Reform or Progress? What is the difference? Are they mere synonyms? Both ideas involve change. To reform or to progress both mean things will be different. But there is a difference.
Reform seeks to return to some fixed ideal. Change must be made in order to find our way home. A reform-minded person must be anchored by something. He must be committed to an understanding. She must know where she is headed. Reform chases after one goal. It remains always the ideal.
Progress runs after some ever-changing goal. Change is essentially enacted for its own sake. The man of progress arrives at one intended end and finds another beginning. The woman of progress makes life-changing decisions only to find that more change is required. Progress chases after one goal and then another, the old goal always being spoiled by the new.
Reform is a thoroughly modern idea. It assumes reality exists and that truth is more than just a relative concept.
Progress is a thoroughly postmodern idea. It always seeks to create a new reality and chuckles at the idea of fixed truth.
I am a man of reform. I believe there is black and white even though my eyes often behold gray tones. I press to an ideal. I press toward what God has revealed in his Word. There will always be plenty in need of change within and without. But that change must be directed. I refuse to chase after the wind. I am a man of reform.
You may view me as a dinosaur trapped under layers of philosophy and time. But I will roar from the ground and shake it. I am a man of reform.
Jesus was a man of reform. While there may be some truth in the idea that Jesus’ actions were viewed as revolutionary in his day, it is equally true that he did not force change for the sake of change. He did not try to force a new future in antagonism to the status quo. He sought to being people back to the ideal. Back to Eden. And his death was the only way to this end. Only if humanity’s sin was done away with could all be reformed, recreated. Only then could all things be new. Jesus was a man of reform.