Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are the two most fundamental marks of the Evangelical church. These two marks are all but destroyed in North America today. For some reason we have decided to all but abandon these marks. All churches in North America are not guilty of this but it seems, especially in my generation, that a lot of churches are disregarding these two crucial marks of the Church. I praise God for the churches that have not bee persuaded by the culture to bow the knee of compromise. R.C Sproul talks about these two crucial issues in his book, What is the Church?:
“The two major points of unity in historic and classical Evangelicalism were two key solas of the Reformation— sola scriptura and sola fide. Sola scriptura reflects the fact that all the different Protestant parties believed that the Bible was the final authority for matters of faith and practice. They all believed in the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. And second, they agreed on the cardinal issue of the sixteenth century, namely, the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that is, sola fide. Wherever else they differed (such as over the sacraments and other doctrines), at least they had the cement of what they did hold in common that bound Protestants together.”
Sproul also adds something said by Martin Luther as well:
“Toward the end of his life, Luther observed that the light of the gospel had broken through in his day and lightened the darkness. Remember the motto of the Reformation: Post tenebras lux, that is, “After darkness, light.” Luther said that it was inevitable that before long, the truth of the gospel would be hidden once more in obscurity. The reason he gave was that where the gospel is preached, it divides and controversy ensues .”
Sproul goes onto to talk about peace, which is something my generation seems to be obsessed with but forgets this too easily:
“People don’t want ongoing controversy. We want peace. The message of the false prophets of Israel was one of peace. But their peace was an illusion . They preached peace when there was no peace, or what Luther called a carnal peace. Luther said that when the gospel is preached with passion and with accuracy, it does not bring peace. In fact, our Lord Himself said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10: 34). That does not mean that we are called to use weapons of military combat to further the extension of the kingdom. We are to be peacemakers. We are to be tolerant, kind, and patient people. But if you look at the record of history, the true prophets of Israel contended for the truth, and every time they did, controversy emerged. Probably no human being has engendered as much controversy as Jesus Christ did. People were galvanized either for Him or against Him. The record of the Apostolic church in the book of Acts is the record of ongoing and unabated controversy. The controversy focused on the preaching of the gospel. So controversial was the preaching of the gospel that the religious establishment of the Jewish community forbade the Apostles from preaching the gospel at all because it was controversial and because it divided people. In our generation we’ve been told that the highest virtue is peace. We’ve lived in the age of the atomic bomb. We’ve seen widespread warfare. We’re tired of disputes , tired of people fighting and killing each other. It is by God’s grace that churches aren’t burning people at the stake or putting them on torture racks as was done in earlier centuries . We’ve learned to coexist with people with whom we disagree. We value that peace. But I’m afraid the danger is that we value it so much that we’re willing to obscure the gospel itself. We have to be careful of speaking about unity when we really don’t have it. At times I think we believe we have more unity than we actually have.”
R.C Sproul ~ What is the Church?