A common summation of the Lutheran Reformation is understood as the “5 Solas,” or five points of emphasis, first expressed in Latin.
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority, superseding church tradition.
- Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Good works are evidence of being saved, not the way that we are saved.
- Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone. Faith comes to us through the grace of God.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
As we explore our history and our identity, my hope is that you see the faith in a new and intriguing way. Luther’s insights on life and faith, his contributions to theology have engaged Christians for 500 years. This is a birthday well worth taking 12 months to celebrate.
A Brief History of Reformation:
Every October Lutherans observe what is now considered their spiritual birthday, October 31, 1517. It was on the eve of the feast of All Saints Day (what we call Halloween, the root of the word meaning “holy evening”) when Martin Luther, a priest and a professor, posted his 95 Theses on the church doo rin Wittenberg, Germany. Luther’s intention was to highlight the abuses he saw in the greater church. Of particular concern was the emerging church practice of selling of indulgences, which were certificates assuring the purchaser that the sins of a deceased relatives were now forgiven.
In posting his 95 Theses, Luther was drawing from the tradition of intellectual debate. Luther was seeking to initiate a discussion. He found the church to be in error. His thinking was that once this error was examined and discussed, then Pope Leo the X would correct these abuses. Luther had no idea that the church in Rome had little interest in discussion.
In time, Rome sought to silence Luther through threats of excommunication. This didn’t work either. At a famous meeting in Worms, Germany in 1521, standing before the emperor Charles the V, Luther refused to recant his writings. “Here I stand, I can do no other.” You’ll be hearing a lot about these events in the year to come, in anticipation of the 500th Anniversary next October.
The Rev. Jason W. Talsness Cell: (770) 570-7407 E-mail: [email protected]