“For you are still carnal. For where [there are] envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like [mere] men?” (1Cor. 3:3 NKJV)
A fellow minister and friend Dr. J. Gordon Henry, who conducts Prayer Seminars for churches and ministries nationally and internationally, laments that most churches fail to have vital prayer ministries because their members are largely “carnal.”
While I understand what Dr. Henry is saying and lament the same possibility, I think that many, who profess Christianity as their personal Faith, may actually be “carnal,” which means fleshly, in a different sense than it is commonly understood.
It is one thing to be “carnal” in some aspect of life due to a lack of understanding or with regard to a slackness concerning dedication or discipleship. It is another thing to be “carnally minded.” The Scriptures state it clearly, “For to be carnally minded [is] death, but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.” (Ro 8:6 NKJV)
The mind that is centered and committed totally to the flesh, living without reference or respect for God in any conscious or committed fashion, is destined to an eternity without God or spiritual death to be cast into the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14 ).
I fear that many whose names are on the rolls of our churches may be of “carnal mind” and not merely ignorant or negligent in discipline.
However, some who consider themselves disciplined may actually manifest elements of undisciplined carnally of which they are not aware. Some, who protect themselves from vices that indulge the flesh shunning promiscuous materials and activities or others who consider themselves separatist in religious practices, may engage themselves is strife, harbor jealousies, provoke envious divisions. These too manifest carnality in these undisciplined areas.
This was the the carnality with which Paul charged the Corinthians and it may well be the carnality that prevails in many churches hindering their ministry of prayer.
Although not a perfect solution, since even Judas Iscariot managed to be numbered among the twelve, perhaps our churches would have fewer “carnally minded” on their roles if we had a better processes of receiving members. Churches may have an interview processes for church membership with pastor/deacons/elders and in the case of larger ministries developed new members classes. However, one finds it surprising that often, although profession and lifestyle seem to indicate a conversion experience, some applying for membership have difficulty explaining the circumstances and conditions of their conversion experience in simple terms.
As to those who evidence areas of carnality lacking discipline, it would likely be helpful if we concentrated on teaching the disciplines of Scripture rather than just the elements of Faith unto Salvation. Also it would be helpful if the process of church discipline was engaged, calling for an accounting before the church by those engaged in jealousy, envy, and divisive backbiting such as was the manifestation of carnality among the Corinthians.
That's the way we view things.
Summit View Baptist Church is located at 31 N. Highway 25 Bypass, just south of Furman University’s golf course.