A Little Booklet on Lordship Salvation Part 3
Dr. Earnest Pickering sums up of MacArthur's points (large green italic #3) and offers comment: _______________________________________________________
3. The distinction commonly made between the carnal Christian and the spiritual Christian is invalid.
This is a familiar theme, particularly among Reformed theologians such as Lloyd-Jones, mentioned earlier. Their impression seems to be that if one admits to the existence of "carnal Christians" one is merely seeking to find a way to excuse the loose living of professing believers. MacArthur sees this distinction as intertwined with the teaching that there may be a difference between a person who is saved and a person who has decided to become a disciple. To him every believer is a "disciple."
In the first place, those who speak of "carnal" Christians are only employing the terminology of Scripture. Paul speaks of those believers who are "carnal" (fleshly, 1 Cor. 3:1) and speaks of the evidence of such a condition in the verses that follow. While brethren may deny the existence of such an individual, we would venture to say that a considerable number of examples could be found in their own churches! One is not going to make "carnal" Christians vanish simply by demanding that saving faith include surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Even if that were done it would not guarantee that the new convert would submit to the Lordship of Christ when confronted with a specific demand. If he did not do so, he would become a "carnal" Christian, walking according to the flesh and not the Spirit.In his zeal to defend his view, we believe our brother has made some extreme statements which do not describe properly the vast majority of fundamental gospel preachers of our acquaintance. "Anyone who says he has 'accepted Christ' is enthusiastically received as a Christian, even if his supposed faith later gives way to a persistent pattern of disobedience, gross sin, or hostile unbelief" (p. 97). In his footnote explanation of I Corinthians 3:3 MacArthur does admit that the Corinthian believers were "behaving in a carnal way" (p. 97). Perhaps we have missed some subtle distinction, but we fail to see the difference between "behaving in a carnal way" and being a "carnal Christian." _______________________________________________________
What do you think?
more to come ...