Jimmy Carter, Sunday School Teacher

The former president on why he believes Jesus will save everyone, and how his faith complicated--and sustained--his presidency.


For the past 25 years, former president Jimmy Carter has taught a Sunday Bible study class at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. On the 30-40 weekends a year he's in town, he leads a group of locals and tourists in conversation and study. As the first of an ongoing series of these recorded weekly lessons was

released in CD form

, he sat down with Beliefnet's Executive Editor, Elizabeth Sams, to talk about his faith, its impact on his public life, and the controversy surrounding his most recent book.

Watch segments

of the interview,

sample his audio

Bible lessons, or

read the full interview

below.




 

His Faith

 

Religion & Politics

 

Middle East Peace

 
 
Leading a Worthy Life

Sample His Lessons


Excerpted with permission from the new Simon & Schuster audio series,
Leading a Worthy Life, Volume One of SUNDAY MORNINGS IN
PLAINS: Bible Study with Jimmy Carter.


 
Your first lesson on Ephesians describes man's reconciliation to God through grace and the sacrifice of Christ. Do you believe that grace ultimately applies to people who don't presently believe in Jesus?

Yes, I do. I remember two things. One is that in John 3:16, which is probably the best known verse in the Bible - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son."

And Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, said we should love our neighbors, but also love those who despise us and hate us and our enemies. So, the opportunity for everyone to be saved through the grace of God with faith in Christ applies to everyone.

'My own personal belief is one of God's forgiveness and God's grace.'

And I have been asked often, you know, in my Sunday School classes, which are kind of a give and take debate with people from many nations and many faiths - what about those that don't publicly accept Christ, are they condemned? And I remember that Christ said, "Judge not that ye be not judged."

And so, my own personal belief is one of God's forgiveness and God's grace. That's the best answer I can give.

Given your life-long involvement with questions of church & state, do you think the current administration has brought too much, or not enough Christianity into government?

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