The Five Forgotten Solas

Most reformed folk are familiar with the famous five “solas” of the Reformation – sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”), sola fide (“by faith alone”), sola gratia (“by grace alone”), solus Christus (“through Christ alone”), and soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)

What is less well known is that there were in fact originally ten solas, five of which have sadly fallen into disuse. The forgotten five are as follows:

Sola powa

At the heart of the reformation lay the conviction that the Pope was exercising unwarranted power over the church. The reformers countered this with the cry of “sola powa” – Christ’s power alone.

Sola systema

By “sola systema”, the reformers meant that they believed there was one, and only one, true systematic theology. For both Calvin and Luther, this was Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”. Hence this sola also became known as “Sola Grudema”

Sola plexus

In modern western evangelicalism, we speak of inviting Jesus into your “heart”, and having an “undivided heart”. But in the days of the reformation, it was the gut or abdomen that was considered the centre of a person’s being, and thus exclusive devotion to the Lord was described as having a “sola plexus”.

Sola tido

This sola comes from a line in Luther’s famous hymn “do re me fa sola tido”, which is also notable for his unconventional description of the communion meal as “a drink with jam and bread”. He actually wrote several hymns that celebrated the solas, another favourite being “solang, farewell, auf wiedersen goodbye”.

Sola Surviva

Sola Surviva” was a youth camp run by jointly Luther and Calvin during the time of the Reformation, until sadly it was halted over a dispute over whether alcohol should be allowed on site.

For more helpful theological definitions, be sure to check out my theological words of the day.

3 thoughts on “The Five Forgotten Solas

  1. I found this in my archives – it was planned for Apr 1st 2011, but I forgot to post it

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