Biblical Reformation in the Churches -- By: William E. Payne

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 03:4 (Fall 1994)
Article: Biblical Reformation in the Churches
Author: William E. Payne


Biblical Reformation in the Churches

William E. Payne

The second book of Chronicles brings to our attention three notable periods of reformation in the life of God’s ancient people. The first occurred in the reign of Jehoshaphat, and is recorded in chapters 17, 19, and 20. The second, and perhaps the most remarkable, occurred in the reign of Hezekiah and is described in chapters 29–31; and the third in the reign of Josiah, as given to us in chapters 34 and 35. When these chapters are compared, it becomes evident that all three “movements” had certain things in common.

The Backdrop of Reformation in the Church

I am not going to attempt any kind of exposition of these chapters, but will rather list features observable in all three reformation movements. These form a kind of backdrop for my treatment of the theme. I believe, in fact, that we will see the relevance of these ancient records to our present situation. What then did these three ancient reformation movements have in common?

1. Godly leadership

Of Jehoshaphat we read, “(He) sought the God of his father, and followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did. And he took great pride in the ways of the Lord” (2 Chron. 17:4, 6). Of Hezekiah we read, “He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done” (29:2), and, “He did what was good, right and true before the Lord his God” (31:20). Similarly of Josiah it is recorded, “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David” (34:2–3a).

Each of these men was personally godly, and gave vigorous leadership in the work of reformation.

2. Respect for the Word of God

In 2 Chronicles 34 we read of Hilkiah the priest finding the book of the law of the Lord in the temple, and the words of the law being read

before king Josiah. The record reads,

And it came about when the king heard t...

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