Jimmy Carter’s “Abomination Theology”

Former United States President Jimmy Carter has spent the last decade of his life seeking spiritual reconciliation among professing Christians of all theological stripes. Most recently, Carter has been rallying moderate and liberal Baptists around what is called the New Baptist Covenant, a meeting that originally convened in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2008 to counter the “negative and judgmental image of Baptists” by bringing Baptists of all theological persuasions together to commit to focusing on “healing social ills including poverty, pollution, lack of health care and global religious and racial conflict” (Ecumenical News International, 1-12-07). On November 17, 2011, Carter served as a keynote speaker for the New Baptist Covenant II. At this latest gathering, Carter took the time to criticize Christians for their theological disagreements, even calling such disagreements over vital biblical doctrines an “abomination” when the body of Christ is divided. Carter said in his world travels, he has noticed that unbelievers have a negative impression of Christians marked by “division among us as we argue about authority or priesthood of the believer, interpretation of Scripture, how much emphasis to put on one Bible verse instead of another” (Associated Baptist Press, 11-17-11). The Associated Baptist Press report noted that Carter said “hot-button issues like the role of women, homosexuality, abortion, the death penalty, separation of church and state, peace versus reliance on military action, predestination and speaking in tongues are important, but they become an ‘abomination’ when they are allowed to divide the body of Christ.” Carter told those in attendance that the only thing that really matters is unity of all who believe that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. “At this assembly let us Baptists pray that we and all other Christians will be bound together in Christ in a spirit of peace, love, forgiveness and common purpose,” he said. For any religious leader to claim that serious differences in theology are an “abomination” when unity is broken is truly an abomination to God. The Scriptures make much of “sound doctrine” and also make it clear that those who embrace “false doctrine” are to be marked and avoided.