Getting Started: Read Judges chapters 13-16 and Hebrews 11:30
Although the Philistines ruled Israel 40 years, the Israelites didn’t repent or ask God to free them. God decided to rise up a judge to begin the process of freeing the Israelites from Philistine tyranny. That judge was Samson.
Like the Israelites, at times churches are oppressed by external enemies, i.e., political positions, societal rules and expression, and as a result of the church’s sin. In this latter case, the church refuses to compare its behavior to commandments and statutes from God. The church refuses to repent or ask God for relief. In other words, the church sins willingly and prefers to moan and groan about the situation rather than turn to God. In these situations, churches and congregates claim to be “persecuted for righteousness sake.” In reality, what happened was the result of poor decisions and more importantly because of failure to confess that sin and ask God to forgive it.
The Angel of the Lord announced Samson’s birth to his parents. The Angel appeared first to Samson’s mother and then to his father, Manoah. The Angel directed the woman to drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean. The Angel wanted Samson’s mother to rear her son as a Nazirite. Did you ever think that Samson would have been better off if this angel and his mother did make the decision to be a Nazirite for Samson?
In the New Testament, we read that the head of a household, i.e., Lydia, Cornelius, believed in Christ, was baptized, and so was his entire household. The Apostle’s Creed says that there is one baptism for the forgiveness of sin. In these Bible situations, the household head repented; but, there is no indication that all members of the household repented, even though all were baptized. Does repentance of sin need to precede baptism?
Is repentance of sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior an individual decision? Alternatively, can a head of a home make the decision for a spouse, children, and servants? Did Samson’s parents have the right to decide Samson would meet all requirements of a Nazirite? At some point, did Samson have to claim that decision for himself; but, only if he wanted to do so?
Do heads of households today have the prerogative of making decisions for children, to include having their child baptized? “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them” (Ezekiel 18:20 ESV).
Church congregates are responsible for their own relationship with God and their own sin. A pastor shepherds a church; but her leadership doesn’t replace an individual’s responsibility to know God’s word and instruction. To act otherwise or to preach otherwise is apostasy.
Copyright 12/17/2019: Carolyn Adams Roth
Material taken from my book: Judging Apostasy; visit http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com