Old church doors, credit cards that pay for sins, and ten Latin words (Part 1: 500 Years)


What do old church doors, credit cards that pay for sins, and ten Latin words have to do with each other? They’re all tied to the spark of the Reformation (whose 500th anniversary is coming up this month!). Learn about the Reformation, Reformation Day, and the Five Solas in this post!

Happy Monday!

Before this blog post, I just wanted to encourage you to subscribe to Desiring God’s Here We Stand email series on the heroes of the Reformation, leading up to Reformation Day. Here’s the link!

Today I wanted to write a short sneak-peak intro to the Reformation, Reformation Day and the Five Solas.

What’s Reformation Day?

Reformation Day, AKA Halloween is the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Church Door. I admit that sounds kind of random. Some guy writes 95 things and sticks them to a door – and we have a whole day to celebrate that?

Yeah, we do. Because that was the spark of the Reformation.

So, what were these 95 theses anyway?

The Theses were basically his way of protesting the Church’s selling of indulgences (in short, you could buy forgiveness from your sins for cash!)

Indulgences are most pernicious because they induce complacency and thereby imperil salvation. Those persons are damned who think that letters of indulgence make them certain of salvation. God works by contraries so that a man feels himself to be lost in the very moment when he is on the point of being saved. …Man must first cry out that there is no health in him… When man believes himself to be utterly lost, light breaks. Peace comes in the word of Christ through faith.

– Martin Luther

In short, Luther was saying that thinking God forgives you through paying money to the church is dangerous because you get complacent and it’s not about seeing your sin and turning to Jesus but just swiping a credit card to be forgiven. Of course, credit cards weren’t invented until the 1950s 😉

So that’s what Reformation Day is all about.

What were the Five Solas?

The Five Solas were the five basic teachings of the Reformers.

And they are:

  • Scripture Alone (our highest authority is in the Bible, not tradition or the Pope)
  • Faith Alone (we aren’t saved by our works, but simply by faith in Christ’s work)
  • Christ Alone (we are saved by Christ alone)
  • Grace Alone (all of our salvation is grace alone)
  • Glory to God Alone (salvation is for God’s glory and as Christians, we are called to live to glorify him alone)

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll try to write on each of these Solas and the relevance they have to us as young people.

Coming tomorrow: Scripture Alone & Why it Matters for Teens!