Summary: A sermon on the 5 Solas of the Reformation.
Engage with the Reformation
Rev. Brian Bill
October 29-30, 2016
Businesses know how to capitalize on catchphrases or slogans to help identify what it is they do. These short statements are designed to grab attention, they’re easy to understand and they’re memorable. Edgewood follows four key words that identify what it is that we believe and how we strive to behave – Gather, Grow, Give and Go.
The goal behind these mottos, according to one website, is “to leave a key brand message in consumers’ minds so that if they remember nothing else, they’ll remember the slogan.”
Let’s see how many you can pull from your memory banks…
Nike Just Do It
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together
Dollar Shave Club Shave Time, Shave Money
M&Ms Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand
Lay’s Potato Chips ‘Betcha Can’t Eat Just One
Meow Mix So Good, Cats Ask For It By Name
These slogans aren’t as well known but are certainly true…
Best Buy Try it Out Before Buying it on Amazon
Hot Pockets Every Bite is a Different Temperature
The American Revolution gave rise to dozens of rallying cries like, “No Taxation Without Representation” and “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.”
Monday is the 499th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, out of which came some short slogans or battle cries.
We’re continuing in our Engage sermon series. So far we’ve studied how to engage in prayer, how to engage in groups, how to engage with the ordinances, engaging glocally (globally and locally), engaging with our families, and engaging with the Holy Spirit. Our focus today is engaging with the Reformation. Next weekend we’ll learn how to engage as citizens and the following week how to engage with the persecuted church. Come to think of it, I may be persecuted for tackling what it means to be a Christian citizen during this season of political conflict.
Let’s define two key words.
The word Protestant originally was used to describe those who protested the Catholic Church’s teachings, beginning with Martin Luther.
The Reformation refers to a spiritual rebirth and a return to the gospel in the 16th Century.
One ministry offers this summary: “The Protestant Reformation was a widespread theological revolt in Europe against the abuses and totalitarian control of the Roman Catholic Church. Reformers such as Martin Luther in Germany, Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, and John Calvin in France protested various unbiblical practices of the Catholic Church and promoted a return to sound biblical doctrine.”
Five sayings or slogans were developed shortly after the Reformation to summarize the key doctrinal distinctives.
Sola Scriptura In Scripture Alone
Sola Gratia By Grace Alone
Sola Fide Through Faith Alone
Solus Christus Because of Christ Alone
Soli Deo Gloria For the Glory of God Alone
I’m not so interested in having us learn the Latin but I do want us to lock into these five foundational truths in English.
Let’s say them together:
In Scripture Alone
By Grace Alone
Through Faith Alone
Because of Christ Alone
For the Glory of God Alone
The key word in these five phrases is the word “alone” or only. The idea is that it’s “solely” not “and” or “in addition to.” In the words of theologian R. C. Sproul, “It is no exaggeration to say that the eye of the Reformation tornado was this one little word.”
• Each of these statements are essential
• All five are closely tied together and build on one another
• Deviation from one statement can lead to denial of the others
• These slogans serve as corrections from error and confessions of faith
I recognize my challenge today. Some of you are wondering why we’re studying statements from the 16th Century and your eyes are already glazing over at the thought of a history lesson. I want to show that these statements come right from Scripture and are as relevant to our cultural context as they were back then. In fact, in light of the state of the American Church, we need a new reformation today. These statements provide a great summary of what it is that we believe. Because there’s such a dearth of doctrinal teaching in churches today, I want to make sure that we are both educated and equipped in these core truths of Christianity.
Historian John Hannah describes it this way: “The Reformation was a call for authentic Christianity, an attempt to escape the medieval corruption of the faith through renewal and reform. It’s teaching, which swirled around a fivefold repetition of the word sola was a radical message for that day (and should be for ours) because it called for a commitment to an entirely God-centered view of faith and life.”
The first “sola” is foundational because the other four flow from it.