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Sola Fide

Latin “faith alone”

The historic Protestant doctrine that the only instrumental cause of justification, from the human perspective, is faith. While God is the ultimate cause of justification, Protestants believe that faith in Christ through the message of the Gospel is necessary. There are no works, no matter how meritorious they may seem, that can add to justification (Eph. 2:8-9). This doctrine, according to Protestants, finds its roots in the teachings of Paul but was obscured in the middle ages and restored during the Reformation. Many Protestants would be quick to point out that it is not the doctrine itself that saves, but the reality that the doctrine represents. In other words, one is saved by faith alone, not by belief in the doctrine of faith alone. As well, most Protestants would say that “it is faith alone that saves, but the faith that saves will not be alone.” This doctrine represents a major point of distinction between Protestants and Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and, often, Eastern Orthodox.

For more on this, see Michael Horton’s article “Are We Justified By Faith Alone? – What Still Divides Us: A Protestant & Roman Catholic Debate.”

Also, for a historical look at the doctrine of Justification, see Oden’s A Justification Reader.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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