LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Carnal Christian Heresy

Hebrews 12:14 (New American Standard Bible)
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
14(A)Pursue peace with all men, and the (B)sanctification without which no one will (C)see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14 (English Standard Version)
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
14(A) Strive for peace with everyone, and for the(B) holiness(C) without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14 (New King James Version)
New King James Version (NKJV)
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Question: Where would the so called "carnal Christian" stand here?

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35 Comments:

Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Do you think it is appropriate to call this teaching an heresy?

There are three possible interpretations that would harmonize this with the possibility of continued carnality:

1. The carnal Christian will see the Lord on the basis of her positional sanctification, which serves as an encouragement to practical holiness now.

2. The holiness is practical and seeing the Lord may be forfeited. This entails being denied intimacy with Christ in the kingdom.

3. Seeing the Lord may be forfeited, which entails being excluded from the Millennial kingdom.

There may be other possible interpretations. Can you think of any?

July 29, 2008 11:24 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
-

To "Pursue", that is the call. As we are to pursue peace so are we to pursue holiness.

It comes down to the direction of the life and the regenerated nature of the believer. An athlete, one who truely is one to the core, will pursue fitness. It is his nature. Running, weight-lifting, practicing the moves, a careful diet - it is all his lifestyle. To have his routine interupted brings torment to his heart. Training is his life. He longs to be ready for the contest. He simply cannot have it any other way. It is his nature.

Now, think of the Spirit indwelt Christian. The pursuite of holiness is his new nature, as the pursuite of lust and pleasure was a part of the old nature. In his former days sin was what he lived for. Now it is different. Now he is a slave to God (Romans 6). The Spirit communicates all the benefits of Christ's crosswork to him, including writing God's law on the heart. Now the Spirit moves him to walk in God's ways, (Ezek. 36). For a professing Christian to continue to walk in fleshly ways all the time is to contradict the whole born from above experience.

July 29, 2008 11:47 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

I never understood exactly at what point a Christian would become "carnal."

July 29, 2008 2:02 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

Matthew,
What dost thou think of Esau? Was he regenerated, or not?

here's some words from CH Spurgeon that will help us I think.

"A man in Christ is not the old man purified, nor the old man improved, nor the old man in a better humour, nor the old man with additions and subtractions, nor the old man dressed in gorgeous robes. No, he is a new creature altogether. ... You can not change the old nature, it is immutably bad, and the sooner it is put away as a filthy and unclean thing the better for us. ...
Mark you, it is not said that the man has something new about him, but he, himself, is new. It is not merely that in a spiritual sense he has new eyes, new hands and new feet, but he himself, is a new creation. Mark that. Do you not see than that salvation is the work of God? You cannot create yourself, and cannot create anything at all. ... Shall darkness create light? Shall sin create holiness? Shall death create life?"

We are "new". Something completely different then it was.

July 29, 2008 4:44 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Saving Faith

This quote from Spurgeon's sermon, seen in an earlier post, sums up the Reformed definition of saving faith. Here it is...

"It is not by personal holiness that a man shall enter heaven, but yet without holiness shall no man see the Lord. It is not by good works that we are justified, but if a man shall continue to live an ungodly life, his "faith" will not justify him; for it is not the faith of God's elect; since that faith is wrought by the Holy Spirit, and conforms men to the image of Christ."

This is the very place where the Reformed and those of the GES disagree, and strongly so. If one's "faith" hasn't brought them into a life changing union with our Triune God then it is no faith at all, but merely mental assent.

July 30, 2008 7:30 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Do you think it is appropriate to call this teaching an heresy?

Yes, since the Bible does!

July 30, 2008 10:14 AM

 
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Wayne, where does the Bible call this heresy?

July 30, 2008 3:37 PM

 
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Donsands, the Bible does not tell us whether Esau was regenerate.

Quite possibly he may have been.

In Hebrews 12:16, Esau is used a s a type of the believer who commits fornication and so misses the heavenly inheritance.

July 30, 2008 3:39 PM

 
Blogger Ike said...

"What dost thou think of Esau? Was he regenerated, or not?"

The Bible is clear when it says that God "hated" Esau. How did He "hate" him? Well, Esau was so blessed by God that when Jacob came back into the land and offered Esau a gift.....he needed no gift. So.....how did God hate him........God cut the rope on Esau and let him run and do anything he wanted! Jacob was another story. Every wrong turn Jacob made.........God disciplined Jacob until he finally wrestled with him and Jacob came back into the land limping. No more manipulation.......just trusting God.

July 30, 2008 4:26 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
Jude 1:4 applies to the carnal Christian teaching!

July 30, 2008 5:51 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"Quite possibly he may have been."

I don't think he was at all. He was not chosen by God.

but I shall study more of Esau.

Jacob was surely one of God's elect. whom God loved, and ransomed with His blood.

July 30, 2008 9:56 PM

 
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Wayne, what evidence do you have that the persons referred to in that verse held to a teaching that corresponds to the 'carnal Christian' teaching?

July 31, 2008 2:53 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Ligon Duncan (a highly respected pastor in the PCA) said this in a sermon on this verse: “Jude is saying, ‘Here’s why I’m writing to you. There are people in your own congregation,’ he says, ‘who have the name Christian, who say that their teaching is Christian, but they’re leading you astray. They’re teaching you false things. They’re teaching cheap grace. They’re denying Jesus Christ.”

There are also respected commentaries that make the same point.........

July 31, 2008 9:10 AM

 
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Okay, so these people are teaching bad things.

Can you provide some evidence that those bad things correspond to the 'carnal Christian' teaching?

July 31, 2008 9:51 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

The KJV text says, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, The ESV says the following, Jude 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

”Turn grace into lasciviousness” and “pervert grace into sensuality” certainly points to those who teach that grace saves and sanctification is optional. While grace does save completely it also provides sanctification as we learn in 2 Thess 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

Jude 4 is speaking to the false concept of a no lordship sanctification.

July 31, 2008 11:23 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew,
Even Ryrie, who promotes the carnel Christian concept, states that no true Christian is completly fruitless in every area of life, and that if he were so that would indicate that one is not truely regenerate. He also acknowledges that the Bible teaches that some bear 30, some 60, and some a 100. At this point he is not all that different than lordship.

For one to say that a "Christian" can go on to be fruit-less, in Ryrie's mind, is a no go. See his book "So Great Salvation".

The Corinthian church repented, thereby showing their regeneration was authentic.

July 31, 2008 11:32 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

Doesn't Ryrie believe like Hodges, that a Christian can have faith, and then not persevere in faith?

And can in fact become an unbelieving believer?

July 31, 2008 12:56 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

MacArthur covers that in his book "The Gospel According to The Apostles", page 201 - yes, you are right, Ryrie does hold that one can fall away and still be considered a believer. I wonder how he can have it both ways here. I must finish his (Ryrie's) book to find out.

July 31, 2008 1:15 PM

 
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Wayne, can you supply any quotations to support your allegation that FG people believe that sanctification is optional?

July 31, 2008 1:25 PM

 
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

By the way, ladies and gentleman, Wayne is of the opinion that Christians sometimes sin. Following his own reasoning, he believes that avoiding sin is optional for Christians.

By his own reasoning, he is one of those teachers that Jude wrote about who pervert the grace of God into sensuality.

July 31, 2008 1:29 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
The discussion has been about the carnal Christian heresy and not what FG believes. My “allegation” has simply been to look at and interpret Jude 4. Since you are from the FG movement, perhaps you can give us your view of sanctification and please include the 2 Thess. 2:13 passage in your view……

July 31, 2008 3:34 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
You said…..
By the way, ladies and gentleman, Wayne is of the opinion that Christians sometimes sin. Following his own reasoning, he believes that avoiding sin is optional for Christians.

Matthew, I am also of the opinion that air force pilots sometimes crash their airplanes. Does this mean I believe that avoiding crashing airplanes is optional for air force pilots?

July 31, 2008 3:43 PM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Enjoying reading the conversation here. I think Mark and Wayne, you should check the quotes at the UoG blog.

Also - it seems that Wayne, you are making a 'jump' by applying the Jude passage to the teaching that there are carnal Christians. The understanding that there are carnal Christians does not promote that one be such. It is not encouraging people to be carnal Christians or to live loosley to recognize that the grace of God saves without any condition other than faith.

Hi Mark!

August 01, 2008 8:13 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Is it OK for me to comment here?

August 01, 2008 8:14 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Rose,
Thanks. I am not sure I totally understand your first two sentences about “carnal Christians.” We are in agreement that grace saves without conditions. The only difference I see is that in the true free grace I believe in, God provides everything needed including the faith to believe. NO ONE is excluded, but God’s mercy and intervention is needed before anyone will come to faith.

Granted the Jude false teachers may have carried the carnal teaching much further than Hodges, etc, but I believe that anyone who asserts any biblical teaching is in fact encouraging others to believe and practice that teaching. Faith and practice are closely related and anyone who affirms the possibility of a saved sinner remaining all carnal all the time is in fact encouraging that very condition. This position certainly does not square with many N.T. passages such as 2 Thess 2:13. Hodges has even asserted that a believer may become a non-believer for the remainder of a long life and yet be genuine regenerated saved saint.

If the quotes over at UOG were emphasized more, then I think the gap between our views would be narrowed considerably. (maybe not reconciled, but narrowed).

August 01, 2008 9:12 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Rose,
of course it is ok for you to comment here.

Carnal - sarkikos; fleshly, carnal, pertaining to flesh or body.

(11) As implying weakness, frailty, imperfection; e.g., of persons being carnal, worldly... From THE COMPLETE WORDSTUDY DICTIONARY - NEW TESTAMENT, Spiros Zodhiates Th.D.

Rose, if we look at 1 Cor.3:1 we see that Paul is using the word "carnal" as the opposite of spiritual, yes, then he shows us that he looked at them as "babes in Christ". We cannot see this portion of scripture as teaching a static state; for look at how he addresses them in chapter 1:4-9, "4(A)I thank [a]my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,

5that in everything you were (B)enriched in Him, in all (C)speech and (D)all knowledge,

6even as (E)the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you,

7so that you are not lacking in any gift, (F)awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

8(G)who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in (H)the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9(I)God is faithful, through whom you were (J)called into (K)fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Note he says here in verse 7, "7so that you are not lacking in any gift, (F)awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,"
"awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,"

These Corinthians were "eagerly awaiting the revelation of Jesus Christ". The context sets up the definition of "carnal". These people were zealous for Jesus but were still babes. They were immature even at age 5 years in the Lord, yes. But their state was not static. As you'll also note that Paul speaks to this very church in 2 Cor. 3:3, calling them "epistle[s] of Christ...written by the Spirit of God". You'll also see that in 2 Cor.7:9 that this very church repented. Again, an indication that their state was not static. They were alive spiritually, and it showed. See also in 2 Cor. 13:5 where Paul asks them to examine themselves, to see if they be in the faith. He did this as a way to vindicate his apostolic calling. He was confident that they, after examination, would conclude themselves in the faith, thereby vindicating him as an apostle.

August 01, 2008 11:20 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hey,
My computer monitor failed so I could not come back over here till now.

Wayne says:
anyone who affirms the possibility of a saved sinner remaining all carnal all the time is in fact encouraging that very condition

I totally disagree. By teaching that people will go to hell, am I encouraging them to? By teaching that people will be ashamed before Christ at His coming, am I encouraging them to be? By teaching that Jesus may be ashamed of you as a Christain when He comes, am I encouraging you to live in such a way that He will be ashamed of you? Of course not. Alll of these things are possibiliies. Recognizing a possibilty does not encourage one to go that way. You could charge up a lot of credit card debt, Wayne and then go bankrupt and not pay any of it back. There. Did I just encourage you to charge up a lot of credit card debt? No. :~)

Threatening professed believers with the possibility of hell if they don't live right is not the way to get them to live for Christ and be His disciples. The joy and reward of living and walking in the light is the encouragement that we need to give them... not the threat of hell - that should be understood as being removed only by faith in Christ. If people claim they trust Him for salvation, yet are living wrong, we need to be unambiguous about the sufficiency of Christ, but lay the responsibility for their life and how they live at their feet. I think your way - claiming that if they aren't living right then they probably aren't saved just confuses the issue way too much.

Again, you say anyone who affirms the possibility of a saved sinner remaining all carnal all the time is in fact encouraging that very condition...

If I tell my child that I will love him no matter what he does... "Son, even if you become a homosexual prostitute, I will always be your mother, I will love you even if you become a heroin addict. Nothing will ever change my love for you and your status as my child."
... am I encouraging him to be one of those things? Of course not.

I will tell him that it will be difficult for us to fellowship and be together.

In the same way, I see the Bible teaching that simple faith in Christ makes one a child of God... in an absolutely sure standing as His child... but that if a child of God continues in sin as a carnal Christian, fellowship with Him and His other children will suffer.

August 05, 2008 9:09 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Mark,
I am glad you see the 'examine yourself' passage like that. I also see it that way. :~) Wow, we share an interpretation!

I posted on my blog about the pasage you were discussing some weeks ago about Christ being ashamed of people for being ashamed of Him. You or any of your friends are welcome to comment on that if you think you have some valuable insight. :~)

August 05, 2008 9:12 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Rose,
since there is no model of the carnal Christian in all of scripture - yea, compared to Christ, or even Paul, we could all appear to be carnal - the carnal Christian does not exist. The Corintians repented - there was life there.

August 05, 2008 11:13 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Rose,
to say to Wayne "but that if a child of God continues in sin as a carnal Christian," is to talk right past my point. There is no such thing as a "Carnal Christian" as a static state. Please see my August 01, 2008 11:20 AM response to you.

August 05, 2008 1:13 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Keep in mind that Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled "Faith So Simple" yet he would easily fit right into the lordship camp today. We here at this blog also see the Bible teaching that simple faith in Christ makes one a child of God... Please, co caracatures of our position.

August 05, 2008 1:18 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Rose,

I totally disagree. By teaching that people will go to hell, am I encouraging them to?

No, you are encouraging them to get right with God!

By teaching that people will be ashamed before Christ at His coming, am I encouraging them to be?

No, you are encouraging them not to be!

By teaching that Jesus may be ashamed of you as a Christain when He comes, am I encouraging you to live in such a way that He will be ashamed of you?

No, you are teaching them to be biblically sound so Jesus won’t be ashamed!

You could charge up a lot of credit card debt, Wayne and then go bankrupt and not pay any of it back. There. Did I just encourage you to charge up a lot of credit card debt?

Rose, I think if you consider the current state of our culture, many who are not familiar with our bankruptcy laws would love to beat their debt by doing just that. They would be grateful you told them of a way out.

Threatening professed believers with the possibility of hell if they don't live right is not the way to get them to live for Christ and be His disciples.

The solution for false professors of faith is not to change how they live, but is to lead them to repentance and true faith in Christ. To mention that false professor are going to hell might certainly encourage them to assess their condition and change it. After all Jesus does that very thing in Matthew 7 & 25! Rose, Jesus warned sinners about hell!

The joy and reward of living and walking in the light is the encouragement that we need to give them... not the threat of hell

Yea right, tell a gambling, partying, cheating, fun loving sinner that he would be much happier walking in the light! Do you even realize the absurdity of what you are saying. John the Baptist and Jesus both told people to repent and believe. Again I will point you to the many places where Jesus and the Apostles gave the bad news of eternal punishment in order that sinners would repent, believe and have eternal life.

If I tell my child that I will love him no matter what he does...

Consider the following two parental methods:
(1) Son, your curfew in high school will be midnight.
(2) Son, you will not have any curfew in high school, but I think you should be in by midnight.
Do you believe he would be more likely to stay out past midnight in condition 1 or condition 2. Would not condition 2 be a de-facto encouragement to stay out past midnight?

So it is with a gambling, partying, cheating, fun loving sinner who professes to be a believer, but his heart is far away from God. Tell him he is saved and God loves him no matter how he lives and that is validation that he can continue on with his rebellion against God. However, tell him he needs to repent and pray to God for forgiveness just might save his soul.

Rose, Christ died a painful death to save sinners from both the penalty and power of sin. The Holy Spirit regenerates and indwells believers in order that they will be sanctified. Look it up............

August 05, 2008 4:15 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Rose,
Here is my original statement that you objected to…………
I believe that anyone who asserts any biblical teaching is in fact encouraging others to believe and practice that teaching.

Somehow you have managed to get from this statement to making erroneous assertions about my views such as saying, “I think your way - claiming that if they aren't living right then they probably aren't saved just confuses the issue way too much.” In short you have left the main subject in bold above to give your free grace talking points along with assigning motive and meaning to what I said.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would object to the statement in bold that I made above. Whatever anyone asserts, he is encouraging whether it be baptism by immersion, repentance for salvation, or the possibility of remaining carnal and being a true regenerated believer.

I will however answer a couple of your charges!

It is impossible to tell who is pretending to believe, though - we have to take people at their word about what they believe, Wayne.

It is impossible to tell, but this does not mean that the warnings that were given by James, Paul, Jesus, and others about false professions should not be given. They all warned about false faith. This does not mean that I should or would accuse anyone of having false faith. This is a FGT talking point that is not true. However, it does not mean that the biblical teaching on false faith should not be brought up in general. Anything that is mentioned in the bible such as James 2:14 and Titus 1:16 should be taught in my opinton.

"Frined, you are a cheating gambler - if you continue in that sin, then you can't know you're going to heaven because even the demons believe and tremble." Or "Man, I know I say that trusting Christ is sufficient, but you gotta knock it off or I doubt that you have Him in your life, even though you say you believe." Come on - that is a mixed message.

Rose, are you denying the biblical call to exercise church discipline?

I didn’t engage the love thingy because it was not a good analogy for the statement in bold that we are discussing. I gave the midnight curfew analogy because it fit what I have said about encouraging behavior. Anything a person states as a belief certainly encourages others to believe it as well. They may not but that is why companies spend billions on advertising.

I will say that the popular modern day message of God loves you unconditionally was not the total message that John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc. gave. They started with repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Look at what Paul said in Acts 17. Look at how Jesus started his ministry.

August 06, 2008 9:00 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Wayne,
I think we are talking past eachother a bit.
Of course I believe in church discipline. I was referring to one on one talk with a person in regards to their eternal welfare and the way they live. The quotes I gave are examples of what one might say to a professed believer he knows.

OK, so your statement:
I believe that anyone who asserts any biblical teaching is in fact encouraging others to believe and practice that teaching.

Wayne, remember what we are talking about? We are talking about teaching that something is possible... not desirable, but possible. The Bible teaches that it is possible be saved while you are on your deathbed - like the theif on the cross. If I tell people about this possibility, am I encouraging them to wait until they are on their deathbed?

August 06, 2008 9:10 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Rose,
Wayne, remember what we are talking about? We are talking about teaching that something is possible...

I understand that! To teach that something is possible makes it applicable to my orginal statement. The deathbed conversion is an exception. I would expect a deathbed conversion to be accompanied with genuine sorrow for one's sin and repentence.

If I tell people about this possibility, am I encouraging them to wait until they are on their deathbed?

No, I think you are encouraging them to not be too concerned with their sanctification. Although sanctification is powered by grace, it does call for human cooperation. Since justification and adoption is 100% by God, this makes sanctification different. That is why I think the term lordship applies to sanctification only..........

Thus, I use the term lordship sanctification as something the Bible encourages people to cooperate in through obedience and discipleship. This is activity is led by the Holy Spirit as Rom. 8:14 points out and although no one is perfect in it, the Bible indicates that in normal circumstances (time and opportunity) all who are regenerate participate.

August 06, 2008 10:52 AM

 

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