Culture,  Theology/Bible

Jimmy Carter Says Mormons Are Christians

In his 1976 campaign for President, Jimmy Carter made much of his being a “born-again” Christian. Many of his fellow Southern Baptists in the solid (but softening) south were delighted to hear what sounded like a plain confession of evangelical faith. But that was then, and this is now.

In a recent interview with Newsweek magazine, President Carter makes statements that cannot be reconciled with evangelical faith.

Newsweek: A new book . . . argues that religion should be taught in public schools. Do you agree?
Carter: I wouldn’t have any aversion to that. To teach a comparative religions course, to compare Christianity with Judaism and Islam and Hinduism and so forth, would be constructive. It would show that there is a compatibility among them all. I can’t claim to be a scholar, but when our hostages were being held by Iran when I was president, I read the Quran, and I had Islamic scholars come and talk to me. The basic human-behavior principles were the same. The Islamic Bible, the Quran, teaches peace and justice and care for one’s neighbor and helping the poor. I would not be in favor of public schools endorsing Christianity. . .

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.

If Christianity were merely a matter of “basic human-behavior principles,” then I suppose that someone could find “compatibility” between it and some version of Islam or Mormonism. But biblical Christianity cannot be reduced to that sort of pabulum.

Christians are disciples of Jesus the Messiah, the very Son of God (Acts 11:26). The Christian gospel proclaims the life, death, and resurrection of Christ for sinners in fulfillment of Israel’s scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Jesus of the scriptures brooks no rivals, nor does he allow a divided allegiance (Matthew 6:24). Allegiance to Jesus Christ is not “compatible” with any other allegiance, be it devotion to Islam or to the heresy of Mormonism. To pretend that Christianity is compatible is to completely misunderstand the Christian gospel.

All Christians need to be reminded that faithfulness to the gospel means proclaiming the supremacy of Christ over all other rivals. It also means refusing to capitulate to the relativizing tendencies of pluralism. This means that faithful Christians will not trade in the glory of Christ for the error reflected in Carter’s comments.

19 Comments

  • Don

    Too bad carter didn’t learn anything from reading the quran. I don’t care what he has to say about this, he was our worst president ever and by far our worst ex-president. He has spent more time rubbing elbows with every tin-horn dictator he can.

  • Chad Sylvester

    Maybe teaching religion in public schools should be your next posts. I do think it is important to know what someone else believes and try to live peacably, but saying that we are brothers in Christ is pretty moronic. It certainly didn’t come from the Bible. It may be somewhere in the Quran, but I haven’t read it enough to know.

  • Paul

    Don,

    Jimmy Carter can’t be the worst president ever, as Bush has firmly secured that spot for all time.

    As for worst ex-president, at least Jimmy’s made an effort for peace and understanding, two things that Bush and Cheney know NOTHING about.

  • Don

    To all: Most of the problems this admistration is dealing with today go back to this man. He got his nobel peace prize for bashing Bush. He should build some more homes and keep his mouth closed. Sorry guys I know you hate bush, not crazy about him either, but look at carter for what he was as president. I liked Bush when I was fooled to believe he was conservative. I know now he is a RINO at best, but a lib. I fear.

  • Paul

    Jason,

    sorry the truth hurts.

    Don,

    when was the last time you helped with a habitat for humanity project?

    If all you need to do is bash the boy king to get a Nobel Prize, I should have about 8 million of them by now.

  • Paul

    Jason,

    Of course I care. Just because you’re dead wrong on politics doesn’t mean that I don’t care about a fellow brother in Christ.

    As for Shephard Wayne Kenny, Yes, Air America is still on, although about the only way that you can get Air America and nothing but Air America through the day is to get their XM channel. In Chicago, they only have Randi Rhodes (blah) and Al Franken (blah, but he has great taste in music), and everything else is “progressive talk” but not Air America, necessarily.

  • Jada Bown Swanson

    I could care less about what he did politically.(in this conversation, that is) What troubles me is that he is a highly public, supposed, Christian who just made a statement that baffles me to no end. Sure, his cousin may be ‘devout in her faith’,but what or who is her faith in? The scriptural Jesus Christ, the only way to Heaven? PERIOD. Or something her religion teaches.

    My Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way and that the gate is narrow and that all roads DO NOT lead to Heaven.

    Sadly many people are sincere, but sincerly wrong. I wish, as Christians, we could be sincerely concerned with those who either 1. do not know about the true message of salvation 2. have it all screwed up aka Mr. Carter. I mean, we don’t save people, obviously, but we are God’s agents to carry out the Great Commission and as believers I truly feel it is high time we get off our duffs debating about it and start doing something about it.

    What gets me too, is there are so many people, ‘good people’ who rather than studying for themselves, will take the easy way, or just trust what others have to say, and actually believe this garbage b/c so-and-so, in this case former President Carter, said it.

    I can just see it now, people sitting on their porch drinking iced tea “Did you read in Newsweek that Carter interview?” “Yep, yep, says Mormons are Christian” “Well I’ll be. I never thought of it that way, but if Carter says it it must be true, he such a good man.”

    Call it out there, but where I grew up, this would totally be a possible conversation, so much it is ridiculous.

    Read the Bible and go from there.

  • Glenn

    If the Mormons are wrong, and I think they are, they are at least devoutedly wrong. You cannot find nicer people anywhere or people easier to talk to. I think it is up to good everyday Christians such as you folks on this thread to talk with them about the right way. They won’t be changed by people like Jimmy Carter, whose comments on that subject will, in the long run, probably turn out to be unimportant.

  • Steven Patrick Morrissey

    I don’t think Mormons are theists, let alone Christian. A theist believes in at least one being who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. It seems that God, if he/she is the greatest conceivable being, cannot share the attribute of omnipotence if there is at least one other being with equal or great power and a separate and distinct will.

  • Eric

    Denny,

    Anyone who dares accuse someone who of not being a Christian when they procliam they are is not a true Christian themselves. One day you will read the Book of Mormon and realize it like this..the bible is not a closed book…What if they said after the Old Testament was compiled that nothing else counted? Well that’s pretty stupid. There are tons of prophets and books mentioned in the bible that are not in the bible today. Let’s be open minded. Forget thinking Old and new testament and think of it like this. Old testamanet = First testsament. New testsmant = second testament. Book of Mormon = third testament. Let the Christians of all denominations unite before the worldliness takes over…then we’ll all be doomed. Jimmy Carter is absolutely thinking in the right frame of mind of a true Christian.

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