Easy Christianity

7. Carnal Christians?

The "Carnal Christian Theory" is another of the teachings of "Easy Christianity" designed to take the pressure off the average church-goer.. The "great" thing about this teaching is that it also takes pressure off the teachers of "Easy Christianity." Time was that if "converts" went on in or went back to their ungodly lifestyles, they were labeled hypocrites or apostates. Now they are called "Carnal Christians." This looks much better for the evangelists' statistics and avoids painful evaluation of his message and methods.

What is the "Carnal Christian Theory"? Let its advocated explain! "After you have invited Christ to come into your life, it is possible for you to take control of your life again. The New Testament, 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3, identifies three kinds of people... These three kinds of people are "the natural man", "the carnal man", and "the spiritual man". The carnal man is the "Christian who has invited Christ into his life," but "is not trusting God" and in rebellion against the lordship of Christ has "taken control of his life again." This is the theory as it is taught in the notes of a popular study Bible and the tracts of a well-known evangelistic organization. Many regard themselves as Christians because of it who are nevertheless under the wrath of God. Like false prophets its teachers cry, "Peace, peace; where there is no peace" (Jeremiah. 6:14 and 8:11).

Don't you be deceived by them! Examine the Scriptures. The entire New Testament testifies against this theory. Read Romans 8:1-17, Ephesians 5:3-7, Galatians 5:19-26. Galatians. 5:24 epitomizes their teaching, "Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." If your sinful nature has not been crucified by the grace of Christ, you are not a carnal Christian. You are no Christian and need to become one.

The idea that a man may have Christ in his life but not on the throne of his life is the heart of the "Carnal Christian Theory." We noticed already that this dangerous doctrine is contradicted by the entire New Testament. What about 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, its supposed proof-text, does it teach this theory?

The Apostle Paul was not only divinely inspired, but also perfectly sane--not given to contradicting himself in the space of a few lines. In the same letter he made perfectly clear what he would have said about this modern theory. "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral not idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

All Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 is that Christians can and do sometimes in some areas of their lives act like unconverted, worldly men. "Are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? for when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos, " are you not mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:3,4).

It is one thing in some areas at some times to act like unconverted men, it is something else to be a carnal man as to the dominant characteristic of one's life. Of such the Bible says, "their place will be the fiery lake of burning sulfur" (Revelation 21:8). May God deliver you from going to the place where all "Carnal Christians" will go!


8. Health and Wealth
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Bill Newcomer, Webservant. Send comments to: mrbill@vor.org. Original WWW publication December A.D. 1995. Moved to vor.org, November, A.D. 1996.