This article is written by Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth President of United States (1977-1981). The article was published in The Christian Century on September 20, 2005 in page No.32-35. This article was retrieved only for the purpose of academic pursuit and to gain more understanding from the article about Christian living. In this task, the article written by Hon.Jimmy Carter, is being analyzed with all the due respect and honor to Sir.Jimmy Carter with a request to grant permit for the article analysis.
Former President Hon.Jimmy Carter is presently associated with Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia.
The discussion is focused particularly about Christian diversions and what are the negative effects that Christian ministries are faced with in the present day church society.
It is a great challenge to church leaders as well to the ministerial work that is carried in Christianity. In letter to Galatians, St.Paul indicated that the three churches established in Lystra, Iconium and Derbe to where St.Paul began the first missionary journey, where there was huge congregation in the beginning, began to become divided radically from the faith due to the rise of other requirements from leaders for acceptance and retention of fellowship which lead to chaos and disagreements among churches.
This is a great threat and does not hold good for missionary work as well for Christian believers about churches unity. Basic fundamental mistake was being committed by church leaders in Galatia who were departing from the gospel of Christ and were interested in adopting facets of Jewish law and circumcision. The denominations are man-made viz., Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterians, Mennonites, Quakers and Catholics.
There are also other issues in the article about fundamentalism, women preachers and about leadership of church. St.Paul “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose”(1 Cor 1:10).
Author’s (Jimmy Carter) favorite Bible verse “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephes 4:32)”.
Article is reflecting on present day leadership in various denominations of church, women leadership in the church and whether such situation existed in the days of St.Paul. The thesis of the Author is, follow and practice what St.Paul did in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to various places and building congregations and not Christian radical associations or depicting superiority of men over women.
Jesus Christ gave equal importance to women at par with men and never degraded women at any point of time throughout Jesus missionary work. It was also stated here that women who would like to preach the gospel of Christ must “Any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head – it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair”
Further the author states that as St.Paul stated “When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Cor 2:1-2) The essence of the gospel should be that we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and this is sufficient to carry on faith and religion and there is nothing much more important than this either to God or to Christians and believers of Jesus Christ.
The article is in close association with New Testament especially with St.Paul missionary work that was much highly spirited in Galatia and in Corinth. Paul through various missionary letters motivated friends, church leaders and even congregation in those times. Christian religion is one of the world’s most popular religion and there are many Christian churches around the world in various denominations. It is important to carry the unity and integrity of Christian religion whereas politics in Christian denominations, racism, gender differences and other social issues should not be included in gospel work or in church leaderships.
Churches are basically human institutions wherein Christ believers grow in faith, carry gospel work and develop social and communal harmony which is the sole motive of any religion. St.Paul confronted several problems in missionary work and in carrying the gospel of Christ and St.Paul did not give up and instead motivated associates towards evangelism and stated its importance.
This article is an excellent piece of writing, that must really be an inspiration to those who are endeavoring in gospel work and those who are actively participant in building up of new churches in various places.
Jimmy Carter (2005) ,Back to Fundamentals
Accessed May 9, 2008