"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8–9
You may have noticed some strange language on our church’s logo. That’s Latin, which we know hardly anybody uses these days. So what on earth is a church in today's world doing using an old dead language in its logo? Well, those five statements in Latin hearken back to the Protestant Reformation, during which the gospel and glorious truths of the Christian faith were recovered. Christians have been celebrating and teaching these truths ever since, and we intend to teach these truths today as we believe that they are at the heart of the Christian faith. The five “Solas of the Reformation” contained within the Arlington Baptist Church logo are Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solo Christo, and Soli Deo Gloria.
Sola Scriptura = Scripture Alone
“Sola Scriptura” simply means by Scripture alone. God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word is the only and final authority on matters of doctrine, life, and godliness. Therefore, we submit our lives to God’s authority as revealed in his word. We see in the Bible itself that God’s Word is given the place of supreme authority (Deuteronomy 4:5–6; 6:6–9; Psalm 119:1–176; 138:2; 2 Timothy 3:14–17; 4:2).
The next four solas could be summarized by what the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8–10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Sola Gratia = Grace Alone
“Sola Gratia” simply means by grace alone. Anyone who comes to saving faith in Christ does so supremely and solely by God’s grace – God’s unmerited favor. In our sin, we do not deserve to be saved, but God, in his glorious grace, saves many. This doctrine is also taught in the Scriptures (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:3–8; 2:8–10).
Sola Fide = Faith Alone
“Sola Fide” means by faith alone. The Scriptures teach that we are justified or saved by faith and only by faith in Christ Jesus. Protestants have never denied that good works are a vital expression of faith, but good works do not save. Faith without works is dead faith, it’s no true faith, but true faith will pursue good works for the glory of God. We see this wonderful truth celebrated in Scripture as well (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 4:5; 10:9–11; Galatians 3:6–11).
Solo Christo = Christ Alone
“Solo Christo” means through Christ alone. The Scriptures teach that we are not saved through the church, or through our works or other religious teachers or religions. If anyone is saved from God’s wrath, they are saved only through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The exclusivity of the Lord Jesus Christ is taught throughout the New Testament (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 3:20; Colossians 1:13–18; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; Hebrews 4:14–16; 8:6; 9:15).
Soli Deo Gloria = God's Glory Alone
“Soli Deo Gloria” means to God alone be the glory. Because God is the author and finisher of our faith, he alone is worthy of glory and praise. He is worthy of glory not only because he has accomplished salvation in Christ, but also because of his work of creation. Again, this doctrine is taught and affirmed by Scripture (Romans 11:36; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Peter 4:11; Revelation 1:5–6; 4:11).
For more on the 5 solas, read the Cambridge Declaration.