There are a lot of “Solos” sung by our Protestant brethren: Sola Fide (saved by faith alone); Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone is the rule of faith); sola gratia(grace works alone). (See the Protestant Logo to the right). Generally one ought to be suspicious and careful of claims that things work alone. It is our usual experience that things work together in harmony with other things and are interrelated. Very seldom is anyone or anything alone.
The problem of the “solos” emerges, it seems to me, in our minds where it is possible to separate things out. But the fact is, just because we can separate out something in our mind does not mean that we can separate it in reality. Consider a candle flame for a moment. In my mind I can separate the heat of the flame from the Light of the flame. But in reality I could never take a knife and put the heat over to one side and the light off to the other. In reality the heat and light are inseparable, so together as to be one.
I would like to respectfully argue that it is the same withthings like faith and works, grace and transformation, Scripture and the Church. We can separate all these things out in our mind but in reality they are one. Attempts to separate them from what they belong to lead to grave distortions and to the thing in question no longer being what it is claimed to be. Rather it turns into an abstraction that exists only on a blackboard or in the mind of a (geeky) theologian.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Msgr. Pope comments on the Protestant Solas
Check it out here. The basic premise of his essay is found in the following introduction: