Archive for the ‘Protestantism’ Category

Origin of the Five Solas

March 15, 2011

See discussion by Dr. R. Scott Clark here


Five Solas

March 13, 2011

From Theopedia

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged from the Protestant Reformation intended to summarize the Reformers’ basic theological principles in contrast to certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. “Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only”.

Faith alone (Sola Fide)

Justification (that is, becoming right before God) comes through faith only, not good works, though in the classical protestant scheme, saving faith will always be accompanied by good works. This doctrine can be summarized with the formula “Faith yields justification and good works” and is contrasted with the Catholic formula “Faith and good works yield justification.” This doctrine is sometimes called the material cause of the Reformation because it was the central doctrinal issue for Martin Luther.

Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura)

The Bible is the only inspired and authoritative Word of God and is accessible to all (that is, perspicuous and self-interpreting). This doctrine is directly opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church that Scripture can only be authentically interpreted through Holy Apostolic Tradition by the “Magisterium” (that is, the teaching authority of the Pope and bishops at church councils). This doctrine is sometimes called the formal cause of the Reformation because it was the underlying cause of disagreement over sola fide.

Christ alone (Solus Christus)

Christ is the exclusive mediator between God and man. Neither Mary, the saints, nor priests (other than Christ himself) can act as mediator in bringing salvation. This doctrine is contrasted with the Catholic doctrines of the intercession of saints and of the mediation of the priests.

Grace alone (Sola Gratia)

Salvation comes by grace only, not through any merit on the part of the sinner. Thus salvation is an unearned gift. This doctrine is a response to the Catholic synergistic doctrine whereby acts of man become meritorious by cooperating with God’s grace.

Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria)

All the glory is due to God alone, since he did all the work — not only the atonement on the Cross, but even granting the faith which allows men to be saved by that atonement. The Reformers believed that human beings (such as the Catholic saints and popes) and their organizations (the Church) were not worthy of the glory that was bestowed on them.

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