Over the next few weeks, we will look at what are known as the “Five Solas.” These five Latin phrases emerged during the Protestant Reformation as fundamental principles of the reformers’ beliefs, as they sought to know God and make Him known in their cultural context and communities of faith.
So, a quick introduction, the five solas are Sola Scriptura: “Scripture Alone” – The belief that the Bible is the final authority in faith and practice, rather than any other authority such as a Church leader or Church tradition. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17) Sola Fide: “Faith Alone” – The belief that salvation is received by faith in Jesus Christ alone, apart from the law, works, or sacraments. In other words, communion or baptism does not save us. (See Ephesians 2:8-9) Sola Gratia: “Grace Alone” – The belief that salvation is a gift of God’s grace, not earned or deserved by any human effort. (See Romans 3:24) Solus Christus: “Christ Alone” – The belief that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity and that salvation comes through Him alone. (See 1 Timothy 2:5) Soli Deo Gloria: “To the Glory of God Alone” – The belief that all things, including salvation, exist for the glory of God and that this is the ultimate end of all human endeavors. (See Colossians 1:16) As the image bearers (Imago Dei) of God, we are all His representatives in this realm of creation as we work together to create communities of Shalom. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that the chief end of man is to glorify God (Psalm 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31; Revelation 4:11) and enjoy Him forever. (Psalm 16:5-11; 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; Revelation 21:3-4).
As we look at these in their biblical and historical context, I hope you will better understand some of our church history and foundational theological concepts. These five Biblical principles were foundational and became central to the teachings of the Protestant Reformers, and continue to be sincerely held by many Protestant denominations today.