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  • Sola gratia is one of the Five solae propounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation; it is a Latin term meaning grace alone. Protestant reformers believed that this emphasis was in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, though the Catholic Church had explicitly affirmed the doctrine of sola gratia in the year 529 in 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-- the Council explained that salvation is made possible only by grace; the faith and works of men are secondary means that have their origins in and are sustained by grace. During the Reformation, Protestant leaders and 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. The Reformers posited that salvation is entirely comprehended in God's gifts, dispensed by the Holy Spirit according to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ alone. 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". Wikipedia

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