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Las Cinco Solas

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I am pleased to announce that as of this morning, the Spanish version of the Five Solas book is available for purchase. Here's the link for both the English and Spanish versions (they are the second and third items on the list):

http://www.solid-ground-books.com/books_SGCBBooklets.asp

John Samson

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    • The Five Solas

      What characterizes the Reformed Faith? What was it in the Roman Catholic Church at the start of the 16th century that needed to be reformed, and what reforms did the Protestants implement? Five battle cries of the Reformation known as The Solas (sola means “alone”), give us a profound insight into the theological conflict and what was at stake. They form the solid foundation of what is now called the Reformed Faith...    

      in Soteriology and Reformation Theology

    • The Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation

      The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century changed Christianity forever. Roused to action by the corruption and abuses they saw in the Roman Catholic church of the time, visionary pastors and leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin spearheaded a movement that transformed Christianity and eventually led to the emergence of the Protestant denominations that exist today.   The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had drifted away from the essential, original teachings of Christianity, especially in regard to what it was teaching about salvation—how people can be forgiven of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and receive eternal life with God. The Reformation sought to re-orient Christianity on the original message of Jesus and the early church.   The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity.   The Five Solas are: Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
      Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
      Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
      Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
      Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
        Let’s have a brief look at each of these five statements.   SOLA SCRIPTURA   The Scriptures are our ultimate and trustworthy authority for faith and practice. This doesn’t mean that the Bible is the only place where truth is found, but it does mean that everything else we learn about God and his world, and all other authorities, should be interpreted in light of Scripture. The Bible gives us everything we need for our theology.   Every word of the 66 books of the Bible is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also helps us to understand and obey Scripture.   2 Peter 2:20, the Bible is about Jesus Christ and his role as God and Savior. Additionally, Romans 15:4 is 2 Timothy 2:16.   SOLA FIDE AND SOLA GRATIA   We are saved solely through faith in Jesus Christ because of God’s grace and Christ’s merit alone. We are not saved by our merits or declared righteous by our good works. God grants salvation not because of the good things we do, and despite our sin.   As humans, we inherited (from our ancestor Adam) a nature that is enslaved to sin. Because of our nature, we are naturally enemies of God and lovers of evil. We need to be made alive (regenerated) so that we can even have faith in Christ. God graciously chooses to give us new hearts so that we trust in Christ and are saved through faith alone.   God graciously preserves us and keeps us. When we are faithless toward him, he is still faithful.   We can only stand before God by his grace as he mercifully attributes to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ and attributes to him the consequences of our sins. Jesus’ life of perfect righteousness is counted as ours, and our records of sin and failure were counted to Jesus when he died on the cross.   Sola fide and sola gratia express the teaching of Ephesians 2:8:   “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”   SOLUS CHRISTUS   God has given the ultimate revelation of himself to us by sending Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:15. Only through God’s gracious self-revelation in Jesus do we come to a saving and transforming knowledge of God.   1 Timothy 1:5. Because God is holy and all humans are sinful and sinners, 1 John 1:1 Hebrews 7:25 Romans 8:34. Neither religious rituals nor good works mediate between us and God. Acts 4:12 by which a person can be saved other than the name of Jesus. Hebrews 7:23, and his sacrificial death alone can atone for sin.   SOLI DEO GLORIA   Glory belongs to God alone. God’s glory is the central motivation for salvation, not improving the lives of people—though that is a wonderful by product. God is not a means to an end—he is the means and the end.   The goal of all of life is to give glory to God alone: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 1:31). As The Westminster Catechism says, the chief purpose of human life is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”   Justin Holcomb is a pastor at Mars Hill Church and Director of the Resurgence. He is also an adjunct professor of theology at reformed theological seminary. He holds two masters degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary and a PhD from Emory University. Justin and his wife, Lindsey, wrote rid of my disgrace, a re:lit book on gospel hope and healing for sexual assault victims. His edited volume, christian theologies of scripture, explores various views of the authority and nature of Scripture throughout the Christian tradition.   Since 2001, Justin has traveled to southern Sudan to teach chaplains in the Sudanese People's Liberation Army. Justin and Lindsey founded and direct mosaic, which is a non-profit organization that initiates projects in southern Sudan and Uganda that serves those who are suffering in these areas. - by Justin Holcomb

      in Christian History

    • 5 questions and the 5 solas

      by Jesse Johnson   The Protestant Reformation threw the Christian world into chaos. At the beginning of the 1400’s the Pope’s authority was absolute and the only means of salvation were the sacraments given under his auspices. There was a secular/sacred distinction that was ironclad, meaning that the priests and laity lived in practically two separate worlds. There was no concept of church membership, corporate worship, preaching, or Bible reading in the churches. And as far as doctrine was concerned, there was no debate—the creeds and declarations from Rome (and soon to be Avignon) were the law.   Things had been this way for six hundred years. In a world where life expectancy was in the 30’s, that is essentially the same as saying that the church had been in the dark forever.   But if you fast-forward to the end of the 1500’s, all of that had been turned on its head. The absolute nature of the Pope’s rule and vanished—in large part owing to the Babylonian Captivity of the church (the 40 year period were two rival popes both ruled, and both excommunicated each other—finally to both be deposed by a church council). Church councils themselves had contradicted themselves so many times that their own authority was openly ridiculed. The Holy Roman Empire was no longer relevant, and the political world had simply passed the Pope by.   Protestants found themselves in the wake of this upheaval, and there was one major question to be answered: what, exactly, was this new kind of Christian? What did a Protestant believe? The reformation had followed similar and simultaneous tracks in multiple countries, yet at the end of it all the content of Protestantism was pretty much the same. On the essentials, German, English, Swiss, and Dutch Protestants all stood for the same theology. But what was it?   It was easy to understand the beliefs of Catholicism—all one had to do was look at their creeds and the declarations from their councils. But Protestants were so named precisely because they were opposed to all that. So what council would give them their beliefs then?   This is where the five solas came from. These were five statements about the content of the Protestant gospel, and by the end of the 1500’s, these were the terms which identified Protestantism. These five phrases are not an extensive statement on theology, but instead served simply as a way to explain what the content of the gospel was to which Protestants held.   Sola Fide—Faith alone   Solus Christus—Christ alone   Sola Scriptura—Scripture alone   Sola Gratia—Grace alone   Soli Deo Gloria—God’s glory alone   These five solas still live on to this very day. They define what the gospel is for evangelicals worldwide, and also provide a helpful summary—a cheat sheet even—of what marks the true gospel from a religion of works. But historically, these five solas make the most sense when viewed from the perspective of answering the question: what do Protestants believe? In fact, each one of these five is an answer to a particular question:   What must I do to be saved? Sola Fide   The gospel is not a religion of works, but a religions of faith. You can’t do anything to be saved—rather, God saves you on the basis of your faith, which is itself on the basis of the work of Christ on your behalf. Protestants believe that you don’t work for your salvation, and that nobody is good enough to deserve salvation. But thankfully salvation does not come on the basis of works but instead on the basis of faith.   Sola fide declares that In addition to faith, you can do absolutely nothing in order to be saved.   What must I trust? Solus Christus   In a world with deposed Popes in the unemployment line, this question has profound importance. Keep in mind that for six hundred years, nearly every European would have answered that question by pointing at the sacraments. You trust them for your salvation. Perhaps some would point you to the church, the priest, of even to Jesus himself. But only a Protestant would say “trust Jesus alone.”   Solus Christus is a simple declaration that salvation is not dispensed through Rome, priests, or sacraments. There is no sense in putting hope in extreme unction, purgatory, or an indulgence. Instead it comes through Jesus alone.   What must I obey? Sola Scriptura   When the Council of Constance deposed both Popes, this question took on a sense of urgency. If a council is greater than a Pope, then does one have to obey the Pope at all, or is it better to simply submit yourself to the church as a whole? Are believers compelled to obey priests in matters of faith?   Sola Scriptura says “no.” In matters of faith, believers are compelled by no other authority than that of Scripture. There is no room for a mixture of history and tradition—those cannot restrain the flesh and they cannot bind the conscience. Instead, believers’ only ultimate authority is the Bible.   What must I earn? Sola Gratia   Is there any sense in which a person must earn salvation? For the Protestant, the answer is obvious: NO! Salvation is of grace…ALONE. It is not by work or merit. God didn’t look down the tunnel of time and see how you were going to responded to the gospel, then rewind the tape and choose you. He does not save you in light of what you did, are doing, or will do in the future. Instead, his salvation is based entirely upon his grace.   What is the point? Soli Deo Gloria   What is the point of the Reformation? Why are these doctrinal differences worth dividing over? Because people were made for one reason, and one reason alone: to glorify God. God is glorified in his creation, in his children, in the gospel, and most particularly in his son. The highest calling on a persons’ life (indeed, the only real calling in a person’s life) is that he would glorify God in all he does. Nevertheless, we always fail to do that. Yet God saves us anyway through the gospel.   Soli Deo Gloria is a reminder that by twisting the gospel or by adding works to the gospel, a person is actually missing the glory that comes through a gospel of grace and faith, through Jesus, and described by Scripture. The first four questions really function like tributaries, and they all flow to this body—God’s glory.   Do you think these five solas retain their importance today, five hundred years later? Are they still adequate for describing the gospel of Grace?

      in Soteriology and Reformation Theology

    • The Five Solas of the Reformation

      by Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D.   Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard   The doctrine that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority was the "Formal Principle" of the Reformation. In 1521 at the historic interrogation of Luther at the Diet of Worms, he declared his conscience to be captive to the Word of God saying, "Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons -- for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another -- I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God's Word." Similarly, the Belgic Confession stated, "We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein...Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God... Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule" (VII).   As the Scripture says, Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law....I will bow down toward Thy holy temple, And give thanks to Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth; For Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name....You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; II Tim. 3:14-17)   Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone   The Reformation reclaimed the Scriptural teaching of the sovereignty of God over every aspect of the believer's life. All of life is to be lived to the glory of God. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, "What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." This great and all consuming purpose was emphasized by those in the 16th and 17th Centuries who sought to reform the church according to the Word of God. In contrast to the monastic division of life into sacred versus secular perpetuated by Roman Church, the reformers saw all of life to be lived under the Lordship of Christ. Every activity of the Christian is to be sanctified unto the glory of God.   As the Scripture says, Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God; Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (1CO 10:31; 1PE 4:11; REV 1:6; 2PE 3:1; EPH 3:21; REV 7:12; ROM 11:36)   Solo Christo! By Christ's Work Alone are We Saved   The Reformation called the church back to faith in Christ as the sole mediator between God and man. While the Roman church held that "there is a purgatory and that the souls there detained are helped by the intercessions of the faithful" and that "Saints are to be venerated and invoked;" "that their relics are to be venerated" -- the reformers taught that salvation was by Christ's work alone. As John Calvin said in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, "Christ stepped in, took the punishment upon himself and bore the judgment due to sinners. With his own blood he expiated the sins which made them enemies of God and thereby satisfied him...we look to Christ alone for divine favour and fatherly love!" Likewise the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 30 asks, "Do such then believe in Jesus the only Saviour who seek their salvation and happiness in saints, in themselves, or anywhere else? They do not; for though they boast of him in words yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Saviour: for one of these two things must be true that either Jesus is not a complete Saviour or that they who by a true faith receive this Saviour must find all things in him necessary to their salvation."   As the Scripture says, There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time...For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. (1TI 2:5-6; COL 1:13-18)   Sola Gratia: Salvation by Grace Alone   A central cry of the Reformation was salvation by grace. Though the Roman church taught that Mass is a "sacrifice [which] is truly propitiatory" and that by the Mass "God...grants us grace and the gift of penitence, remits our faults and even our enormous sins" -- the reformers returned to the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Our righteous standing before God is imputed to us by grace because of the work of Christ Jesus our Lord. In contrast to the doctrines of self-merit taught by Rome, sola gratia and the accompanying doctrines of grace -- total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, and perseverance of the saints -- were preached by all the reformers throughout the Protestant movement. As the Baptist Confession of 1689 says, "Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in their behalf;...their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners."   As the Scripture says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. (Ephesians 1:3-8)   Sola Fide: Justification by Faith Alone   The "Material Principle" of the Reformation was justification by faith alone. As the Westminster Confession of Faith says, "Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love." The Genevan Confession likewise pointed out the necessity of those justified living by faith saying, "We confess that the entrance which we have to the great treasures and riches of the goodness of God that is vouchsafed us is by faith; inasmuch as, in certain confidence and assurance of heart, we believe in the promises of the gospel, and receive Jesus Christ as he is offered to us by the Father and described to us by the Word of God (Genevan 11).   As the Scripture says, Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you." So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them." Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "The righteous man shall live by faith." (Galatians 3:6-11)

      in Soteriology and Reformation Theology

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