Olli Dürr The justified “Sola-leading theses” of the Reformation

The justified “Sola-leading theses” of the Reformation

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With the progress of the Reformation in the 16th century, in view of the discrepancies between the Gospel and the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church, a total of five “Sola-Guiding Theses” emerged. Even though the Reformation has long since been shelved, these theses have lost none of their validity.

Solar theses are biblically based

With Sola scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus and soli Deo gloria, the early reformers formulated guiding theses to support their creed. All five theses contradict the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. This is probably where the main problem lies. Any home-made doctrine literally defends this institution to the point of blood.

However, arguments against the “Sola Theses” only apply as long as the Church of Rome refers to its own dogmas. However, based on the gospel, any attack on these theses is doomed to failure.

Sola scriptura

Holy Scripture

The Scripture alone – what else?

The guiding thesis “sola scriptura” (“Scripture alone”) determines the Bible or the Gospel as the only authority. Other writings or statements are also recognized if they are in accordance with the Bible. This applies in particular to the treatment or more precise description of biblical content. However, if the external source contains statements that deviate from Scripture or even contains a completely new teaching, then the Bible is given preference and the writing that deviates from the Gospel is rejected.

The counterargument

2 Thessalonians 2:15 is often cited as supposed evidence against “sola scriptura”.:
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

From this an authority for written and oral traditions (traditions) is derived. This preferably from the ranks of the Roman Catholic Church.

Considered in context

The thesis “sola scriptura” became a principle during the Reformation. That was in the first half of the 16th century and not earlier.

However, what is overlooked in the counterargument is that Paul’s statement was made in his time, i.e. in the first century. However, the Bible was canonized at a later date and the Reformation did not formulate the thesis “sola scriptura” until around 1,400 years later. At Paul’s time the Bible didn’t even exist. And this also includes the second letter to the young community in Thessaloniki.

The Roman Catholic Church sees itself as the successor to the apostles as the body of Christ (on earth) and the Pope as the successor to Peter, or even as the representative of Christ. The church justifies this with the supposed statement of the Bible that Peter was the rock from which the church of Jesus emerged. A traditionally erroneous claim, as this is based solely on confusing a rock with a stone (Peter is not the rock – Info).

Based on this erroneous assumption, this church also bases its authority to issue instructions, which even includes the authority to change God’s laws. This means that God cannot be omnipotent. Pope Francis himself proved that this presumption is not just “old stuff”. He denied God’s omnipotence in his own way: “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” (Source).

Sola scriptura is justified

Mark Bible

Gospel claims exclusivity

The thesis “sola scriptura” was formulated at a time when the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church over the past centuries were already overloaded with traditions of paganism, particularly that of the worship of an imaginary sun god. The Reformation ensured that the Gospel was even available in the native language of the peoples. The countless deviations of the teachings of the Roman Church from the Gospel became apparent. Therefore, “sola scriptura” still has legitimacy today. The innumerable deviations from the Gospel are self-evident in the writings of the Church of Rome.

Sola gratia

The thesis “sola gratia” emphasizes that salvation can only be obtained through grace (Jesus Christ).

The counterargument

A statement in the letter to the young community in the Roman colony of Philippi in Macedonia is primarily used to support the thesis “sola gratia”. Philippians 2:12-13:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

This statement serves as supposed evidence that people can find salvation through grace and through their own work.

Considered in context

The verse quoted as a supposed counter-argument to “sola gratia” already refutes the thesis of salvation through one’s own works. According to the Roman Catholic Church, good deeds compensate for sins, with the church itself defining what sins are and what degree of severity they own. Righteousness by works, favored by the Roman Church, is a quality that almost every other pagan religion also teaches.

But once a sin has been committed, it cannot be undone by good deeds or works. Sin violated one of God’s commandments. A self-contained and irreversible act (righteousness by works versus righteousness by faith – Info).

According to the verse from Philippians, who does the good deeds? It is God who causes good deeds in man, not man on his own. This is due to the work of the Holy Spirit through man’s faith. Good works from people’s own initiative, in order to be able to pay off the debt of sin in installments, is this erroneous works-righteousness advocated by the Church of Rome. If there were salvation through people’s own works, then Jesus Christ would have died completely unnecessary. But the Church of Rome also has its own answer to this. “He wanted to introduce the priesthood” (Info).

Sola gratia is justified

There is a solid description in the Bible of the consequences of sin. The explanation of how the sinner can escape this fate is just as tangible. All this in one verse, Romans 6:23:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sins once committed are irreversible and cannot be compensated for by human works. All that remains is the completely undeserved grace (“pardon”) from the just (actual) consequence.

Sola fide

The thesis “sola fide” describes justice based on faith alone. This is directly related to “sola gratia”. Because grace (of Jesus Christ, not the Pope) comes because of faith. At this point, the righteousness of faith is regularly attacked by those who teach righteousness by works.

The counterargument

The “flagship” of the advocates of works-based righteousness against the “sola fide” thesis is the statement in James 2:24:
“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

This is the ultimate proof of the meaninglessness of faith without the performance of (good) works.

Considered in context

This verse is one of the best examples of how it is often not enough to derive an absolute statement from a single sentence without considering the context. Standing alone, James 2:24 can certainly speak for righteousness dependent on good works. But read in context, this claim evaporates.

Already verse 22 pulls the rug out from under the supposed evidence of the necessity of good works: “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?“.

It becomes clear that works are dependent on faith. The works are a consequence of (true) faith. Good works are a sign, a proof of existing faith. Conversely, what good are good works for accumulating “plus points” if faith is lacking? Verse 23 shows faith as a prerequisite for good works. “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness“. Abraham glaubte und deshalb tat er das Gute. Der Vers sagt klar aus, dass Abraham aufgrund seines Glaubens gerecht gesprochen wurde.

Sola fide is justified

Study the Bible

Questions about ‘Solus’ are answered by Bible

It is faith that justifies, not good works without any faith. Good work is a result of faith brought about by the Holy Spirit. Professing good faith but without visible good works is lip service. Faith and works belong together, as c describes:
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

A true example of why it is strongly advisable to examine any statement in context. This applies in particular to individual verses that are quoted or even just parts of a verse. Even “flagships” quickly turn out to be little craft boats made of blotting paper.

Solus Christus

This saying gives Jesus Christ a monopoly position. “Christ alone”. However, this thesis of the reformers is often misunderstood, either accidentally or intentionally. “Solus Christus” expresses the fact that human salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ. Misinterpreted, this thesis describes a certain loneliness of Jesus Christ.

The counterargument

Depending on which variant of the misunderstood one wanted to choose, the author of the letter to the Hebrews always serves as evidence against “solus Christus”.
Hebrews 12:22-24:
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

This emphasizes that Christ is not alone, but that angels and saints are also present.

Considered in context

You can now twist and turn the supposed counter-argument. Either it should be proven that Jesus Christ is not alone, or it should be proven that salvation is not only possible through Jesus Christ. In the first case the argument would be correct: Jesus Christ is not alone. But the thesis “solus Christus” does not say this at all. So, the variant of exclusive salvation through Jesus Christ. Here, however, the Son of God actually plays a central and, above all, the only role. Because, contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, there is neither an alternative redeemer nor a co-redeemer. The prerequisites were missing for such theses as intercessions by “saints” and “Mother of God”, which are actually just another fiction of the Church of Rome. The immortal soul (Info).

Solus Christ is justified

Jesus Christ is the only possible savior for man. He is our advocate. It is Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for our sins and shed His blood. No one else and no one as an accessory. Jesus Christ clearly communicated His monopoly. John 14:6:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

No one, repeat, no one comes to the Father except “only” through me. Only stands for “exclusively”. There is no one else. Not an “employee” either. A denial of this statement shows unbelief and labels Jesus Christ as a liar. It’s that simple. The Roman Catholic Church denies this statement. This institution sees itself as a sacrament, i.e. as a prerequisite for salvation. The Church of Rome defines itself as the necessary gateway to Jesus Christ and this also through intercessions with the (deceased) Mary. However, Jesus Christ Himself said, “only through me!”

Soli Deo Gloria

A lesser-known thesis from the Reformation period is “soli Deo gloria” (“Glory to God alone”). Like the four previous theses, they were not formulated by Martin Luther, John Calvin or Zwingli, but rather have their origins in the course of the Reformation, right up to the creeds.

The counterargument

Giving glory to God alone seems to particularly offend the Roman Catholic Church. 1 Peter 2:17 is often used as “counter-evidence” that honor is due to others besides God:
Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

This verse proves that the honor does not belong to God alone, but also to the brothers and the king (or emperor).

Considered in context

Now one could object with the saying, “just leave the church in the village”. Here too, it is important to look at this individual verse in context. Furthermore, the supposed counter-argument clearly lacked a qualitative distinction. Just looking at the statement in the context of verses 13 to 16 provides information about what was actually said:
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

Immediately afterwards: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Soli Deo Gloria is justified

Even Jesus Christ clarified the relation of honor when the Pharisees wanted to trap Him. They asked Jesus Christ if they were allowed to pay taxes to the emperor. Matthew 22:21:
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

So to each his own, even if it concerns the worldly powers. The believer should not behave like a rebel within a government that is even unjust, but should show respect to those in power. This also applied to the customs officer at the time. Paul also made this clear in Romans 13:1:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Who deserves the honor of worship? This is certainly a legitimate question when brought into the context of the Church of Rome. Would the person who goes to war with 1 Peter 2:17 also include the emperor? In the self-image of the Roman Catholic Church, of course, also the emperor. For the supreme shepherd of this church is also the ruler of all the kings of this earth. The “Pontifex Maximus”, a title inherited from the Roman and “Adorable” Emperors (most recently Emperor Gratian).

Clear information about who deserves the honor of worship is given in Revelation 14:7, which is the first of the so-called “Three Angels’ Message”. (Info):
Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

This means that everyone else simply falls away, including the Pontifex Maximus. According to the Gospel, he is not even entitled to the title of “father” and certainly not “holy”. Matthew 23:9:
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Everyone check for themselves!

Bible verses

Everyone is responsible for knowing the Scripture

Unfortunately, the attempt to justify the 5 theses of the Reformation using excerpts from verses is only doomed to failure if you take the Bible into your own hands and examine the statements in context. “Unfortunately” because only a few people take the trouble to independently examine any statements and thus form their own opinion instead of adopting the theses of a (pseudo-) authority.Unfortunately, the attempt to justify the 5 theses of the Reformation using excerpts from verses is only doomed to failure if you take the Bible into your own hands and examine the statements in context. “Unfortunately” because only a few people take the trouble to independently examine any statements and thus form their own opinion instead of adopting the theses of a (pseudo-) authority.

If one compares the statements and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and its catechism at the same time, this also highlights the understandable motives why the fight against the Reformation was waged so bitterly and with every possible means. However, the Church of Rome won this battle at the institutional level. Nothing is left of the Reformation in this regard (Info).

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Thessalonians 2:3

Bible verses from King James Version

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