2021 Conference Media: Sola Fide
The Gospel that Glorifies Christ
OCTOBER 22-23, 2021
This is a conference concerned with the glory of God and the joy of man flowing from the heart of the gospel.
More than offering a merely historical or doctrinal review, this conference aims at making much of Christ through the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. It centers on treasures of immeasurable importance. It addresses matters that have to do with Christ and His glory, with the gospel and its clarity, and with man and his everlasting joy.
How can the unrighteous be righteous before God? How can the sinner be saved?
The chief banner of the Reformation proclaimed that a sinner is justified sola fide—by faith alone. It was a clarion for the gospel and served as a direct counter against distorted medieval views of justification.
The Reformation was not a clean-up project. We are not commemorating and celebrating a call to do better. It was not another one of the many campaigns for moral improvement.
A sinner is justified solely by a gracious act of God where He declares a guilty sinner righteous with the righteousness of Christ. The guilt of the sinner is charged to Christ and the righteousness of Christ is credited to the guilty sinner. This is what Luther celebrated as the great exchange. No admixture of works. No justifying righteousness within. Only redemption accomplished by Christ alone, applied through faith alone. This, said Luther, is “the summary of all Christian doctrine” and “the article by which the church stands or falls.” This is the gospel that glorifies Christ.
What is at stake in the matter of sola fide?
The glory of Christ, the clarity of the gospel, and the everlasting joy of man. It is a worldview issue. It sharpens or distorts our view of God, man, Christ, the cross, righteousness, sin, grace, justice, religion, faith, and the afterlife. Nothing can be more important than the matters that this doctrine unites. Upon it hinge the vitality of the gospel, Christianity, Christ’s church, and thus the hope of the world.
Is sola fide relevant in our day?
Absolutely! Not only does a right understanding of sola fide have massive implications for the church—for evangelism and the Christian life—it is essential in our responsibility to contend for the faith. There are many different groups in our day that have very different ideas of how a sinner can be right with a righteous God.
Sola fide is relevant for understanding the unrelenting number of controversial assaults against the biblical gospel. It identifies the cardinal difference between Roman Catholicism and evangelical Christianity. It exposes the flaws of the “prosperity gospel,” the “new perspective” on Paul, the “social gospel,” and various other contemporary issues. We need to know not only what the Scriptures have to say on these matters but how to then apply what Scripture says to our thinking, living, and speaking. We need to know how to speak the truth in love for the sake of Christ and the joy of all in Him.
In this way, this conference offers a sort of internal apologetic. A defense of the gospel within the church. It champions the biblical doctrine that a sinner is justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone. It aims at presenting a truly Christ-centered perspective on the doctrine of justification historically, biblically, and pastorally treated.