So, What Are These Sola Things?
Depending on our differing church backgrounds, the Five Solas may or may not be a familiar term. If you have Lutheran background you are much more likely to know the term than if you were raised Baptist, for instance. The Five Solas are foundational themes in Christian faith, which began with three solas from Martin Luther, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone. Two others were added later, Christ Alone, and Glory to God Alone. During this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, we have created and gathered many resources to assist in worship planning and learning.
Check out our newest releases for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation!
Two choral anthems, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," and "Daily Grace," each express sola themes: the Word of God, “that Word above all earthly powers,“ and “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.” Each of the pieces includes options for the congregation to be involved with the choir, without the need for rehearsal. Listen and see these pieces for worship here.
Grace Alone is a collection of five pieces for adult choir, and optional orchestra. Composed by Josh Bauder, these pieces create 21st century expressions of timeless texts related to the sola themes. These pieces may be used equally for concert or worship functions. In addition, there are five complimentary responsive readings that are available to use in conjunction with these classic works.
"The Heavens Declare"
"Let Us Plead for Faith Alone"
"Jesus Shall Reign"
The five sola themes are wonderful principles of Christian faith, and may be learned by children as a part of their spiritual formation. Here you will find five delightful, engaging pieces for children’s choirs and other children’s educational or home groups. Each piece of music has been created with kid-friendly sound tracks, which are available in both stereo and split track versions.
Glory Be to God, by Edwin M. Willmington (kids)
Grace, God's Grace, by Edwin M. Willmington (kids)
O Word of God, by Edwin M. Willmington (kids)
Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, by Edwin M. Willmington (kids)
We Believe, by Edwin M. Willmington (kids)
The Five Solas Project Resource Pak is an educational book to be used in conjunction with the five children’s sola pieces. Included in the book are five stories to match each sola theme. In addition, for each theme there are devotional guides with discussion questions, activity page, and responsive readings for worship. A CD of the music is also included in the back of each book.
Growing God’s Way is a bright, fully illustrated storybook with short stories that bring light to each of the five sola themes. These short stories are appropriate for home reading, small groups, as well as useful for occasions such as children’s sermons in worship. A CD is included in the back of each book so that listening to each song may amplify the story that connects to it.
Concert pianist, Jenny Jee-El Park, offers her arrangements for the piano centered on the sola themes in Lift High the Cross. Jenny’s skill as a performer lives itself out in her arrangements as well. The sensitivity and power of these wonderful arrangements is sure to enhance the life of the listener, whether in worship or in a concert setting.
Modern hymn writer, Ken Bible, has combined his skills as a writer with his study of theology to write new hymns and devotional readings to guide our focus on the five sola themes, The Five Solas: An Affirmation of Faith from LNW Hymns. Often using familiar hymn tunes, Ken writing enables us to voice our corporate and individual thoughts and feelings related to the sola themes.
Artist Cami Ferreira has expressed the five solas in two pieces of original art. Both pieces incorporate the words of the five solas, both Latin and English, into the art. Using high quality ink and paper, these frameable art pieces serve as a visual reminder of these important aspects of Christian faith. You can view and purchase Ferreira's art work, both the 5 Solas Calligraphy print and the Reformation Luther Rose, at her Etsy store, CamiFerreira.
Written by Jeanelle Austin and Phil Allen, the engaging, poetic style of Spoken Word gives a creative view to the five sola themes. Set up for one or two readers, these unique artistic writings provide a fresh expression of the five sola themes. These artistic expressions are complimentary offerings in both audio and written script form. The audio files are available here and you may view and download the script here.
The Ogilvie Institute of Preaching, Brehm Center's initiative of worship, preaching, and justice, provided these sermon notes for preachers considering a Five Sola sermon series.
If your church follows the liturgical calendar, you may already observe Reformation Sunday on the Sunday nearest October 31 each year. Whether this is a new idea or a familiar practice for you, 2017 would be a great year to spend October dwelling in a Reformation sermon series that helps your congregation re-engage with the roots of your particular denomination or theological tradition. One way to do that is to focus on the “Five Solas."
Maria Fee, artist, doctoral candidate, and instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary, provided these references to current exhibitions in the Los Angeles area and timeless art related to the Reformation and the Five Solas.
Until March 26, 2017 LACMA will exhibit Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach.
Until June 11, 2017 LACMA will exhibit The Prints of Albrecht Dürer.
Images related to the Reformation:
Luther and Cranach, by Lovis Corinth
Page from German Bible, 17th Century
Bible Reading, J.H. Nahl
Rembrandt Prints and Rembrandt Religious Theme Prints from the Morgan Library
The Three Trees after Rembrandt, Captain William E. Baillie from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Reel Spirituality, Brehm Center's initiative of faith and film, provided these brief reflections on and suggestions for five films, each related to the Five Solas.
Here are a collection of links to aid in your further study of the Five Solas and their history.
Wikipedia: The Five Solas
Reasonable Theology: The Five Solas and the Reformation
Got Questions: The Five Solas
Christianity Today: The Five Solas and the Reformation
Scholars Suggest How to Remember the Reformation
Theopedia: The Five Solas
Ligonier: Semper Reformanda
Ligonier: Always Abusing, Semper Reformanda
Grace to You: Keep Reforming
Artlicursi: Why Five Solas?