This week, we will be exploring the five solas of the Protestant Reformation and their importance to our theology. On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis on the front door of a Catholic church in Wittenburg, Germany. These 95 Thesis were a call to the church to embrace the Bible as a basis of theology and Christian practice and to protest indulgences.
Indulgences were essentially get out of purgatory for a price cards that the church was selling to raise money to spend on massive cathedrals. The idea of purgatory, a place where one goes after death as a waiting room before entering their eternal destination of heaven or hell, is entirely unbiblical. There is no biblical evidence that this waiting room exists. In addition to this theological fabrication, the church was using scare tactics to get people to purchase these indulgences. Imagine hearing that you could get grandma out of purgatory for only $500. The guilt of not doing what you could and giving money was used to force giving.
The people were convinced this was the truth because they had no access to scripture. The Word’s of God only came through the mouths of church leadership leaving church leaders with little accountability and the people with no standard to determine truth from error.
The Protestant Reformation, which many say began with Luther’s 95 Thesis, brought the Word of God to the people and centered around five key priorities that are essential for the church to continue to embrace today. These priorities in Latin are:
- Sola Scriptura
- Sola Fide
- Sola Gratia
- Solus Christus
- Soli Deo Gloria