Providence is celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation this fall!
Share in the celebration with us!
Apply to Providence between now and Thanksgiving and we will award you a $500 scholarship for your early application to our Reformed, Christian college!
What is the Reformation?
On October 31,1517 in Wittenberg, Germany, a theologian named Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses statements onto a church door in order to spark discussion about many of the practices and theology of the Roman Catholic church at that time. No one expected that these statements would provoke a debate that culminated into what we now call the Protestant Reformation and lead ultimately to one of the greatest transformations of Western religious society.
Thus, starting with Martin Luther and a few others, they pleaded and argued with a return to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, that is, the authority of Jesus Christ, conducive teaching to the apostles and prophets (The Bible), and a true engagement of living out and thinking aright God’s gospel found in Jesus Christ.
Why does the Reformation matter to Providence today?
Providence, as you may know, is a Reformed Christian college. In other words, we have a certain way of understanding and applying our Christian faith through a particular set of historical theologians and lenses. One of those Protestant theologians is John Calvin. Calvin was a pastor who cared deeply for how Christians think, speak, and live out the Christian faith in every part of their lives and based in Scripture. Thus, Calvin concerned himself with everything from theological doctrines, political theory, social justice, religious observance, and an understanding of human beings need for God.
In light of that, Providence links itself to Calvin’s thought and those who came after him, trying to reiterate and engage in the same conversations Calvin did. Thus, the Reformed nature of our college is a particular way of thinking about and teaching the Christian faith.
The five Solas
Some of the taglines you might have heard in this tradition and the Reformation are the five solas, which concern the nature of salvation.
Sola Scriptura Human beings have been given a true word about God found within the pages of Scripture; thus, we give it more authority than other words –it is the sole authority that brings us knowledge of God’s desire for humanity.
Sola Fide Through faith alone means that faith, the concepts of trust and hope, is the thing that determines another human being’s category of obtaining salvation. This faith is one that is placed in the work of Jesus Christ.
Sola Gratia By grace alone can be tricky. A good understanding is that salvation came through God’s grace alone or God’s unmerited favor alone. In other words, there wasn’t something in particular that made you be desired for salvation or something you did, instead God lavished it upon you because you’re part of His creation.
Solus Christus Christ Alone is pretty straightforward. Salvation is brought to us by God’s Son, Jesus Christ, alone. There is no other way to obtain God’s grace but through faith in Jesus Christ. With this acknowledgment, women and men who claim Christ alone are making not just a faith statement but a political one as well. Jesus is their Ruler, their Life-line, and their Hope before God the Father.
Soli Deo Gloria For God’s glory alone can be an interesting one to think about. It answers the question: what do you do now with your life in light of the four solas? The answer appears straightforward, yet it is the trickiest one because it takes a lifetime to do. What we do with our life now is to live for God’s glory as a symbol to others of God’s faithfulness to God’s Creation and to embody the joy this salvation brings in every aspect of our lives.