Author

tile4

JoAnn Borovicka

JoAnn's Blog

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find short reflections, connections I've noticed that I'd like to pursue in future research, and various items that have caught my attention related to Bahá'i studies and Christian scholarship.

 

You are welcome to send me your comments at JoAnnBorovicka@gmail.com.

On the Five Solae of Protestantism

By JoAnn Borovicka, Jun 3 2017 01:35PM

The following study briefly looks at the principles of Christian Protestantism known as the “Five Solae” in light of the Bahá'í Writings.


Bahá’i Teachings and the Protestant “Five Solae” (“Solae” is Latin for single, alone)


1. Sola Scriptura (Latin for “by Scripture alone”)—that biblical teachings are inerrant, necessary, and sufficient for salvation without an apostolic mediator (such as the Pope, Bishop, Priest).


Bahá’i teachings: The integrity of the Bible as divine guidance is confirmed: “This book is the Holy Book of God, of celestial Inspiration. It is the Bible of Salvation, the Noble Gospel. It is the mystery of the Kingdom and its light. It is the Divine Bounty, the sign of the guidance of God.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 18)


That an individual can strive to understand the inner meanings of the biblical Scriptures and therefore “attain eternal life” is confirmed: I, therefore, pray in your behalf that you may be given the power of understanding these inner real meanings of the Holy Scriptures and may become informed of the mysteries deposited in the words of the Bible so that you may attain eternal life and that your hearts may be attracted to the Kingdom of God. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 459)


2. Sola fide (Latin for “faith alone”)—that faith in Christ is sufficient for eternal salvation; there needs to be a direct, close, and personal connection between Christ and the believer.


I see confirmation of this in “Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.” (Bahá’u’lláh)


Also:


Know that such ways, words, and deeds [that is, virtues and good deeds] are to be lauded and approved, and they redound to the glory of the human world. But these actions alone are not sufficient. They are a body of the greatest beauty, but without a spirit. No, that which leads to everlasting life, eternal honour, universal enlightenment, and true success and salvation is, first and foremost, the knowledge of God. It is clear that this knowledge takes precedence over every other knowledge and constitutes the greatest virtue of the human world. For the understanding of the reality of things confers a material advantage in the realm of being and brings about the progress of outward civilization, but the knowledge of God is the cause of spiritual progress and attraction, true vision and insight, the exaltation of humanity, the appearance of divine civilization, the rectification of morals, and the illumination of the conscience. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, no. 84.2)



3. Solus Christus (Latin for “Christ alone”)—that Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity.


A certain Gospel verse comes to mind; “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Interestingly, the Universal House of Justice states that this very verse, John 14:6, is not only confirmed in its truth but is also “the expression of the central truth of revealed religion”:


There is equal agreement in these texts [the world’s Scripture] that the soul’s ability to attain to an understanding of its Creator’s purpose is the product not merely of its own effort, but of interventions of the Divine that open the way. The point was made with memorable clarity by Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If one is not to see in this assertion merely a dogmatic challenge to other stages of the one ongoing process of Divine guidance, it is obviously the expression of the central truth of revealed religion: that access to the unknowable Reality that creates and sustains existence is possible only through awakening to the illumination shed from that Realm. (Written under the supervision of, and commissioned by, the Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 31)


With the Bahá’í understanding that this teaching relates to the eternal Christ Spirit (the Cosmic Christ, the Manifestation of God) this teaching is confirmed.


4. Sola Gratia (Latin for “Grace alone”)—that all good works are a gift of God’s grace; no one deserves salvation because of the merit of her/her works, salvation is a gift of God (i.e., God’s act of free grace [Matt 7:21]).


The obligatory prayers seem to confirm this teaching. As creatures who are both powerless and in poverty, we look to the grace of God for everlasting life—this is not something we can do on our own no matter how excellent our deeds: O God, my God! Thy forgiveness hath emboldened me, and Thy mercy hath strengthened me, and Thy call hath awakened me, and Thy grace hath raised me up and led me unto Thee. Who, otherwise, am I that I should dare to stand at the gate of the city of Thy nearness, or set my face toward the lights that are shining from the heaven of Thy will? Thou seest, O my Lord, this wretched creature knocking at the door of Thy grace, and this evanescent soul seeking the river of everlasting life from the hands of Thy bounty. Thine is the command at all times, O Thou Who art the Lord of all names; and mine is resignation tand willing submission to Thy will, O Creator of the heavens! (Baha’u’llah, The Long Obligatory Prayer excerpt)


5. Soli Deo Gloria: (Latin for “Glory to God alone”)—faith in the heart of the believer is dependent upon intervention by the Holy Spirit and the Will of God, therefore God alone is worthy of the glory.


The Long Obligatory Prayer reminds Baha'is to look to the Will of God, not our doings: O God, my God! Look not upon my hopes and doings, nay, rather look upon Thy will that hath encompassed the heavens and the earth. (Baha’u’llah, Long Obligatory Prayer excerpt)


It is confirmed that faith is dependent upon illumination from the Holy Spirit, the Divine Realm:


There is equal agreement in these texts [the world’s Scripture] that the soul’s ability to attain to an understanding of its Creator’s purpose is the product not merely of its own effort, but of interventions of the Divine that open the way. The point was made with memorable clarity by Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If one is not to see in this assertion merely a dogmatic challenge to other stages of the one ongoing process of Divine guidance, it is obviously the expression of the central truth of revealed religion: that access to the unknowable Reality that creates and sustains existence is possible only through awakening to the illumination shed from that Realm. (Written under the supervision of, and commissioned by, the Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 31)




Add a comment
* Required