Sola gratia (Latin: by grace alone) is one of the Five solae
propounded to summarise the
Reformed leaders' basic
beliefs during the Protestant Reformation. These
Reformed leaders believed that this emphasis was in contradistinction
to the teaching of the Catholic Church, though it had explicitly
affirmed the doctrine of sola gratia in the year 529 at the Council of
Orange, which condemned the Pelagian heresy. As a response to this
misunderstanding, Catholic doctrine was further clarified in the
Council of Trent. This Council explained that salvation is made
possible only by grace, and that the faith and works of men are
secondary means that have their origins in and are sustained by grace.
During the Reformation,
Reformed theologians generally
believed the Roman Catholic view of the means of salvation to 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. These Reformers posited that salvation is entirely
comprehended in God's gifts (that is, God's act of free grace),
dispensed by the Holy Spirit according to the redemptive work of Jesus
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, a doctrine that argues that if
someone is saved, he/she has no need to live a holy life, given that
salvation is already "in the bag".
It is also linked to the five points of Calvinism.
Being synergists, those of
Wesleyan-Arminian soteriology, such as
Methodists, take a different approach to sola gratia than Lutherans
Reformed Christians, holding that God, through prevenient grace,
reaches out to all individuals though they have the free will to
cooperate with that grace or reject it.
Five solae of the
Soli Deo gloria
1 Recent activity
2 See also
4 External links
In November 1999, the
Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical
Council for Promoting Christian Unity 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."
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.
Some conservative Protestants still believe the differences between
their views and those of the Catholics remain substantial, however.
They insist that this agreement does not fully reconcile the
differences between the Reformist and Catholic viewpoints on this
Christian view of the Old Testament Law
Law and Gospel
Expounding of the Law
^ Barber, John (2008). The Road from Eden: Studies in Christianity and
Culture. Academica Press. p. 233. ISBN 9781933146348. The
message of the
Reformed theologians has been codified
into a simple set of five
Latin phrases: Sola Scriptura (Scripture
Solus Christus (Christ alone), Sola Fide (faith alone), Sola
Gratia (by grace alone) and Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God
^ White, R. A., "Sola Gratia, Solo Christo: The Roman Catholic
Doctrine of Justification,"
^ Olson, Roger E. (20 September 2009). Arminian Theology: Myths and
Realities. InterVarsity Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780830874439.
Arminians do not think so; they hold a form of evangelical synergism
that sees grace as the efficient cause of salvation and calls faith
the sole instrumental cause of salvation to the exclusion of human
^ Joint declaration on the doctrine of justification, by the Lutheran
World Federation and the
Catholic Church on The Holy See home page
^ "Welcome to WELS". Archived from the original on 3 February
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in
^ McCain, Rev. Paul T. (12 March 2010). "A Betrayal of the Gospel: The
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification". First Things.
ISSN 1047-5141. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
^ Gerlach, Joel, A Question of Indulgences - Again, Forward in Christ,
^ An Appeal to Evangelicals, by the Alliance of Confessing
Listen to this article (info/dl)
This audio file was created from a revision of the article "Sola
gratia" dated 2006-02-27, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the
article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles
Articles on the five solas from a conservative Prot