05 July, 2014
Why Jimmy Carter Was (and Is) a Rare Breed | Christianity Today
Why Jimmy Carter Was (and Is) a Rare Breed | Christianity Today: Balmer ends his book with the "impression that Carter was driven—almost obsessed—by a kind of works righteousness." He observes quite rightly that too many Christians seek "to prove by their good works that they are among the elect." From his days on his family farm to his years in the Navy to his many years on the campaign trail, Carter was an incessant worker. Most of the time, his hard work paid off, but Carter's work ethic could not solve the Iranian hostage crisis, his nation's economic malaise, or the electoral threat of Ronald Reagan. Balmer observes, however, that after his defeat to Reagan "Carter reaffirmed his commitment to works righteousness as a way to redeem his loss," and his ceaseless activism and philanthropy bolstered his reputation in the United States and abroad. Balmer thinks that the former president, now approaching 90 years of age, has earned a respite. That is undoubtedly true, but it is difficult to know whether Carter suffers from a theological blind spot or mere workaholism.