Carnal Christians: Yes? No?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Mar 15, 2011.

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  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    In another thread, Iconoclast made the following statement:
    "There are no carnal Christians."

    He was referring to professing believers who don't act like it.

    In my own church in years past, that's how we used to describe those who had made a public profession of faith, who had been baptized, were regular attendees for a while, and dropped out. Nobody wanted to challenge their salvation, so we called them carnal Christians, or, backsliders.

    And all of us recognize that we all are still sinners, even if some of us are nearly perfect.

    So the question for this thread. Is Iconoclast right or wrong?

    Are there backsliders? Or were they never saved in the first place?
     
  2. DHK

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    And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:1)

    Apparently Paul said there were carnal Christians, and calls them brethren.
    I side with Paul.
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    I think there is both.

    We've all seen people who claimed salvation, but rejected the church and the Christian lifestyle. And who were more than likely never saved to begin with. Charlie Sheen is a good example. He once claimed that he thought he might be a Christian. Fans from around the world were sending him Bibles. That was a long time ago. I don't believe he ever fully understood what salvation was and I don't believe that he is saved.

    Then there are people who do not have a solid background in the Bible and were not raised with Christian values who become legitimately saved and it takes a while for them to come around to the understanding that being saved is more than just a prayer and a "commitment". They don't have good pastoring, Bible teaching, Sunday School teaching, and don't have good accountability partners. No one disciples them at all. So they don't grow very fast and sometimes they are babes in Christ for a long time.

    Those of us Christians who are mature and feed on the meat of God's Word SHOULD have the discernment to tell the difference when getting involved in these people's lives.

    As DHK suggested 1 Corinthians 3:1, I would suggest backing up all the way to 1 Corinthians 2:14 and going all the way to 1 Corinthians 3:20.
     
  4. HAMel

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    There's a big difference between an adult that is carnal and an adult that is immature. Way too many professing Christians today are just immature.
     
  5. canadyjd

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    I don't think, in the technical sense, there can be such a creature as a "carnal Christian", though Christians can and do act as if they are unsaved. The expectation of salvation, however, is a transformed life.

    Paul's argument in I Cor. 3, is often misunderstood, imho. Paul makes the argument in chap. 2 that "natural" men cannot understand spiritual things. There is a sharp distinction between those who are saved (spiritual) and those who are not (natural). He says that Christians are expected to understand spiritual things because they are revealed to us by God, Holy Spirit. Paul ends chapter 2 by stating "But we have the mind of Christ".

    When Paul continues his argument in Chp. 3 (unfortunate chapter break), it is a condemnation of the Corinthians lack of understanding of spiritual things, given the expected presence of Holy Spirit and the "mind of Christ" that each should posess.

    When he says in v. 1 "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh (carnal), as to babes in Christ...." he is not acknowelging they are "carnal Christians" but only that he must speak to them as if they are carnal/men of flesh. He is saying this to shame them, on the one hand, and examine themselves on the other.

    Their actions contradict their profession of faith. That's why Paul mentions it.

    He then likens them to "babes in Christ". Instead of flatly accusing them of being unsaved (men of flesh/carnal), he allows for the possibility that they are simply immature Christians who have yet to be taught the mysteries of God by Holy Spirit.

    As such, they are still distinguished from "men of flesh", though it is difficult for Paul to see any difference in their behavior and that of men of flesh.

    So, to answer the question once again... no, I don't believe there can be "carnal Christians" because Christians have Holy Spirit indwelling. The expectation of salvation is a transformed life.

    That said, we must give allowance for a Christian to mature in their faith.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  6. DHK

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    I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1 Corinthians 3:2-3)

    Paul doesn't use a simile here, or any other figure of speech. He plainly tells the Corinthians that they are carnal. You are yet carnal. You are not spiritual. You need to be fed with milk. You are not ready to be fed with meat. Why? Because you are still carnal; acting like immature Christians who have not grown up. They were carnal Christians.
     
  7. Tater77

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    I work with 2 distinctly different guys what both are Christians.

    1. The first guy is at Church every time the doors open and attends Bible study classes. But has been saved about 4 years. Despite his zeal, this guy is very spiritually immature having a limited understanding. I'm afraid he is going down a legalist path.


    2. This guy rarely attends Church. He smokes pot. Lives with his ex wife but refuses to remarry her. Basically few would believe his Salvation.


    But the see the same fruit of the Spirit from both. Put them to the test and the results would be the same, charity, love etc. When "religious" discussions arise at work, guy #1 sits back and refuses to participate and when he does gets angry fast when you disagree with him.

    The second guy is open to talk all day with me and shows a great understanding of the Bible, Salvation, etc.

    These outward "signs" of Salvation that we tend to look for are generally misleading. These two I believe are both saved despite the distinctly different lifestyles.
     
  8. Crabtownboy

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    All Christians are human. All humans are carnal. Thus all Christians are carnal. No one is perfect ... no one really comes close IMHO. Some of the most spiritual people I have known would be considered carnal by the OP's definition.
     
    #8 Crabtownboy, Mar 16, 2011
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  9. freeatlast

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    It is not about who is right or wrong. It is about do we believe scripture or not.
    1John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

    3:9-10 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (practice) sin, because he is born of God.
    In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

    The problem in the church today is while many will claim to believe the bible they come up with false doctrines that deny what is written and they cling to the false doctrine instead of scripture.
     
  10. freeatlast

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    The second guy is lost. He has never been saved according to scripture. Knowing about the bible and actually being saved because of what is given is another thing. You will know them by their fruit. The second guy is LOST! Wake up!

    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
     
    #10 freeatlast, Mar 16, 2011
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  11. Tom Butler

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    If your definition of carnal is different from the one I used in the OP, I'd welcome it.

    Most of the people in my congregation appear to me to be pretty spiritual folks, and I wouldn't consider them carnal.

    If you consider all believers carnal who aren't perfect, then my definition definitely won't work.
     
  12. Iconoclast

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  13. webdog

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    I guess freeatlast is now God's personal spokesperson as he must have inside knowledge the rest of us besides person #2 has :rolleyes:

    DHK provided Scripture plainly saying a believer can be carnal. Case closed.
     
  14. Iconoclast

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    Webdog
    At first I thought i agreed with you,but I think i MIS-READ YOUR POST. Are you saying a born from above believer can act carnal,or are you saying he can be carnal??

     
    #14 Iconoclast, Mar 16, 2011
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  15. Iconoclast

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    Another very good post.You have it exactly under control.
     
  16. webdog

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    What would the difference be?

    I listened to a quarter of that sermon, and in all honesty I haven't heard yet how a carnal christian is heresy.
     
  17. Iconoclast

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    The explanation is more around the 34 minute mark and on...give it a good listen,check out the greek words in an interlinear.

    all of these sermons are good,God and worms is somewhat unique,somewhat scary, i was quite stunned when I first heard this years ago[it is not directly on this topic, but deals with Gods sovereign control of all things]...listen as you have time,here is a link to save toyour favorites, but good information even is at first you might not be in agreement WD.
    I appreciate your willingness to search it out.Especially that you know if I post it you are initally going to look extra critically which is fine.
    the download is free ,but 522 pages, a good read and study save it and read when you can
    http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/lectures-on-calvinism-and-arminianism/1210409
     
    #17 Iconoclast, Mar 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2011
  18. Iconoclast

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  19. Allan

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    And yet Paul states differently.

    The issue needs to be qualified as to what Carnal not just means but also what it entails (giving depth and qualification).

    Paul states they (brethren, also understood biblically as the redeemed) are still carnal, needing the milk and have not yet moved on to the meat of the word, because they still walk in accordance with the flesh.

    The qualifier (in general here, not a specific word) is not that they are IN the flesh, NOT as in a state of being, but that they still do things according to the desires of the flesh. They have not yet put their own selves completely aside for the things of God.

    Paul was writting to the church at Corinth and was not lauding their praise but the majority of the book is written to 'correct' them. According to some on here, Paul messed up because he should not need to correct their walk as they should be walk spiritually because they are saved.

    The issue is that God allows believers to walk or not walk spiritually as we 'should be'. We can get entangled in the world and be caught up in the flesh. The distinction though is that a believer will not STAY there. God will always bring them back to Himself vai chastening and or scorging. We do not know what God is doing in their lives but as believers, and if they are in open sin, we can not allow them to assume they can continue therein and stay in fellowship with us. That is why Paul states, for those who will not stop (obviously after first going to them privately, ect..), for them to be removed from the fellowship. Yet the very purpose is not absolute judgement against them, but to bring them back into proper fellowship with God and thus by extention back to the Church, His bride.
     
  20. convicted1

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    uhhhhhh.....NO!!!
     
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