Dear Brethren,

The 16th Century Protestant Reformation

We live in an age of forgetfulness and a pre-occupation with the trivia of life. Pleasure, fun, entertainment and secular interests have occupied centre-stage in many Christian homes and churches. Less people are concerned with using their God-given mental faculties in searching and studying the Scriptures or delving deep into the historic past concerning our glorious spiritual heritage. The Reformation of the 16th century has significant relevant lessons and applications for the 21st century church.

The Reformation cause of the 16th century is not a petty, humanistic movement of a few individuals’ personal theological convictions alone. It is the historic bedrock of the modern Church of Christ being founded on the very Word of God. God remembered His covenant promise to his own people and sovereignly lightened the world with the glorious saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through His servants, from Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, Tyndale, and others. The Reformation of the 16th century is essentially among others, a bible-based doctrinal movement. It is back to the Bible and saturating the mind of the common people with the infallible inspired and preserved words of the Holy Scriptures.

As we approach the 496th anniversary of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation (began on 31 October 1517), let us take time to look carefully at our Protestant, Reformed and Presbyterian heritage. Our Bible-Presbyterian roots are traced ultimately to this mighty movement which was used of God to restore the precious truths of God’s Word back to the Church.

The Key Doctrines of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation

Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)

All the Reformers, like Martin Luther, rejected the doctrines of tradition, councils and popes, wherever they contradicted canonical Scripture. Scripture alone is the perfect and sufficient and final authority for all matters of faith and life. Thus, the Reformation rejected many unbiblical Roman Catholic doctrines, such as Purgatory, Indulgences, Worship of Mary and Transubstantiation.

Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)

All the Reformers believed that sinners are justified (declared righteous by God) and saved wholly by grace through faith (Eph 2: 8,9). The Reformers unanimously agreed that man is totally depraved, and that apart from the grace of God all would be lost. Works do not earn us any merit toward our salvation at all. We are saved only by the grace of God.

Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

The words that had the most impact on Martin Luther’s salvation were: “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17; Hab 2:4; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38). It was after a full realisation of the meaning of these words that Luther began to repudiate the Romish doctrine that both works and faith are necessary for our salvation. We are saved only because Christ lived a perfectly righteous life on our behalf, and then suffered and died in our place for our sin. Salvation is by faith alone but this faith must only be in Jesus Christ alone and none other. Faith is a gift of God by which we are united to Christ. In addition, the Reformers were always careful to teach that good works follow true regeneration. This is the biblical teaching.

Solo Christo (Christ Alone)

The Reformers taught that there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). Therefore salvation is not to be found through the Church. Man must go directly to God through Jesus Christ. The priests do not qualify to be mediators, neither do Mary and departed saints, and neither do angels: Solo Christo, Christ alone is the Mediator.

Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)

Soli Deo Gloria—glory to God alone,—was a principle that had been overtaken by the pomp and power of the papacy and of the Roman Church prior to the Reformation. It was because the Reformers saw that glory must be ascribed to God alone and that God must be glorified according to His self-revelation and the means He has instituted, that they cared not to please men as they sought to bring the Church back to biblical purity according to the Word of God.

Elder John Leong







唯信圣经(Sola Scripture)

所有宗教改革家,如马丁·路德(Martin Luther),都拒绝了出自于传统、议会和教皇的教义,因为它们不合乎圣经。唯独圣经是神完全的话语,是我们的信仰和生命的至高权威。所以,宗教改革拒绝了许多罗马天主教不合乎圣经的教义,如炼狱、敬拜马利亚和圣餐变体论。

唯靠恩典(Sola Gratia)


唯借信心(Sola Fide)


唯有基督(Solo Christo)

宗教改革家教导神和人之间,只有一位中保,祂乃是降世为人的基督耶稣(提前2:5)。所以救恩并非出于教会。人要借着耶稣直接到神那里去。祭司、马利亚、死去的圣徒或天使,都没有资格作中保:Solo Christo~唯基督一人是中保。加尔文(Calvin)也如此教导:根据基督的三重职分——先知、祭司和君王,祂是我们的中保。

唯独上帝的荣耀(Soli Deo Gloria)

Soli Deo Gloria——唯独上帝的荣耀——这个原则在宗教改革前,被天主教和教皇的堂皇和权势所取代。宗教改革家就是意识到:荣耀必须归于上帝,必须照着上帝所启示和所立定的方式来荣耀祂,因此,他们不愿讨人的喜欢(加1:10),竭力让教会返回合乎圣经的纯正信仰。

梁杰雄 长老