Thursday, March 4, 2010

The false doctrine of Carnal Christianity

There is a false doctrine out there that has been around for YEARS but rears its ugly head every so often.  It’s called the Doctrine of Carnal Christianity.

Now knowing what the Bible says about salvation, righteousness, conversion, and Holiness let me read you a quote from a Christian pastor who teaches this false doctrine, also known as heresy.  Listen to this quote and see if you hear the problem with this doctrine.

“Today we are experiencing a crisis of carnality in Christianity. Carnality is that spiritual state where a born-again Christian knowingly and persistently lives to please and serve self rather than to please and serve Christ.” – Tony Evans - http://www.crosswalk.com/1332944/

He goes on to say… “First, it is important to recognize that a carnal Christian is a genuine Christian. It is entirely possible to be on your way to heaven but to be no good to God on earth. Carnal Christians have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but they refuse to submit to Christ as their Lord.” –Tony Evans - http://www.crosswalk.com/1332944/

Everyone hear that problem?  What does Scripture say?

1 Peter 1:13-19 (NASB) - Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,  15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;  18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB) - Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:12-14 (NASB) - So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—  13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.


This false doctrine uses 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NASB), where Paul says “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.  2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,  3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” as its proof text.  By carnal Christians they mean fleshly or worldly Christians.  As in Christians who don’t resemble Christ in any shape form or fashion.  They resemble the world but because they say that they got saved, that means that they are.  Even though they don’t even remotely act like it. 

It would seem from their proof text that it might be a true doctrine.  UNTIL, you read on through Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and come to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NASB) - Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

When Paul refers to these infant believers as men of flesh, it isn’t an endorsement of canal Christianity but a rebuke to those people.  James 2 makes it clear that genuine faith will ALWAYS result in good words done for God’s Glory alone as we are sanctified for His purposes.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB) - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Can a Christian stumble and sin?  Absolutely.  Will a Christian fail to walk with Christ at all times?  Yes.  However!  A Christian, a true Christian, will not remain there!  They will repent.

God’s desire in saving us is that we progressively grow towards Him.  Romans 12:1-2 (NASB) - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Becoming increasingly closer to God and decreasingly worldly.  It’s called Sanctification!

Someone living in an intentionally worldly… unrepentant manner demonstrates, by their own actions, that they aren’t truly redeemed.

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