The Reverend Dr. Howard W. Boswell, Jr.
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 10, 2017
Kenmore Presbyterian Church
Kenmore, New York
On October 31, 1517, a young monk named Martin Luther nailed ninety five points for discussion on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. Most historians point to this event as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. One of our greatest church historians, Martin Marty wrote a book, titled October 31, 1517. The subtitle underscores the importance of this date: Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World.
At the end of October, we will remember this event. As Presbyterians, we are descendants of the Reformers. Yet, outside of Confirmation Class and Reformation Sunday, we don’t often reflect upon the Reformation and its impact on who we are and how we do things. As I looked at this fall, I wanted to find a way to commemorate “the day that changed the world.”
My answer came in the June issue of Reformed Worship. The issue included an essay by retired history professor, James R. Payton, Jr. In “Five Solas: Five Hundred Years and Still True,” Payton points out that five statements served as the foundation for the Reformation. In Latin, each statement includes the word, “sola,” which means alone. The Five Solas are:
Sola gratia—“By grace alone;”
Sola fide—“By faith alone;”
Solus Christus—“Christ Alone;”
Sola scriptura—“Scripture Alone;” and
Soli Dei Gloria—“To God alone (be) glory.”
Beginning Sunday, September 10, we will look at the first three Solas in September and we will pick up the last two Solas in November.
If you would like to know more about the Protestant Reformation, please check out the video on our Media Center page.