Summary: An exhortation to faithfulness.
Manasseh Baptist Church
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.