Editorial: Remembering The Reformation By Reflecting On Its “Solas” -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 19:4 (Winter 2015)
Article: Editorial: Remembering The Reformation By Reflecting On Its “Solas”
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Remembering The Reformation By Reflecting On Its “Solas”

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles and the co-author of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015), and the co-editor of Building on the Foundations of Evangelical Theology (Crossway, 2015 with Gregg Allison), and Progressive Covenantalism (B&H, 2016 with Brent Parker).

Next year the Church will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Historians usually date the start of the Reformation to the 1517 publication of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses.” On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk, posted his theses on a church door in the university town of Wittenberg. Probably not fully aware of what this act would enflame, Luther was simply following a common academic practice of the day. By nailing his theses to the church door, he was inviting people to debate some of the specifics of Roman Catholic theology and practice, especially the practice of indulgences. But unbeknown to Luther, this act is now viewed as the start of the Reformation which spread like wildfire in the German states, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Scotland, and portions of France, and it produced pastors and theologians such as Huldreich Zwingli, John Calvin, John Knox, and the richness of the entire post-Reformation theological tradition, which reverberates to our own day.

Beyond question, the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century changed Christianity forever. The Reformation was not perfect, but it was a mighty

reviving movement of the Spirit of God which purified the Church and called people back to the fundamentals of the Gospel. In so doing, it removed from our thinking the emphasis of human autonomy and human tradition as equal in authority to God’s Word; it recovered the God-centeredness of all of life and thought by glorying in the triune God of the Bible in all of his majestic rule and Lordship; it emphasized the importance yet pervasive depravity of human beings as image-bearers; it stressed the utter inability of humans to save themselves thus proclaiming the need for God to redeem us by his sovereign grace alone; and it exalted the glory, majesty, exclusivity, and sufficiency of our Lord Jesus Christ who alone has accomplished our salvation fully, completely, and perfectly.

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