Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Five Pillars of the Reformers

I had a conversation with some friends today on what the Five Pillars of the Reformers are, what they stand for and what they mean. So, I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject.

The Five Pillars of the Reformers are:
                     1). Sola Scriptura - By Scripture Alone 
           2). Sola Gratia - By Grace Alone 
             3). Solo Christo - By Christ Alone 
       4). Sola Fide - By Faith Alone 
                          5). Soli Deo Gloria - Glory To God Alone

Both John Calvin and Martin Luther supported in Sola Scriptura, scripture alone. One thing that came up in the debate is was "How can you have all five, yet have the alone at the end of each fragment?" 
The conversation started out with a guy and I going over numbers one, two and four. (Those are the ones I will cover in this post.) He raised the question by saying this: "It's kinda ironic. How can you have all three? Faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone."  His statement is true. How can you have all three with alone at the end?  Let's look at Sola Fide first. 

"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James 2:17 (KJV) 

You can't have just faith and nothing else. It is worthless. Without the saving grace of Jesus Christ and without the Scripture, what is faith? How does faith come about if there is not the Scripture to show you what God has done or to tell you what He is going to do? Faith does not automatically happen. It comes by believing in something. Could a wife have faith in her husband if there is no one there to believe in? Of course not! There has to be something to believe in before you can have faith in something. 

Sola Gratia; by Grace Alone. We can't also just have grace or else we would sin all the time. 

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." ~ Ephesians 2:5-9 (KJV)
Through faith, grace has saved us from our sin so that we may have eternal life. If we had just faith, we would not have the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and if we had just grace, there would be no reason for faith.  

Sola Scriptura; by Scripture Alone. (Note, I am doing these in the order we talked about them today.) You can't have Scripture alone because then we would not know what grace was or  would not have anything to believe in, which would leads us to have no reason for faith in Jesus Christ. Without Scripture, we would have no clue to who God was and what He did for us. 

"All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" ~ 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) 

If you took any one of these elements away from Christianity, you would have almost nothing left. If you took away faith and grace, you would have nothing but words that were put into a book. They would mean nothing to you. 
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"  ~ Hebrew 11:1 (KJV) 

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