Volume. XXV, No. 18
Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Five Solas of the Reformation Part I


The Five ‘Solas’ are the Five Latin phrases that emerged during the Protestant Reformation which summarize the Reformers\' basic beliefs and emphasise in contra-distinction to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The Five Solas were what the Reformers believed to be the only things needed, in their respective functions, in Christian salvation in the light of the divinely inspired, infallible and inerrant Holy Scriptures. Therefore, the formulation of Five Solas was intended to distinguish between what were viewed as deviations in the Christian church, from the essentials of Christian doctrines and practices, in the light of the Holy Scriptures. Unfortunately, there is no decrease in false teachings with regard to the way of salvation and by and large the Roman Church remains the same with regard to her official beliefs and practices. In view of these facts, knowing and defending the Five Solas of the Reformation becomes quintessential to each born again Christian even to this day. The questions is: Do you know the ‘Five Solas of the Reformation’? Or, are you able to define and defend them based on the Scriptures as we are commanded by God tocontend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3b) and give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Pet 3:15b)? On this Reformation Sunday, let us consider the Five Solas of Reformation.
Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone
The doctrine of Scripture Alone was the "Formal Principle" of the Reformation, a principle that came out of the Protestant Reformation which unapologetically upholds the Bible as the sole standard of all truth, not human traditions or ‘whims and fancies of fallible man’. This is the biblical truth Luther firmly discovered from the Pauline epistles and was prepared to die to defend. Having nailed the 95 thesis in 1517, Luther was soon in trouble with the formidable Rome. Four years later in 1521, Luther was interrogated by Rome at the Diet (Council) of Worms where he declared publicly that his conscience was captive to the Word of God saying:
"Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons -- for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another -- I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God\'s Word."
The formal principle, thus, is here defined by Luther himself as: “unless one is overcome or convinced with the words from Scripture, he should not deny anything that he holds as TRUE in the light of the Scripture. The Scripture was the final authority of Luther’s beliefs and for the reformers who came after like Martin Bucer, John Calvin, John Knox, Ulrich Swingli and many others. A.A. Hodge, a prominent nineteen century reformed theologian defines Sola Scriptura as the following:
Whatever God teaches or commands is of sovereign authority. Whatever conveys to us an infallible knowledge of his teachings and commands is an infallible rule. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only organs through which, during the present dispensation, God conveys to us a knowledge of his will about what we are to believe concerning himself, and what duties he requires of us.”
The Word of God is the final authority and only standard of our Christian beliefs and practices and Christians today. If the skeptics were to ask: “Why should the Scriptures be our final authority and standard?” there are at least three reasons we can give:  
All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God
Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16a says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “…no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation (ie. human interpretation)…for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The word inspiration means “God-breath.” The word carries the idea that every Word of God proceeds out of the mouth of God (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4). This is why Apostle Peter also maintains that “The prophecy came not…by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved.” Bear in mind that the prophecy Peter referred to means all 66 books of the Bible, and therefore every word of all 66 books is divinely inspired by God. We call this “verbal plenary inspiration”. The fact that every word in the Scripture is inspired by God, as written by holy men of God moved by the Holy Ghost, also makes the Word of God infallible and inerrant, and it is absolutely trustworthy and authoritative in every way.
The Scripture is infallible and inerrant
As we have already learned, the Scripture is infallible and inerrant because it is divinely inspired of God. The Psalmist testifies this and says “As for God, his way is perfect…” (Psalm 18:30). Psalm 19:7-9 also says “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (v.7)….the statutes of the Lord are right….the commandment of the Lord is pure (v.8)….the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether (v.9).” The word “perfect” (taw-meem) used in Psalm 18:30 and Psalm 19:7 means “entire, without blemish, complete, full, sound, without spot, undefiled. Psalm 111:7 says, “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.”The word “sure” (aw-man) used here also means “sure, faithful, steadfast, trust, firm.” This is why we can confidently trust the Bible as infallible and inerrant and as the absolute and final authority with regard to all doctrines and practices because it is perfect, complete, undefiled, sure, faithful and steadfast! By the way, the Scripture is infallible and inerrant not only in the realm of salvation or human nature or “spiritual matters”, but it is equally infallible and inerrant in every other realm and subject that the Bible makes mention of, such as History, Geography, Astronomy, Biology, Mathematics and so on and so forth.The Word of God is not only verbally and plenarily inspired and infallible and inerrant, but it is also all sufficient.
The Scripture is sufficient
Last but not the least, the Scripture is also sufficient. Proverbs 30:5,6 says “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Deuteronomy 12:32 says “What thing sover I command you, observe to do it, thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” The Word of God in both passages above is pointing the readers to put their trust in Him based on the promises of God and to diligently observe and do all He has commanded them. There are the elements of trust and obedience in Christian life. Both are carried out through a solid understanding of the Word of God, His promises and commandments, so that we may grow in fullness of stature in Christ Jesus through the teaching, convicting, restoring and disciplining ministries of the church. The Apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is given to us for doctrine (teaching), reproof (convicting), for correction (restoring), for instruction (disciplining). (2 Tim 3:16b)
Also, when we say that the Scripture is sufficient, it is not simply that every Christian should have a copy of the Bible. No. It means that the content, the revelations and instructions given to us are sufficient to meet all our needs in every circumstance of life. Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Indeed, if a child of God were to study and obey the word of the Lord, he would be a spiritually ‘prosperous’ and ‘successful’ Christian. Joshua 1:8“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Above all the Scripture is all sufficient to reveal to us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came and died for the remission of sins of many and those who trust in Him shall be saved. This is why our Lord says, “…These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (Luke 24:44)  (To be continued…)
Ps Weng

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham
*Warm welcome to the pulpit: Bro Charles Scott-Pearson
*Deepest sympathy to family, relatives & friends of the late Bro Colin Stock (Manna International) who went home to the Lord on last Lord’s Day, 24 Oct.
*Fellowship lunch today is catered - $5 per person, free for children under 5 years.
*Hope Bookstore - KJV Bible $40, English-Chinese Pinyin Bible $63; new stocks of cards for Christmas, Condolence, Greeting etc.. are available now.
Looking Ahead
*B-P National Youth Camp, 29 Nov - 3 Dec.
*Christmas Day Worship Service: Sat, 25 Dec.
*Watchnight Service: Fri, 31 Dec.
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Bro Charles & Sis Rachel Scott-Pearson & Sarah; Bro Jason & Sis TabithaTan (Adl); Bros Richie Hornung (Vic) & Raymond Ang (Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Daily mercies & guidance in our lives.
4. Protestant Reformation 31 Oct 1517 (Martin Luther)
5. God’s protection during cruise in Asia - Sis Margaret Hooper
6. Successful surgical procedure - Dn David Yeo
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Dn David Yeo; Bros Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao (Melb), & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Nan van Buuren; Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Julie Tan, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Moses Hahn & Ministry (Sihanoukville).
3. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry.
4. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
5. Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki
6. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
7. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
8. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
9. Journey mercies: Dns Purdee & Bro Simon Yeo; Sisters Margaret Hooper (Adl) & Peng Ha Yeo (Greece & Turkey); & all others who are travelling.
10. Job - Sisters Judy Li & Corinne Teng. Jobs for our uni graduates next year.
11. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Myra Horenung (Mindanao).
12. Final weeks of pregnancy - Sis Monica Tan, for good labour & delivery. 
13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
14. Year 12 Exams starting next week: Sisters Jillian Chia & Shilsha Ninian.
15. Uni students - preparing for end-of-year exams.
16. God’s comfort for family, relatives & friends of the late Bro Colin Stock & late Mrs Doreen Dunning.
17. God’s guidance & help for Bro Richie Hornung as he works in Victoria.
18. Session Meeting this afternoon - For God’s wisdom and guidance



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