Jimmy Carter is one of my least favorite people. His incessant bleatings against Israel amount to anti-Semitism. What else to call a double standard where Jews must be perfect and Muslims excused for heinous behavior? As president, he was an abject failure, second only to the incumbent in his cluelessness.
So, John Luke, you don’t like this man. We get that. And yet…I found myself in accord with some of the sentiments he put forward in a recent interview. The interview concerned Carter’s views of the Bible.
One place where Carter stumbles is where he says “he [Jesus] never said that gay people should be condemned.” True; Scripture is silent on whether Jesus said anything in particular about homosexuals. It would, however, likely shock Jesus the rabbi to be told that homosexual acts were just fine.
Just as it would shock Jesus the Lord, full partner in the Trinity that created Scripture, that the admonitions against sin, including homosexual acts, were now null and void. It comes down to the cherry-picking that liberals like Carter just love.
If passages are inconvenient against a prevailing whim in today’s culture, well, then, the Bible simply can’t mean what it says. Sorry; I can’t buy that.
I don’t think of myself as a fundamentalist. Yet I believe there are fundamental truths in the Bible. Among other things, the Bible is the best source for how we ought to live our lives.
It is quite clear what God considers wrong; it’s right there in black and white. See Exodus 20 for starters.
It is also clear that there is a path for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus is that path, died for our sins. But His sacrifice does not give us license to sin. God will still judge us at the end.
The path to forgiveness by God must include repentance. A change in one’s mind, literally, that results in a change in one’s behavior. Forgiveness absent such a change means nothing, and may be given by humans. But I suspect God’s got higher standards.
The example chosen by Carter on gays? Of course gays must be welcomed in the Christian’s church. But not homosexual acts. God loves the sinner; hates the sin. Yet we all sin; we’re all born in sin.
When we knowingly tolerate sin, when we welcome the sinner into our midst without asking them to repent, we lose the moral high ground. If we tolerate homosexual acts, how about tolerating theft? Murder? Adultery? Who among us humans decides which of these is acceptable and which not? Our standards change. God’s do not.