Solus Christus

Dear hijas,

For what is the significance of the sola, Chirst Alone, as we look at the differences between Protestants and Catholics?

For Protestants, we are talking about the idea that Christ is the only mediator between God and man, and that salvation comes through no other (1 Tim. 2:5); that we are saved by the merits of Christ Alone, and come to God through Christ Alone. The Westminster Confession of Faith states:

It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Saviour of His Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified (WCF 7.1).

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by the merits of Christ and the saints, and that we approach God through Christ, the saints, and Mary, who all pray and intercede for us.  In the Church of the Middle Ages before the Reformation, the minister was seen as having a special relationship with God, as he mediated God’s grace and forgiveness through the sacraments.  The idea was that there were no sacraments in the church except by the service of priests ordained by apostolic succession under the authority of the Pope. The sola of Christ Alone, however,  rejects this principle of “sacerdotalism”.

We have to remember that this reaction was against the teaching, as the Reformers saw it, of something else needed to approach God and by those who denied that they needed the Roman Catholic Church to know God or to be reconciled to him. In the centuries preceding the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had effectively placed itself between believers and God. They taught that Jesus’ death had produced ‘merit’, and that He had entrusted the keys to that treasure chest of merit, to the Church. The role of the Church was then to distribute that merit to the faithful.

Our response should be the same as the Reformers, ‘No, Christ Alone’. We don’t need ‘The Church’  for us to know God or to be reconciled to Him; it is in Christ alone that we are saved and are able to approach God. We don’t need ‘another’ mediator, Christ Alone is sufficient. Don’t get me wrong, fellowship with other believers is vitally important, and is commanded in Scripture (see Heb. 10:25, Acts 2:42). Attending a congregation of believers and ‘going to Church’ on a most regular basis should not by any means be neglected, for it is there that we are taught the Word, take part in the Sacraments, and join in corporate worship and prayer. It is not ‘the Church’ however by which we receive our merit.

This is a big difference is it not? The difference on how we approach God is set in stark contrast between the two camps.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

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2 thoughts on “Solus Christus”

  1. Dad, I talked to my friend about this and her defense was how was it any different from asking someone like me or another friend to pray for her? She said by praying to Mary it is like she is asking Mary to talk to Jesus for her and did not see any difference in that and asking me to pray for her.

    1. Hello mi hija,
      For one, Mary is dead. Every argument should always go back to Scripture. There is no support in Scripture that departed ones, even in the presence of God, can watch and listen, and hear what is going on in the lives of individuals in the here and now on earth. To grant them this ability would be to grant them God-ness. It would grant them an attribute of God, i.e., omnipresence, omniscience, that is reserved to God alone. Does your friend believe that Mary can see her every move, watching her all the time, watching and listening to her thoughts, her sins, her impure actions and thoughts as well as her pure actions and thoughts? Scripture speaks to only God having this ability, no one else.

      Two, Jesus instructed us to “who” and how we should pray. His instructions in the Lord’s prayer of Matthew 6 and Luke 11 are specifically instructive: “But you, when you pray, GO INTO YOUR INNER ROOM, AND WHEN YOU HAVE SHUT YOUR DOOR, pray to your Father, who is in secret, and your father who sees in secret will repay you.” In addition, can your friend find ‘any’ instance, in Scripture, where we are told to pray to departed dead people?

      Three, the Protestant Reformers, and those today who are in the protestant camp, see praying to Mary and the other Catholic saints as a form of idolatry. Prayers to Mary and adoration of Mary has even been given a name; Mariology. Idolatry is strictly forbidden in the first and second commandments of Ex. 20:3-7 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5:1-21. See also, Deut. 4: 15-19 where Moses speaking from God says, “So watch yourselves carefully…” concerning idolatry. See also Leviticus 19: 1-4.

      Hope this helps.

      Love,
      Dad

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