jimmy carterAn article by former president Jimmy Carter earlier this month in a British newspaper again confirms the need to pray for our leaders in government and importance of fidelity to the Scriptures.  In the article, Carter resigns from the Southern Baptist Convention, something he has done several times in the past dating back to 2000.  It’s a curious recurring action since no individual can hold membership in the SBC, but he resigns every few years anyway.

Carter’s main beef right now is the SBC’s statement on gender roles and his arguments reveal a view of the Bible that naturally leads to his conclusions.  He begins the piece by quoting first from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 2) which ensures all rights and freedoms regardless of status.  Then he quotes Galatians 3:28 which says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  

For Carter, and many others who share his view, these truths are incompatible with defining separate roles for men and women.  Any other verses from Paul’s writings that clarify the definition of gender roles in the church or home are not to be rigidly followed or taken as authoritative.   According to Carter, “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. . . was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.” (Click here for the full column)

The point of this post is not to discuss the domestic or ministerial role of women, but to defend Paul’s writings as the inspired Word of God which do not present an inconsistency here.  Letting God speak for Himself through the Bible allows one to see the complementary nature of different passages which are completely reconcilable with one another.

In thinking of the Paphos Paradigm, the government official, Sergius Paulus, was amazed at the teaching of the Lord through Paul and believed (Acts 13:12).  Jimmy Carter does not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, along with many others in our world.  For this reason the church should take seriously the responsibility to pray for the spiritual eyes of leaders to be opened to the authority of God’s Word and to be active in making this teaching available in the political sphere (1 Timothy 4:1-4).

Jesus’ mandate to His Church in Matthew 28 is to teach others to observe all He commands through His Word, not to hold the Scriptures to the standards of our human reason.