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  • Writer's pictureRoss Petalver

Importance of Five Solas in Philippine Churches

Deformed and Always Deforming

About a year ago, Pastor Rei Crizaldo made an intriguing Facebook post which he eventually published as a blog, suggesting Christians to not dogmatically stick to a certain set of doctrines which are for him, subjected to further reformations. He imagined to reformulate the Five Solas of Reformation as follows:

  1. The Bible is not alone: Live with the serving authority of the LIVING WORD, not just the written Word. So, be careful of accepting the Bible as your Lord and Savior. *Especially the one printed in 1611 by a king named James.

  2. Grace is not alone: Live out the good WORKS that God has designed you for from eternity past and be sustained by the power of His grace as you do so (Ephesians 2:10). You are saved ‘for’ doing good.

  3. Christ is not alone: Live with the love of the heavenly FATHER, shown through the example of Christ, and in the accompanying presence of the HOLY SPIRIT. Singing the doxology regularly will remind you of this.

  4. Faith is not alone: Paul himself said that in the end, three things remain in life. Faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of 'em is not faith. It is LOVE that shall win!

  5. God’s glory is not alone: Remember what Irenaeus of Lyeons said, “the glory of God is man fully alive.“ The story of the Bible is about a God who is not a self-seeking and not glory-hungry deity like the others.

These thoughts came about after observing that “there seems to be a popular belief in many circles in the Philippines that there is only one legit theological framework in Christiany, i.e. framework constructed during the Protestant Reformation of 1517,” which for him is “a gross distortion if not at all a lamentable lack of grasp of the discipline of historical theology." For him, "this can be attributed to an over-emphasis on ‘systematic theology’ as a way of theologizing in the Philippines.” He added that “much work has to be done then to balance this overtly myopic approach to reading and studying the Bible,” (2020).

While it is debatable or it could be agreeable that there is an overemphasis on systematic theology as a way of theologizing, it is actually out of the picture when the content of the doctrines themselves are being discussed. The teachings themselves are not to be faulted when the applications of the learners are misguided.

505th Anniversary of Reformation

October 31, 2022 marks the 505th commemoration of the Reformation. Different posts online pay tribute to the noble actions of the Reformers who pushed for the agenda of going back into the Scripture.

Reformation had spread like a wildfire amongst the neighboring countries as it was driven by the mission of the Reformers enabling people from different localities to learn the Scripture in their native language. One of the places benefited from this mission was Hungary which was heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism. “The spread of Reformation in Hungary and its mission to promote the use of native languages enriched Hungarian culture and laid the foundation of the modernisation of the Hungarian language,” (Zemplényi). Reformation not only helped Hungary in their spiritually but even in their nationality, as a people representing a nation of themselves. Needless to say, Reformation had an impact on people not only in their doctrine, but even in their living.

What about in the Philippines; what is the impact of Reformation to Filipino churches? How relevant is it in correcting the doctrine and straightening the way how believers live their lives? What is the practical application of the Five Solas to Filipinos?

Heart of Reformation

The Five Solas are the heart of the Reformation of the church for all time, for without these, there will not be a spark that is flaming the torch giving signal to reform the churches until now. These are the doctrines that will surely be tested time and time again, as the culture shifts from one form to another. Changing season would surely serve as a fire in the furnace: it will either burn what Christians believe in, or melt and refine it for further equipping.

Filipino Christians can definitely learn from Crizaldo’s sentiments in relation to the Five Solas and not reformulation of it. However, to say that these doctrines fought for by Reformers need reformulation just because of some observations detached to their essence, is a bit impulsive.

Therefore, it would be prudent and proper to revisit the Five Solas in order that believers would really know what each doctrine means; have a careful grasp and understanding of their application to the current days as it has been in the ages, and embrace them as a way of life―not just as a cool banner on social media.

Sola Scriptura

As per John Calvin, God gave a surer aid for man who is weak to comprehend Him through Creation that they may not just worship any god but Him alone. God chose to disclose Himself and His will to few people in angelic visitations, oracles, dreams, or visions, particularly to the line of Adam down to Abraham and David, then through few prophets as these were passed on from one person to another until this disclosure reaches its climax in the incarnation of Christ (Heb. 1:1-2) and His ascension, and finally giving instructions to the apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Trinity, and teaching them to observe what He had commanded them (Matt. 28:19-20). The apostles exchanged letters to exhort the believers and came the time when these letters were compiled together. Thus, publishing His word in a “more solemn form, and willed that it be written down as in a formal charter,” as He established His church (16-17; cf. Letham 61).

In the writing of the Scripture, God committed to reveal Himself (Letham 63) ceasing the use of other methods mentioned. It is His self-revelation to guide believers and it is neither a history of revelations of Himself (Sproul 10; cf. Ward 18), nor a record of His revelation as Neo-orthodox people would say (Clark 11).

Sola Scriptura or Scripture Alone is one of the essential truths rediscovered during the Reformation. Just like when Ezra rediscovered the law in Old Testament(OT) times, it led the church back to the Scripture resulting to a lasting revival since the Bible had become obscured after centuries of Roman Catholicism’s elevation of tradition and papacy as the church’s surest guides (Passion; cf. Nichols 2,380). It is the foundation by which every doctrine stands since it teaches that the Scripture is the only infallible rule for faith and practice, repudiating the authority and infallibility of any council or pope (Sproul 9; cf. Hillerbrand xv)

This conflict between the Roman Catholic Church and Martin Luther is an example of what John

W. Robbins stated in his foreword to Gordon Clark's book titled God's Hammer, that each generation of Christians has its own doctrinal battle to fight such as the battle on the Trinity, incarnation, and even the sovereignty of God, but there is one perennial and recurring battle, which is the battle for the Scripture (1992).

To aid the believers in their faith, the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) enumerated the reasons why the Scripture is not at par with the level of any human wisdom and authority. The first chapter of WCF details why the Bible is necessary, sufficient, authoritative, and clear (1976). Christians must uphold these truths and be ready to give an answer when asked.

Necessity, Sufficiency, and Clarity

Scripture is necessary. God revealing Himself is the reason above all that it is considered as a Special Revelation (Dixhoorn 5). A revelation in such a way that people would know, serve, and honor Him (Bavinck 79) since the law of nature is not sufficient either to teach them to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength especially when they became His enemy due to sinfulness (Brown 40-41); or to give them such knowledge necessary to secure salvation (Hodge 28-29). Though it may not contain all truths, it does contain “the whole counsel of God necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life,” as stated on the section 6 of the WCF (Letham 200).

Paul's letter to Timothy encapsulates the whole point of the Scripture's sufficiency in terms of Christian living and ministry (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The word "profitable" has nothing to do about finances but surely Paul was in the business of arguing about the usefulness of the Scripture in doctrine, life, and ministry. In Calvin's words, an "instruction for regulating life" (204). John Piper in one of his sermons pointed out that it was also used in 1 Timothy 4:8 towards bodily training which is considered a little profitable, in contrast to “godliness that is of value in every way.” This godliness, according to Piper, pertains to man being equipped for good works resulting from the Scripture’s profitability (2012).

If the Scripture is sufficient for the correct knowledge on doctrine, life, and ministry, then there's no need for the wisdom of philosophers, rabbis, popes, or unfounded traditions (Henry).

More importantly, the Word of God sufficiently narrates His dealing with His people in order to discipline and reconcile them to Himself; it contains the information that is important for salvation (Wooley 197, 199) and it also shows mankind’s relationship with God by way of covenants including His promises and the duties He has for man (Muether et al. 31).

Dispensations of His promises to man started in the Covenant of Works with Adam who failed to keep it resulting in the plunging of mankind into sin and death (Gen. 2:15-3:24; Ps. 51:5). Immediately after sinning against Him, God made another covenant that is of grace, “binding Himself to mankind and to His creation” which can be found in Gen. 3:14-19. Verse 15 foreshadows Jesus who will defeat the serpent, redeem mankind, and restore the creation to its original order, state, and purpose. Jesus was given as a promised seed of the woman who will bring reconciliation with God (Eph. 2:16); the solution to man’s sinful nature and alienation is the cross of Christ, the promised one who “fills all in all” [Eph. 1:23] (Currid 103, 109).

The perspicuity or clarity of the Scripture was also stated saying that there’s an unequal clarity of the books of the Scripture but its central truths are clear enough to be interpreted and understood, not requiring anyone to be a scholar (Ward 38).

It is in stark contrast with what the Roman Catholic Church teaches that interpretation of the Scripture belongs only to the teaching office of the church especially since there are some things in the Scripture that are hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16). WCF goes on by saying that “the things necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other.” R.C. Sproul explained this by referring to Reformed hermeneutics’ principle that the “obscure passage must be interpreted in light of the plain, which is similar to interpreting the implicit in light of the explicit,’ for God is not an author of confusion nor contradiction (24-26).

Ultimately, all of Scripture is helpful and understandable for salvation if the person is seriously studying it under the Holy Spirit’s influence (Brown 57).

Authority, Inspiration, Infallibility

The Scripture is the chief, supreme, and ultimate authority over the Christian's faith and way of life not the magisterium, not the giants of faith, and especially not tradition which affects the way believers approach the Scripture resulting to drifting away from the more significant and central practices and beliefs of historic Christianity, (Adair).

This was one of what Martin Luther fought for against the heretic teachings of the Roman Catholic church. In his eighteen-day debate against John Eck, Luther boldly proclaimed, “A council may sometimes err. Neither the church nor the pope can establish articles of faith. These must come from Scripture, ” (qtd. in Shelley 251).

Its authority is hinged upon the truth that the Scripture is divinely inspired by God for it is “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16); the writers of the Scripture were not merely recording their thoughts but they were guided under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit (Sproul 12). Bavinck adds that the Scripture was also divinely inspired whilst it is being read,” (qtd. in Letham 190).

Authority and inspiration goes hand in hand for it cannot be authoritative if it didn’t come from God’s mouth Himself. It doesn’t depend on man’s testimony but on its own attestation that it is indeed His Word and it was proven by Christ Himself.

As observed by Edward Young, Jesus regarded the Scripture as an organic whole and harmonious unit with a unique message and witness quoting Psalm 82:6 saying that it cannot be broken. He also highlighted Christ’s appeal to the OT against the Jews when He was accused as a blasphemer and that Jesus fulfilled what has been said in the OT regarding the betrayal, suffering, and death which He’s about to go through (57-58). Jesus’ life and ministry didn’t only prove the OT books to be true but His life, ministry, teachings, and commandments were recorded in the New Testament (NT). All of the revelations which can be found in the NT were dependent on the authority Jesus gave His disciples which (Matt. 5:17-18, 21-22, 27-28, 31-34. 38-39, 43-44; 6:2, 5, 16, 25; John 1:1-4, 14). He then delegated this authority to the apostles (John 16:12-15; Gal. 1:11-24) who led the other disciples (Letham 190).

Jesus’ resurrection proved the truthfulness of the NT since it is in these that His life were recorded especially His resurrection, the “principal point in the Christian scheme, and which proves all the rest, was, and is supported by every proof,—from enemies,—from friends,—from angels,—and from subsequent events, to this day,” (Brown 67).

If the OT and NT were proven true, this means that the whole of Scripture cannot err on what it says. While this applies only to the original manuscripts created by those who wrote the Bible, divine inspiration frees the Bible from error (Letham 193; cf. Sproul 27). These three doctrines of the Scriptures were knitted together for the preservation of the beauty and glory of the Word of God.

Sola Gratia

Grace is simple yet it comprises subjects that for some people are mind-twisting. Grace doesn’t start when someone preached the Gospel to an unbeliever and it doesn’t even start when that unbeliever was cut to heart and responded to that call to repentance. While the statement grace is receiving something you don’t deserve sounds simple, it is not simplistic. Grace causes tensions but at the same time, grace cuts tensions. Grace gives life to millions, but it takes a single life that is worth more than a million. It is what an infinite God has shown to undeserving people who’ve shown rebellion.

Grace in Redemption: Grace as a Covenant, Grace in Action

Samuel Rutherford summarizes redemptive history by saying “the first Adam mars all, the second ADAM who makes all things new, mends all,” (qtd. in Beeke & Jones 260). Indeed, that’s what happened when God responded in grace towards sinful mankind. The covenant of grace begins immediately after the fall of Adam (Gen 3:15), where the first gospel (protoevangelium) was given as a promise (Beeke & Jones 261). It is a divine promise by God, a divine oath that He would send a champion to defeat the enemy of His people (Currid 107).

In this covenant, faith is breathed-in by the Spirit in the hearts of those who are ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48) that they may receive the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work (Beeke & Jones 260).

This covenant has been administered in different dispensations all throughout the Ot, from Adam to Noah, to the Patriarchs and then to Moses, to the Kings such as David, until the new King was promised coming from the line of David to fulfill the covenant that was established; Christ fulfilled the covenant of grace to win the reward for Himself, which is the church.

The beauty of grace can be observed further on how it changes sinners into saints; how it gives life to dead people; how it replaces the heart of stones into the heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:14-21).

Salvation is summarized in the word grace for it is by grace alone that salvation operates. From the time that man cannot respond until he breathes his last breath, it is all of grace. It takes grace and divine power to save man enslaved in depravity. It takes grace for the mind to be illuminated to see the truth, for the heart to be awakened and hate what is evil and love what is good, and finally for the will to be renewed to respond genuinely to the call of repentance and faith to Christ. Life-giving grace is the monergistic act of God upon a dead sinner who cannot respond but passively be regenerated and then actively respond once given a life. Grace gives life as it is bestowed, “producing the will to believe and the belief itself,” (Ward 146).

Man doesn’t have anything to do with the salvation given to him except that he is sinful and is in need of saving. It is Jesus choosing the sinner and not the other way around, Jesus choosing to pluck the sinner out of the world, not the sinner running to Him (John 15:16, 19).

Reformed theologians spoke about the Golden Chain of Salvation or the logical order of salvation as expressed in the Scripture. In his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul encouraged them of the future glory that awaits them by giving a detailed view of salvation as if giving them the timeline of it from election to glorification (Rom 8:29-30). From this passage, one can also glean the effects of grace to believers: a sinner is elected and so he is predestined to be called by the Gospel. As the Gospel is preached, through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit breathes life to the person internally, convicting him of his sins and enabling him to respond by faith, repenting from his sins and turning to Christ by faith. Faith as an instrument which justifies him as in a court-room, and since he is justified, adopting him and welcoming him into the body of Christ; equipping him that he may withstand the test of faith in life and be sanctified, and in the last days he will be lifted up with Christ in glory. Such a wondrous thought to be meditated upon!

Grace in Preservation : Word, Sacrament, Prayer

God doesn’t want to leave His people helpless by making sure that there would be sustenance to their faith. He ordained the means by which He administers His grace that their souls may be edified as influenced by the Holy Spirit (Hodge 466).

The Word of God is not only necessary to salvation but it is also efficacious for its accomplishment. Christ Himself commanded the apostles to go and preach all that He had taught them, especially the Gospel of Christ that was proven true and powerful unto salvation [Rom. 1:16] (Hodge 467). Luther and Calvin argued to keep the Word and Spirit together as it was set forth as the normative criterion for the public proclamation of God’s word. Adding that the content of the preaching was to be the content of the Scripture, for it is not just a matter of communicating anything but a means of grace as it is efficacious since the Spirit uses the Word to bring God’s grace to the hearers or else, the word preached without the internal operation of the Spirit would be powerless—destitutum (Trueman 192; cf. Letham 624).

God’s covenant was communicated through verbal communication and preaching. Even in the OT, preaching was important for worship as oral tradition was being practiced even until the NT as exemplified by Christ Himself when He taught in the synagogues (Luke 4:16-37). The Incarnate Word Himself preached–what other argument is needed?

Apart from preaching the Word are the sacraments instituted by God, also for the edification of His people such as the Baptism and the Lord’s supper. These two were considered signs and seals, respectively, in a sense that baptism points believers to the greater reality in Christ that the old has gone and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17) while the Lord’s supper unites the believers with Christ by partaking of the cup which Christ also did, and of the bread that signifies His broken body. Both of these are meant to strengthen the faith of believers and remind them of their greater reality in Christ.

These sacraments may not cause grace but they benefit the receiver by declaring or making known the salvation they possess. WCF states that the sacraments represent Christ and His benefits; it confirms the believer’s interest, faith, and righteousness in Christ; distinguishes those within the church from those who are outside her; and that the sacraments engage believers to the service of Christ indicating that these are exclusive to the believers (Williamson 260-261).

Prayer—though some people would not count as means of grace—is the way a person can directly converse with God. It is in prayer that people express their reverence of Him, gratitude to Him, penitence for their sins, hope in their longings, submission to His authority, and any other expression that shows their relationship with God (Hodge 692). It is in prayer that Christians acknowledge their state of being in need and at the same time recognizing God as someone who is above them. It must be noted however, that to pray carelessly is equivalent to daydreaming. Prayer has to have an object and it should be the Triune God alone, lifting up the petition to the Father in Jesus name, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Sola Fide

Faith alone is the crux of the Reformation. Martin Luther argued against the penitence involving money so that sins of people would decrease by appealing that justification is by faith alone The disagreement revolves around the instrumentality of faith in the believer’s life.

Faith that is Alone

Confession or Statement of Faith of different churches agree that justification is by faith alone (Engelsma 91). Different Reformed confessions deny that the sinner’s activity of believing is his own righteousness. When it comes to the idea of faith as the means of justification, it doesn’t mean there is any condition. It is a “divine gift from God to the elect by which they hold of salvation,” (Ward 172).

Faith as an instrument receives Christ and His righteousness. It is the only instrument for justification (Engelsma 100).

Since faith is Spirit-wrought in the believer, it would be logical to think that it is the only thing required by God for apart from it which comes from Him, there is nothing acceptable coming from man who is a sinner. At the same time, since this faith comes from God Himself, there shouldn’t be any other object of it but Christ and Him alone. If it comes from Him, then it should be the means to reach out to Him.

It has been said that Christ is the author of faith and if He is the author of faith, there’s reason not to put that faith in Him since He is also the perfecter of it (Heb 12:2) and as people give themselves to Christ in faith, He gives them His righteousness. This shows how Sola Fide is strongly linked with Sola Gratia and Solus Christus.

Saving faith is not mere trusting. It involves knowing and agreeing, for the Christian faith is not blind. Faith involves knowing Christ and His word as He reveals Himself but knowing in itself is insufficient because even the Demon believes (James 2:19). It also involves agreeing with conviction that whatever the Gospel says is true, that man in sin is in need of saving and that Christ is the only way to be saved. Lastly, it involves trusting or committing to Christ alone for salvation. There ought to be a connection between cognition, conviction, and confidence. (Letham 672-673).

Faith that Is Not Alone

Saving faith is not alone in the sense that it is wrought in man with repentance. Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin. Faith is the instrument needed for justification while repentance brings forth fruition in terms of sanctification. As John said “bear fruit in keeping with repentance,” (Matt 3:8).

Faith is moving with confidence and embracing the new life forward, repentance is moving with confidence and remorse leaving the old life behind. Both of which are vital to a life that is devoted to following Christ.

“Faith is abandonment of oneself and trust in Christ alone; repentance is the abandonment of sin and a turning to Christ alone for salvation,” (Letham 675).

Solus Christus

This doctrine is important especially in the Philippines which is dominated by Roman Catholics who look up to other authorities than Christ Himself. Solus Christus means Christ alone is the only way to salvation. He is the answer to the problem of sin and death, of the misery and agony brought about by sin in the world. As He Himself said, no one can come to the father except through Him (John 14:6), neither his parents nor his friends have been appointed to bridge the gap between God and His people, not even one of the apostles.

Wrong Turns to God: Mary, Priests, Saints, and Idol Worship

The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) has been teaching lots of serious unbiblical teachings when it comes to reaching out to God. One is the idea of Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate: her participation in the suffering and redemption of man through Christ, humbly accepting and embracing what the angel of the Lord had told her about conceiving the promised

Messiah unlike Eve who disobeyed God, an an advocate who intercedes for us on behalf of Christ (Catholic Bridge; cf. Catholic Culture). Even if Mary’s mediation such as her bearing the Lord in her womb is secondary, Ott would take it as an argument by saying that “although Christ is the sole Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2, 5). . .this does not exclude a secondary mediatorship, subordinated to Christ. . . by preparing or serving. . .co-operate in uniting men to God,” (qtd. in Johnson Jr. 125). If that is the case, everyone should also consider Judas as secondary mediator for without his kiss, Jesus will not be taken captive by the soldiers leading to His crucifixion.

Another teaching of the RCC on their sacrament of Holy Orders says priests are considered as “other Christs” who were “given the incredible role and power to act in the person of Jesus Christ,” most especially during Mass wherein they offer to God on behalf of mankind, the body and blood of Jesus (FSSPX). This emphasis on the powers of priests as essential mediators between God and mankind is called sacerdotalism, which is largely “confined to the OT and the priestly code of the Law of Moses.” However, this system was unknown in the apostolic church but it was brought in the early church by Cyprian (Johnson Jr. 129, 132). But since Christ’s sacrifice has been done once and for all, the priestly code is not needed anymore. Therefore, RCC’s sacerdotalism is irrelevant.

Saints’ mediatorship is a bit tricky because no Roman Catholic would ever tell that they have this doctrine but it says otherwise in their practice. Some people call this “subordinate mediation” wherein the saints would pray for the people in the purgatory, arguing that it is the same as the Protestants’ praying with and for one another (Pope 2013). The reverse of this is also true for them where the saints in heaven never cease in praying for the people on earth who are still alive (USCCB). This is appealing to many people in the Philippines since prayer is very much accessible to anyone regardless of the place. However, it cannot still be accepted as a correct biblical teaching since it tries to take part of what Christ has already done. No one, whether by prayer or fasting, can earn any merit that would lessen the gravity of judgment to some people that would make them eventually earn salvation. Christ is enough and His work is sufficient.

Idol worship is also tricky in the Philippines since Roman Catholic people would argue that they do not worship them but instead, they just venerate those statues representing those who have gone ahead of them. However, if one would look closely on how they practice veneration, it is actually the same way how the disciples give much honor to Jesus. People would put flowers on the neck of the statues, wipe the feet of the statues because they believe it will give them healing from their illness, they would put some food in front of the smaller sculptures, pray and bow in front of them, and many other practices that are unique to Filipino culture.

One of the famous Filipino religious traditions is the Traslación, which is done annually on the Feast of the Black Nazarene. It is the procession of the Black Nazarene in a carriage, from Quiapo Church to different places but sometimes the statue is carried by a group of people on their shoulders. During this time, people would wave their towels imitating Christ’s suffering on

His way to Mt. Golgotha. Millions of people would attend this event as part of their panata or vow–usually walking barefoot–as their plea or thanksgiving for a wish (National Museum of the Philippines). Unfortunately, even if this event is religious by nature, injuries and sometimes even death, are reported. In 2016, 2 people died and 1,200 got injured because of the overcrowding.

The Scripture is very helpful because practices such as this weren't mentioned, not even once. It abhors such practice. Actually, it is the second commandment God gave Moses and instructed to teach to the people of Israel (Exo. 19-24).

Only Way to God: Christ’s Mediation as Prophet, Priest, and King

Jesus Christ is the glory of God [2 Cor. 3:18; 4:6] (Jones). He was the promised seed of the woman who will crush the head of the enemy (Gen 3:15). He was the promised messiah who would save His people; the god-man, the culmination of God’s revelation to mankind. It was necessary for Him to save us because there can’t be another savior for man.

He is not a possibility but a necessity who is fit in meeting the requirements of God. Since God is eternal and holy, His justice requires the same. Christ took to Himself this liability of mankind to God and paid it all for His work was sufficient enough to satisfy God’s justice.

Christ’s mediatorial work consists of taking three different offices at the same time that He may reconcile man back with God.

As the prophet, He was the prince of the prophets that was promised to Moses (Deut 18:18). He was superior to Moses for He Himself came as the Word of God Himself by whom God spoke, appointing Him as heir of all things [John 1:1; Heb 1:1-3] (Jones 73; cf. Wellum 132-133). Wellum gave three points which talks about the sufficiency of Christ’s prophetic office: first is that He is the beginning and end of all prophecies; second, He is the prophet par excellence since He is the Son incarnate; third, His prophetic work is continuous not only when He lives on earth but even after He had been buried, it continues “forever” (108-109; cf. Beeke & Jones 350).

Jesus was also called to priesthood by God being distinct with Aaron but rather He belonged to the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:1-10) (Jones 76; cf. Williamson 92). As a priest, He represents His people before God. In OT times, people were always represented by the priest with the blood of the animal sacrifice but in Christ, it was His blood that was shed in order to free the people from guilt and shame of sin.

Christ as the priest had to suffer being obedient to the will of the Father even to the point of death on the cross (Phil 2:8). While being the priest, He was also the unblemished lamb at the same time, being sacrificed for the propitiation for the sins of the people (1 John 2:1-2). As the sacrifice, He must be both human and divine so as to accomplish His mission: to sympathize with people in their weaknesses (Heb 4:15) and to die in place of a human like Him, and at the same time to satisfy the eternal and divine wrath of God, saving not just one soul but multiple sinners for His blood is of infinite worth (Jones 76-77).

Another thing is that unlike the usual sacrifice, Jesus rose from the grave and went up to heaven interceding for His people. It is a testimony of his priestly work. This is the biblical teaching on someone from heaven interceding for the people down on earth, not like what the Roman Catholic teaches for their idols cannot even utter a single letter.

As a king, Christ leads His people. He was ordained king in order to subject all power in heaven and on earth as taught by the Psalmist in Psa. 2:1-6 (Calvin 234). Jesus did not just satisfy the justice of God but at the same time upholds and executes it as the King. He is the Victor who will defeat the enemies namely sin, death, and Satan, to restore the image-bearing role of His people (Wellum 146).

These three offices of Christ are what makes His saving work sufficient. These are way better than the caricatured solutions of the Roman Catholic Church which produce nothing but further damnation.

Soli Deo Gloria

Pinoy Pride! It is the one-liner of Filipinos whenever their fellow citizen is competing against any country for whatever competition. Hopefully, this is not the case in the churches. Having one-liners such as this lifts the confidence which sometimes is unhealthy. Christianity is not exempted from this.

David VanDrunene observed that there seems to be an imbalance about Reformation motto Soli Deo Gloria when it is focused exclusively upon Christians’ acting for God’s glory. Instead of being centered around the glory of God and His works, the motto centers around “us,” Focusing it on human conduct is also an imbalance (26).

Soli Deo Gloria is like the end game of the Five Solas. It serves as the glue of the other four solas (VanDrunen 14). It drives the agenda to give God the glory that is due of Him, and not to anyone for Christians are just mere servants (Luke 17:10).

Glory is usually used as God’s name for it is something that is exclusive and internal to His essence as one of His divine attributes. Secondly, it pertains to His honor and reputation as God and Lord of His people. Thirdly, it relates Him to His creations that reflect and shine forth His glory (Ps. 19). Lastly, His glory is evident in how He had ordained things to be in the life of His people.

When the Scripture particularly the OT talks about God’s glory, it is pertaining to His presence over the people just like when a cloud stood still over Israel (Exodus 13:21; 14:19-20; 16:9-10; 40:34-37). People usually are intimidated or scared when this happens but other times they are encouraged, knowing that the Lord is with them.

God’s glory is essential to His divinity. It can neither be increased or decreased, yet, it can be witnessed whether by His outworking or His creations. This glory is shown in a more personal and intimate manner through Christ.

For Thomas Goodwin, Christ possesses a threefold glory. The first one is that of His divine nature which was mentioned already. This glory is coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The second one is His personal glory that is exclusive to Himself alone on account of the hypostatic union–as the God-man. His third glory is His mediatorial glory which will cease when the consummation comes (Beeke & Jones 356-357).

What application can be gleaned from these? It is to fear God and be humble knowing that all glory belongs to Him alone. Christians must be discerning of their actions whether they’re doing things sincerely for the glory of God or for their own pleasure.

“God’s glory is the central motivation for salvation, not improving the lives of people—though that is a wonderful by-product. God is not a means to an end—he is the means and the end.

The goal of all of life is to give glory to God alone: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). As The Westminster Catechism says, the chief purpose of human life is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever,” (Holcomb).

Reforming Churches, Reforming Hearts

The Philippines is considered one of the Christian nations because it is dominated largely by Roman Catholicism. The World Population Review estimated the Roman Catholics at 81.40 percent (2022) which leaves the rest of the 19 percent to Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists, and other religions in the country as well as the cults. Regardless of the data, it is evident that Reformation is being celebrated in some corners of the country. There has been a continuous wave of reformation being manifested evidentially on social media. Filipino Reformed (and Calvinistic) FB pages (Reformed Pinoy), Reformed bookstores, and even Reformed meme pages are being created. There are also Reformation conferences on different parts of the country being held during the halloween season. An online directory was also created to help people across the country looking for a Reformed church or at least one with Calvinistic persuasion (The Reformed Pinoy).

Churches were also being planted within the Metro reaching up the north in Benguet, stretching down the south of the Philippines–in Mindanao–in places where people are predominantly Muslim such Marawi, Zamboanga, and South Cotabato.

While it is encouraging to see that more and more churches are being reformed by the Word of God - hopefully -it should also be a reminder for Christians to be ever vigilant not only to maintain the purity of the church but to keep guard of their way of life.

The Five Solas of reformation are helpful not only for sharpening ones’ doctrines but more importantly to the realignment of practice with the Scripture. The church as a whole must be in constant reformation and renewal by the Word of God aided by the Spirit of Jesus Christ so that she may not fall into the trap of worldliness which expresses itself in secularism, pragmatism, and relativism (Parfan 5).


Works Cited

Bible / Study Bible

Nichols, Stephen J. “The Reformation.” The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version. R.C. Sproul, gen. ad., Reformation Trust Publishing, 2015, pp.



Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics: Abridged in One Volume, edited by John Bolt, Grand Rapids, Baker Publishing Group, 2011.

Beeke J. & Jones, M. A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, Grand Rapids, Reformation Heritage Books, 2012.

Brown, John. Systematic Theology: A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion, Grand Rapids, Reformation Heritage Books, 2015.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Robert White, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2014.

Currid, John. “Adam and the Beginning of the Covenant of Grace,” Covenant Theology: BIblical, Theological, and Historical Perspectives, edited by Guy Prentiss Waters et. al., Crossway, 2020, pp. 99-109.

Dixhoorn, Chad Van. Confessing the Faith, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2014. Engelsma, David. Gospel Truth of Justification, Jenison, MI, Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2017.

Hillerbrand, Hans. The Protestant Reformation, New York, Harper & Row Publishers Inc, 1968.

Hodge, A.A. The Confession of Faith, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1992.

Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, 2018.

________. Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, 2018.

Johnson, S. Lewis, “Mary, the Saints, and Sacerdotalism,” Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us, edited by John Armstron et. al., Chicago, The Moody Bible Institute, 1994.

Jones, Mark. Living for God: A Short Introduction to the Christian Faith, Wheation, Crossway, 2020.

Letham, Robert. Systematic Theology, Wheaton, Crossway, 2019.

Robbins, John. Foreword. God’s Hammer: The BIble and Its Critics, by Gordon H. Clark, The Trinity Foundation, 1992.

Shelley, Bruce. Church History in Plain Language, 4th ed., revised by R.L. Hatchett, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson, 2013.

Sproul, R.C. Truths We Confess: A Systematic Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith,

Sanford, FL, Reformation Trust Publishing, 2019.

Trueman, Carl. Grace Alone: Salvation as a Gift of God, edited by Matthew Barrett, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2017.

VanDrunen, David. God’s Glory Alone: The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life, edited by Matthew Barrett, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2015.

Ward, Rowland. The Westminster Confession of Faith: A Study Guide for the 21st Century, NSW, Tulip Publishing, 2021.

Williamson, G.I. The Westminster Confession of Faith, 2nd ed., Phillipsburg, P&R Publishing Company, 2004.

Woolley, Paul. “The Relevancy of Scripture,” The Infallible word: A Symposium, edited by N.B. Stonehouse and Paul Woolley, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1946, pp. 196-215.


Calvin, John. Commentary on Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, translated by William Pringle, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Accessed 22, Nov. 2022.


Sproul, R.C. Welcome to the Reformation Study Bible, Reformation Trust Publishing, p.11.


“A New Marian Dogma? Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, Advocate.” Catholic Culture, Accessed 24, Nov. 2022

Adair, John. “Why the Five Solas Matter Today.” Voice Dallas Theological Seminary, 23,

Crizaldo, Rei. “Deformed and Always Deforming.” Half-Meant, 14, Nov. 2020, Ays-deforming. Accessed 1 Nov. 2022

“Does "Co-redemptrix" or "Mediatrix" mean "Co-Saviour"?”, Accessed 24, Nov. 2022

“Feast of the Black Nazarene.” National Museum of the Philippines,

Henry, Matthew. “Second Timothy.” Acts to Revelation, Vol. 6 of Commentary on the Whole BIble, Accessed 22, Nov. 2022.

Hesselink, I.J. “Reformed, But Ever Reforming.” Banner of Truth,

“Highest Catholic Population 2022.” World Population Review, Accessed 1, Nov. 2022

Holcomb, Justin. “Five Solas-Points from the Past that Should Matter toYou.”, rmation.html. Accessed 24, Nov. 2022.

“Nazarene Feast: 2 Dead, 1,200 Injured.” Philstar Global, 9 Jan. 2016, Injured. Accessed 25 Nov. 2022.

Piper, John. “All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God—Continue in It.” Desiring God, 11 Aug. 2012, Accessed 22 Nov. 2022.

Reformed Pinoy. List of Filipino Reformed FB Pages. Facebook, 18 Oct. 2022, (time), KSBPopimd1N4QS4y8sGkUc7vuXsF18yuul. Accessed 17 Nov. 2022

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“Saints.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,

Pope, Charles. “Answering those who say there is only one Mediator.” Community in Mission:

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Accessed 24 Nov. 2022.

Zemplényi, Lili. “Marking the 505th Anniversary of the Reformation.” Hungarian Conservative, Accessed 1 Nov. 2022


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JeffChavez 1689
JeffChavez 1689
11 abr

Amen. "Therefore, it would be prudent and proper to revisit the Five Solas in order that believers would really know what each doctrine means; have a careful grasp and understanding of their application to the current days as it has been in the ages, and embrace them as a way of life―not just as a cool banner on social media." Thank you for this.

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