Oct 31st, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the reformation - the day that Martin Luther hung his document with 95 theses on the door of Whittenburg church. One thing led to another and what we call "The Reformation" was born. What Luther intended to start a public dialogue about the practice and sale of indulgences within the Roman Catholic church, actually lit a flame that continues to burn even now.
The Reformation is marked by 5 specific and complementary tenets of the Christian faith: what we now call the 5 "Solas". Sola is the Latin word for "alone" and these tenets of our faith are: Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, for the glory of God alone.
Sola Scriptura = Scripture alone: This was the rediscovery of scripture being the highest and only authority to all of life and doctine.
Sola Fide = faith alone: this was the rediscovery of the teaching and doctrine that we are saved by faith alone in Christ, without ANY works to merit our salvation.
Sola Gratia = grace alone: this was the understanding that, while we exercise real faith, salvation comes by GOD's grace to unworthy men and women.
Solus Christus = Christ alone: Jesus is our only Savior, Lord and King, the one mediator between us and God.
Soli Deo Gloria = to the glory of God alone: we live and all things exist for the importance, the name and the glory of God alone.
These 5 tenets are the main truths that set apart Martin Luther and the Protestant church to come from the Roman Catholic church and it's practices in the 1500s. At the time in history, there was a serious amount of corruption and many unscrupulous popes in power, so reform was needed. The prevalent teaching at the time was that lay people (those uneducated, not in church leadership, etc) were not equipped nor allowed to have the Bible in their own language for their own reading, understanding and study. So no one knew what the Bible said or taught except what came from the priests, and that wasn't always faithfully communicated or preached.
One other big thing that came as a result of The Reformation was the translation of the Bible into lay languages, not keeping it only in Latin. Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German in 7 weeks!
The Reformation birthed modern day evangelicalism. Not every stream of Christianity agrees with every facet of reformed faith/theology, but all evangelicals believe in the 5 Solas and what they encompass. For evangelicalism, the stamp of The Reformation is always there.
The 5 Solas of The Reformation matter because they are a faithful reflection of what scriptures say about God, Jesus, grace, faith and the Bible itself. They work together like fitted pieces of a puzzle - if you don't have one piece, you miss something significant. They all work together to form a portrait of Biblical faithfulness.
We will explore these 5 Solas, their historical impact and their current significance for us all in the weeks to come.
Join us at the upcoming Forum night and on Sunday mornings to hear more!