Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Five Solas (Petillo)

The Five Solas
A Response to Petillo
By Scott Windsor

I am responding to Petillo's blog, currently located here:

The Five Biblical Solas of the Reformation

In order to be a true Christian one must believe the five solas of the reformation; that is, sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solo Christus and Sola Deo Gloria.  Is anyone ready to lay down their life for these divine truths because they honestly love them before God and man?
sw: We are to love nothing before God!  So I would urge anyone reading this to NOT lay down their life based upon this reason.
  Do you strongly believe these doctrinal truths?  
sw: No, because while some of them have some truth to them, others are actually contrary to Scripture, namely "sola scriptura" and "sola fide."
Are they divine truth to you and from His holy and written Word?
sw: No, for the same reason cited above.


Sola Scriptura refers to the Bible as the sole God-inspired, infallible and inerrant written Word of God; however, we acknowledge that the Bible did not fall out of heaven or was not literally written with the hand of God; that is, it is God-breathed or the all-sufficient Word of God.  It is sufficient enough for life, faith and morals. 
sw: Being "sufficient" cannot be equated to being "sola."  This is the fatal flaw of most, if not all, who claim this doctrine.  They take references of sufficiency and equate that to sola.
Here are some Scriptures that teach the infallibility of the Word of God:

2 Timothy 3:15-17 NIV
 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
sw: This is the primary scriptural citation sola scriptura adherents refer to - and as I noted previously, this passage does NOT speak to a "sola" nature, only a "sufficient" nature.  The concept of "sola" is imported or imputed into this verse through eisegetical arguments - such as we're responding to now.  Yes, all Scripture is God-breathed and (and here's the key) USEFUL for teaching, etc. so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, but this passage does NOT say that Scripture is the ONLY (or "sola") source ability to thoroughly equip someone.  James White likes (or liked, not sure if he's still using this bad argument) making an analogy to his bike shop being able to thoroughly equip him to ride his bicycle.  The point that argument overlooks is that there's any number of equally able bike shops which could "thoroughly equip" him!
John 10:35 KJV
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
sw:  The context of this verse is Jesus challenging the Jews because they were about to stone Him because He refers to Himself as God's Son.  Jesus cites Scripture stating, "ye are gods" (Psalms 82:6), and that passage from Psalms says that we are "all sons of the Most High."  So yes, while He does say "Scripture cannot be broken," what He's NOT saying is Scripture is the sole (or sola) source for the Christian.  Again, this verse does NOT support sola scriptura!
John 17:17 KJV
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
sw: Sounds good, and IS good, His word IS truth!  Again, this does not say that ONLY His word is truth!  This is NOT supportive of sola scriptura!  Petillo has (as has all others before him) missed the mark in this feeble attempt to defend sola scriptura.
Sola Fide refers to faith alone; that is, it is the sole instrument for how someone is declared justified by faith alone; that is, faith is the alone instrument for being right before God.  In Reformed theology, there is no "faith plus good works" but faith alone but a faith alone is never alone because it is a working faith.  
sw:  The fact of the matter is that the ONLY place in Scripture where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together in Scripture is in James 2:24 which is blatantly a statement DENYING and of course that verse is:  "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (NASB, emphasis added).  When Scripture itself explicitly states "not by faith alone," how does one justify (no pun intended) a doctrine based upon faith alone?

sw: Another thing we see here is Petillo using the double-speak we have seen others use.  I've already prepared a fuller response on this double-speak as used by others, so I won't belabor it too much in this response (see the link) - suffice it to say that saying "faith alone, but not a faith which is alone" is double-speak.  If a saving/working faith is never alone, then faith alone (aka sola fide) is a lie.


Justification by faith alone is a declaration by God in legal terms where a sinner is declared righteous on the basis of Christ alone; that is, it is a once-and-for all declaration by God and in justification we are not "made" right with God but declared right with God through Jesus His Son. 
sw:  Here Petillo has actually changed topics from sola fide to solo christus, which is a truism if properly taught and understood and once saved, always saved (OSAS), which is a false teaching!  Solo christus is discussed later, so I'll wait on that one, but OSAS is yet another fatal flaw in Protestant thinking which I will address now.  Ironically those who adhere to OSAS look to St. Paul's writings to find, what they think, is support for the teaching but in the context of all that St. Paul wrote one would have to reject OSAS if they are reading him objectively.  Why do I say that?  Simply put, St. Paul puts forth the possibility of he himself losing salvation!  Yes, he teaches that he must continue to discipline himself so that even after preaching the Gospel to others, that he himself would not be disqualified or cast out from the prize (1 Cor. 9:27).  From the same context he teaches that we must all run as to win the prize (1 Cor. 9:24) to not be complacent.
Here are some Scripture references to help us understand sola fide:

Romans 4 KJV

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?  2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,  7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered  8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
sw:  Interestingly, Protestants like Petillo like to use this passage from Romans 4 where it speaks of Abraham's faith - but in the greater context of the whole of Scripture we cannot ignore James 2:24 which also speaks of Abraham's faith AND explicitly states that Abraham was "justified by works and not by faith alone."
Ephesians 2 KJV
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
 sw:  Another mistake folks like Petillo makes is to take St. Paul out of context, as he has done above.  The "works" which St. Paul speaks against here is "works of the law," and specifically in this context he is speaking about circumcision (see verses 11-18).  Yes, the context makes it clear that St. Paul is saying that one does not absolutely need to follow "the Law" of circumcision - this is not a denial of the need for works to accompany faith in order for that faith to be a saving faith.
Titus 3:5 KJV
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
sw: Again, if we look to context, specifically verse 9, we see the "law" is part of what is being spoken of in this context.  If we look at verse 8 we see that the context is actually encouraging the faithful to good works!


Sola Gratia teaches that grace is unmerited favor or a free grace through the unified merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It means that God comes to save the poor sinner; that is, God takes the initiative to save a lost sinner and gives him a new heart and a new unified merit of Christ alone through the spiritual application of the Holy Spirit.
sw: Properly understood, sola gratia is truth!  We have done nothing and can do nothing to merit God's Grace - it is something He freely gave to the world (John 3:16) but even that gift requires something of us in order to receive it - we must believe in Him - which leads us to Petillo's next point. 
Sola Gratia is a denial of synergism; that is, the soul remains passive and there can be no cooperation with God and man until the sinner is spiritual quickened unto eternal life or life everlasting because there is no good in the flesh of men.  It is His unified imputed or account merit that is the centrality of the Gospel; that is, it alone is all-sufficient not the personal merits of the saints.  There is a merit that is not a merit that merits hell; however, there is no merit that merits heaven.
sw: This is where Protestants like Petillo go totally off-track.  Scripture clearly states that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son - and here's the synergism - that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.  It almost seems that in their desire to fight anything "Catholic" they are willing to overlook such an obvious truth.  To deny that there has to be cooperation with God is devoid of the truth of Scripture.  Sure, we don't merit His Grace, but those who do nothing will not experience it.  At the very minimum we must believe in Him as our Lord and Savior.


Solo Christus refers to the saving and unified merit of Christ alone in His active and passive obedience; that is, His active obedience is His sinless life that He used to earn heaven for us because we could not merit heaven ourselves, and second, is His passive obedience where He bore the sins of His people in His body upon the tree where He took all our filth, sin, defilement and total rebellion and idolatry at the Cross so we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
sw: Again, there IS truth in solo Christus.  It IS Jesus Christ who merits our salvation, not us.  We don't "earn" Heaven, but it is also not merely a passive hearing of His Word which saves us - for we must also be doers of His Word.
"for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified."  Romans 2:13"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." James 1:22
sw: Now to the verses Petillo puts forth:

Galatians 2 KJV
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain 
sw: Make note of the context again - it is "works of the Law" which do not justify!  True faith or saving faith is not an alone faith.  If you believe in Jesus Christ, you DO what is commanded in His Word.
Romans 3 KJV
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
sw: Again, "works of the Law" is the context!
Romans 4 KJV
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
sw:  In order for Petillo's thesis to be true here we'd have to say this is a direct conflict with James 2.  Since I do not believe in Scripture contradicting itself, and I do not believe Petillo does either, then we must believe Petillo is misrepresenting the context of Scripture here, especially when the EXACT SAME EXAMPLE is used in James 2 to show that it was "by works a man is justified, and NOT BY FAITH ALONE."


Sola Deo Gloria teaches that all glory goes to God alone;
sw:  Catholics believe it this too!  But let us continue...
that is, all of spiritual salvation goes to God alone. 
sw:  Agreed!
That is, He is the object of our worship that gets the most glory. 
sw:  Agreed!
We indeed praise Him and glorify Him because He chose to save; that is, He is glorified in the eternal preservation of the saints and He is glorified in the eternal destruction of the damned.  He is glorified unto holiness by eternal mercy and He is glorified unto sin by His eternal justice.
sw:  God is not glorified in the damned.  God's justice is demonstrated and His glory is in the mercy He shows to those whom He has saved FROM damnation.  
Psalm 29:1 KJV
Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 
Psalm 29:2 KJV
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
 Psalm 64:10 KJV
The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
sw:  These are nice passages, but none of them proclaim SOLA deo gloria!   Yes, we give unto the Lord, unto His mightiness, glory and strength, and while it IS theologically sound to only give glory in the highest to God, the passages Petillo cites here do not proclaim "sola."
May we learn these sacred and divine truths!  May we plan to live a godly and holy new year!  We must mediate on these divine truths and by His Spirit apply it to our lives!
sw:  Those things which Petillo has professed which are truths should be learned and help us to lead godly and holy lives - those things we have identified as falsehoods must be utterly rejected and denied by all faithful Christians.  

sw:  The "Five Solas" are mostly fictions invented by protesting rebels who LEFT the One, True Church and desperately sought to establish a new foundation, a new authority and most definitely a "different gospel" from that which was preached by their forefathers - and which we are explicitly warned against:
I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.  Which is not another, only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.   But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.  As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.  Galations 1:6-9
But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Christ, whom we have not preached; or if you receive another Spirit, whom you have not received; or another gospel which you have not received; you might well bear with him.  For I suppose that I have done nothing less than the great apostles  2 Corinthians 11:3-5
sw:  In this passage, St. Paul, while warning against a false gospel also fears that those to whom he has preached may, like Eve, be led astray by the Serpent.  He that cometh, be it 1500 some years later, preaching another Christ, whom they did not preach, or another Spirit, etc. is to be avoided, rejected and anathema.  If "OSAS" were a truth, a true gospel, then why would St. Paul fear his followers would be able to be led astray?  Heed St. Paul's warning, my friends!  Flee the false Christ of Calvinism!  Embrace the One, True Christ who did indeed build His One, True Church - and didn't wait until the 16th century to do so!  Come home to that One, True Church - that we might be one, just as the Son and the Father are One.
That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  John 17:21

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