Manasseh Baptist Church

March 23, 2013

2 Chronicles 32:33-33:9

Knowing how people are, I know someone is excited thinking that I am about to spread some gossip or inform them that they may pray intelligently about some church I just left or ministered in recently. Break out the crying towels because that is not the case. I have never been in or even seen a church named Manasseh, so no gossip or dirt here. However, I have been in many and have heard of many that should be called Manasseh.

Manasseh means forgetful. The first time someone in the Word is named Manasseh, it is a joyful forgetting. Joseph named his firstborn son Manasseh because God had brought him out of slavery and prison (his toil) and made him forget his father’s house in that he forgot how his brothers had treated him and his hope of inheritance. Thus he was moving on with his life rather than pining away for that which was lost. (Gen41: 51) He was given new joy and blessing in a strange land. That kind of healing forgetfulness is a joy to receive and a blessing of God because it brings endurance and hope.

The last person named Manasseh embodied the negative concept of forgetfulness. This Manasseh forgot God, his father, and all the miracles and deliverance that God had given the nation because of his father’s faithfulness to God. (2 Chron 32:33; 33:1-9)

He was the miracle child of Hezekiah. He was not a miracle in the way he was conceived or how he was born. The miracle was that his father lived to sire him. God had pronounced Hezekiah a dead man. He told him to get his house in order before Manasseh had even been born. If God had not granted Hezekiah fifteen more years of life, we would have never known this Manasseh. I dare say that the Israelites would have been better off if they had never known him. (2 Chron 33:11)

He was also born after Hezekiah forgot what the Lord did for him and was lifted up with pride. (2 Chron 32:24,25) This may have had some negative impact on Manasseh, but he should have remembered the wrath of God and his father’s repentance. (2 Chron 32:26)

Instead, he committed more sins than the heathen that God destroyed when He brought His people into the land of promise. Fortunately, Manasseh did later repent and did what was right, but it took him being captured by his enemy before it happened. He cleaned up his act and the country, but it was too late for his son, who followed in his footsteps of rebellion and idolatry. (2 Chron 33:20-23)

Deut 6:12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (KJV)

Many churches are full of saints that have forgotten like Hezekiah and Manasseh. They have not paid attention unto this verse. They have forgotten their calling. They have forgotten their zeal. They have forgotten their first love. They have forgotten that they have been brought out of the house of bondage. They have sold themselves back into bondage of man, culture, science and theology falsely so-called. Then there are the big idols of self and materialism as well.

Something that I have noticed over the years is that folks hang on to the documents of their church founders, but they do not read them very often. They cling to various associations, but do not get involved with the way the associations run or where their ideology is heading. They just belong because our church was founded as an XYZ or a PDQ church and that is what we are.

I think every so often, people need to get out those documents, not to rewrite them or redefine the language of the documents like those who say what they think the Constitution says without consulting the writings of the founders and using their definitions. Instead they make up their own and put words in the founders’ mouths. I mean to sit down to read them and interpret them in the language of the day they were written. Yes, it sounds like biblical hermeneutics.

When you finally get this done, ask if what you see practiced and hear taught in your church is truly in alignment with those documents. Methods and applications may change, but truth and principles do not. If your founding documents and your practices/philosophies do not match then you have a problem and a choice.

You can choose to ignore the problem, which is the practice of many, but not the ideal answer. You can trash the original documents and start over which is possibly easier than revising the originals. Or you can do the hard task and reevaluate what you are doing and see if you have forgotten your call and first love and resolve to remedy those errors.

Do your associates still align themselves with what you believe or have they gone off on a tangent? Do their responses to your questions sound insincere, even patronizing or like political rhetoric? Do they feel your pain or feel you’re their pain? Then maybe it is a time to refrain from embracing and leave that tradition and association behind. You are whom you hang around with and whom you will hang with one day.

My alma mater ran into a bit of a quandary because an issue came up that was not an issue when the founders wrote their articles of confederation and doctrinal statement. It would be an easy thing to amend or rather clarify, but the original documents stated that if those documents were changed in any way the college was to be disbanded and the funds distributed to an organization with the same beliefs as the founders.

Well, they decided not to make the change and therefore they could not deny graduation to those that held the alternative position. It was not a fundamental doctrinal issue and thus not worth destroying the college to address it. Unfortunately, there were other issues of more importance that they did not address.

Some would say that this is a very good reason to keep documents vague and not to get too wrapped up in them because things change and need to be clarified. Yes, and no. I agree that you can get extremely legal and then need twelve lawyers, twenty scribes and a hundred Pharisees (or three branches of government) to take a year or more to get anything done.

However, because there are so many people like those groups, as well as the sneaky Sadducees who creep in with similar language but with totally different meanings, you must document and clearly define your beliefs, then set them in stone. You can lose your church and testimony to those who only wish to “clarify.”

It amazes me how that in only a little over a hundred years, almost every denomination has trashed everything their founders fought and died for, as well as many others have died to defend for hundreds and thousands of years. They have traded all those things for fads, politics and new fangled theology. I don’t mean traditions. I mean truth.

I would love to be able to bring Wesley, Calvin, Knox, and quite a few notable Baptists and Pentecostals back from glory and get their opinion of the organizations that either bear their names or the name of the group they were a part of in this life. I believe that even gentle Wesley would start throwing inkwells, like Luther, at the devils in clerical garb claiming to be his spiritual offspring. And I would love to hear the fiery Knox address his group. They would be appalled at ecumenicism and the WCC/NCC and their escapades. Sometimes, we are called battling Baptists, but we would not know what a battle was until some of our great men of God hit the pulpits to address the iniquity of the Baptists. They would not be politically correct.

I would love to hear what they would think of Pro-choice and this age’s concept of separation of church and state. I would thrill to hear them illuminate the so-called scholars of our time and deal with the pseudo-texts that they have added to the Word. Oh, how they have called me tactless in the past and that the only tact that I knew was attack. I am a quiet milquetoast in comparison to what these men would say bluntly to the Manassehs of our time.

We have forgotten our roots and gotten off into doctrinal and character errors because we are apathetic. Instead of diligently searching the Scriptures as the noble Bereans did, we just sit back and let our priesthood of theologians tell us anything. We swallow camels of error because they have degrees while we choke on gnats of non-issues relating to furniture and tradition. Shame on us!!!

Our spiritual forebears who stood before councils and would not bow to the learned deceivers would weep if they saw how we are using the legacy that they gave us. They lost all they had and endured torture, lions and flames. We suffer for Jesus when the air conditioning isn’t right or the pews are not soft enough! Of a truth, Jeshurun has waxed fat and hath kicked. (Deut 32:15)

We like to quote them from time to time or at least the quotes that do not upset us. We adorn their sepulchres, but would stone them if they were preaching today. (Matthew 23:29-36) Lester Roloff once told of a young man at the gravesite of a great man of God, who prayed, “Do it again, Lord! Do it again.” God looked at that man and said, “Get up, boy, I don’t have anything to do it with!”

Most of the prophets are dead and there are none to replace them. We have become fat, dumb, and we think happy. Our lives are wasted on things that will burn up with this world and many of those that are saved will be there by the skin of their teeth staring at a heap of ashes with maybe a gem that requires a magnifying glass to see. And we wonder why our children and the world are going to Hell.

God can always do it again, but He would indeed have a hard time to find men and women with the courage and mettle of our forebears. Find a woman today who would say to those who to those who encouraged her to get her husband to recant, “I would rather catch his head in my apron than to have him deny the Lord.” Find a man that would say with Luther, “Recant? Recant? I cannot recant for my mind is held captive by the Word of God!” Yes, find men who for the love of God and His Word would rather sing hymns of praise as the flames take their life than submit to error to live or to gain offices and titles. What a revival it would take to spiritually birth such men and women in this age of compromise and apathy.

Read the messages to the churches in Revelation and have an ear to hear. If your church or associations could be named Manasseh then come out! Touch not the unclean thing! Many are too far gone for reform. They will only defile you for they are no longer the wise virgins birthed by the blood of the martyrs and water of the Word, but harlots on their way back to their mother. (Rev 17:5)

Ps 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. (KJV)

Jer 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (KJV)

It is a dangerous thing to forget God. We live in a nation that is perilously close to being turned into Hell. Unbeliever, it would be wise to remember Him now before you never forget Him again in Hell. Believer, it is time to remember thy Creator before the days come when you say that you have no pleasure in them and while there is still time to avoid that heap of ash at the Bema seat. Don’t be like the last Manasseh. Repent now and God will bring the healing forgiveness you need. Seek the old paths and return unto thy first love! (Rev 2:4,5)


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