A Reformer is someone dedicated to “fine tuning” a current system by working within that particular system. Reformers lead reformation movements. While they may see the need to redress a serious wrong, or injustice, they do so without striving to change the current system as a whole… Thus, there can never really be a “radical Reformer.” Because of this, even those wrongs that strongly need to be redressed are never truly addressed; because some form of compromise is at the heart of a Reformer. You see, a Reformer’s desire is to seek to improve the current system as it stands and within the guidelines of the system they desire to effect. For them, there is no need to “scrap” the system – just “fix” it. They are willing to “go against the flow” but they are unwilling to leave the stream.
A Revolutionary, on the other hand, seeks to redefine the system and is willing to scrap the system when it is determined that the system is broken, they lead the revolution. They have a radical heart, seeking radical change. They are willing to give all to the cause. A Revolutionary seeks basic and radical change to meet the needs of others. A Revolutionary does not seek to improve the system, but to radically change the system; they are willing to dismantle the system if need be. When a Reformer feels the reforms have been met, they simply stop what they are doing and settle back into the system. Revolutionaries on the other hand are willing to get out of the steam and walk a very different path.
Those in power within the system view Reformers as “trouble,” as someone to have long talks with about issues, and seek compromise. While those in the system view Revolutionaries as a “pain in the arse” because they know the Revolutionary desires not to talk about things, but desires action to take place.
Those in the system can tolerate Reformers because, in general, they are just like those in the system but they see a slight need for a small change. On the other hand, the system cannot tolerate Revolutionaries at all because they are demanding radical change, and they desire that change quickly. You see, Revolutionaries desire deep, real, lasting, radical, fundamental changes not only for a cause, but also to the system. Those in the system, vested by the system, do not desire such a change because in that, they lose power!
The stark difference between reformers and revolutionaries is that revolutionaries not only truly believe in their cause – but are truly willing to pay the highest prices for it.
But remember – the Kingdom of God is not advanced through compulsion, but by the overflow of our compassion.