From the Pulpit: Reforms and reformation in the Bible


The very word “reformation” is perhaps a bit partisan but many people would suggest that the reformation and counter-reformation in the 16th Century were instrumental in bringing about great reforms in the Christian church. What does the Bible say about “reforms”? Take this little quiz to see what happened. Check the Bible reference if you need help. If the reference would give away the answer the Bible book is not given.

1. I am God almighty and when I continued to see evil in the world I was moved to renew my covenant with my people. Some might call this a reformation but it was all part of my grace. What did I do to affirm this covenant? (Genesis 9:12-17) (a) I put a rainbow in the sky, (b) I visited Abraham and said that everything would be all right, (c) I made the sun stand still, (d) I sent manna to the earth to eat.

2. After tricking my brother I ended up travelling and had an unusual dream about a stairway reaching from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. It formed and reformed my life. What is my name? (Genesis 28:10-17) (a) Abraham, (b) Isaac, (c) Esau, (d) Jacob, (e) None of the above.

3. I was the reigning king of Judah when Temple workers “discovered” the book of the Law which led to great reforms in the practice of our faith. What is my name? (II Chronicles 34:1-21) (a) David, (b) Solomon, (c) Josiah, (d) Ahab.

4. My life was a life of reform and while the Northern Kingdom of Israel was dying I led the Southern Kingdom of Judah in significant reforms. What is my name? (Isaiah 37-38) (a) David, (b) Solomon, (c) Zedekiah, (d) Hezekiah.

5. My name is King Jehoiakim and I didn’t care for the prophecy and words about “reform” and destruction that Jeremiah and his scribe, Baruch, brought to me. What did I do with the scroll? (Jeremiah 36:22-26) (a) I ate the scroll, (b) I had my servant cut the scroll in pieces and burn it, (c) I had it mounted on the city street and pummeled with dung, (d) I saw the error of my way and repented.

6. My name is Joel and God urged me to urge the people to repent and reform their lives in sackcloth and ashes. What kind of destruction was on its way? (Joel 1:4-13) (a) Death of the first born, (b) Plague of Locusts, (c) Water would turn to blood, (d) Murrain disease on the cattle.

7. My heart had to be reformed by God himself and he did this in the following way: (Jonah 1-4) (a) He caused a plant to grow overnight as an object lesson, (b) He caused the people of Nineveh to repent, (c) He ordered a great fish to swallow me, (d) He rescued me after I was thrown overboard from a ship, (e) All of the above, (f) None of the above.

8. I gave one of the longest recorded messages in the Bible, urging my people to reform their attitude and their lives but my words seemed to fall on deaf ears and in the process I lost my life. Who am I? (Acts 7:1-60) (a) Jesus, (b) Paul, (c) Jeremiah, (d) Stephen, (e) John the Baptist.

9. My name is James and I led a council in Jerusalem to “reform” the church’s attitude about groups in the church. What did we decide to suggest in a letter to the people? (Acts 15:22-29) (a) Abstain from eating meat sacrificed to idols, (b) Abstain from consuming blood, (c) Abstain from sexual immorality, (d) Abstain from eating things strangled, (e) All of the above.

10. We were the people of Thessalonica and were very caught up in thoughts about the end of the world. Paul wrote us letters to help us but urged us to caution and to reform our way of thinking in his second letter. What did he say? (II Thessalonians 3:6-13) (a) Don’t grow weary in doing good, (b) If anyone is not willing to work he should not eat, (c) Don’t be busy bodies, (d) Do your work quietly, (e) All of the above, (f) None of the above.

Key: (1) a—I put a rainbow in the sky, (2) d—Jacob, (3) c—Josiah, (4) d—Hezekiah, (5) b—I had my servant cut the scroll in pieces and burn it, (6) b—Plague of locusts, (7) e—All of the above, (8) d—Stephen, (9) e—All of the above, (10) e—All of the above.

Scoring: 10 correct—No reforms necessary in your studies; 9 correct—You have formed some good habits of learning; 8 correct—Keep reading the “signs” of God’s power in the world; 7 or fewer correct—Yes, things eventually will change!

The Rev. Willis R. Schwichtenberg (Pastor Switz) is associate pastor/emeritus at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Freeport, Illinois. His email is pastorswitz@ourgodwithus.com.



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