Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Question of the Carnal Corinthian

Here is the question in the comments section: Hi Ed, I am new to your blog site. My question is what about the church at Corinth, were they not carnal? I am a pre-mill Baptist.

This is a good question and I am happy to answer it. Much has been made by Non-Lordship Salvation proponents of 1 Cor. 3:1-4. In fact, Lewis Sperry Chafer argues for three categories of people based on this text and others like it: 1. Spiritual Christians; 2. Non-Christians; and 3. Non-Spiritual Christians. An elaborate system is put together to argue for the idea that there can exist "carnal Christians" in the Non-Lordship sense of the concept.
First, this reflects a gross exaggeration of what was taking place at Corinth. There was a shallow problem there to be sure and it's source was pride. The sectarian sin had overtaken them. No one who reads their Bible believes that true Christians cannot be overtaken by sin. Read Galatians 5:1 and you will discover that they can. It is one thing to be caught in carnal behavior and to be rebuked by the Apostle for being carnal, and it is quite a different story to attempt to accept Christ as your Savior all the while rejecting Him as your Lord.
In 1 Cor. 5 Paul criticizes Corinth for failure to excommunicate a couple who are practicing gross immorality. In the very next chapter, 1 Cor. 6:9 Paul contends that people who practice a sinful lifestyle will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.
The Non-Lordship view allows for the idea that a person can take Christ as Savior and Reject Him as Lord. It is contrary to biblical teaching on the subject. It reduces genuine faith and repentance to mere intellectual assent. And finally, it ignores Matt. 7 where Jesus clearly teaches that those who reject Him as Lord by not doing what He says will experience the wrath of God in judgment.
To deal with isolated incidents in the lives of believers who fall into sin, or even a sinful practice for a short period is not the same as the outright denial on the part of professing Christians who live a lifestyle that clearly rejects any notion of godly living or of submitting their will to God's will and dying to self. It is, in the final analysis, apples and oranges to compare Corinth to the modern Non-Lordship person who lives a life of sheer sin and leans on the goodness of God as if He is a buffoon and doesn't realize people are abusing grace. To put it more succinctly, true believers do not practice the abuse of grace.

People LIVE what they believe, EVERYTHING else is just noise!

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