Monday, April 23, 2007

5 solas

Where did the 5 solas originate?

Yes, I know it comes from the Reformation, but where does this particular way of articulating Reformation principles come from?

I've read quite a bit about the 5 solas, even a whole book. There's stacks of stuff on the internet, though some sites are a bit dodgy, especially the Hypercalvinist ones that think missionary activity is highly overrated.

The solas are

Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone

Solo Christo
[sometimes Solus Christus] - Christ Alone
[sounds like a good title for a song!]

Sola Gratia - Grace Alone

Sola Fide - By Faith Alone

Soli Deo Gloria - The Glory of God Alone

I think this set of slogans is terrific, and, properly explained, is also biblical.

But, in all of the stuff I've read, you get told these are Reformation principles, but never who put them together. I'm wondering how old this systematization is, because it seems to be later than Luther and Calvin, and I've never read it put this way in the few things I've read from the Reformation writers.

Does anyone know who put it together, or is like TULIP [not the 5 points, which came from the Synod of Dordt] but the actual organising of it in that flowery way, which would appear to be a 20th century thing, and may have been invented by Loraine Boettner, or others of his era.

Also, it seems clear that Luther's version of Sola Scriptura is different from the way it is taught today, because he made rude comments about Esther and Ecclesiastes in the OT, and James, Jude, Revelation and Hebrews in the NT and clearly had a little canon within a canon.

I'm not saying I agree with Roman Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong's take on Protestantism, but I am guessing that his references to Luther's comments about Scripture are accurate.

Any takers?

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