“Why is it that justification is attributed to faith alone?
...Since we are justified by the mercy of God alone, and faith is clearly the recognition of that mercy by whatever promise you apprehend it, justification is attributed to faith alone… Therefore, when justification is attributed to faith, it is attributed to the mercy of God, it is taken out of the realm of human efforts, works and merits.”
– Philip Melanchthon
On October 31st, 1517, a monk and bible scholar nailed a paper on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. On it was a list of ninety-five topics he’d be willing to debate with anyone interested. This is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, an event that some view as a much-needed revolution and others as the beginning of the increasing fragmentation of the church on earth.
Five hundred years later, is the Protestant Reformation an event to celebrate or lament? What were the Reformers protesting and was it worth it? And do we need to repent of the division or recommit to ongoing reformation – or both?
The essential themes of the Reformation have been summarized in five Latin phrases: sola gratia (grace alone); sola fide (faith alone); solus Christus (Christ alone); sola scriptura (Scripture alone); and soli Deo gloria (glory of God alone). As we consider these Solas, we are invited to receive the gospel again today and to reform our lives in light of this good news.