Glory To God Alone: Another Look At A Reformation “Sola” -- By: David VanDrunen

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 19:4 (Winter 2015)
Article: Glory To God Alone: Another Look At A Reformation “Sola”
Author: David VanDrunen


Glory To God Alone: Another Look At A Reformation “Sola”

David VanDrunen

David VanDrunen is the Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster Seminary California. He earned his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and his Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago. Dr. VanDrunen has authored numerous works, and his most recent books include Divine Covenants and Moral Order: A Biblical Theology of Natural Law (Eerdmans, 2014) and God’s Glory Alone: The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life (Zondervan, 2015).

Of the five so-called Reformation solas, Soli Deo Gloria seems like an outlier in certain respects1. While the other solas pertain directly to the two chief points of debate between Rome and the Reformation—the doctrine of salvation and religious authority—Soli Deo Gloria is a more general idea. Furthermore, it seems initially implausible to think that a professing Christian of any sort would have reason or motivation to deny the idea that all glory belongs to God: “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory” (Ps 115:1) is hardly ambiguous! Yet some writers suggest that Soli Deo Gloria is the very heart and substance of the other four solas.2

Without implying the least disrespect for the life-changing importance of these other four, I too wish to affirm the centrality of God’s Glory Alone. What is ultimately at stake in debates about salvation and authority, after all, is not satisfaction of our curiosity or spiritual needs but the glorification of God Almighty. Every merely human word falls short, every merely human deed misses the mark, every merely human mediator fails to reconcile. Indeed, the Lord was appalled “that there was no justice,” “that there was no man,” and “that there was no one to intercede” (Isa 59:15-16). Thus God himself did

what no one else could: “his own arm brought him salvation” (Isa 59:16). And in so doing, the peoples of the world “shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun” (Isa 59:19). It is for the magnification of his glory that God arises to speak to his people and to save them from their sins. The other Reformation solas advance God’s glory as the highest end for which this world exists.

The magnificent theme of God’s glory is an inexhaus...

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