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What Lead To The 5 Solas

Apr 4, 2022    Jake Tiffin

The sixteenth century marked a turning point for the medieval Church. Leading up to 1517 the church had lost its way. Instead of being a light to the world and city on a hill, the Church had become shrouded in darkness. The Bible no longer went out like a blazing ray of light, but rather, the resplendence of God’s Word seemed to be overshadowed by esoteric teaching that often twisted the truth in order to solidify power and gain prestige. This distortion led to spiritual impotency and ineffectiveness. The Biblical gospel of grace was challenged and fashioned into a works-based religiosity. Faith was no longer seen as the only instrumental cause of salvation but faith and works together were said to earn salvation. This was a seismic shift away from the apostolic teaching that had been passed down from the first century church, which stated emphatically that salvation was by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, God in his mercy did not allow this falsification to continue. On October 31, 1517 an obscure Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Church door in Wittenberg Germany calling into question various teachings of the sixteenth century Church. This one act sparked the Protestant reformation in which God in his providence used to call His church back to her original position as the beckon of Truth! The first and second generation of reformers included Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, John Calvin, and many others. It is from their faithfulness to the Scriptures that we have been given reformation theology. This theology consists of the doctrines of grace as well as the five solas. The latter will be our focus this week.

The term ‘sola’ is the Latin word for ‘alone.’ This term was set forth in order to distinguish between true and false teaching and acted as a safeguard for several key components of the gospel. These doctrines are defined and expounded below. As a reformed Protestant program, we as the Ambassadors, whole-heartedly affirm these truths! Like Martin Luther, our conscience is held captive to the Word of God; therefore, we stand.

Sola definitions taken from Tiffin’s professor of Systematic Theology, Dr. James Anderson of Reformed Theological Seminary
Martin Luther as quoted Heiko Oberman, “Luther: Man between God and the Devil”
Definition of Penal Substitution taken from “Pierced for Our Transgressions” p. 103