The Egypt-Israel Treaty

A forty-five-minute ceremony last month on the White House lawn ended—at least on paper—thirty years of hostilities between Egypt and Israel. (See editorial, p. 8). And, as has been the case during the sixteen months of negotiations that culminated in the peace treaty signing, the atmosphere seemed as spiritual as it was political.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin both praised U. S. President Jimmy Carter for his mediator’s role in the peace initiative, saying he should win the Nobel Peace Prize. But each also linked Carter’s success with God. During speeches, Sadat talked about Carter “being armed with the blessing of God,” while Begin told the Southern Baptist layman, “Your labors and your devotion [in the pursuit of peace] bore God’s blessed fruit.”

All three leaders quoted from Isaiah 2:4: “Nations shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks …” An astute Begin pointed out that the same words were spoken by the prophet Micah (ch. 4:3), and he also quoted in Hebrew from Psalms 122 and 126. Carter injected into his speech a quotation from an essay, “The Peacemakers,” written by Walker L. Knight, editor of the Southern Baptist Convention Home Missions magazine in Atlanta.

After an Oklahoma speech several days before the peace signing, in which Carter said Christ would have supported the Equal Rights Amendment, the chief executive had made perhaps his most explicit public statement of faith. A questioner asked Carter to state “with your own mouth” that he was a believer and to describe his devotional life.

Carter said in response, “I am a believer in Jesus Christ and a born-again Christian. I do worship regularly. I spend a lot of ...

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