Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today.
by Pastor Flloyd N. Hall
Reformation Day is Saturday, October 31, 2020. It is a day of great significance for the Church and is celebrated around the world.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a theologian monk, is said to have posted his “Ninety-five Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Church in Germany.
In so doing he challenged the “false teaching of the Roman Catholic Church… the authority of the Pope and, in particular, the selling of indulgences.” (Article “What Was the Protestant Reformation,” www.gotquestions.org)
Luther and other Protestant Reformers crystalised the opposition to the Catholic Church by developing what came to be known as the “Five Solas” (the Latin word “sola” means “alone”).
In the interest of space let us focus mainly on the first three. The first is “Sola Scriptura, ‘Scripture Alone.’ The Bible alone is the sole authority for all matters of faith and practice.” This means that all doctrines have to be put under the microscopic lens of the Bible.
If what is taught – irrespective of the tutor or the institution – is at variance with the Bible’s teachings on the same topic, it must be disregarded! Had the leadership of certain religious groups in the past faithfully carried out this simple test they would not have erred and led thousands astray. For sure, the Bible stands head and shoulders above all other ideas and teachings proposing the way to Christ and Christian living.
The second is “Sola Gratia, ‘Salvation by Grace Alone.’ Salvation is proof of God’s undeserved favor.” Grace is an attribute of God’s divine love to the human family. It is by grace alone that we receive His salvation. As Ephesians 2:8, 9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NLT).
The whole of mankind ought to rejoice and thank God that we did not receive the deserving wrath of Almighty God; but rather, was given a second chance to receive salvation through His unmerited love and grace.
Third is “Sola Fide, ‘Salvation by Faith Alone.’ We are justified by faith in Christ alone, not by the works of the Law.” Nothing, except having faith in Christ, makes us justified before the majestic God of the universe.
There is nothing that we can do. The faith of a devout parent or grandparent would not help. Long standing church membership would not either. Nothing or no one can justify us or plead for our justification before God.
Martin Luther came to that realization when Roman: 1:17 impacted his life: “… The righteous shall live by faith.”
The other “solas” are “Solus Christus, ‘In Christ Alone’” and “Soli Deo Gloria, ‘For the Glory of God Alone.'”
Reformation Day should be a day of reflection for Christians worldwide, as we consider the zeal and passion of its founders. May we ever emulate them in preaching, teaching and living the biblical doctrines handed down to us.