Sunday, April 11, 2010

Food for Inspiration, the Five Solas

It's so funny, I've heard these all my life but never really thought much about them. These are big in the Formal Church, but I hear them tossed in conversation at times too...sort of sprinkled in, just lightly enough for me to grasp their meaning by the context that they were used, not that I can understand Latin. They carry weight in the sentence, they are lyrical and grab your attention, even for the lay person.

Well they have a name, they are the Five Sola's and they are Christian practices/beliefs that contradicted the prevailing Church around the time of the Reformation, 1517.

1 Sola scriptura
     ("by Scripture alone")
2 Sola fide
     ("by faith alone")
3 Sola gratia
     ("by grace alone")
4 Solus Christus or Solo Christo
     ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone")
5 Soli Deo gloria
     ("glory to God alone")

The Five solas are five Latin phrases that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers' basic theological beliefs in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. The Latin word sola means "alone" or "only" in English. The five solas articulated five fundamental beliefs of the Protestant Reformation, pillars which the Reformers believed to be essentials of the Christian life and practice. All five of the "solas" implicitly reject or counter the then prevailing status quo, the Catholic Church, which had, in the various reformers' minds, usurped divine attributes or qualities for the church, its hierarchy, and especially, its head, the Pope.

What started me on this quest for some info on the Sola's was a blog signature, signed cryptically (to me at the time, pre googling) signed "Soli Deo Gloria"  oo00oo...that got my attention.

"Soli Deo gloria is one of the five solas propounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation; it is a Latin term for Glory to God alone.
"SDG" at the end of a G. F. Handel manuscriptThe doctrine states essentially that everything that is done is for God's glory to the exclusion of humankind's self-glorification and pride. Christians are to be motivated and inspired by God's glory and not their own.
The Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach appended the initials "SDG" to the musical manuscripts of each of his cantatas [1] and many of his other works. This dedication was also used by his contemporary George Frideric Handel (see image on right)."

That is interesting to note that the composers were initialing "Soli Deo Gloria" to their manuscripts.
The 16th century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Cross used a similar phrase, Soli Deo honor et gloria, in his Precautions and Counsels.

I find them inspiring! Art to come, maybe an angel series!

Wishing you many blessings this peaceful glorious Sunday and hoping you are walking closely with God.

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