In the wake of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and in the midst of a modern world in dire need of the timeless truths of the gospel of Jesus, it’s appropriate for us to stop for a few weeks this Fall and consider the Five Solas.
The Five Solas are five principles that emerged from the Protestant Reformation, an event started by monks who contradicted the unbiblical teachings of the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century. Each of these principles were defended and discussed by reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin, but they were not organized in this way until more recently in the 20th century. Sola is simply the Latin word for “only and alone”; thus each of these principles describe the core, foundational beliefs (the “alones,” if you will) of the Christian faith.
I – Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone – The only foundation.
The Bible is the only infallible and sufficient rule for governing issues of life and doctrine
II – Sola Gratia – Grace Alone – The only method.
Our salvation and justification are both given solely by the grace of God, and are not dependent on any action or condition of man.
III – Sola Fide – Faith Alone – The only means.
Our justification before God is by faith in Christ alone, not by works.
IV – Solus Christus – Christ Alone – The only mediator.
Because Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man, salvation is only through his death and resurrection.
V – Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone – The only ambition.
All glory and honor is due to God alone.
In studying each of these, we are reminded of the depth and richness of God’s salvation in Jesus, the gift by grace through faith in Christ granted through the preaching and hearing of His word. In all things, even this study, we seek to glorify God with our entire lives, knowing that this is what we were created for.
Bible Reading Plan
For this series, we will be using a wonderful resource called Gospel Meditations on the Reformation. This book is a collection of 31 daily devotionals taken from Scripture but illustrated with scenes from Reformation history. Noted historian Carl Trueman and theologian Andy Naselli join pastors Chris Anderson and Joe Tyrpak as contributing authors. Be sure to pick one up this Sunday so that you can read along with us each week!
Additionally, we want to provide you with a variety of resources with which to celebrate, educate, and meditate on these Five Solas in different ways.
- We have purchased a little book called Freedom Movement: 500 Years of Reformation by Michael Reeves for you that quickly outlines the major historical moments of the Reformation and highlights their importance for us and the world today. Learn more at https://www.desiringgod.org/books/freedom-movement. Be sure to pick one up this Sunday!
- The Cambridge Declaration is an evangelical statement of faith standing upon the truths of the Solas through a set of affirmations and denials. This is a short helpful resources that sums up what we believe as a church regarding the principles that emerged from the reformation.
- For those who want to learn more of the history, The Village Church has made a fantastic visual timeline of the Reformation. You can find that here at https://www.tvcresources.net/resource-library/articles/reformation-timeline.
- Desiring God, the influential web ministry started by John Piper, is in the process of publishing 31 mini-biographies of various heroes of the Reformation. Their project, called Here We Stand, can be found at https://www.desiringgod.org/here-we-stand.
- 9Marks, in keeping with their goal of building healthy churches, has compiled an online journal called The Reformation and Your Church, which includes articles and discussions that highlight the importance of the Reformation and its defining principles for our church today. Check out their resources at https://www.9marks.org/journal/the-reformation-and-your-church.
- Keith and Krysten Getty, most known for writing the modern hymn “In Christ Alone,” have made a playlist of worship music accompanying the Five Solas here at https://www.gettymusic.com/reformation. Check these songs out and sing the truths of the gospel in worship to God!