29 October 2017

Dear family in Christ

Five hundred years ago on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of Wittenberg Castle church, which started the Protestant Reformation that changed the history and direction of Christianity. The Reformers (Martin Luther, John Calvin, Zwingli, etc) saw major problems in the Roman Catholic Church at that time: Corruption and abuses in the selling of “indulgences” to provide absolution to sinners without the need for repentance; Wrong teaching that salvation was possible through good works of righteousness that pleased God; Authority and teachings of the Pope & priests and church traditions were higher than the authority of the Bible.

The “Five Sola”s were five Latin phrases  that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the key essentials of Christianity.

1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our ultimate and highest authority for faith and practice. It is the divine revelation of God and teaches salvation & life in Jesus Christ. (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ. “Justification by faith” is the act of God by which he declares ‘believing repentant sinners’ to be righteous because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and death on the cross. (see Romans 5:1-2)

3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone. Salvation is the gift of the merciful God and cannot be earned by our good works or attained by human methods. (see Ephesians 2:8-9)

4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is the one Mediator between the holy God and sinful man. Our salvation is accomplished only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not through human mediators or religious rituals. (see 1 Timothy 2:5-6)

5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): Salvation in Christ and the whole of life lived for Jesus is for the glory of God alone.

“The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. (Westminster Catechism)” (see Revelation 4:11 )

As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, may we always keep Jesus Christ at the centre of His Church and as the strong anchor, the firm foundation and the blessed hope of our Christian faith and practice.

Maranatha

Pastor John