Are there "Carnal Christians"?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by canadyjd, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    To all: The following article contains solid biblical commentary on the doctrine of “carnal Christians”. It would be worth you time to read it. I have selected parts that I found relevant to this discussion.

    http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?127

    ARE THERE CARNAL CHRISTIANS?
    Exclusive Principles
    by James R. Graham
    ….The use of the term "carnal Christian" unavoidably implies a habitual state of carnality, and it is from any such constant state that regeneration is represented as being the alternative, the antithesis. For carnality to be a habitual characteristic is a sure indication of the dominion of sin. But we are plainly told by the Apostle:
    "For sin shall not have dominion over you. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves as servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey: whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? . . . Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:14, 16, 18)….

    ….But the propounders of the doctrine of "carnal Christians" have done just this with I Cor. 3:1-3. If this passage is to be interpreted as they interpret it then large sections of the New Testament would have to be thrown out…..

    ….."And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ."

    Three times the comparative adverb "hos" - "as", is used in this verse. He is not setting forth the theology of the walk of the believer or the principle that governs that walk, as in Romans 8 and Galatians 5. We have previously declared the fact that though the principle of government is changed from the natural-carnal to the spiritual at regeneration, there is not a complete elimination of carnal tendencies and outbreaking carnal acts. The process of sanctification reduces both such tendencies and such acts, until in the mature state of growth both can be so checked as to be scarcely discernible to the eye of man……

    …..The apostle is deploring here the arrested process of sanctification rather than dealing with the governing principle of the believer's walk. The New Testament does not teach "carnal Christians," but is full of the tragedy of Christians reverting to carnality. There is a great difference. (emphasis mine)

    peace to you:praying:
     
  2. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,655
    Likes Received:
    225
    Yes, there are carnal Christians. Babes in Christ still think and act as men, and tend to think of God and Christ in those terms. They may not be involved in immorality, but they are carnal nonetheless.

    1 Cor. 3
     
  3. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Messages:
    38,320
    Likes Received:
    786

    Carnal minds = death

    The answer is no
     
  4. J.D.

    J.D.
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Messages:
    3,553
    Likes Received:
    8
    Christians experience seasons in which they are under the control of the carnal nature, but the proponents of the carnal christian doctrine go way beyond that. I don't believe a born-again believer can live a lifetime in service to Satan, but CC says it is so. I don't believe that the Holy Spirit can fail in bringing forth fruit in a person in whom He resides, but CC says it is so.
     
  5. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    Did you read the article? Just curious if it affected your thinking.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  6. Joe

    Joe
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    0
    1 Corinthians 3

    1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

    2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

    3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

    4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

    Envying, strife etc...are similar to a child having a fit when it doesn't get what it wants.

    T
    This verse is often used as an excuse to explain away a christian committing adultery, fornication, etc...I haven't decided whether a Christian can or can't commit these sins but imo, this verse doesn't apply to these adult (Man) type sins.
     
  7. Lou Martuneac

    Lou Martuneac
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    0
    Canadyjd:

    You forgot to return to your misunderstanding of the carnal Christian issue you raised in the LS and Eternal Security thread. This, however, is an acceptable substitute for you to deal with the reality of “carnal” Christians.

    My original statement was misconstrued by you through placing carnal and Christian within quotation marks, The misconstrue appears this way, ...the phrase "carnal Christians"? My comments appear this way, "carnal" Christians.

    The statement "carnal Christian" was referenced, written and used by John MacArthur and appears in his Revised and Expanded edition of TGATJ on page 135. It appears you did not read that book by MacArthur and did not carefully read my comment.

    Does the Apostle Paul address “carnal” Christians? If one were to read the New Testament with discernment, he would note…

    Who is the Letter to the Corinthians addressed to?
    Any one who says Paul is not speaking of “carnal” Christians in the church, is just as likely to say that there is no biblical proof for the Triune God because the word “Trinity” does not appear in Scripture.

    Next I'll show how LS advocates deal with the reality of the “carnal” Christian.

    LM
     
  8. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    The I Cor passage is commented on in the article. Did you read the article? I am curious as to whether it affects your beliefs about this issue.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  9. Lou Martuneac

    Lou Martuneac
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    0
    Walter J. Chantry, a Lordship advocate, wrote:
    In the light of 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, it is hard to believe that the “carnal Christian” is an invention of modern-day evangelicals. The Apostle Paul addresses the “brethren” at Corinth. The “brethren” are believers, and Paul calls them “carnal.” Not every believer in the church at Corinth was carnal, but certainly there were enough “carnal” Christians to warrant the stern rebukes from the Apostle Paul in his first epistle to them.

    On the "carnal" Christian John MacArthur says,
    While it may be commonplace for “Christians to live like unbelievers,” it certainly should not be “normal” for any Christian. The “carnal Christian” is not a category “devised” by “contemporary theologians.” It is a category of believers (“brethren”) identified in the Word of God, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by the Apostle Paul.

    Walter Chantry and John MacArthur must ignore the clear teaching of Scripture to arrive at the conclusion that the “carnal” Christian has been “devised,” invented, or fabricated only in recent times.


    LM
     
  10. Joe

    Joe
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's a great article, very educational. Didn't affect my beliefs except it added to it.

    Imo, the bolded portion below (your link/article) sums up what a Carnal Chistian is



    "as", is used in this verse. He is not setting forth the theology of the walk of the believer or the principle that governs that walk, as in Romans 8 and Galatians 5. We have previously declared the fact that though the principle of government is changed from the natural-carnal to the spiritual at regeneration, there is not a complete elimination of carnal tendencies and outbreaking carnal acts. The process of sanctification reduces both such tendencies and such acts, until in the mature state of growth both can be so checked as to be scarcely discernible to the eye of man. The apostle is deploring here the arrested process of sanctification rather than dealing with the governing principle of the believer's walk. The New Testament does not teach "carnal Christians," but is full of the tragedy of Christians reverting to carnality. There is a great difference. A person walking along an ice-covered side-walk may slip and slide and frequently fall, but the principle that governs, is a forward movement in an upright position, not a backward slide in a prone position.
     
  11. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    Once again, my apology to you, Lou Martuneac. You are correct. You said "carnal" Christians. When I asked for the passage, I mistated your post as "carnal Christians". I assure you it was unintentional.
    I would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from the usual discourse on John MacArthur and specifically address the commentary I have linked to, including the passages of scripture that have been referenced.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  12. Lou Martuneac

    Lou Martuneac
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    0
    Canadyjd:

    Thanks for having, just a moment ago, (9:12pm) returning to the LS & Eternal Life thread and apologizing for misconstruing my comments there


    LM
     
  13. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree, it is a good summary.

    I was particularly impressed with the way the article develops a bibical understanding of how the word "carnal" or "fleshly" is used by the Apostle Paul in his other letters.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,894
    Likes Received:
    27
    I'll read the article tomorrow. But the parts of it you quoted are excellent. I had the chance to hear and meet Iain Murray, one of the founders of Banner of Truth. He is truly a great man of God. And he signed all my books by him. :laugh:
     
  15. Lou Martuneac

    Lou Martuneac
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    0
    What is the Meaning of the Word “Carnal”?

    The word carnal (or carnality) in the New Testament is the translation of the Greek adjective σαρκικος (sarkikos) or one of its two cognates, σαρκινος (sarkinos) or σαρχ (sarx), which mean fleshly and flesh respectively. (The only exception to this usage is I Corinthians 3:4, where the word for man (ανθρωπο) is translated carnal.) Sarkikos has the basic idea of pertaining to flesh.

    The word carnal occurs twelve times in the New Testament. Every time it is used as an adjective to describe a person (rather than something impersonal like mind, things, or commandments), it speaks of a Christian.
     
  16. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wouldn't it be more accurate to say it speaks of someone who has professed to be a christian, but who's behavior is that of an unbeliever, a lost person?

    Isn't that the point of Paul using the word? Isn't he telling them to examine themselves to see if they are really in the faith; to see if they really have the Spirit of God?

    Didn't Jesus say that some honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him? Didn't Jesus say false prophets would be known by their fruits?

    Didn't Jesus say the one who "does the will of My Father" will see the kingdom of God?

    peace to you:praying:
     
  17. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,655
    Likes Received:
    225
    No I haven't read the article, and the parts you've quoted are nothing I haven't heard before.

    The question was, are there carnal christians? The Scriptures are clear, babes in Christ are yet carnal in their thinking, but they're Christians nonetheless.

    Now, whether they may remain that way or not is another discussion altogether.
     
  18. MB

    MB
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,536
    Likes Received:
    13
    I found your leading post most interesting thus my statement;
    The Bible says a man born of God cannot sin. I have met many that claim to be saved yet everyone of them sin sooner or later. I sin my self I'm no better. I don't like it and I try not to but literally sometimes it seems the more I try not to sin ,the more I sin. Paul wrote;
    1Co 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

    And then again;
    1Co 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

    It would seem that man cannot sin if He is in Christ. Because Christ is the end of the Law;
    Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
    I believe that since I am saved that it isn't my righteousness that counts anyway. It's the righteousness I wear which isn't my own. I have yet to meet the man who can stand before God in his own righteousness.
    MB
     
  19. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    The 1 Cor. 3 passage uses different words for carnal (fleshly) in the first use here "as to fleshly (carnal)" " as to babes in Christ", and when he later uses it "are you not carnal (fleshly)...."

    The fact that Paul uses the "as to" twice suggests he viewed them as two different groups. Paul does not combine the two (i.e "as to fleshly/carnal babes in Christ") which would support your understanding.

    The first group (fleshly) was unsaved. This is clear from the preceding verses in chapter 2 that contrasts the "natural man" with a Spiritual man. The "natural man" is the same thing as "fleshly".

    The second group "babes in Christ" were saved.

    Both groups need the same thing. They need milk. Milk is defined in Hebrews 6 as "elementary teachings" about repentance, faith, the ressurection and other things.

    Paul's concern wasn't to declare people to be saved or unsaved. He is telling them that because of their behavior he can't distinguish between them as babes in Christ or unbelievers.

    peace to you:praying:
     

Share This Page

Loading...