What’s Wrong With Christianity Today?

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 21:15

There are two kinds of mirrors: one, a standard mirror that accurately reflects what you look like and two, a funhouse mirror that reflects a distorted and haunting version. The key to interpreting and understanding the life and death of Samson is to see Judges 13-16 as a bit of both. Samson’s life accurately reflects the nation over which he serves as a judge for 20 years (Judges 15:20). Before his rise, God left the people to be overtaken; Judges 13:1 says, “the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.”

Apostasy is the word that best describes the days of the Judges when everyone “did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25). The Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology & Counseling says, “apostasy refers to the process of turning away from Christianity and from one’s relationship with God. It is considered an egregious sin (2 Peter 2:20–21), synonymous with falling away from the faith and rebellion.” (1)

It goes on to say, “Richard Baxter (1673/1990), one of the great Puritan pastors, discussed some signs of growing apostasy: when sin’s delights are continually greater than the pleasures of holiness; when repentance is put off; when legitimate admonitions of others are resisted; when sin becomes easy and conscience offers no argument; and when sin is mentally and verbally defended.” (2)

Apostasy is preceded by pluralism, also known as syncretism. This occurs by taking some of what God says, and some of what Satan says, and trying to combine them in your beliefs or behavior. An example would be quoting, out of context, the Bible verses about loving your neighbor and not judging others while ignoring everything the Bible also says about sex, gender, sexuality, and marriage, to justify living a promiscuous life as a progressive “Christian.”

A Bible dictionary says:

The Samson narrative reveals the theological concern of the book of Judges as a whole: Israel’s apostasy…The Samson cycle embeds that apostasy in the person of Samson, reflecting the spiritual disintegration of Israel throughout the book. Samson’s flirtation with Philistines reflects the broader contamination and consequences experienced by Israel whenever it accommodated pluralism… (3)

The sins of Samson and the people he led consisted primarily of corrupt sexuality driven by counterfeit spirituality, as in our own day. If there were a book of the Bible that captured the cultural morality of the current Western world, Judges would be a leading candidate.

In today’s culture, where are you seeing syncretism at work? 

1.    E. L. Johnson, “Apostasy,” ed. David G. Benner and Peter C. Hill, Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology & Counseling, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 91.

2.    Ibid., 92.

3.    Rob Fleenor, “Samson the Judge, Critical Issues,” op. cit.

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