The Five Solas
(“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
(“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
(“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
(“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
(“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
It was Martin Luther’s earnest quest for peace with God, and his intensive study of the Scriptures, which led him to challenge indulgences the idea that you could purchase salvation, the unethical fund-raising tactics of the papacy and launch the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s love for the Word of God and his dedication to truth led him to challenge the entire ecclesiastical and political authority of the Roman Catholic church and the Holy Roman Empire.
In this incredibly courageous stand against the assembled political and religious might of Europe, Luther argued for freedom of conscience based upon the authority of Scripture. Until that time the prevailing practice was authoritarianism, both in church and state. All religions and cultures supported authoritarianism. However Martin Luther and the Reformers maintained that, because of the depravity of man, no human authority could be trusted as absolute. He rejected ecclesiastical totalitarianism and championed the principle of Sola Scriptura – the Bible alone is our ultimate authority.
The social implications of this spiritual Reformation were enormous. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura led to constitutionalism. The Priesthood of all Believers led to the concept of representative republics and democratic forms of government. Religious liberty and freedom of conscience led to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association and all the other out-workings of political and social freedom.
Instead of the prevailing “Rex Lex” (the king is the law),the Reformers championed “Lex Rex” (the Law is king!) No one is above God’s Law. Jesus Christ isLuther7 the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Everyone is under God’s Law. Sola Scriptura eroded the foundations of ecclesiastical and political totalitarianism. The Protestant emphasis on the Priesthood of all Believers and the supreme authority of Scripture led to the concept of representative governments with constitutional authority as the supreme law of the land.