If you have been through the Connection Center lobby of Mount Airy Bible Church, you have likely seen the banner advertising Reformation Day. Most Evangelical Christians are not only unfamiliar with the figures of the reformation at the bottom (L to R - Zwingli, Huss, Knox, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, Wycliffe), but also the doctrines that came out of that time. Christianity had degraded to a point where it would be barely recognizable by the early church. Doctrines and practices were corrupted and the whole world was in a spiritual environment of darkness.
“Post tenebras lux” is a latin term meaning “Out of Darkness… Light”. This is a term often used to describe what the Reformation meant to the world and to the doctrines of the church. The 5 solas are:
Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) » The Roman Catholic Church taught that the foundation for faith and practice was a combination of the scriptures, sacred tradition, and the teachings of the magisterium and the pope. Luther and the other reformers stressed that nothing is as authoritative as “Thus sayeth the Lord”. That is why Luther, Tyndale, and others were so anxious to get the Word of God into the hands of the common man, in their common tongue, even if it cost them their lives.
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone) » Catholic theology teaches that we are saved through a combination of God's grace, the merits that we accumulate through penance and good works, and the merits that the saints before us accumulated. Ephesians 2:8-9 is clear that we are saved by grace through faith alone.
Sola Fide (Faith Alone) » While the Catholic Church taught that we are justified by faith PLUS the works that we do, the reformers made clear that we are justified by faith alone, not by works, lest any man should boast.
Solus Christus (In Christ Alone) » The Church at the time falsely taught that we are saved by the merits of Christ and the saints, and that we approach God through Christ, the saints, and Mary, who all pray and intercede for us. This is not found in scripture for we are saved by the merits of Christ Alone, and we come to God through Christ Alone.
Soli Deo Gloria (To the Glory of God Alone) » The final teaching the reformers protested against was the teaching that the glory for a sinner's salvation could be attributed partly to Christ, partly to Mary and the saints, and partly to the sinner himself, but, in the words of Jonathan Edwards, “We bring nothing to our salvation, but the sin that made it necessary.”
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for over 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship around the country. Bill and his family attend Belcroft Bible Church in Bowie, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.