What a wonderful and benevolent government Jesus could have set up. How exemplary justice would have been. Maybe there would have been Habitat projects all over Israel for anyone who needed a home. And the proud, the rich, and the powerful could not have dominated their fellow citizens. As a twentieth-century governor and president I would have had a perfect pattern to follow. I could have pointed to the Bible and told other government leaders, “This is what Jesus did 2000 years ago in government. Why don’t we do the same?”
If only Jimmy Carter had been around at the time to show Jesus the error of his ways, He might have established a utopia on earth. Jimmy could have saved Jesus from the foolish decision to turn down secular power, to stop teaching to the poor and calling for conversion of hearts, focusing instead on forcing people to do His will. Jimmy might even have persuaded Him from the foolishness of the Cross!
Of course, Satan was trying to keep Jesus from the Cross; that was the whole point of Satan tempting Jesus in the desert. Getting Jesus to focus on the things of this world, rather than the next world. Satan doesn’t care about this world: he wants us to lose our souls so we’ll be with him, and not God, in the next. That’s what each of those three temptations in the desert (Matt 4:1-13) was about: trying to get Jesus to focus on the things of this world to the exclusion of the next. (And also, each of the three temptations is an undoing of Adam and Eve’s failures. Each temptation corresponds to a temptation they gave into, but that’s another post.) That’s the temptations we face every day, and where we too often fail. Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter looks at these temptations and says “Sweet!” Ironically, in the article linked above, he takes umbrage at being given the label “secular humanist,” when this is the exact error he makes: focusing too much on secular needs while neglecting the needs of the soul.
I’m so glad he only got one term.
Another reader of the Liberal Fascism blog compares Carter’s failings to a character in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce (a great read):
‘…But you never asked me what my paper is about! I’m taking the text about growing up to the stature of Christ and working out an idea which I feel sure you’ll be interested in. I’m going to point out how people always forget that Jesus…was a comparatively young man when he died. He would have outgrown some of his earlier views, you know, if he’d lived. I’m going to ask my audience to consider what his mature views would have been. A profoundly interesting question. What a different Christianity we might have had if only the Founder had reached his full stature! I shall end up pointing out how this deepens the significance of the Crucifixion. One feels for the the first time what a disaster it was; what a tragic waste…so much promise cut short.”
Underlying both Jimmy Carter and the character quoted above are two errors:
1) failure to understand the Bible in it’s proper context
2) a presumption that they know better than Jesus
The first can be forgiven and corrected through study; the second is truly dangerous to our souls. And to the people they would seek to lead.
Hat Tip: Liberal Fascism
UPDATE: IMAO comments: “So if you’re wondering what means liberals think are okay to achieve their goals, the line is apparently drawn somewhere beyond deals with Satan.”