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Why Sola Fide is the Chief Article

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Historically, classical Protestantism has agreed with Luther's assessment of the centrality of the doctrine of justification.

Sola Fide: Crucial Then, Crucial Now?

As a faithful Roman Catholic, Martin Luther (1483-1546), the father of the Protestant Reformation, strove with all of his might to attain salvation while serving as a monk in the little town of Wittenberg. He prayed earnestly, studied tirelessly, held countless vigils, recited numerous masses, and harshly mistreated his body all with the goal of bringing his unruly flesh into submission. Yet, despite all of his efforts, peace of conscience eluded the young monk. As Luther later testified in his Lectures on Genesis, "[T]he more I sweat, the less quiet and peace I felt." (1)


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1 [ Back ] Martin Luther, "Lectures on Genesis," vol. 8, Luther's Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan and Walter A. Hansen (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1963), p. 326.
2 [ Back ] Martin Luther, "Career of the Reformer, IV," vol. 34, Luther's Works, eds. Helmut T. Lehmann and Lewis W. Spitz (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1960), p. 337.
3 [ Back ] Ad Bonifactum Book 1, Chapter 21, cited in Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, vol. 1, trans. Fred Kramer (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971), p. 506.
4 [ Back ] Martin Luther, "Word and Sacrament, I," vol. 35, Luther's Works, eds. Helmut T. Lehmann and E. Theodore Bachmann (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1960), p. 363.


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Issue: "The Art of Self-Justification" Sept./Oct. 2007 Vol. 16 No. 5 Page number(s): 19-24

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