Jimmy Carter Leaves Southern Baptists

CarterYou have probably heard that former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter has recently severed his 60-year ties to the South Baptist Convention.  The reason for his action is that he is accusing the Baptist denomination of subjugating women and attempting to justify it with “a few carefully selected Bible verses.”

Former President Carter stated that his decision was “painful” and “difficult”, but was “unavoidable” after the Southern Baptist Convention ruled that women could not become deacons, pastors, or chaplains in the military.  Carter stated that this ruling was “in conflict with his belief – confirmed in the Holy Scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.”

Former President Carter’s mistake is the mistake of Korah, Dathan, Abriam, and On (Numbers 16:1-3), and it also the same mistake that many of our brethren are making today.  The mistake that I am talking about is that “Equal standing is equivalent to equal responsibility.”

Korah argued that since the entire congregation was holy (Numbers 16:3), then everyone should have the same responsibility or role.  Likewise, I hear people quoting the equality of men and woman per Galatians 3:28, then concluding that they have equal responsibilities.  While the premise is true, the conclusion doesn’t follow.  Just read what happened to Korah and his companions.  Yes, all the congregation of Israel was holy, yet that did not remove the role distinction between the congregation and Moses.  Likewise women and men are equally holy, and valued in the Kingdom of God.  Yet, that does not remove the God-given, gender-based, role distinctions affirmed in Scripture (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

What former President Carter and Korah don’t seem to understand is that their respective rebellions are not against the Southern Baptist Convention or Moses, but are actually rebellions against God (Numbers 16:11).

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Comments 8

  • Steve,

    There are only three times (that I’m aware of) in the Bible where we find total equality. (1) We have all equally sinned (Romans 3:23); (2) We are all equal “in Christ” (Gal. 3:28) and (3) we are all equal at the grave (Ecclesiastes 2:14; Ecclesiastes 9:1-3).


  • Steve,

    Good thoughts. I don’t always think to read the blog but when I do read it, I pick up something almost every time. I hope you reach many through your writings.


  • Hi, Steve!

    Outstanding writing, as usual from you!

    I assume you meant Gal. 3:28 as the citation for equality?

    Steve Kirby
    Clarksville, TN

  • Thanks for the correction, Steve. Of course, you are correct that I meant 3:28 and not 3:23. Thanks for letting me know I had the typo. It’s corrected.

  • Hey John,
    Well, all I can say is that you need to read more often! 😉 Hope all is going well with you. Summer’s almost over and we still haven’t gotten together…

  • It’s interesting to me that so many women desire to take a leadership role in the church. I guess it’s driven by the ability in this day and age when women are able to climb the ladder in the workplace. It’s unfortunate that we aren’t able to discern that those rules of engagement are totally different than the rules for the order of worship. I enjoyed your blogg Steve and appreciate the stance you take for the truth.

  • This reminds me of a time when a woman who “loved the Lord” asked me during a home bible study, “what does your church say about women teaching and preaching?” I merely opened my bible to 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and asked her read it for herself. After reading the scriptures she immediately raised her voice and shouted at me, “that’s your interpretation, that’s just your interpretation!” But I had not said a single word — she understood clearly what the verses said, but she was unwilling to yield her opinion to the authority word of God (1 Timothy 3:16). Sadly, she stopped the bible studies and some time later died outside of Jesus Christ.

    Clearly Jesus knows the hearts of all men and women – that we are quick to profess our love for Him, and yet sometimes unwilling to obey, thus he says to us:

    “If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15).

    “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)?

  • […] 1. Steve Higginbotham writes a wonderful response to a former President leaving his religious affiliation.  This article is more than a news story, though, as Steve gives some good thoughts behind was the President said.  Learn from “Jimmy Carter Leaves Southern Baptists.” […]

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