The Carnal Christian
by Paul Hazelden


One of our major problems as Christians is that we attempt to spiritualise the flesh instead of killing it. Almost every character defect we had before we were saved can be safely brought into the Church if we just give it the right name. We are taught, after all, to be tolerant.

Just as a weed is simply a plant in the wrong place, every virtue can become a vice, and most vices are simply virtues misapplied.

For those who are unfamiliar with the language, the 'Old Man' in the examples below is simply the Christian jargon I grew up with - it refers to the person we were before coming to Christ.



If the Old Man was self centred, the tendency is to develop a self centred spirituality where you judge everything against how it will help you to grow as a Christian. The Church is good or bad depending on how it helps me grow. I will take part in activities only if I see how they will enable me to grow.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in wanting to grow as a Christian, but if my growth is more important than loving and serving Jesus and the people around me, there is something dreadfully wrong.


If the Old Man was obstinate, then little needs to change. Most Christians quickly learn the irregular verbs of Christian jargon:


If the Old Man was critical and always picking holes in things, the Christian can continue unchanged as long as a little self discipline is used and he isn't too critical of our Church, our Minister, or our way of doing things. After all, we know that Christians who do things differently to us are a bit unspiritual, don't we?


If the Old Man was a hedonist, the Christian tends to major on Christian or spiritual experience, and services are judged according to whether 'I really felt the Lord was present'.


If the Old Man was a perfectionist, nothing really needs to change at all. Perfectionism carries across to spiritual matters so easily it could have been designed for them!

It doesn't help that the word 'perfect' meant something quite different when the good old King James was written.


If the Old Man was a legalist, the Christian is highly disciplined, and applies the same 'high standards' to everyone around. After all, 'only the best is good enough for Our Lord'.

Home Page



Family News

Family History



Paul's Health

Sue's Health


External link - MAD (Bristol) MAD (Bristol)

External link - BCAN Homeless Forum BCAN Homeless Forum

External link - Bristol:networks Bristol:networks

External link - Bristol Anabaptists Bristol Anabaptists



Strong Foundations

Solid Ground


Interactive Gospel

Christian Articles

General Articles

Other People

Other Places



Web Site

Contact Us



Search this site

Complete file list



Copyright © 2000-2012 Paul Hazelden was last updated 23 August 2012
Page content last modified: 3 March 2000, 23 August 2012
You are welcome to print this page for your personal use or create a link to it, but if you would like to use any part of this page in any other way, please read the standard terms and then contact me.

Go to the top of this page
Home | Personal | Ministry | Writings | Web Site
Display this page in a printer-friendly format

I welcome your comments and feedback.
You can either send me a message or write in the guest book.
Page counter at 08:55 on 3 July 2022