Thursday, July 23, 2009

Carter and the Created Order

I have noticed something over the years that I think has caused Christians a problem in the field of apologetics. I have seen this problem when discussing the issue of homosexuality not only in the religious context but in the political realm as well. Since the issue of women in the church and family is tightly related, I thought pointing out this inconsistency might be of service in the Christian's ability to communicate his beliefs.

This morning's blog post by Albert Mohler is excellent. Mohler explains that Jimmy Carter is simply wrong in his use of scripture and Carter's view of denominational membership (Why doesn't he leave already!). But, here comes the other shoe, there is that one point that I think Christians need to clarify.

Mohler quotes Carter,
So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God.
Mohler then makes this comment with a quote from Carter,
Instead, his reference to the Southern Baptist Convention introduced his argument that any religious teaching that denies what he construes as full equality for women "is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God."
Of course, one could have a field day with this nonsense. Could anyone with a quarter pounder in his mouth and half a brain make such stupid words string together by accident? Yet that is the beauty of Liberalism. Words have no meaning and history is able to be rewritten at the whim of the touchy feely.

However, it is in the next paragraph that I think the Christian in general and Mohler in particular miss the opportunity to clarify. Mohler states,
All this fits a pattern for which Mr. Carter is now well known. He simply rejects the texts in the Bible that clearly establish different roles for men and women in the church and the home. He dismisses these verses for the simple reason that he also rejects the inerrancy of the Bible.
Now all this is true of course. Liberals hardly believe in Genesis. It is just a story to twist and pervert and mythologize to no end. Yet one does not have to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture to argue against Carter's feminist views anymore than the homosexual issue or even just talking with an unbelieving neighbor. (I need to clarify that I am a presuppositionalist, and I believe that the Christian must start with the inerrancy of Scripture. However, here I am simply arguing the created order. This knowledge is known by all men.)

My point is simple but easily missed. There is a created order. Christians in particular need to learn to argue from this created order to demonstrate the Creator's purpose and design. Everyone knows that men and women are created equal in one sense. Yet we all may see that there is a purpose and order to things as well (Eve comes from Adam. She is not second rank because of her sin but because of the created order). Our consciences even bear witness to this fact. For we see this in militaries that have attempted to incorporate women along side of men in battle. We see this when a man's family is attacked. We see this plainly in so many areas of life that we must acknowledge, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1,that men suppress the truth.

Christians have the Scriptures to speak to the sinful heart of man, and we must continue to proclaim the truths of God's Word. For it is the written special revelation of God that gives the needed correction to all of man's sinful perversions and twistings of the general revelation around him and within him. The Scriptures also give the special revelation that man needs to once again be reconciled to his Creator and to once again come into a right thinking about himself and the created order around him.

I doubt Former President Carter would be persuaded by any of this. Sinners do what sinners do. Nevertheless, I think Christians could and should engage unbelievers in the political arena in a more consistent manner for the simple fact that Christians desire to honor God's truth.

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