For “Reformation Day,” I’d like to consider three words that are often used synonymously, but are not. There is some overlapping in the meaning of these words, but I think the church misses out when not embracing, and implementing, all three. Those the words are; Reform, Transform, and Conform:
Conform – σύμμορφον (symmorphon) – properly, conformed, by sharing the same inner essence-identity (form); showing similar behavior from having the same essential nature. Also, suschématizó (συσχηματίζω) – I conform to, assume a similar outward form (expression) by following the same pattern, be fashioned by a model or mode. Romans 8:29, Philippians 3:21, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 1:14
Reform – ἐπιστρέφω (epistrephó) – to turn, to return, to turn to, to bring back, to come back to oneself. Mark 4:12, Acts 3:19, Revelation 2:5, Philippians 3:21
Transform – μεταμορφόω (metamorphoó) – to change form, “change after being with” “changing form in keeping with inner reality,” transfigured, metamorphisized. Philippians 3:21, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 3:18
The common rallying cry of the Reformation or reformed folks is “Ecclesia semper reformanda est.” (Latin for “the church is always to be reformed”) Sometimes shortened to “semper reformanda,” (always to be reformed). I’d like to change that to “Ecclesia semper reformans, conformantes, et commutat.” The Church should always be Reforming, Conforming, and Transforming. How’s my Latin?
After all, if the Church is not always reforming (returning to Christ),
conforming (becoming the same essential nature as Christ),
and transforming (being metamorphisized into the image of Christ),
then what are we doing?
A few questions:
1. Would you place these 3 words in any particular order or progression?
2. How can we use these in discipling and reconciling others?
3. What thoughts would you add to this discussion?