Sermon Notes for Sunday, October 1
Why Are You Speaking Latin…?
by Tanner Fox
Dr. Swanson preached part one of the five part series on the Sola’s this Sunday. This month we are studying these five concepts as we honor the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The Reformation re-established the foundation of the Christian faith through five core ideas, also known as solas. (Latin for “alone” or “only.”)
Today we may look at the list and think, “Of course this is what we believe.” Many of us in Protestant churches, like First Pres, have never known a different way of viewing Christianity. However, it is important to remember that the Reformers were considered heretical dissenters from the broader church because of these specific doctrines. Martin Luther stoked the fire of rebellion against the Roman Catholic church and its diversion from the truth of the Gospel through the posting of the 95 Theses on the door at Wittenburg.
Martin Luther’s initial intention was not to split from the Roman Catholic Church, but rather to re-establish the biblical foundations that had been lost and forgotten. Only when the Roman Catholic Church refused to bow to the authority of the word of God did the protests began, leading to a group called the Protestants or Reformers. Now 500 years later, we revisit these old Latin phrases because they remain at the foundation of our faith.
Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone) - Scripture is the word of God and therefore the highest and final authority is Scripture alone.
Sola Gratia (by Grace Alone) - Salvation comes to believers through grace alone.
Sola Fide (by Faith Alone) - Justification comes to believers by faith alone.
Solus Christus (by Christ Alone) - Believers are saved by and through the work of Christ alone.
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone) - All glory in heaven and on earth belongs to God alone.
For the Roman Catholic tradition, Scripture was not viewed as a sufficient source of revelation from God to his people. They sought to add the authority of the people of God as well as the authority of the church.
“The Protestant position… is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible clearly enough for the ordinary believer to find it there and understand.” - Dr. Robert Godfrey - What do we mean by Sola Scriptura?
The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is the Christian's way of saying, “I don’t define truth: God does.” In other words, truth is not subjective or created by humans. Truth is objective and defined by God. As Christians, we recognize our need for guidance and direction from God and bow to the word of God as our ultimate authority.
This does not mean that Scripture gives us specific direction for every single decision we face. For instance, you will not find a verse in the Bible that tells you the name and address of the person you ought to marry. Instead, the Bible gives us principles and guidelines for the process of seeking a spouse. The Lord offers us this truth so that we can apply it to any and every situation we might find ourselves in order that we might honor and glorify him with our lives.
The word of God has something to say about everything. And what it has to say should be held by believers as the ultimate authority, above any human authority. Scripture reveals the nature and character of God, the work of Jesus Christ, and how man is to live in light of this truth.
After worship on Sunday, I had a few friends who had more questions on the topic so we took some time to sit, think, read scripture, and process the idea of Sola…
Resources for further study…
Online Resources: Each of these websites contains incredible resources for all sorts of biblical study. These sites would be a wonderful addition to your tabs on your laptop or web browser. Simply head to one of the sites and type whatever topic you’d like to research into the search bar. You will find hundreds of articles, lectures, sermons, and blogs dedicated to your desired topic.
- Thegospelcoalition.org - The Five Solas of the Reformation
- Thirdmill.org - What do we mean by Sola Scriptura?
- DesiringGod.org - Contrary to Roman Catholics…
iTunesU: iTunesU is the host for many different institutions including seminaries! You can search for different class and topics and then download them to your smartphone to listen to while driving or mowing the lawn.
Tanner Fox is the Minister for Mission at First Pres. He’s a recent grad of Reformed Theological Seminary and holds deep affection for people, movies, sports and Jesus Christ. As Minister for Mission, he leads the charge to help you love and serve the city and the world. firstname.lastname@example.org