- Sola gratia
"Sola gratia" is one of the
five solaspropounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation; it is a Latinterm meaning grace alone. The emphasis was in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Churchof the day. Catholic doctrine, as defined by the Council of Trent, holds that salvation is made possible only by grace; the faith and works of men are secondary means that have their origins in and are sustained by grace. (See [http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect1chpt3art2.htm Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1987-2029] .)
During the Reformation, Protestant leaders and theologians generally believed the Roman Catholic view of the means of
salvationto be a mixture of reliance upon the grace of God, and confidence in the merits of one's own works performed in love, pejoratively called Legalism. The Reformers posited that salvation is entirely comprehended in God's gifts (that is, God's act of free grace), dispensed by the Holy Spiritaccording to the redemptive work of Jesus Christalone. Consequently, they argued that a sinner is not accepted by God on account of the change wrought in the believer by God's grace, and indeed, that the believer is accepted without any regard for the merit of his works—for no one deserves salvation, a concept that some take to the extreme of Antinomianism.
"Sola gratia" is different from "Sola fide" because "faith alone" is considered either a work or is insufficient for salvation which can only be granted freely by God to whom He chooses. This doctrine is especially linked with
Calvinism's unconditional electionand predestination.
In November 1999, the
Lutheran World Federationand the Catholic Church issued the " Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" that said, "By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works." [http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html] On July 18, 2006, delegates to the World Methodist Conference voted unanimously to adopt the declaration. The Methodists' resolution said the 1999 agreement "expresses a far-reaching consensus in regard to the theological controversy which was a major cause of the split in Western churches in the 16th century" over salvation by grace alone or by grace and good works. [http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=20646] Many conservative Protestant and Catholic groups still believe the differences between their views remain substantial, however. [http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2212] [http://sites.silaspartners.com/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID307086|CHID559376|CIID1415576,00.html] [http://www.catholicrestoration.org/library/joint_declaration.htm]
*Christian view of the Old Testament Law
Law and Gospel
Expounding of the Law
* [http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/topic/fivesolas.html Articles on the five "sola"s] from a conservative Protestant perspective
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