at ALL the works of a person, right? That requires we weigh works and keep a tally? On one side, we have building houses for the poor. On the other side we have supporting terrorists who murder innocent children. So, if we use your works standard, which "works" win out?

If you judge me by my works, I am in trouble. I yelled at my daughter yesterday for no reason and had other thoughts I would never mention here. And yes, I have guilt from the Holy Spirit and confess and am in repentance.

I made the point earlier that my former boss was more Christlike in words and behavior than any Christian I have ever known. And he is an athiest.

Some of you seem to think what I am writing translates into preaching hell fire and brimstone to folks all the time.

It is truth of the Gospel that saves us, brings us to repentance and faith. I can do great works for the least of these and be a heathen.

Yet, if I am saved and harm others or turn my back on those who need help or those treated badly, then I should question my own salvation.

I am just concerned by what I see as works salvation being presented here. I am sure I am not explaining myself well.

I believe Carter is saved but I am not going to judge that based soley on his works. If that is the case, then Ghandi was the best Christian ever.

Mark | hereiblog said...

One of the theological problems I see with Carter is his position on Mormons.

Back in 1997 the Desert News article Are Mormons Christian? Certainly, Carter says reports that Carter accepts Mormons as Christians.

In an interview, >Jimmy Carter's Bible-Study Teachings, with Lisa Miller in Newsweek in March 2007 read the Q&A.

Miller: Do you think a Mormon is a Christian?
Carter: Yes, I do. I have a cousin who is a Mormon and she married one of the Marriott family. I don’t know anyone who’s more devout in their faith than she and her family. I admire them very much.

Thy Peace said...

Lydia, thanks for your comments. They always illuminate Truths.

If that is the case, then Ghandi was the best Christian ever.

This I will disagree. Not about the Christian part. But the good deeds of Gandhi. On the whole he was a good man, but he did do some bad deeds and experiments. If you dig some more, you will find the bad side to him. But on the whole he did good. I am grateful that he was there in South Africa, where they threw him off the train, because he refused to move from first class to third class compartments of the train due to his race. And this started his transformation.

Wade Burleson said...

Aussie John,

As fine of a comment as I have had on this blog.

I echo Thy Peace's amen.

ezekiel said...

"My point is that there are many unanswered questions, and we must never whitewash any believer"


Paula, until recently I would have been in agreement with you here. But...I am not so sure we should be so quick to condemn what Christ has apparently made righteous. Rom 5:15-17. It would appear that Jimmy has done a lot more to live out his faith than many folks we see today calling themselves Christians.

I suggest a quick review of Romans 3:28, 4:7-8,22-25

We see we are justified totally apart from our works and as a believer, not guilty anymore. I think that can apply and does for Jimmy Carter and the rest of us. At least I hope so.

Rom 4:25 Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].

Romans 5 is a real eye-opener and what do we do with Romans 8:1?

"They must have correct doctrine to go with a soft heart; those two things balance and guard each other."

I don't see too many OT examples or NT examples where correct doctrine saved anybody. The woman at the well, the blind man, the theif on the cross...Doctrine didn't help any of them.

I think we need to keep justification seperate from good deeds.

Rom 3:28 For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.]

If as Benji suggests and which appears to be biblical, that we are to be led by the Spirit, then a more apropriate line of questioning may be to ask why the Holy Spirit didn't direct Jimmy Carter to make a more public or more energetic defense or promotion of the Gospel when we think he had the chance to do...

That puts me on a course of questioning God and I am not ready to do that.

Somebody call 911...I am defending Jimmy Carter!

ezekiel said...

Still can't spell either.

Paula said...

ezekiel, your comment gives me the feeling that not a single point I tried to make in this thread has gotten across. Forgive my poor communication skills.

Lydia said...

"I think we need to keep justification seperate from good deeds."

This is the point I was trying to make. Although badly communicated by me.

Christiane said...

I can read the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapt 25:31-46
and I can see that President Carter has incorporated it into his declaration of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

What we are, as Christians, arises from 'the love that never ends'.
What we do as Christians, be it to express a belief, or to have hope, or to act, as we feel Christ has commanded, towards the 'least of His': all are born in us from the well-spring of Christ's love. And in all that, we have only one goal: to arrive back to the eternal, unlimited well-spring of His Love.


He is our Alpha. He is our Omega.
There is, in that cycle, a certain integrity that brings peace. Love, L's

happy gram said...

wow, aussie john. plain, simple truth. somehow we have gotten so far from what i believe Christ intended.

i'm not ashamed of the gospel. i do know that in-your-face=arm-twisting evangelism is rarely effective. the way i live my life, the way i love and forgive and the way i help others opens the door to sharing the gospel. the copout is if you only witness without words and never seize the opportunity to speak the Truth. and, for me, speaking the Truth to a non-believer involves telling of Christ's sacrifice on the cross for my sins - it doesn't involve the words liberal, conservative, george bush, obama, lottie moon, armenian, women's rights, homosexual, abortion, etc. Jesus Christ saves and promises everlasting life if we accept Him.

God is Alive and Well said...

Aussie John,

One of the best quotes I have ever read. That statement of yours might have been written centuries ago about any religious person or group anywhere.

Notice I said religious and not Christian.

To many religious folks with a religious spirit and not enough Christian folks with the Spirit of Christ like what Wade described in his previous video and post.

grace
wtreat

Alan Paul said...

Mr. Kaylor-

I have always been confused by someone who says they are pro-life, but their political support shows otherwise. I suppose it would have to do with other issues that democrats generally support that they care about... I do know you cannot in say Carter is pro-life without dealing with the fact that he has always supported his party - a party that is by far an anti-life party with a solid, dyed-in-wood anti-life platform.

RRR said...

-Former US President Jimmy Carter, a prominent Southern Baptist, recently told reporters that he not only considers Mormons to be Christian, but also believes his church is becoming too much like "Pharisees" in determining who is acceptable: "When questioned by the Deseret News about the SBC's characterization of Mormons as non-Christians, Carter said his church's leadership has become 'narrow in their definition of what is a proper Christian or certainly even a proper Baptist.'" Carter is also quoted as saying, "I think that the worst thing that we can do, among the worst things we can do, as believers in Christ, is to spend our time condemning others, who profess faith in Christ."-

Wade,
We should love everyone includig Jimmy Carter. But do you believe that Mormons are our brothers in Christ?

Oprah also believes in Jesus, but also believes that there are many ways to God.

It is not mean or bad to point out when someone's theology is contrary to the clear teachings of the Word. It's our responsibility.

I am disappointed that you do not at least question that anyone who believes that Mormons, one of the most twisted, pagan and perverted cults in the world, are genuine Christians is not some how confused.

Since you're friends with Friend Carter I wish you would ask him about his perception on Mormons personally. He didn't answer my letter but he might answer yours and then you could straigthen us all out.

God bless.

Thy Peace said...

Conference > Midwest Regional Meeting - New Baptist Covenant > General Session 3, Fri..

President Jimmy Carter's Speech:

00Hrs:55mts to 01Hr:20mts

Christiane said...

I like Mormons.
A particular family, especially.

You know, two of my son's friends were Mormons, twin boys, and they were at my house constantly. My son played basketball at the gym of their church near our home for years.

At no time, did my son ever feel that he was not in the company of Christian people. I knew the twins to be wonderfully up-standing and decent boys, and I was fond of their mother who is my friend.

They had a quality of humility and a great devotion to their family life and to their faith, which they did not try to push on us.

Their church had a 'live manger scene' complete with animals and, yes, a real baby, at Christmas time.
IT WAS A BLESSING TO THE WHOLE COMMUNITY.

May I ask, why so much hate?

So much disrespect?

What have these people ever done to anyone to be treated so badly?

I just don't understand.

And please, don't give me a list of their beliefs as an excuse for your contempt.
I'm more interested in where the hate comes FROM.

Strange, I don't rise to speak when I am attacked for my own faith: but for these people, I feel a call to protect.

I just don't think that the Mormons deserve hatred and contempt from other Christians: we are better than that.

Thy Peace said...

L's: I do not think it is hatred if lovingly one shares with Mormons why their belief(s) are wrong. I am sure some of the southern baptists were trying to do that with catholics, here in this blog and other blogs. But lot of times, it comes across as "I am right, and you are wrong" message and the people being "confronted" get very defensive or offended. Mind you, I am not saying Catholics are not Christians. I am just giving an example. For these discussions to take place, there has to be an even level of bond between the people for them to be receptive of their possible shortcomings in their belief(s). It is very rare, that when directly confronted, a believer changes their thinking. Without Love, sometimes Truth lot of times is not even heard to begin with. And this is the hard part.

RRR said...

Christine,

Perhaps you confuse anger with hate. Maybe I, for one, am not clear enough in stating that I love Mormons, like I love Buddhists, but I fear for their salvation.

Jesus was angry with the Pharisees and called them "you brood of vipers" because He saw their deception and how they preyed on those who were weak and unaware of the truth.

Mormons say, "As man is, God was. As God is, we shall be."

I have much more patience with Thai Buddhists than Mormons because at least they're not deceitful in presenting who they are and what they believe. Mormon missionaries come to Thailand, like Jehovah Witnesses, and present themselves as having the same beliefs as Christians. They even point to their belief in the Bible.

It is not until they deceive the unaware listener that they are "mainstream" Christians, like the Thai Christians one sees, that they begin to share that they also are gods and will one day be the spiritual parents of all the souls in their terrestrial world.

I've invited many Mormon missionaries into my house to witness to them. They always leave knowing that I care about them and love them.

By the way, why would you choose to not want to review the beliefs of the Mormons or not want anyone to explain why they're so incensed by the Mormon portrayal?

My fear is that we're not being bold in explaining this and that we do not see anything wrong with their deception that is leading so many to hell.

I honestly do not hate, but they do anger me.
rrr

Wade Burleson said...

RRR,

I am disappointed that you do not at least question that anyone who believes that Mormons, one of the most twisted, pagan and perverted cults in the world, are genuine Christians is not some how confused.

Are you saying I should tell people Jimmy Carter is not a genuine Christian?

Sorry, RRR. Ain't gonna happen, nor should it. :)

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

Thanks for the link to President Carter's speech. Here's hoping RRR and Joe Blackmon actually watch it before they comment again.

:)

Paula said...

Here's hoping RRR and Joe Blackmon actually watch it before they comment again.

Snide comment, one I'm sure would not be well received coming the other way. Did anyone but me watch the link Lydia provided?

So much for "nice".

Wade Burleson said...

Paula,

I think you missed my smiley face.

:)

Didn't mean it snide at all.

I meant it sincerely. I think it is always better to listen to someone before you judge someone.

Wade

Paula said...

Which is why I wondered if anyone had watched Lydia's link about Carter.

:-)

Wade Burleson said...

Also, Paula, how do you feel about RRR and Joe Blackmon questioning the Christianity of President Carter?

Does that trouble you?

Wade Burleson said...

I may have misread Joe's and RRR's comments. They may not be questioning Carter's Christianity, and if not, I do apologize.

Paula said...

When did they do that? I saw something about him being confused, but that's all. Anyway, maybe it would be better to ask them to clarify before presuming.

:-D

Wade Burleson said...

I agree.

Joe Blackmon and RRR, do you agree with the premise of this post that Jimmy Carter is your brother in Christ, a Christian man of grace, and deserving of your love and respect as a child of God?

Christiane said...

Dear RRR and THY PEACE,

I'm sorry if I 'over-reacted' to some of the way that things were said.

I just felt the need to express how much I hold my Mormon friends dear. They ARE good and decent people and I do not worry for their salvation in Christ the Lord.
I am more worried about those who might feel the need to throw stones at them.

THY PEACE,
There IS 'difference' between exchanging ideas, learning from one another, sharing, dialoguing respectfully;
and 'that other way'.

That 'other way' does not seem to me to come 'from a good place'.
I do not see the imprint of Christ's Hand in 'the other way'.

My own faith does not permit me to treat anyone 'that other way', least of all, a Christian brother or sister.

I am sorry if I 'over-reacted' and mis-understood anyone.
I did it for my Mormon friends, whom I love. Please forgive.

Love, L's

Mark | hereiblog said...

Hi L's, M's here. :)

The heretical "biblical" teachings of Joseph Smith have lead much of my family away from God. My great grandmother died believing the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament were about Joseph Smith instead of Jesus. I was raised in a religion that was all about works.

Anyway, I've been there and doctrine is important. I certainly don't hate those capture by Smith's teachings. My heart breaks for them.

Tom Kelley said...

Hi, Wade,
I'm sure RRR can clarify for himself, but I don't think he was saying that you should question Carter's Christianity, just that you should question whether Carter is confused when claiming that Mormons are Christians.

Hi, Paula,
I hear you and I get you. LOL at 04:32 PM.

Hi, Lydia,
I get you, also.

Hi, Christiane,
It isn't "hate" for someone to believe that Mormons are not Christians. I understand that, as a Catholic, you may have some different views on what being a Christian means, but I suspect that most Baptists would agree that, theologically speaking, Mormonism is not a Christian religion. So they are naturally surprised and dismayed that Carter, as a Baptist, would not share their view on what being a Christian means.

Jimmy Carter,
If you're reading this discussion, I'm sure you're getting a kick out of it. Since everyone else seems to have an opinion, we'd love to hear your thoughts on whether or not Jimmy Carter is really a Christian. :)

-----
Tom

Mark | hereiblog said...

Christiane,

I'm curious. Why don't you worry about the salvation of your Mormon friends?

Thanks.

Thy Peace said...

Paula, I did watch the video from Lydia's comment. Very engaging and persuasive. But it neglects to mention the horrors being inflicted on the Palestinians by the Israelis. I agree with the premise of the video about the historical facts and the origins of combat in that region. But the only way Israelis will have peace there is to seek reconciliation with both Palestinians and Arabs, even though most of the Arabs and Palestinians do not want to do so. There is so much hate that is interdependent on each actions and counter-actions. The only other option is for Israelis to wipe all the arabs and palestinians from their lands or build huge concrete fences. Ultimately it too will be futile. Both sides have to realize, both sides are not going away anytime soon. At some point they will have to co-exist.

About Carter receiving money from the arabs ... Bush's have also benefited from their arab connections. In some ways Israelis have benefited from the saudis too. I can not elaborate. But if one digs, they will find what I am saying.

Thy Peace said...

From what I understand of President Carter's goals in that region are that if peace is not tractable, then more virulent forms of violence will breakout than what we have seen so far. In his way he was attempting to contain this. History will surely prove who was right.

Thy Peace said...

L's: No need to feel bad. I fully understand where you are coming from. I also agree with President Carter's sentiment about his cousin. But I disagree with his first part of the answer. But I am not angry or upset with President Carter that he does not agree with me. In that speech, President Carter professed his Christian faith and beliefs. I just disagree with the Mormon aspect that they are Christians. But would I love a Mormon, if I knew them? Absolutely. I sometimes have difficulties of loving people, if I do not know them. Sometimes it is easier to dislike them. I am trying to change and question myself in this regard. Also, I find I can't force myself to love people. I am coming to the conclusion that this is a gift from God or Grace as it is called. Without Grace, I can't seem to find love for others. Just an observation.

Christiane said...

Dear THY PEACE,

You wrote this: 'Without Grace, I can't seem to find love for others.'

I feel that way sometimes, too.

But I read this:
Corrie Ten Boom said that when Christ commands us to love one another, He also gives us the love we need to do it. :)


Can you imagine such a gift of grace?

I can. I know it's true. Many years ago, I had a terribly bad feeling towards a woman in our lake community who made fun of another lady who had a severely disabled child. I confronted her on the beach about it. I was 'unkind'. Later, I felt so guilty. I knew I had done something very wrong.
I prayed to God to change me so that I wouldn't have bad feelings towards this woman anymore.

I saw her soon after, and I was flooded with a sense of compassion for her.
No anger, or bitterness at all. Just compassion.
Thanks Be To the Mercy of God: because I couldn't have done it on my own.

Love, L's

Christiane said...

Hi MARK and TOM KELLEY,

Tom, you are right.
Because I am Catholic, I am allowed to trust completely in the infinite mercy of Christ the Lord, Our Savior.
We pray for His Will to be done, and we do not presume to know exactly what His Will for anyone's salvation will be, or to question it.

But I do know this: He has promised us that He will know His own. And I have a deep faith and trust in Him: the Christ, who has asked us to love one another, not to sit in judgment upon one another.

Mark, I trust Christ completely for my friends.
I have no reason not to.
Everything about Our Lord leads me to trust Him.

Love, L's

Mark | hereiblog said...

Christiane,

I don't understand. Are they trusting Christ? I ask because your answer really doesn't tell me on what basis you think your friends are in Christ.

Do you think your Mormon friends are Christians? Do you think Mormon doctrine is within Christian doctrine?

Even Karl Keating says Think Mormons are actually Christian, accepting the core doctrines of Christianity? Think again!

Even John Paul declared Mormon baptisms invalid.

chadwick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chadwick said...

Wow, evidently I am a 'team player' now. :D

Thy Peace said...

There was an error in Pastor Wade's blog comment settings, and when I notified Pastor Wade, he promptly fixed it. This happened yesterday (Monday) around 2pm EST.

This was the error message:
Comments on this blog are restricted to team members.
You're currently logged in as Thy Peace. You may not comment with this account
.

I notice Chadwick, ran with this error in his post.

Lydia said...

Christiane,

Do you believe Mormons are Christians? Yes or no?

Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are spiritual brothers.

For the record, there is a large Mormon church not far from me and I know many as my neighbors, my dentist, etc. I love them all and have good relationships with all of them so please do not accuse me of hate because I do not believe they are saved.

For me not to tell them the truth would be unloving and hateful toward them. This is about their eternal life. That is love. It breaks my heart that they think what they believe is Christianity.

That is why I always invite in their 'elders' when they come around(the last two still had pimples) and try to show them the true Jesus Christ.

BTW: Am I in sin for teaching these young men from the scriptures about the true Jesus Christ? Or is it ok because there is no pulpit in my kitchen? :o)

Christiane said...

Dear LYDIA,

Anyone lucky enough to hear you tell of the Lord in your kitchen is blessed. Love, L's

Lydia said...

Anyone lucky enough to hear you tell of the Lord in your kitchen is blessed. Love, L's

Wed Aug 12, 01:43:00 AM 2009

Thanks! Would you please answer my question? You have dodged it from several people now.

Do you believe Mormons are Christians? Yes or no?

I apologize if that sounds like a bully but you seem to dodge direct questions a lot. And you did refer to those who say that Mormonism is not Christianity want to 'stone' them.

I would appreciate a simple yes or no answer. Or, 'I don't know' if that is the case.

Thanks!

Kaylor said...

Alan Paul: Actually, there are lots of pro-life Democrats. There's even a group of them called Democrats for Life (whose leader recently was part of a pro-life effort along with Richard Land). Prominent pro-life Democrats include U.S. Senators like Paul Casey (PA) and Harry Reid (NV). It seems that all pro-lifers should be thankful that there are some pro-lifers working within the Democratic Party to change its position. Carter, after all, has attacked his fellow Democrats on the issue of abortion.

Rex Ray said...

Lydia,
L’s may be like my nephew when he was five years old. His grandmother asked him: “John, why did you hit the little girl?

On and on she went but he was silent. Finally his grandfather scolded him: “Now, answer your grandmother!”

“My mouth’s tired of talking.”

I believe there’ll be ‘degrees of happiness’ in heaven (request to sit next to Jesus) just like there’ll be ‘degrees’ in hell as Jesus said: “I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment than you.” (Matthew 11:24)

I believe there’ll be a lot of ‘good’ people in hell. To believe people ‘without Jesus’ can go to heaven is like Peter warming his hands at the coals of fire – in a way, they are denying Jesus.

Christiane said...

Good Morning Everyone,

Several have asked me 'if I think Mormons are Christians'.

I am not 'their' judge in that matter.
Christ is.

Are Christian fundamentalists 'Christians'?
Some say they are not. Actually, many say that they are not.

I would defend and have defended my fundamentalist friends also. AND, I would say that, in the end, it is for Christ to determine their Christianity, not myself.

I am wondering this: why is the focus not on Christ as the judge?
My religion absolutely forbids that I should sit in judgment on the salvation of any person. As for the 'Christianity' of people: even Christ Himself has said that not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

I look to Christ as the only rightful judge of anyone's faith and most certainly as the only rightful judge of a person's Christian Charity.

God knows the hearts of His children. We do not.

There are things in Mormonism that are strange to me; but also in fundamentalism and in Calvinism.
Must I 'judge' everyone's Christianity? I do not. I am not able. I AM able to care for them instead. And I do. Love L's

authorphilipkledzik said...

While reading your points of why you think President Carter is a brother in Christ it made me think, it is so easy to begin looking at things that might not point to where his heart is or where he will be going. I enjoyed reading what you wrote. I would enjoy seeing more on other presidents in the future. Thanks!
Philip Kledzik
http://authorphilipkledzik.books.officelive.com
"An Issue of the Heart"
"Painted Rooms"

Paula said...

L's,

I'm sorry, but that is a cop-out. We are commanded to judge those who claim the Name (1 Cor. 5:9-12) and separate ourselves from anyone bringing "another gospel" (Gal. 1:8-9, 2 John 1:9-11). Did Paul leave all witnessing to the Spirit alone, or did he also speak (Acts 17:30-31)? How about Peter and John (Acts 8:25)? Other believers (Phil. 1:14)? Or Jesus (Mt. 26:13, Mk. 13:10, 16:15) or Philip (Acts 8:40)?

While it is wrong to question the salvation of one proclaiming the gospel accurately, it is vital that we recognize a false gospel and proclaim the true gospel to all who do not have it. Precious souls are at stake!

If our only witness is to be good deeds, then we are no different from any religion in the world. No one can tell Christ from an impostor by actions alone, as has been clearly stated already.

All believers MUST know the gospel and DISCERN (judge!) whether someone has the right Savior, or we condemn them by our silence (please see this article and scroll down to "What about those who never knew about God or Jesus?").

Paula said...

Need to clarify "While it is wrong to question the salvation of one proclaiming the gospel accurately"...

with the disclaimer "in most circumstances". There are many who teach the truth from false motives, just as in Paul's day (Phil. 1:17), and many whose lives deny their words. Such should be taken out of leadership and sternly questioned on whether they actually believe the gospel they're spreading.

Christiane said...

Hi PAULA,

You wrote this,

"There are many who teach the truth from false motives, just as in Paul's day (Phil. 1:17), and many whose lives deny their words. Such should be taken out of leadership and sternly questioned on whether they actually believe the gospel they're spreading."

I CAN agree that this is best for the protection of innocent victims of these false leaders.
We must speak up for the vulnerable and the innocent among us at all times.

But for the question of the 'salvation' of anyone on Earth, I must leave this to Christ as Judge.

I cannot completely know the Mind of God, nor can I look into the heart of another individual. If this is considered a 'cop-out', then I am absolutely guilty as charged.

Love, L's

Paula said...

L's,

This is about what scripture plainly states is necessary to be saved. Scripture is the Word of God, and thus He has spoken His mind.

The question for you is, will you obey God's command to discern between true and false, and to speak the gospel to those who do not have it?

Mormons do not have it. They are lost. Will you love them enough to tell them so, and show them the real Jesus?

I don't expect an answer; these are questions for you to ponder.

happy gram said...

my thoughts exatly, L's.

Lydia said...

"I am not 'their' judge in that matter.
Christ is."

Quite frankly, L's, I was expecting that answer from you. Your answer also says those of us who have declared that Mormonism is not Christianity are 'judgemental'.



2 Corin 11

1I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

John Fariss said...

Paula,

I too remember the news reports about President Carter witnessing to an Asian chief of state (did not recall that it was President of South Korea), I believe when that leader was here on some kind of official, state visit. It was either shortly before or just after I came a Christian (as an adult), but I was impressed by it. I don't recall whether or not his exact words were reported (if so, I do not remember them), but I do recall some of the criticism that were leveled against him then. One was along the lines of, "That's not part of his job as President!" That seems to me to be a sort-of reverse Richard Land comment, when in support of Mitt Romney in 2008, he said we were electing a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief. Another one I recall was something like, "How dare he! The (Asian leader) has his own religion (Buddhism, I think it was, or perhaps Confucianism), and it is as old or older than Christianity," as if antiquity equalled validity. I also seem to recall that as President, he refused to have wine served at White House functions because it violated his Baptist beliefs. Ronald Reagan reversed that as soon as he came into office.

John

Paula said...

John, the question still stands:

Does Carter believe Jesus is the ONLY way for anyone in the world to be saved?

Reactions, anecdotes, inferences... I need a pointed, specific quote from Carter stating no one in the world can be saved without the Jesus that rose from the dead, and that this full gospel is what he has been presenting to world leaders.

John Fariss said...

Paula, I don't think I am in a position to answer that question, and frankly, I am unsure why you are so passionate about it. As Christine has said, Christ will be our judge, and I do not feel I am competent to evaluate anyone's Christianity other than my own--and I'm not always positive there.

As I wrote this, I began thinking about spiritual gifts. If one of your is the gift of faith, then perhaps that is why the issue is so black-or-white to you: you cannot conceive any uncertainity within the question. But Christians without that specific gift see ambiguities and uncertainities, and follow Christ in spite of them. Frankly, it does not particularly bother us to live with those uncertainities in ourselves or others.

Now if you want to ask me if I think Mormonism is a Christian denomination or not, I will be glad to answer it. My answer is a resounding, "NO!" But if you then ask me whether it is possible for a person who is a Mormon to have a personal, saving relationship with Christ, I am going to beg the question, because I am not in a position to know their heart, at least not this side of the grave. I do believe that I will meet a lot of folks in heaven whose theology is different from mine, and in fact, whose theology was WRONG (maybe I'm one of them). But Jesus will be their judge, not me. It's above my pay-grade.

John

Paula said...

John,

How can any believer not be passionate about the gospel?

And every believer's "pay grade" is to be found faithful. God has commanded us to use words, to discern, to call false teachings what they are, and to love the lost enough to plead with them to be reconciled to God through Jesus alone.

I have given many scripture references to back this up. It is God's Word, not mine. Ignoring or disobeying that Word is above MY pay grade.

John Fariss said...

Paula,

Being passionate about the Gospel is one thing; being passionate about someone else's exact words and witness is not quite the same, IMHO. And my "pay grade" allows me to be certain about my witness and the content of my words, about my faithfulness (and no doubt any whom I "adopt" as mentors or models), not about yours, or Jimmy Carter's, or Bill Clinton's, or Wade Burleson's, or Richard Land's, or anyone else's.

Does not God work within our personalities and limitations? One individual has a personality whereby they can effectively confront someone, but that aopproach does not work for every Christian. Another has a gift whereby they can establish almost instant rapport and witness through that. Others find that they can most effectively witness through a relationship. And very few of us could make an "A+" in a systematic theology final. My point is simple: maybe you are being a little too hard on an elderly layman, even if he is a deacon and a former President of the United States.

John

Paula said...

John,

That "even if" is the key. The man is to be held to a higher standard.

But for the last time I'll say that this is about defining the gospel, and since Carter is the topic, it is important to know where he stands. If he believes that there is more than one way to God, then I cannot call him a Christian brother; scripture is explicit about that. There is STILL "no other name under heaven by which to be saved", and if we cannot even define the gospel, we are pathetic witnesses.

This is NOT about personality; it's about scriptural mandates to all believers, especially to leaders. But I despair of communicating this simple point.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Fariss said...

Paula,

I have heard it answered both ways about President Carter's understanding of salvation, and I do not know which answer is correct. I do know that if someone who was not a member of the church I serve, or the community in which I live, or was within the circle of people who influence me and know me demanded an answer to such a question of me, I would be offended. On a good day, I might answer with Matthew 7:20, and on a bad day I might be Southern enough to be contrary and just not answer at all.

I will bow out of this conversation though with one question to you, based on your second paragraph: do you think that Christianity defined by a relationship with Christ, or by what one believes about Christ?

John

Lydia said...

"do you think that Christianity defined by a relationship with Christ, or by what one believes about Christ?"

John, How can one have a relationship with Christ when they believe that He, the King of Kings, Lord of Hosts, is Satan's spiritual brother? Or that one who believes this is a follower of Christ.

(I am speaking of Mormons since you mentioned earlier that it is possible for a 'Mormon' to have a personal relationship with Christ)

Wouldn't one have to know who He really IS in order to have a relationship with Him?

Christiane said...

Each of us has gifts to use in the Kingdom. John, Paula, and Lydia, and myself, and others . . .

In humility we stand before the Lord; in humility we serve one another, not in judging, but in caring or 'caritas', a special kind of love inspired by Christ.

Some have great gifts to give in His service: great knowledge of scripture and great insight into the deep mysteries of God.

I do not. I never did.
But I too, was given a gift by the grace of God. My faith in Christ the Lord was greatly deepened by watching the love of my Down Syndrome son for others, even the ones who were unkind to him.
So much love.
He taught his mom about a more Christian Way than she knew to be possible on this Earth.

The Mystery of Salvation in Christ is of more breadth and depth than we are able to encompass with our minds and imaginations.
So much more.

It is as complicated as all of that.
It is as simple as the gentle love of a Down Syndrome child given freely. to teach his Mom a better way.
A simple gift. Lovingly given.
By the grace of God.
Sometimes the greatest teachers of the Gospel don't even know the name of the game.


That is what I know.
That is what I believe.

Love, L's

Paula said...

do you think that Christianity defined by a relationship with Christ, or by what one believes about Christ?

I think that's a false dichotomy. You can't have one without the other.

And I'm done.

John Fariss said...

Let's try a thought experiment, folks. (These are the sort of things that Neils Bohr, Warner Heisenberg, & Albert Einstein did back in the 1920s and 30s, when hammering out the basis for today's understanding of quantum physics and relativity.)

Let's say "person A" is unsaved and knows virtually nothing about Jesus. "Person B" comes along and witnesses to "person A." They tell "Person A" that Jesus is the savior, the messiah, the Christ, and that He has the power to save and transform lives. "Person A" is convicted by the Spirit, repents of his/her sin, and makes a profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and savior. And naturally, they follow "person B" into their church.

Later on, it turns out that "person B" is a Mormon, a universalist, or for that matter, a member of some denomination whose theology is considerably different from ours, maybe an Episcopal or a Catholic. Does it mean that "person A" was not saved in the first place? That they were saved, but in learning incorrect theology or failing to learn what is correct, they somehow lost their salvation? Does it impact their salvation at all, and if so, how?

Just trying to reframe the question into a hopefully more productive form.

John

Wade Burleson said...

Paula,

I would disagree, with you, very gently.

One can believe about Christ all the orthodox truths regarding His person and work and not have a relationship with Him.

But it is quite possible to have a relationship with Christ and not yet comprehend all the orthodox truths of His person and work.

Relationship trumps belief.

If one responds, "But faith is belief" the writer of Hebrews answers "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). A relationship with the unseen, transcendent Creator through a faith relationship with His Son is evidenced by our love for God and people--which is the manifestation of the Spirit's work within us.

Grace precedes truth and permeates truth for truth without grace is life without the Spirit.


I think John and I are approaching the answer to his question in the same manner.

John Fariss said...

Actually, Lydia, what I said was, "I am going to beg the question (of whether or not a Mormon might be a Christian), because I am not in a position to know their heart."

There was a lot I didn't know about Jesus when I became a Christian, and a good bit I asssumed that I knew that turned out not to be correct. Today, after 30+ years as a Christian and 23 years in the pastorate, I expect there are still things I do not understand about Him, and maybe still things I believe today that tomorrow I may find out were incorrect. But those are separate from my saving relationship with Him. Are you willing to say that your experience is significantly different?

John

Mark | hereiblog said...

It seems that the Mormon question is being answered under a hypothetical assumption. The alluded to assumption is that Mormons have no official doctrine of just Who Jesus is. When one joins the Mormon church are they not taught the Mormon doctrine of who Jesus is? No one is asking another to have perfect knowledge.

The point is that Mormon doctrine goes directly against all orthodox Christianity. Does anyone here not believe this?

Mormonism is not Christianity.

This doesn't mean that a Mormon might not come to saving faith in the true Christ in spite of what's he/she has been taught.

However, knowing that the official Mormon teaching is not Christian the first assumption would be to engage a Mormon friend/family member with the Gospel and true Christ.

Sometimes people don't believe what others say Mormon doctrine is, but you can also get straight answers from a Mormon.

John Fariss said...

Mark,

Speaking only for myself, please note my 11:40 entry where I said, "Now if you want to ask me if I think Mormonism is a Christian denomination or not, I will be glad to answer it. My answer is a resounding, 'NO'!" Actually, I haven't noticed any entries in this thread where someone had commented differently, but maybe I overlooked something.

'Nuff said?

John

John Fariss said...

BTW Mark, my understanding is that many Mormons are not given access to their official and complete understanding of who they think Jesus is until after they become members, sometimes years later. They come to this knowledge only after they are so heavily invested in the organization that they are unlikely to leave over it. I once met a woman who had been a Mormon member and Sunday School teacher for several years (I seem to remember the number 15, but do not guarantee that) before she learned. She left and became a Baptist afterwards, but I suspect many remain.

John

Lydia said...

"Actually, Lydia, what I said was, "I am going to beg the question (of whether or not a Mormon might be a Christian), because I am not in a position to know their heart."

John, we do not need to know what is in someone's heart. We are to judge truth from the Word and fruit.

If one is a Mormon but believes in the real Jesus Christ, they would not be a Mormon for long.They could not worship a false Jesus Christ. Have we forgotten so quickly the Work of the Holy Spirit in all this?

We are talking about the basics of Who Jesus Christ is that are the core of the Gospel truth and absolutely necessary for salvation.

IF they claim to be Mormon, then they are preaching a different Jesus Christ. No need to know "hearts".Just the need to proclaim the true Jesus Christ to them.

I have engaged dozens of Mormons who have come to evangelize me. And I ask lots of questions. At first they try to pass off their Jesus as the same as our Jesus Christ. But they know it is not and have to admit as much as the questions become more focused.

On the other hand, a converted Mormon I know is one of the most zealous about this and fears this excusing Mormons as 'Christians' is sending many to hell.

And let's face it, today with the internet, there is no reason not to know what Mormons believe is the truth about Jesus Christ.

I get real frustrated when I see the excuse that we do not know someone's heart. What possible difference does that make? It is a moot point. We can judge a book by it's cover. Because that 'cover' professes what is inside. If the cover says Mormon, then a different Christ is inside. If that cover says Jehovah Witness, then a false teaching about our Savior, Jesus is inside.

None of this means they cannot be saved in the end. But how can they be saved if they do not hear the Word? And how can they be saved when real or MIGHT be Christians?

To say I am flabbergasted at this conversation, is an understatement about the fix Christianity is in.

Truly, my heart grieves for Jesus Christ in this because in the name of love we are mocking Him.

Lydia said...

"And how can they be saved when real or MIGHT be Christians?"

Sorry, meant to say:

How can they be saved when Christians are agreeing Mormons are Christians?

John Fariss said...

Lydia, I think we are talking past each other. You made the statement (referring to me), "You mentioned earlier that it is possible for a 'Mormon' to have a personal relationship with Christ." My reply was that wasn't exactly what I said. Maybe you disagree with my justification for what I said, but the fact remains that I did not state that a Mormon could be a Christian. I merely said I was not in a position to judge; the unspoken but intended completion for that would be "in each and every situation." I would really like to see your response to my thought experiment.

John

Lydia said...

"Maybe you disagree with my justification for what I said, but the fact remains that I did not state that a Mormon could be a Christian. I merely said I was not in a position to judge; the unspoken but intended completion for that would be "in each and every situation." I would really like to see your response to my thought experiment."

I am not sure I understand what you mean by 'thought experiment'.

You are speaking of nuances that I just cannot affirm. This is about Christ and WHO HE IS. The very basics of the Gospel message. This is doctrine that is essential. Mormons claim to be Christians but they are not followers of the same Jesus Christ of the scriptures. You want me to agree that one can call themselves a Mormon yet know personally the Jesus Christ of the scriptures. Or that I cannot know because I do not know their heart.

That kind of thinking leads us into all kinds of error. It is the same 'all roads eventually lead to Christ' thinking.

We are not talking about the differences between Methodists and Baptists. We are talking about a different Jesus Christ being preached. One that is taught as spiritual brother of satan! It is a lie. It is from the father of lies.

Even as new Christians, when we did not understand everything, we could not have a relationship with Christ unless we 'believed' the very basics of WHO HE IS. That is what saves us! That is the basis for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. Jesus' first sermon was Repent and believe! Believe what? WHO HE IS.

None of this means I am 'stoning' Mormons or hate them, but just the opposite, in fact.

The command to love others does not mean at the expense of exhalting the TRUE Jesus Christ. The Gospel is offensive and speaking the truth, especially in love, will offend many. Because it is exclusive in it's basics. The basics being WHO HE IS.

Blessings.

John Fariss said...

Lydia, we are still talking past each other.

My thought experiment is my comment made at 1:13 PM today (Wednesday).

John

Thy Peace said...

This might be difficult to explain. Here is my attempt.

I actually agree with everyone here on the discussion of Mormons being Christians. How is that possible?

1. Mormons are NOT Christians. If one simply reads The Word, one can come to this conclusion without any knowledge of theology or word interpretation nuances of The Word. Just compare it to what Mormons believe.

2. I fully understand what L's is saying. Here L's is not ready to "confront" her friends who are Mormons. I respect that. I may not agree with it. But I understand L's position.

3. I agree with Pastor Wade and John Fariss. Relationship trumps belief.

4. I agree with Paula, Lydia and others. The command to love others does not mean at the expense of exhalting the TRUE Jesus Christ. The Gospel is offensive and speaking the truth, especially in love, will offend many. Because it is exclusive in it's basics. The basics being WHO HE IS.

5. I would encourage Mormons and ourselves to read The Word and be Bereans. This is the only way to check and re-check The Word. And not to take it from someones mouth without checking The Word. This way, one is not manipulated into believing facts that are not in The Word. And this will help combat spiritual manipulation in Churches too. This is very important. The times are coming and are here, when this is necessary. Actually, it has been for the past 2000 years. Of course, the question with Mormons becomes what is legitimate in The Word. A simple comparison of The Bible Vs. Mormon Bible will reveal the facts.

I truly am not upset with anyone who chooses to believe they are Christians, even if they are Mormons. I would gently encourage them to read The Word and find out themselves.

Lydia said...

Sorry John, I went back and read it. I still maintain that one cannot have a relationship with One they do not know. they don't have to know everything perfectly, but they know WHO HE IS and what He did.

That 'relationship' we keep talking about is based on believing in and having faith in WHO HE IS and what HE did for us.

How they hear the Gospel is what you are focusing on. The Holy Spirit can use anything. I am proof of that. :o)

I also agree with Wade that one can know all the truths of scripture and still not have a relationship with Him. Satan knows scripture.

But I disagree that one have a relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit without knowing the truth of the very basics of WHO HE IS and what HE did. That truth is what saves us. He is glorified. There are no nuances in WHO HE IS as in 'can a Mormon be saved and be a Mormon'.That allows for error about who Jesus Christ is to creep in. He is not Glorified.

If we are still talking past one another then I apologize. But I do not know any other ways to make my point. My communication skills are just limited in that respect. (I am not of noble birth. :o)

Christiane said...

Hi THY PEACE,

You wrote this: 'L's is not ready to "confront" her friends who are Mormons.'

As 'confrontation' has been described and exhibited on this blog, no. It seems unproductive at best, disrespectful of all concerned at its worst.

I would welcome 'conversation' with an intent to learn of another's faith.

There are times for 'confrontation' and I have wondered where Southern Baptists were when Paige Patterson needed a good dose of it. An 'in-your-face-quit-beating-up-on-Klouda' confrontation. Now THAT would have been acceptable: for her protection, if nothing else. Also, for his salvation.

It didn't happen. So few brave souls came to help her. And Patterson? No one cared enough to help him. No winners: just a great big gaping wound.



'Dialogue' is good.
LISTENING is even better.

Being able to embrace another person as more important to us than any doctrinal differences: this is a high mark of Christian maturity, and can be the beginning of understanding and sharing about Christ.

But 'confrontation': the kind that says 'my ego is gonna get this sinner saved'?
No.
I'm ususally praying that the Good Lord will have mercy on all of us together. I can count on His Mercy to help others: so I keep the focus on Christ.

Different religion for sure.
When we say,
'St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.' ,
we are talking about confronting great evil;
not a verbal attack on some poor soul who could use a Christian for a friend.
Love, L's

Thy Peace said...

Thanks L's. I agree.

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,
Just read your last comment, and I feel I’ve been to church.

So how can I as a Baptists be moved and learn from a Catholic unless the Holy Spirit is not concerned about denominations but about hearts that love Jesus?

I believe you have accomplished what Paul said, ‘When having done all to stand – Stand!’ Also this poem applies to the situation: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”

I could not agree with you more about the Patterson Klouda tragedy that has given Baptists a black eye. In fact, on the Baptist Standard blog and Tuesday 11:40 PM on Wade’s Saturday, August 8 post is written:


You [Wade] said, “Sheri [Klouda] and her [daughter] were forced from a house…all because of administration following a perceived ‘theological principle’.”


Dr. Van McClain, SWBTS trustee Chairman, told the Associated Press that Klouda’s hiring was a “momentary lax of parameters”.

Paraphrasing his words would be:
‘You see, we didn’t know Paige Patterson was going to be appointed President of SWBTS with his thinking about women NOT teaching men. He appointed most of us as trustees and in a way we felt obligated to him and his theology so we backed him when he fired her because she was a woman.’

Her lawsuit was thrown out of court NOT based on the wrong of being discriminated against because of her sex; but based on ‘Separation of Church and State.’ Duh? That’s an example of the operation was a success but the patient died.


Christiane, I’ve also joined my pocketbook with my mouth. On Wade’s post a long time ago, I suggested we do a ‘march’ on SWBTS. There was only one in agreement. He has not been around much anymore.

Hey! They say it’s never too late to right a wrong…I’d carry a banner “APOLIGIZE or RESIGN” if you’d carry the other end and try to march around the campus seven times before we got arrested.

PS I'm not kidding.

Joe Blackmon said...

Joe Blackmon,

Go watch his speech from the archives provided in the link from my last post. He doesn't say it once.

Jimmy Carter says it five times.

"We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ."


Wow, Wade, that is great. Just great. Super in fact.

Mormons believe that. They just don't think you're saved by faith in Christ ALONE.

The Catholic church teaaches that. They just don't teach that you're saved by faith in Christ ALONE. "Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother." - Pope Leo XIII

Oh, and as to your question below the comment that I quoted here, no I do no affirm Carter as being a Christian. Christians believe that you are saved by grace through faith in Christ ALONE. Carter does not believe that.

I really wish that I had checked back on this thread while it was still alive and kicking so I could have responded where others could see it to such a proposterous assertion as the one you made quoting Carter. Balderdash.

Wade Burleson said...

Chris,

I was very strong and direct in chastising you for your highly inappropriate comment about President Carter, but decided to delete both your comment and my response. Please post your sentiments on your own blog and refrain from such uncivil and unChristian comments here.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe Blackmon,

Let me get this straight. You are affirming that Jimmy Carter is NOT a Christian.

Correct?

Joe Blackmon said...

Wade,

If Carter says that Mormons are Christians (and he does) then he has no idea what the gospel is and therefore could not have believed the gospel to have been saved. He said in an interview with Newsweek:

Newsweek: Do you think a Mormon is a Christian?
Carter: Yes, I do. I have a cousin who is a Mormon and she married one of the Marriott family. I don’t know anyone who’s more devout in their faith than she and her family. I admire them very much.

This isn't like baptizing babies or women pastors. A Christian can hold to different positions on those doctrines and be saved. Someone who thinks Mormons are Christians has a fundemental misunderstanding of how one is saved.

Joe Blackmon said...

I still maintain that one cannot have a relationship with One they do not know. they don't have to know everything perfectly, but they know WHO HE IS and what He did.

I totally agree. If someone believes Mormons are Christians they believe there are mulitple ways to God. Therefore, they don't know Christ and could not have a relationship with Him. That is why Carter is not a Christian.

Paula said...

Wade, this is the last thing I will ever post in your blog (don't everybody cheer at once):

Who defines what a Christian is? You? Or scripture?

Goodbye.

Wade Burleson said...

Paula,

God.

But He doesn't define what a Christian is, He gives life to make a Christian be.

Wade Burleson said...

"If it is indeed so, that all that is saving and distinguishing in a true Christian, is summarily comprehended in love, the professors of Christianity may in this be taught as to their experiences whether they are really Christian or not... Love is no ingredient in a merely speculative faith, but it is the life and soul of practical faith. A speculative faith only consists in the assent of the understanding; but in a saving faith there is also the consent of the heart to love others."

Jonathan Edwards
Charity and Its Fruits

This is why LOVE is THE distinguishing mark of the life Christ in the soul of man.

RRR said...

Wade said, "Are you saying I should tell people Jimmy Carter is not a genuine Christian?

Sorry, RRR. Ain't gonna happen, nor should it. :)"

I doubt that anyone is still reading this stream of comments but out of courtesy figured I should attempt to respond to Brother Wade’s question. Sorry that I did not respond earlier but I had to teach at a Thai businessman's retreat at a resort on the Gulf of Thailand for the past couple of days! Tough duty, huh??!!!

To answer your question, Wade, I’m sure you wouldn’t tell people an opinion about Jimmy Carter based upon what I think.

As you later acknowledged, I didn’t say that he was NOT a Christian but that he is apparently confused.

I WOULD say that, based upon President Carter's apparent confusion as to the exclusive diety, identity and mission of Christ and the very basic precepts upon which a saving relationship with Christ is established that I would hesitate to affirm him as a “genuine” Christian.

This has been a very productive stream of comments in my opinion. Thanks a lot for bringing up the issue.

God bless.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: How many of you are really ready for heaven because obviously there are going to be people there you don't think should be there. But they will be there with you for eternity.

I was too harsh with you on your own blog, and for that I apologize and ask that you not post the comment(which I am sure you wouldn't have anyway.) But your judgment of others is way too harsh in my opinion while in another post on this blog, you wished that people could disagree and still be accepted. I ask as gently as I can is that until they disagree with you?

Alan Knox has an excellent post on his blog that is done with using the Bible. We have to look at all the scriptures to interpret properly, and if something causes us to be unkind to another, as I was unkind to you for example, that theology needs to be thrown out. Paul is a great example as Alan Knox has shown. We are not to separate from but unite as Christ prayed in the book of John. He wasn't praying that everyone believe the same, but love each other as the family that we are.

Convictions Without Separation

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

"We are not to separate from but unite as Christ prayed in the book of John. He wasn't praying that everyone believe the same, but love each other as the family that we are.'

Debbie, we cannot unite around a different a different Gospel.

Here is what unity was based upon:

20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

The unity is based upon believing the same basic truth about Jesus Christ: Who He is and What HE did.

Do you believe Mormons are Christians? I did not ask you if you loved them. I ask simply if you believe they are saved as professing Mormons.

See, I believe that these are 2 diametrically opposed thoughts:

I am a Christian
Mormons are Christians

One who can hold both thoughts as true, at the same time, is confused about the Gospel. We have to define what is a Christian and WHO Christ is and what He did. Our unity is based upon that.

Our love for others should never trump our love for Jesus Christ and Glorfying Him.

Otherwise we get into the problem of seeking man's approval and preaching another Gospel:

Galatians 1

6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

If we agree that Mormons are Christians, we are affirming another Gospel. It is not unloving to say this. It is unloving toward our Lord, not to.

missshunary said...

It is interesting to see all of you wrestle with L's and her statements of belief...whether it be Catholicism, how one is saved, Mormonism, etc... I did this tirelessly for a while and was almost tarred and feathered and run out of blog town for being mean, angry, or judgemental.

I didn't understand why some of you gave her a pass then, and frankly I don't understand why some of you are on her case now.

L's is simply standing strong on the position you all let her feel good about and remain steadfast on while you plunged your daggers in me and others (hi Byroniac!).

Don't ask me for examples. Go back and find them yourself. There are plenty so you will have no problem finding them.

Steven Stark said...

"But a black man who preaches the gospel can't change the color of his skin. A woman who preaches the gospel can't change the gender of her person. A homosexual who preaches the gospel can change his or her behavior. Homsexuals are not part of a minority group, they are part of a behavioral group."

This is not true. A black man can theoretically change the color of his skin. A woman can undergo a sex change.

Scientific studies tell us that the homosexual orientation is genetic, caused by in utero experience, or possibly both. A person is born with this orientation.

If heterosexual relationships and marriages are a part of a person's "personhood", then this is also true for a homosexual. The ancient Jewish holiness code is interesting, but few people feel compelled to follow others aspects of it - dietary laws, wearing clothes of different fibers, etc. If the Apostle Paul found homosexuality (as he knew it) to be unsavory, it's most likely due growing up under the Jewish Holiness Code.

"just remind them that it's a good thing their parents didn't homosexuality normal sexual behavior"

This is non-sequitur thinking. Are we trying to show homosexuality is wrong by comparing it to those who choose not to have children, or to those who cannot have children?

I applaud the effort to include women, however without taking it to its next logical step, this claimed emphasis on love in the SBC is shown to be more about cultural influence than principal.

thanks for your article on Carter! Interesting read.

Former FBC Insider said...

Wade,
I sure have enjoyed reading about your personal beliefs and your church views. You're the closest match to my views by a pastor so far in this life.

If you ever think about retiring to Florida, I'd sure love to worship with you.

Wade Burleson said...

Steven Stark,

I really respect your views.

But based upon my understanding of human behavior and my interpretation of Scripture, in my view, a homosexual is like an adulterer--bent toward a particular sin.

Same sex sexual activity is a sin, just like multiple heterosexual sexual activities, or sexual activities with children--all are outside the covenant of marriage.

By the way, do you believe their is an adulterer's "gene." What about pedophilia? Is there a "gene" that causes a person to attracted sexually toward small children?

I believe sexual activity is a choice, and to choose sexual activity outside the confines of the covenant of marriage is sin--but again, you may disagree.

We can disagree with civility. The laws of the land bar pedophilia but not adultery or homosexuality. Our church defines all three behaviors as sin.

Blessings,

wade

Steven Stark said...

Hi Wade,

I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

My view of Scripture is that it is definitely errant, so obviously I am not compelled to follow any teachings therein that violate my conscience. However, aside from Paul's distaste for homosexuality, as practiced in ancient Rome, the Jewish Law is the source for conservative Christian thinking on the matter. And most Christians teach that they are free from the law.......except.....

An evolutionary biologist may be helpful in determining if there is an "adultery" or a "pedophilia" gene. Unfortunately, I am not qualified! Yes, we do have different tendencies, and what we choose to do with these tendencies is behavior. I agree.

However, pedophilia involves a victim, and therefore is not comparable to homosexuality. Adultery also involves a victim, to a lesser degree.

So, when we remove the common sense "right and wrong" difference between the scenarios you have presented (those with victims and those without), we can see that there is no simply no inherent difference between homo and heterosexual relationships - except gender. There is no logical reason to suppress the expression of homosexuality - unless religion, or traditionalism, enters the picture.

Although I think religion has a valuable role to play in society, in this instance I am reminded of physicist Steven Weinberg's (admittedly overly simplistic) quote:

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

Thanks for the civil exchange! It's enjoyable.

Thy Peace said...

But He doesn't define what a Christian is, He gives life to make a Christian be.

I am saddened about the recent comments. I understand the division as per The Word. I also understand why Paula and Lydia think about this.

I would like to give my reasoning about Pastor Wade's statement above. From my own experience.

I profess Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I also profess He is the only way. Why? Because His words convicts me.

Here where it gets interesting.

I profess and publicly say the same to others.

But what about in my heart?

If I continue to sin and go against God, am I still a Christian?

The Word says we all are sinners. We continue to sin, even after being saved.

So is it the words I utter that I say that proves I am a Christian? or is it my love? 1 John says the only confirmation is the love we exhibit to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

To correct brothers and sisters who say they are in Christ but not in Christ, but when done in a loving way, is not hate but gentle reproof. But the only conviction that comes about in their and my heart is from The Holy Spirit.

So what is this essence of Christianity within me? Is it my proclamation that I am of God, but what if my actions and heart turn away from God (which it does often)? But I am continually brought back to God for repentance, conviction and healing.

So in all this mess, am I still a Christian?

If I am, then why can President Jimmy Carter not be a Christian?

Even if his thinking on Mormons being Christians is wrong. I am hoping The Holy Spirit will show him the way and errors of his thinking.

But do I know what he actually does in his heart?

Granted we are to judge by the fruits of a person. This is by their deeds and actions. Even here, when I am so messed up and the only saving is by faith and my belief. And not by my actions. But the assurance of that I am saved is from the love I exhibit to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I know the above comment seems convoluted to me, but I felt it was important to say that.

I pray for God's Grace, Mercy and Peace to all my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Steven Stark said...

I forgot a quick point from my previous post.

Although I agree that we are all born with tendencies that turn into behaviors - if we do not include the tendency of homosexuality into what we consider "personhood" - well, that is fine. BUT, then we must also exclude other tendencies such as heterosexuality, the different brain elements that make up our personalities, the hormones, etc. which accompany our gender, intelligence - pretty much anything we do associate with the term "personhood".

thanks, again.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

Very, very well stated.

Debbie Kaufman said...

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you

Lydia: Read this again. It's faith in Christ. Who he is and what he did on the cross, his resurrection that is the basis for salvation. You are adding to the passage what isn't there. If we all believed the same on everything we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Look at the different Christian forums. Salvation is faith in Christ alone. Not Christ plus right theology, which those who promote the word "right" are the ones who usually are wrong. :)

Wade Burleson said...

You're welcome Steven! Blessings to you as well.

Wade

levellers said...

Thank-you for this, Rev. Burleson. I am to the left of Carter both theologically and politically, and am a great admirer of his. He said he'd never lie to us, and, in my lifetime, he's been the only president (or presidential candidate) of either major party who never did.

On my blog, Levellers (http://www.levellers.wordpress.com ), I, as a progressive Democrat, have tried to highlight Republicans of integrity. One such post is here: http://levellers.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/republicans-i-have-admired/y. But until today, I had not seen any Republican bloggers honor any Democrats--period.

Likewise, as someone who is not a conservative evangelical, I have tried to highlight conservative evangelicals whom I think are good Christians and who are worthy theological dialogue partners--whether professional theologians or not. But yours is the first example of a conservative evangelical blogger highlighting positively the example of a Christian who is more liberal theologically that I have seen.

http://levellers.wordpress.com/2006/12/06/conservative-evangelical-dialogue-partners/

I hope you will not be the last. I hope others will learn from your example.

Thank-you again and may God bless you.

Joe Blackmon said...

See, I believe that these are 2 diametrically opposed thoughts:

I am a Christian
Mormons are Christians.


Wade,

Paula and Lydia, two of your staunchest supporters are against you on this one. Does that say anything to you? It should. You have officially gone coocoo for coco puffs.

I will say it again, just so it doesn't get lost in the comment thread. You cannot say Mormons are Christians and be a Christian because by saying that you prove that you have no clue about what the gospel is and who Christ is. Without knowing that, you cannot trust Him as Savior. I DO NOT affirm Jimmy Carter to be a Christian, regardless of what he professes.

Lydia said...

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you

Lydia: Read this again. It's faith in Christ. Who he is and what he did on the cross, his resurrection that is the basis for salvation. You are adding to the passage what isn't there. If we all believed the same on everything we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Look at the different Christian forums. Salvation is faith in Christ alone. Not Christ plus right theology, which those who promote the word "right" are the ones who usually are wrong. :)

Thu Aug 13, 04:38:00 PM 2009

Debbie, I have tried very hard to communicate here. I am glad you believe that salvation is faith in Christ alone. Yes I agree that is the unity He is speaking of. The unity is around WHO HE IS and WHAT HE DID. The essentials.

Do you understand my point is that Mormons do not even agree with us on WHO Christ is? Do you understand they believe that our Savior is satan's spiritual brother? The believe in a different Jesus Christ than scripture reveals.

So how can a Christian believe Mormons are Christians? Do you think they might be confused as to WHO Christ is if they think that? Why would a Christian tell unbelievers through the media that Mormons are Christians?

Don't we have an obligation to say, no! That is not the Jesus Christ revealed in scripture.

That is the question few want to touch with a 10 ft pole but must be considered.

Wade Burleson said...

Levellers,

Blessings to you as well. I appreciate the kind words and wish God's continued grace upon you and your family.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

What a privilege it must be to have some infallible people commenting on your blog.

Either they are infallible or extremely foolish to believe they can know the heart of everyone they disagree with.

External evidence is important, without doubt,as is what one believes, but I think there will be many surprised people when their time on earth is done. They will see people in heaven who they believed could not possibly be Christians. They won't see some who they held up as models of "good Christianity".

Only God knows, but they may have been deceiving themselves all along, and not see any of the above.

missshunary said...

"...Paul's distaste for homosexuality..."

Huh?

Can anyone say "understatement"?

Rex Ray said...

Steven Stark,
You may not think this is a “civil” exchange, so you may not think it's very enjoyable.

You said, “Scientific studies tell us [blab blab]…a person is born with this orientation.”

You sound like Adam blaming God for making Eve etc.

Is the Scripture below what you were referring to when you said Paul had a “distaste for homosexuality.”

“God let them go ahead into every sort of sex sin…vile and sinful things with each other’s bodies…THEY DELIBERATELY CHOSE TO BELIEVE LIES…their women indulged in sex sin with each other…and their men burned with lust for each other…” (Romans 1:24-27)

Steven, are you an example of believing lies when you believe “homosexual orientation is genetic”?

What do you do with the warning of Peter?

“He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and blotted them off the face of the earth, making them an example for all the ungodly in the FUTURE to look back upon and FEAR.” (2 Peter 2:6)

Because certain people had more ‘evidence’ and knowledge of the wonders of God, Jesus told them:

“I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment than you.” (Matthew 11:24)

Steven, don’t you have even more information than these certain people had?

Steven Stark said...

“Steven, are you an example of believing lies when you believe “homosexual orientation is genetic”?”

I suppose if facts obtained through the scientific method are lies, then I am guilty. It’s difficult to think of a god who would disguise “lies” as “facts” to fool people. If we cannot rely on our reason - defined as inference based on observations about the natural world- to make decisions, then we’re in trouble! The dark ages start to make a lot more sense....

“THEY DELIBERATELY CHOSE TO BELIEVE LIES”

Do we not judge what is a lie and what is truth by evidence? Or do we assume that the apostle Paul is right a priori and make deductive arguments based on that? Or do we look at evidence and gradually build our knowledge inductively, therefore seeing the apostle Paul as a product of his time and the more limited knowledge associated with it? I appreciate what Paul did with what he had, but he is not God.


“Steven, don’t you have even more information than these certain people had?”

Perhaps so. Including the knowledge that homosexuality is a preference most likely created by genetic and in utero factors.

Best,

Steven

Rex Ray said...

Steven,
You said, “It’s difficult to think of a god who would disguise ‘lies’ as ‘facts’ to fool people.”

Hmmm…let’s see if I understand what you said.
1. First there has to be lies.
2. A false god disguised them as facts.
3. These facts fooled people.

Applying the above to your belief would be.
1. Paul told lies.
2. People, Baptists, or a god disguised these lies as facts.
3. Christians have been fooled.

Continuing your line of though, Peter and Jesus also told lies.

Hey! If God made the people of Sodom and Gomorrah the way they were, you’re calling God a hypocrite or even worse; a murderer.

You said, “If we cannot rely on our reason…then we’re in trouble.”

Trouble is right! “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death.” (Proverbs 16: 25)

Steven Stark said...

“Hey! If God made the people of Sodom and Gomorrah the way they were, you’re calling God a hypocrite or even worse; a murderer.”

Well, we don’t have to assume anything to read in Scripture that God killed (murdered) all the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He also commanded Joshua to commit mass infanticide. He also killed every living thing (men, women, babies, etc.) that he had created with the flood. (assuming a literal interpretation of Scripture, which I don’t BTW, but assuming your position here)

But I don’t think God (however we define that term) is a hypocrite or a murderer. He doesn’t disguise lies as facts. I have a simpler solution. I think the Bible was written by imperfect, finite humans. The Bible is a great work of mankind, of humanity, trying to understand what they deemed to be “divine.”

I don’t think the writers (including Paul) told lies. I have great respect for many of the writers. As I wrote before, they were products of their culture and time, and should be understood that way. I certainly hope that if someone read my words 2,000 years from now, they would afford me that courtesy.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death.”

There is a indeed a way that seems right to man, among MANY ways that seem right to many different people. All of them end in death, BTW ;) - Ecclesiastes tells us that.

But the argument against using human reason in interpretation of Scripture is interesting. It usually goes something like this:

1. I value the Bible based on my reason and feelings.
2. There are aspects of the Bible which offend my reason and feelings
3. I cannot trust my reason and feelings.

This is non-sequitur thinking, of course, but it shows us that reason is involved no matter what.

thanks for the exchange,

Steven

Rex Ray said...

Steven,
I agree with you that God is not a murderer. He has executed a lot of people in dealing out justice.

That’s what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah, and that’s what He will do at judgment day.

I doubt any will argue that science made them sin as they’ll be too busy crying for the rocks and mountains to fall on them.

The most non-sequitur thinking is your explanation of Proverbs 16:25.

You mentioned 2000 years. Where will you be then and for what reason?

Steven, do you think anyone has ever wanted their body cremated and scattered to the four winds in the belief God can’t find them?

How many times through eternity will they wish they’d never been born?

God wants us to reason or he would have made us robots.

It’s much smarter to reason that God’s Word is true and be on the safe side than to depend on science that contradicts God’s Word and take a chance.

Steven Stark said...

"Steven, do you think anyone has ever wanted their body cremated and scattered to the four winds in the belief God can’t find them?

How many times through eternity will they wish they’d never been born?"

We'll have to hope and pray that God is better than that. Especially since Jesus said to "love your enemies". Why? So we can be perfect "as our father in heaven is perfect."


"God wants us to reason or he would have made us robots.

It’s much smarter to reason that God’s Word is true and be on the safe side than to depend on science that contradicts God’s Word and take a chance."

These two ideas are at odds. The first says to reason, the second says to suppress reason out of fear.

I think we have to do our best to find truth and trust that God will correct us if we need it. We cannot ignore facts and evidence in this process.

best,

Steven

Rex Ray said...

Steven,
I agree with you that Paul and other Bible writers were NOT God.

I also believe God did NOT hold their hands while writing.

I believe Paul and others wrote relating to culture and some false thinking such as ‘Sun travels around the earth’ in Ecclesiastes 1:4-5 and “…hail is made and stored…for war” in Job 38:22-23.

Sometimes Paul wrote with ‘human reasoning’:
“I never let women teach men…let them be silent in your church meetings. Why?
[Here’s the human reasoning] Because God made Adam first…and it was not Adam who was fooled by Satan, but Eve, and sin was the result.” (1 Timothy 2:12-14)

Paul wrote from memory.
“I am so thankful now that I didn’t baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius.” (1 Corinthians 1: 14)

And sometimes his memory was bad - verse 16:
“Oh yes, and I baptized the family of Stephanas. I don’t remember ever baptizing anyone else.”

Paul even says some of his writing is NOT from God but his own thinking:
“Here I want to add some suggestions of my own. These are NOT direct commands from the Lord, but they SEEM right to me;” (1 Corinthians 7: 12)

Even Jesus did not know everything. More than once he said only his Father knew. He even expressed a false believe that his Father would be with him on the cross:

“But the time is coming…when you will be scattered…leaving me alone. Yet I will not be alone, for the Father is with me.” (John 16:32)

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Steven, you said, “We’ll have to hope and pray that God is better than that.”

Better than WHAT? Better than executing his Son on the Cross? (“It is written in the Scriptures that God will smite the Shepherd…” Matthew 26:31)

Better than sending Jesus to hell? (“You will not leave my soul in hell…” Acts 2:27)

Steven, do you think God would not be perfect if he sent a person to where He sent his Son after that person spit in his Son’s face by rejecting Jesus as his Saviour?

I strongly disagree with your thinking that ‘reasoning’ and ‘fear’ ideas “are at odds.”

It’s through reasoning we fear snakes, lions etc. and GOD.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

I hope we’re not disobeying (2 Timothy 2:16):
“Steer clear of foolish discussions which lead people into the sin of anger with each other.”

Cat's Dad said...

President Carter, as one who professes his personal faith in Christ and believes that all Christians are saved through faith in Christ, is deserving of Christian love and respect.

However, he has demonstrated his errant theology repeatedly. In my Baptist church and, in most of yours, Carter would be sitting as a member in the SS class he teaches listening and learning from a qualified teacher.

And, I don't care to be identified with a "New Baptist" Covenant that Carter runs lead in.

Steven Stark said...

REX RAY wrote - Steven, you said, “We’ll have to hope and pray that God is better than that.”

Better than WHAT? Better than executing his Son on the Cross? (“It is written in the Scriptures that God will smite the Shepherd…” Matthew 26:31) "



I think that the idea of Jesus as God's sacrificial lamb is an invention that can be beautiful and can be horrible. But without getting in to that - No, I don't believe that God requires human sacrifice. Once again, I think the Bible is man-made and can point us to the divine only through understanding the human lens through which the Biblical authors saw the world.

"Steven, do you think God would not be perfect if he sent a person to where He sent his Son after that person spit in his Son’s face by rejecting Jesus as his Saviour? "

I don't think a person who doesn't believe in a literal resurrection is "rejecting Jesus". They don't believe it is factually true. An atheist, for instance, is not rejecting God. He/she is rejecting the concept of God. For instance, I am not "spitting in the face" of a unicorn, because I don't believe unicorns exist. (I don't claim atheism BTW, but it's a good example)



"I strongly disagree with your thinking that ‘reasoning’ and ‘fear’ ideas “are at odds.”

It’s through reasoning we fear snakes, lions etc. and GOD."

Our fear of snakes and lions is based on observation. Your earlier statements suggest that we ignore any observation that contradicts a certain view of Scripture. I think this is "at odds"

thanks again, good discussion. I enjoyed reading your biblical references and interpretation,

Steven