The Solas and Freedom of Conscience

The Solas and Freedom of Conscience
“Here I stand. I can do no other!” It is said that Luther after one day of consideration declared these famous words at the court of Charles V in Worms. These words made him an outlaw. But these words also made him the man who laid the foundation for our modern understanding of Freedom of Conscience. “Try my claims with Scripture and prove me wrong, if you can, and I will revoke what I have said.” These were the words which went before his above declaration. The Evangelical Alliance Week of Prayer 2017 is based on the Solas, Alone by/through which marked the reformation, made Luther and many others outlaws and yet transformed the world. These Solas tend to make Christians outlaws even today. In a day and age where almost everything is relative, you don’t earn credits if you declare absolutes. Have you ever thought that Freedom of Conscience only makes sense in a society which believes in and tolerates absolutes? And yet we live in a society which does not only ban absolutes but even punishes people who believe in absolutes. We move from banning things, from being politically not correct to legislate what can be said and what not. We as Christians have been guilty of this as well when we used our power to forbid certain convictions. Only where free discourse is possible can you claim to have freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Upholding the Solas today is foundational to this. As you go through this Week of Prayer I pray that you may be encouraged to wrestle and grasp anew what it means to stand true to Sola Scripturaby Scripture alone – Scripture over tradition Sola Fide – by faith alone – faith over works Sola Gratia – by Grace alone – grace over merit Solus Christus – through Christ alone – Christ the only way May this result in Soli Deo Gloria! Glory to God alone! Praying with you Thomas Bucher General Secretary European Evangelical Alliance

P.S. The materials for the week of prayer 2017 was developed by the DACH members of the EEA. DACH standing for Germany (D), Austria (A) and Switzerland (CH). Heartfelt thanks go to them for their efforts to contribute to 500 years’ celebration of the reformation and make it truly special.