The third session focused on the NT data. Robert Strivens began by pointing how most people today tend to take the view that man does not have a soul, an immaterial element. Even some Christians have accepted the idea. He cited Nancey Murphy of Fuller Theological Seminary. Nevertheless the traditional view was reasserted in the light of verses such as 2 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 2:11, 5:3, 5, 7:34, James 2:26.
Again we had a word study on the various NT words and how they are employed (soma, sarx, nous, chardia, psyche, pneuma, etc). Passing over the trichotomy, dichotomy issue, he warned against over emphasising the difference between body and soul. The traditional division of mind, will and passions is okay as long as we remember that while compatible with Scripture the words as used there cannot aways be given the expected understanding.
The NT (like the OT) views man as a whole, though it will often take a physical or inward perspective. Generally speaking, the inward is not thought to be more spiritual than the body. Each aspect is interconnected and what tensions there are, are caused by sin.
In conclusion then we were reminded that we must always keep in mind our physical as well as spiritual nature. Physicality should not be seen as a problem. Practically, he warned against a false asceticism or an elevation of spiritual over physical. If a person cannot hear you speak or see the word on the page his soul will not be reached. Preachers must treat their hearers as whole persons. This is often forgotten as with conversion for example. To say either that everything depends on the Spirit or that everything depends on what we do is to create a false dichotomy.We need to speak the Spirit, of course, but we must also be fully aware of our own responsibilities. Discussion followed.