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Dr. Anthony T. Evans and The Carnal Christian

Jun 20, 2008
False teaching has always been in the Christian church. In the first century church the doctrine of Jezebel (Rev. 2) crept into the minds of unwary believers. And in contemporary Christian circles spurious doctrine assumes the form of a cadaverous crossbreed dubbed the "carnal Christian."

One outspoken proponent of this carnal Christian doctrine is Dr. Tony Evans. All of Dr. Evans' statements quoted in this article are from his booklet The Carnal Christian which is posted on his website. Contrary to Christian history, but in accordance with his alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Evans harvests this theory from 3 verses in 1 Corinthians chapter 3:

"Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?" 1 Cor 3:1-3

"Notice that Paul calls them brethren," wrote Dr. Evans, "which means that he believed they were a part of the family of God...it is possible," insists the learned Dr. Evans, "to be on your way to heaven but be of no earthly good because you compromise your faith." Tony Evans is correct dear reader, Paul did call the Corinthians "brethren" and this does indeed mean "that he believed they were a part of the family of God." From this passage, however, Tony Evans dives headlong into a gurgling cauldron of scripturally unfounded assertions:

- "Simply defined, carnality is a spiritual state in which a born-again Christian knowingly, willingly, intentionally and persistently lives to please and serve self rather than Jesus Christ."

- "The carnal Christian is a fleshly- minded Christian. Such people live only to please themselves-forget about serving or submitting to Christ."

Because Paul used the term "brothers" and "carnal" (or worldly) to refer to the Corinthians is it necessary to postulate that they could remain as much and still be saved as Tony Evans maintains? Not if the scriptures are our rule. If the Corinthians remained in a "carnal" or "worldly" state they would be in serious trouble. Consider Paul's admonishment to these "brothers" later in 1 Corinthians (Dr. Evans overlooks this passage though it clearly bears on the subject):

"Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor 6:9-10

The inspired writers aren't the only teachers to snub the "carnal Christian." No trace of this teaching can be found in any writer or historical church creed that I have examined. From the Ante-Nicene believers such as Polycarp, Clement of Rome or Ireneaus to the Westminster Confession no carnal Christian belief can be established. And from James Arminius to John Calvin no carnal Christian affirmation may be seen. And from Jonathan Edwards to John Wesley or from Charles Finney to George Whitefield no carnal Christian doctrine is included. Dr. Anthony T. (Tony) Evans' carnal Christian is simply false.
About the Author
Daniel LaLond Jr.'s book, The Lying Promise, has 400 pages, over 800 footnotes and 3 appendices. In it LaLond examines the teaching of Tony Evans The Lying Promise also critiques teachings like the carnal Christian.
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