Wade Burleson, Ben Cole, and others have been to meet with Jimmy Carter. In a post detailing the event, Burleson addresses his concern that people will use the event to "seek to crucify [him] for meeting with President Carter." (See Burleson's post here. See Cole's version here. Marty Duren's version is respectful, but much less giddy about Carter, meaning I like it better. See here.) I think that Burleson worries needlessly. Burleson wrongly suspects that somebody somewhere in the SBC will be shocked, scandalized, or otherwise surprised that he and his group are meeting with Carter and is enthusiastic about what Carter is doing. The headline will come when we find someone leftward of this group who is not acceptable to them. In as non-crucifying a manner as I can muster (Burleson wasn't suggesting that his actions and words are beyond any review at all, was he?), I only wish to point out something I find interesting. The title of Burleson's post is "That Which Unites Us Is the Gospel of Christ." Here are Jimmy Carter's thoughts about the gospel in his own words, given in full context:
Q: Your first lesson on Ephesians describes man's reconciliation to God through grace and the sacrifice of Christ. Do you believe that grace ultimately applies to people who don't presently believe in Jesus? A: Yes, I do. I remember two things. One is that in John 3:16, which is probably the best known verse in the Bible - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." And Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, said we should love our neighbors, but also love those who despise us and hate us and our enemies. So, the opportunity for everyone to be saved through the grace of God with faith in Christ applies to everyone. And I have been asked often, you know, in my Sunday School classes, which are kind of a give and take debate with people from many nations and many faiths - what about those that don't publicly accept Christ, are they condemned? And I remember that Christ said, "Judge not that ye be not judged." And so, my own personal belief is one of God's forgiveness and God's grace. That's the best answer I can give.So, there is Carter's understanding of the gospel. I ask you, the Southern Baptist people: Does that gospel unite you with Jimmy Carter? As for me, I would have to entitle any post about Jimmy Carter in this manner: "What Divides Us Is the Gospel of Christ"