The Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation

Sola Scriptura

It would be impossible to fully explain the event we call the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, or the lasting impact on the church today. In one of our future instalments I will attempt to compile a list of references for your own future study on the Reformation as a whole. Until then I commend for your consideration and their online bookstore.

The core of the Reformation was not essentially about NOT being Catholic. Nor was it essentially about leaving the established church and forming a new church out of protest (protestant). The core of the Reformation was about the Gospel. Over the next five weeks we are going to explore the five rally points of the Reformation. I will give you the five (in Latin and English) and then focus on the first. Here they are:

Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
Solus Christus – Christ Alone
Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
Sola Fide – Faith Alone
Soli Deo Gloria – The Glory of God Alone

Lets put them together so we understand what it meant by the fact that the reformation was about the Gospel and that the five Solas represent what was at stake in the conflict:

“We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in the scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.”

Let’s begin with Sola Scriptura. The very foundation of the Reformation is the question “who speaks for God?”  In the 16th century that answer was easy: The Pope; The Church; Tradition. The protestant position is that the scripture alone speaks for God. Very few state the protestant position of Sola Scriptura as well as James Montgomery Boice:

Scripture alone. When the Reformers used the words sola Scriptura they were expressing their concern for the Bible’s authority, and what they meant is that the Bible alone is our ultimate authority not the pope, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, still less personal intimations or subjective feelings, but Scripture only. Other sources of authority may have an important role to play. Some are even established by God such as the authority of church elders, the authority of the state, or the authority of parents over children. But Scripture alone is truly ultimate. Therefore, if any of these other authorities depart from Bible teaching, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected.

To this I say a hearty AMEN!

See You Sunday,

Pastor Byron