The Meaning of the Word "Carnal"

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Uses of the term "carnal" where it carries no idea whatsoever of moral depravity:

    1. "It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things."

    2. "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?"

    3. "Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life."

    4. "Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

    The man who asserts that "carnal" always denotes moral depravity or sinfulness must assert that ceremonies of the Law, given by God to Israel, were morally depraved. He must also assert that it is morally depraved to help the poor or pay a man who preaches the gospel.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. ScottEmerson

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    First, let us revisit the actual posted definition in question:

    ""[Carnal] refers to the flesh as opposed to the pneuma, "spirit," and denotes, in an ethical sense, mere human nature, the lower side of man as apart from the Divine influence, and therefore estranged from God and prone to sin; whatever in the soul is weak and tends toward ungodliness "


    The idea of flesh fits in perfectly here.

    The ISBE describes this verse as: "those that pertain to the body in contrast to spiritual things," and it fits perfectly. The main definition doesn't contradict it.

    "Carnal commandment" here refers to genealogical descent. This new priest was not born morally depraved.

    This is a different carnal - it comes from sarx, not sarkikos. In this case, "carnal" is, indeed, used in a different manner. Sarkikos, however, still follows the definition.

    The word "carnal" here is different, so I'll concede that point (so you can't say that I've never done that). However, the definition provided from the ISBE specifically applies to sarkikos.

    So, do you have the verse that says that anything that isn't spiritual is carnal? Inquiring minds are waiting!
     
  3. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Not specifically. But I have the one that says, "Anything that is not of faith is sin".
     
  4. ScottEmerson

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    And how would you apply it in the context of Romans 14?
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    The idea of flesh fits in perfectly here.</font>[/QUOTE]OK, then my original point is proven - that baseball and ski trips are carnal activities. If a man's material needs are "carnal" then a young person's recreational needs are "carnal."

    Therefore I was perfectly within the use of the word "carnal" when I referred to such things as "carnal activities." Now you might make a case that carnal activities like baseball and ski trips are needed in the church, but you cannot deny that these are carnal activities.

    The ISBE describes this verse as: "those that pertain to the body in contrast to spiritual things," and it fits perfectly. The main definition doesn't contradict it.</font>[/QUOTE]But there is no hint here of moral depravity. Maybe I totally misunderstood you, but I was under the impression that you were defining "carnal" to mean something moral depraved - which is what your next statement seems to indicate.

    "Carnal commandment" here refers to genealogical descent. This new priest was not born morally depraved.</font>[/QUOTE]It was the commandment itself that was "carnal" because it was a commandment about the flesh. It is true that the men were morally depraved, but that is hardly the significance of the word "carnal" as the next quote shows. Carnal modifies the commandment, not the men.

    This is a different carnal - it comes from sarx, not sarkikos. In this case, "carnal" is, indeed, used in a different manner. Sarkikos, however, still follows the definition.</font>[/QUOTE]Sarkikos and Sarx are only different forms of the same word - no different than saying "flesh" and "fleshly." Furthermore, sarx is used in Romans 8:7 when it says, "the carnal mind is enmity against God."

    The point in this verse is that the ordinances of the law were merely fleshly/carnal representations of spiritual things that had no real power in and of themselves. It is on the basis of this that I conclude anything that isn't spiritual is carnal. I will continue to conclude this till it is proven to mere there is a third realm of existence beyond the spirit and the flesh.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Am I missing the debate here? Sarx (et al) means pertaining to the flesh, fleshly as contrasted to spiritual. That's it.

    My car is carnal. Even in the word! :eek:
     
  7. rlvaughn

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    No, I don't think you're missing it. In fact, you nailed it clearly in many fewer words that either Mark or I:
    What else needs to be said?
     
  8. Tim

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    Perhaps the issue here pertains to the use of the word "carnal" with "Christian"?

    Some speak of "carnal Christians" as those Christians who still live in a morally depraved way (when actually they are probably not Christians at all). Whereas Paul simply uses that term of Christians (in Corinth) who concentrated on a speakers' appearance and way with words (overconcern with physical things).

    Is that the issue here?

    Tim
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    I think this whole debate started when Mark accused youth ministry of using carnal means, implying that the use of carnal things in youth ministry was wrong and against the NT. Mark said "It introduces youthful flippancy and carnal activities into what should be the most holy and reverent gathering of all." Scott replied with "While many activities have pizza and have fun, youth ministry is designed to point completely and solely upon Jesus Christ. There are no carnal activities!"

    That started a big debate about what "carnal" means. The general connotation of "carnal" is certainly negative and in fact the word is used that way in Scripture often (though not exclusively). It is entirely possible to have youth ministry without carnal means (in this sense). At the same time, carnal can be more generic or neutral. It is difficult if not impossible to have youth ministry without these means. Herein was the problem.

    Mark's emphasis led Scott and myself (who disagree philosophically) to believe that Mark used the word "carnal" in a negative sense. This was indicated by Scott's comments: "Carnal means relating to the physical or sexual appetites. Romans 8:6-7 says that the carnal mind is at emnity with God." Mark showed the breakdown in communications with this response: "Carnal means "fleshly." It means anything that isn't spiritual - baseball, basketball, ski trips, Disney trips, etc. etc. It may be the case that your youth ministry doesn't involve any carnal activities. If so you are the exception, not the rule." Clearly they are talking about two different things.

    Scott cited ISBE in support which Mark lambasted claiming he burned his because it was bad. Too bad Mark burned it. If he hadn't, he would know that ISBE agrees with him (and Scott both). ISBE defines carnal also as: ""Minister unto them in carnal things," those that pertain to the body in contrast to spiritual things (Rom 15:27; 1 Cor 9:11)."

    In the bottom line, carnal activities are certainly appropriate for church body, or a group within the church. We just had one this evening when we gathered downstairs for some carnal ice cream and toppings.


    This whole issue was a very simple one of definitions.
     
  10. ScottEmerson

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    THanks for summing it up well, Pastor Larry. I don't think we disagree as much as we agree when it all boils down to it. I think it would be best if I merely set Mark on "ignore" for awhile. He really does get me down when I consider just how many people who claim the name of Christ act the way he does. It's quite sad, really. I am thankful that I am personally surrounded with people who act the opposite way of Mark. I don't think I'd enjoy the Christian life very much with hyper-fundamentalish company.
     

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