By Tyson Thorne

January 1, 2014

Verses Carter large

Former President Jimmy Carter makes a bold declaration about faith and politics, but is it biblical?


There are so many problems with this reasoning it is hard to know where to begin addressing them. The following are my top ten biblically-correct contentions with Carter’s statement.

1. The Bible teaches that God’s children are to be charitable (2 Corinthians 9.7), yet makes no such demands of government.

2. Similar to the first point, first Jews (Deuteronomy 15.7-.11), and later Christ-followers (Romans 15.25-.29) were encouraged to help the poor; nowhere does it call governments to do so.

3. One reason for this approach is accountability. Government, in the name of fairness, cannot take an interest in why someone is poor. Whether it be from laziness, bad decisions, happenstance, or excessive charity makes no difference. Yet the Bible has some startling statements about who should receive assistance and whom should not (2 Thessalonians 3.10).

4. Furthermore, God’s people are primarily interested in God’s glory with any assistance they provide, governments assist the poor for their own glory, or to buy votes.

5. When government steps out of the role of providing for the economically challenged, churches, non-profit organizations and individuals tend to pick up the slack.

6. It is unrealistic to think that all believer’s (and churches, for that matter) are mature enough to meet the needs of all the poor. There is nothing unbiblical about government assistance programs, but they should be evaluated, regulated and ended when a private sector group is ready to take over.

7. It is equally unrealistic to believe the government – any government – can solve poverty, as the failure of the U.S. governments “war on poverty” shows. To cast this responsibility solely on government is a human attempt to resolve a problem only God can solve.

8. At some point we have to recognize that being poor isn’t a sin or a crime (James 2.5) and is even expected to some degree (Matthew 26.11).

9. To believe that Christianity – or any other religion or philosophy – may be enforced by government is to take too lightly man’s fallen nature (Jeremiah 17.9).

10. After all, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Therefore, a “Christian nation” is defined by the actions of its people, and is not something that can be mandated by government.

As well intentioned as President Carter may be, on this topic he is far from thinking biblically.

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