Biblical Pattern For Reformation

I’m still planning on writing a recommendation for Turning Back the Darkness: The Biblical Pattern of Reformation, but go ahead and by it now.
In the meantime, here’s a good quote;

“If you look up the noun reformation in your concordance, you will not be impressed by the results. In the New International Version (NIV), the word does not occur at all; int he King James Version (KJV) it occurs just once; and in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) it is also found only one time (Heb. 9:10)…By this standard reformation must not really be a biblical concept, or not an important one anyway. The prospects for discerning a biblical pattern seem dim at this point.
There are, however, two other words that describe what reformation is all about, and they are repeatedly encountered in the Scripture. These words are remember and repent. That is what reformation is-remembering God and His saving work and His authoritative Word, repenting from unfaithfulness in heart and in action and to the pattern God established through His Word when He formed a people for Himself. It is in the use of terms such as these that reformation occurs all though the Bible, defining faithfulness in every generation.
One of the great reformation texts is found in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation, the letters to the seven churches from the Lord Jesus Christ…Ephesus was the mother church of these seven, and in the first of the letters Jesus praises this important congregation:

I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.-Rev. 2:2-3

The next paragraph, verses 4-5, presents a well-developed definition of reformation, establishing it firmly as a mandate from the Lord:

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Reformation, as we see it biblically defined and commanded by the risen and exalted Lord Jesus Himself, consists of both holding fast to what we have received from God and the ongoing work of repenting and conforming to His Word in every area and aspect of our lives.”
Richard D. Phillips, Turning Back The Darkness (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002), 17-18.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Biblical Pattern For Reformation

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks, Jeremy!

    I read an essay by Richard Phillips several years ago with this title (Biblical Pattern for Reformation). I think it may have been in Modern Reformation. It was revolutionary for me – particularly regarding the way I read Deuteronomy.

    I just recently finished listening to four messages on this topic by Dr. Phillips from the 2003 OKC Conference on Reformed Theology (free download at http://www.nwbcokc.org/index.php?cat=87 )Fantastic stuff!

    I didn’t know about the book – thanks for the tip!

    Terry

  2. Jeremy Weaver

    The formation/deformation/reformation pattern in Scripture is so obvious after reading that book. I don’t know how I missed it.
    I guess it’s something that we all know is there in the back of our minds, but a book like this one really puts it in proper perspective.

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