Friday, April 27, 2007

Origins of 5 solas

Terry Gallagher, a fellow contributor to the always interesting Sydney Anglicans community forums has translated the 5 solas and also tracked down their Reformation origins.
(Neither Terry nor I are Anglicans, by the way.)
Sola Scriptura => Scripture Alone OR By Scripture Alone

Solo Christo => By Christ Alone
Solus Christus => Christ Alone

Sola Gratia => By Grace Alone OR Grace Alone

Sola Fide => By Faith Alone

Soli Deo Gloria => Glory to God Alone
He points out that Soli Deo Gloria is an abbreviated form of soli Deo honor et gloria from 1 Timothy 1:17 in the Vulgate.

The Formula of Concord, from 1576 in German and 1584 in Latin, is a highly respected confessional document in the Lutheran Churches. The Epitome (short version) of the Formula of Concord contains four of the five phrases or a grammatical variation of them:

sola gratia : 3 times

sola fide : 3 times

soli Christo : once (a different grammatical case)
Christus solus: once

sola Sacra Scriptura : once (= by Holy Scripture alone)

Plus, as I said before, soli deo gloria is based on 1 Timothy 1:17

I should also add that sola fide was supposedly in the writings of Luther himself around 1520, but I havent found the direct reference.

All five of the solas are certainly there as specific written phrases in the Reformation period.....just waiting for someone to turn them into slogans later. Terry Gallagher

Terry later posted more information about sola fide
sola fide is used in Luther's 1520 work in Latin
De captivitate babylonica ecclesiae ;
the title in English is "On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church"

sola fide is also used in Luther's 1520 work, published in both Latin and German,
De libertate Christiana ;
the title in English is "Concerning Christian Liberty"

An English translation of this one can be found here.

The following is a relevant extract from Luther's "Concerning Christian Liberty":

Martin Luther wrote:
But you will ask:—“What is this word, and by what means is it to be used, since there are so many words of God?” I answer, the Apostle Paul (Rom. i.) explains what it is, namely, the Gospel of God, concerning His Son, incarnate, suffering, risen, and glorified through the Spirit, the sanctifier. To preach Christ is to feed the soul, to justify it, to set it free, and to save it, if it believes the preaching. For faith alone, and the efficacious use of the word of God, bring salvation. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. x. 9.) And again: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. x. 4); and “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. i. 17.) For the word of God cannot be received and honoured by any works, but by faith alone. Hence it is clear that, as the soul needs the word alone for life and justification, so it is justified by faith alone and not by any works. For if it could be justified by any other means, it would have no need of the word, nor consequently of faith.

I'm putting this here, in the hope that I will be able to find it again one day.

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