Today we celebrate Reformation Day, the day the Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg. On Sunday when we celebrated Reformation Sunday, there was a short explanation in the bulletin of exactly what the Reformation is. I hope my church doesn't mind if I post it here.
On October 31, 1517, a German monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed his theological convictions (The 95 Theses) to the Castle Church door in Wittenburg. Luther's intent was to foster debate and reform regarding the church's practices, so that they might align with the principles of Scripture. This act helped spark a revival in the Church and a reformation in Western culture. This movement became known as the Protestant Reformation.
The spiritual heritage of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches is traced back to this era. On the Sunday prior to this anniversary we celebrate Reformation Sunday. Today Reformed Churches and Christians seek to follow the five mottos of the Reformation: 1) Sola Scriptura -- Scripture Alone, 2) Solo Christo -- Christ Alone, 3) Sola Gratia -- Grace Alone, 4) Sola Fide -- Faith Alone, 5) Soli Deo Gloria -- Glory to God Alone.We heard a sermon on the five Solas, and it was a wonderful reminder. In case you enjoy these types of reminders like I do, I thought I would expound a little bit on these battle cries of the Reformation with some help from the notes I took from the sermon.
- Sola Scriptura -- Scripture Alone. The Bible alone is the final and absolute source of knowledge about God, our sinful condition, and how those two things can be reconciled. We take for granted the fact that we have the Bible in our own language, but men died in order to procure that for us. (John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale)
- Solo Christo -- Christ Alone. Our salvation is of Christ, and Christ alone. As John 14:6 says, Jesus is the only way to God.
- Sola Gratia -- Grace Alone. We are saved by Christ alone through grace alone. Just as we had no choice in being born to our earthly parents, we had no choice in being adopted into God's family. According to Ephesians 2:5, while we were dead in our sins, God made us alive.
- Sola Fide -- Faith Alone. We are saved by Christ alone through grace alone by faith alone. That's all there is to it. Such a simple idea and yet so hard to grasp.
- Soli Deo Gloria -- Glory to God Alone. Why did the reformers endure so much? Why were they willing to die for these beliefs? To bring glory to God and only to God.
Do you celebrate Reformation Day? I'm afraid that it kind of sneaked up on me, and I'm not exactly sure how to celebrate such weighty ideas with my young children. But I plan to think about it so that next year, I'm more prepared.