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  •  James Earl Carter, Jr., the 39th President of the (34+ / 0-)

    United States, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and he is faithful and active. He teaches Sunday school, serves as a Deacon, and lives his faith. He apparently has always done this and has gained much admiration for it. His childhood church and many other Baptist churches were part of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), which was formed by a split between Northern and Southern Baptists in 1845. The Southern Baptists were proslavery and the Northern Baptists were not. Over the years, Carter saw the SBC become an organization that influenced the member churches in ways he did not like. Finally Carter recognized that the Southern Baptist Convention was a very dogmatic, fundamentalist organization that took positions which Carter thought were contrary to his understanding of Christianity. (I experienced a similar recognition; only mine preceded Carter’s by about forty years.)

    In the year 2000, Mr. and Mrs. Carter withdrew their support from the Southern Baptist Convention and associated themselves with a less dogmatic group. Carter announced his decision by sending a letter to several thousand Baptist churches, and by giving some press interviews at the time in which he explained his reasons for the change.

    In his resignation letter Carter said:

    I have been disappointed and feel excluded by the adoption of policies and an increasingly rigid SBC creed, including some provisions that violate the basic premises of my Christian faith. I have finally decided that, after 65 years, I can no longer be associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
    You can decide for yourself, but I think that Carter just described the SBC as unchristian. The former president said that he and Mrs. Carter would associate with:
    Other traditional Baptists who continue to share such beliefs as separation of church and state, servanthood and not domination of pastors, local church autonomy, a free religious press and equality of women.

    Carter could not be clearer. The SBC is for the merging of church and state. And he has aligned himself with another collection of Baptist churches that obviously would not share the tyranno-Christian views of the SBC. Carter and his associates represent democrato-Christianity. There are other points of disagreement between Carter and the SBC, and he wrote about them in his recent book, Our Endangered Values. One is particularly important to Carter. He explains:
    Of preeminent concern to many Baptists was the deletion of the previously stated premise that, ‘the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ, whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.’ In effect, this change meant substitution of Southern Baptist leaders for Jesus as the interpreters of biblical Scripture.

    No matter how you cut it—that is one hell of a change. No longer at the center of the faith, Jesus is now just one more prophet among many. I sometimes wonder if the SBC leaders who demoted Jesus prayed on it before they did it, and I wonder what chapter and verse of the inerrant Christian Bible gave them scriptural authority for putting Jesus on the bench to be called on only in special situations. I wonder how Jesus feels about it. This change demonstrates that even today’s tyranno-Christians implicitly recognize that their church was not founded by Jesus, but by human beings who lived after he was gone, sometimes centuries after. In fact, this change demonstrates that the modern Southern Baptist Convention is a religion of men, not of God.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 04:12:01 AM PDT

    •  I applaud President Carter on this. (14+ / 0-)

      "In effect, this change meant substitution of Southern Baptist leaders for Jesus as the interpreters of biblical Scripture."

      In response to some students in one of my seminary classes, I had a professor say that theocracy will not happen at their hands or the hands of any other person, because "you will never get God's rule, but only the rule of individuals who think they know God's rule. Don't be fooled."

      Carter may not have been talking about theocracy, but the sentiment is not far off.

      •  That's perhaps the saddest (0+ / 0-)

        or maybe just the most outrageous consequence of the politicization of religion today. The movement known as "Baptist" originated in protest of 'The Church' (both as Catholicism and formal Protestantism) claiming exclusive possession of the scriptures/gospel as well as interpretations of them. Tinsdale was executed for daring to produce a vernacular Bible, even in an age of general illiteracy. When the availability of Bibles in English (or other current vernacular) became widespread, this is one of the primary reasons it was used as a textbook for instruction in literacy - reading and understanding of what is read. Given that the social milieu in centuries past reserved education to the elite, so the churches undertook the task of public education. Such as it was.

        The original Baptists rebelled against the religious hubris that insisted only priests/clergy could intercede for the individual with God. Now the Baptists (SBC most visibly) insist that only its clergy can intercede for the individual with God.

    •  We had a Christian president and they hated him (13+ / 0-)

      the Christianists don't want REAL followers of Jesus around to spoil their hate party

      •  We have one now and they hate him and insist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        merrywidow

        he is not a Christian.The right wing Evangelical types think that NO Democrat can be a Christian.

        Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

        by wishingwell on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:28:07 AM PDT

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