Are We At the End of the Reformation?–Part One: The End of Sola Scriptura —”By Scripture Alone”

Most scholars date the start of the Protestant Reformation to October 31, 1517, when the Roman Catholic Augustinian monk and priest, Martin Luther (1483–1546) nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church, often called “Castle Church,” in Wittenberg, Germany. But as the ball of the Reformation got rolling, the importance of the Ninety-five Theses faded in comparison to other fundamental tenets of belief that arose as the central differences between Catholics and Protestants. Five of the central beliefs took expression in what have been called the Five Solas: 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.”


Q. The Catholic Church accuses that the doctrine of sola scriptura, or the Bible alone, makes every person his own pope. How do you answer this?

A. This is a false accusation. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only the pope and the bishops in communion with him–referred to as “the Magisterium of the Church”–can authentically interpret the Word of God. The pope in Rome does not look to Scripture alone for his personal understanding as he is led by God through the Holy Spirit. Instead, the pope looks to Scripture and church tradition, along with his belief in his own infallibility, to make decisions that he then imposes on millions of other people.