terça-feira, 10 de julho de 2012

Reformation Manifest - Five or Six "Solas"?

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, protesting against the doctrine of the Catholic Church. 

October 31 we commemorate the Reformation Day or the Lutheran Reformation. 

The Five Solae are five Latin phrases that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers's basic theological beliefs in contradiction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day.

As it has been said, while the Reformation Manifesto comprises of MORE than these five points, it is not LESS than these.
Five or Six fundamental principles?

Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone);

Sola Gratia (by Grace alone);

Sola Fide (by Faith alone);

Solus Christus (by Christ alone);

Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone);

I know that the Five Solae emerged specially to rejected the teachings of the then-dominant Catholic Church, but I believe the reformers left something out that should be at least included by the followers of the Reformed Theology in our days.

A.   What or who has been left out?

Although I have many godly friends in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, I don’t subscribe to all Pentecostal and Charismatic views such as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit and Signs and Wonders.

Even though my views on the matters above are more conservative then in some circles, I believe that the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God, cannot be left out! We must give Him the place that is attributed to Him in the Word of God.


I don’t want to leave the Holy Spirit of God out. That's the reason why I have included Solus Spiritus to my Personal Manifesto

B.   Solus Spiritus (Holy Spirit Alone)

Solus Spiritus
The divine revelation regarding redemption is equally concerned with both Word and Spirit, they go hand in hand, and are inseparable in God's divine economy.

The Word and the Spirit came together in the ministry of Jesus Christ - the Word-made-flesh. During His ministry Jesus spoke nothing without the Holy Spirit's anointment and did nothing without the Father's direction. 

There are many analogies that try to represent the relationship between the Word and the Spirit, but none of them can entirely represent the fullness of this eternal, divine relationship.

The Word is like the body, the Spirit is like the blood.

The Word is like the temple, the Spirit is like the priest in the temple.

They both go together: the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

1. The Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God 

2 Peter 1:20-21 "First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke form God".

Why has the Bible always had relevance and power throughout history? I believe the answer to this question is found in the verse above: The Holy Spirit is the divine author of all scripture.

2. The Holy Spirit enlightens the Word of God to us

1 Corinthians 1:18 "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God". 

Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes"

It is only by the the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that we can have spiritual understanding of the Bible and also the message of the Gospel, which is the power of God to us who are being saved.

3The Holy Spirit confirms the Word of God

John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

John 6:63b "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

No one can pin down the Holy Spirit, neither can we easily prove what is of the Holy Spirit and what is of the ego-flesh or of Satan, but we have the Spirit-inspired scriptures to help us know the truth and our Spirit-inspired consciences to confirm the truth.

The written Word of God contains boundaries. In this age, knowledge of spiritual things cannot go beyond these boundaries and still be true. These boundaries protect us from heresies, from the lies of Satan.

I Corinthians 4:6 "Do not go beyond what is written".

Deuteronomy 12:4 "You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God". (Revelation 22:18-19) 

But anyone can claim to have the right interpretation of the Bible, and who can say that they are right or wrong? I believe that the Holy Spirit Alone can convict us of truth and error when we interpret the Word of God. 

4. The Holy Spirit convicts the World of guilt
 He will convict ...

John 16:8 "When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement" 

Jesus said "When he comes" referring to the Holly Spirit. 

"When he comes" He will convict sinners that they are lost and need to repent from their sins and put their faith in Christ.

The work of conviction in the heart of man is performed by the Holy Spirit, He alone can convict men of sin.

But the work of the Holy Spirit to remove the darkness from man's heart is mainly done by the light of the Gospel.

The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12 

5. The Holy Spirit baptises believers into the Body of Christ

1 Corintians 12:13 "For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body - whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free we were all given the one Spirit to drink."

We are all baptised by the Spirit of God, to form one body - the Body of Christ. 

6. The Holy Spirit confirms our adoption

Romans 8:15-1615 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to son ship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

After being baptised by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit testifies to us that we have been adopted to son ship and by Him we cry "Abba, Father" because the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

7. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness

Romans 8:26 “26 in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

When we feel helpless and we are going through suffering because we are still part of this sinful creation, we sometimes don't even know how to pray but the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. 

8The Holy Spirit equips believers in the service of God

Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth".

Matthew 28:19:20 "therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and in the name of the name of the Holly Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you".

We must understand the distinction between the Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit. Paul said clear in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 that "Gifts" without "Love" are like a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal". 

However the Spirit equips the saints to serve, by giving them gifts for service.

All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; however, not all believers are "filled" with the Spirit and His power, if this were so God would not have commanded us in Ephesians 5:3-4 "to be filled with the Spirit".

It is the Holy Spirit alone who fills believers with "the Fruit" and equips them with "power and gifts" to go and proclaim the Gospel, making disciples of all Nations and teaching them to obey everything commanded in God’s Word

They both go together: the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

We cannot dismiss the Third Person of the Trinity. I am sure the reformers knew that, but they should have included Solus Spiritus in the Reformation Manifest.

C. Why “Sola”, if they are Five (Six in my opinion)?

Martin Luther
I have to confess that I have always asked: why did the reformers need to add the word 'alone' (sola) to each of these elements? 

How can any of them be alone, if they are five, (six, if we include Solus Spiritus?)

Don’t they all work together? So, how can any of them be 'alone' when there are five or six? 

However, I can understand the reformers’ rationale, because it seems clear that the 'alone' is there for one purpose - to exclude certain other options that were believed to be heretical. 

The “Solas” are a kind of creed that helped the reformers stand firm in their doctrine:

Scripture alone (versus all other sources of knowledge), 

Grace alone (versus anything we can do), 

Faith alone (versus works), 

Christ alone (versus any other authority),

God's glory alone (versus anyone or anything that would take credit for our salvation and sanctification).

"Sola Scripture" and  "Sola Spiritus"
Spiritus alone, (versus error and heresy)

The Word of God and the Spirit of God, they both go together to reveal and confirm to us the Bible teachings about "Sola" Scripture and "Solus" Spiritus.

But, also about "Sola" Grace, "Sola" Faith, "Solus" Christ and "Soli" God's Glory.

I have looked on the internet for sites to help me, but I didn't find much help. However, the site below gave me a few ideas for my post "Solus Spiritus":

 Special to Virtueonline 

Bruce Atkinson Ph.D.

Sept. 29, 2012


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