Updated: Jan 28
The reformation, as a Christian, is something you have at least heard of. If you enjoy learning about church history then you probably know a good bit about the events and how it all started and what came of it. We are not going to dive in depth of the history of the reformation here, but we are going to look at five key points the reformers made that all Christians should use as the foundation to our theological beliefs.
The five sola's are Latin phrases that came about during the reformation when the reformers were aiming to get the church back to the original message of Jesus and the early church. They felt, and rightly so, that the Roman Catholic church had gotten away from the original teachings of Christ - especially on salvation and forgiveness. The phrases are the basics to what the reformer's believed would get the church back on the right track.
So let's dive in with the first one:
Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone, is the belief that Scripture is our supreme and final authority. We can find all the truth that is necessary for our salvation and spiritual lives in Scripture and should look to the Bible daily for the help we need and desire. We also know that we are forbidden to add to or take away from Scripture as seen in Matthew 23:4 - so God will not give someone a new commandment or put it in someone's heart that what was once a sin is no longer a sin. What we already have in Scripture is final.
We can further see the finality of Scripture in 2 Peter chapter 1.
The part of Sola Scriptura that most get caught up on though is that just because Scripture is the supreme and final authority, it is not the only authority we have for everything we will come across in our lives. We should be encouraged to read after great Christian men and women from the past as well as great minds that are still with us today. There are a lot of really good resources available to us that will help us study and gain a deeper knowledge of God's Word. We shouldn't put what any man says or what we read in any book above Scripture for our interpretation of theology, though.
Another issue many may have with Sola Scriptura is that it means all of us must submit to the authority of Scripture. It's human nature to want to be in control sometimes, and when positions of power are given to men those positions can be abused very easily. When a leader in the church begins to bypass the Bible in favor of his own ideas, it will not work out. If we are living by Sola Scriptura we must turn to Scripture for all our needs regrading the church and our spiritual lives.
That doesn't mean I will open up my Bible when my car breaks down instead of going to a mechanic, obviously there are certain situations when the knowledge of man is to be sought after rather than Scripture. It's when something relates to the church or theology that Scriputre must be our greatest authority.
I will end with a quote from Martin Luther that I find very fitting:
"The truth of Scripture comes first. After that is accepted one may determine whether the words of men can be accepted as true."
We will take a look at another one of the five sola's next week!
- Kevin Robbins