500th Anniversary of the Reformation – Sola Fide (Part 2)

Luther was right to reject the Roman Catholic concept of justification. Catholicism makes no significant difference between justification and sanctification – they are a process which begins at baptism and continues through a person’s life (and even afterward through purgatory and continued sacrifices for a person’s sanctification). For the Catholic justification refers to the free forgiveness of sins and the re-creation of the sinner through the infusion of justifying grace, which can also be called sanctifying grace. This process begins with the sacrament of baptism, which forgives original sin. Luther rejected the belief that justification is a process; instead he argued that it is a one-time action.

The Roman Catholics held the Council of Trent in reaction to the Reformation. Justification was addressed: “If anyone says that the godless are justified by faith alone . . . let him be anathema” (Trent, VI, canon 9). And, “For faith, unless hope and charity are added thereto, neither unites one perfectly with Christ nor makes one a living member of his body” (Trent, VI, ch. 7). Catholics Read more…

500th Anniversary of the Reformation – Sola Fide

Throughout much of the world, people are celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. It was 500 years ago on October 31 that Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses on door of the church in Wittenberg (please understand that this was a normal place to post announcements; this was not a disrespectful act). It is important for us, as Baptists, to recognize the role that Luther played in history without bowing to “Reformation Theology.” We can respect the Reformers without revering them.
Over the next few weeks I will examine those areas of the Reformation in which we Baptists can agree, and I will examine those areas of the Reformation in which we Baptists disagree. The Reformation is frequently identified by its 5 “Solas” – Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria. In this post we will look at Sola Fide.
Luther was born into a fairly wealthy family. At the age of 13 he began to attend a school that was operated by the Brethren of the Common Life in Madgeburg, Germany. This Catholic group began in the Netherlands and emphasized the inner life and meditation. One of their goals was to educate Christians and promote the reading of devout literature. While in school Luther became Read more…