The Reformation and Immigrant: Sola Scriptura

DEEELLL.jpg Rondell Treviño, Founder & President, Memphis immigration Project

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century changed Christianity forever. Roused to action by the corruption and abuses they saw in the Roman Catholic church of the time, visionary pastors and leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin spearheaded a movement that transformed Christianity and eventually led to the emergence of the Protestant denominations that exist today.

The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had drifted away from the essential, original teachings of Christianity, especially in regard to what it was teaching about salvation—how people can be forgiven of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and receive eternal life with God. The Reformation sought to re-orient Christianity on the original message of Jesus and the early church.

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity.

The Five Solas are:

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

Let’s have a brief look at the first of the five points and what it has to do with Immigrants in our midst.

SOLA SCRIPTURA

The Scriptures are our ultimate and trustworthy authority for faith and practice. This doesn’t mean that the Bible is the only place where truth is found, but it does mean that everything else we learn about God and his world, and all other authorities, should be interpreted in light of Scripture. The Bible gives us everything we need for our theology.

There are 750,000 plus words in the inerrant and infallible Bible, each word of the 66 books is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also helps us to understand and obey Scripture.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”- 2 Timothy 3:16-17

What does this have to do with Immigrants in our midst?

Since God’s inerrant and infallible Word breathed out by God Himself and is alive and active, then this means that when God’s commands us to care and love Immigrants, we should do it.

 

27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”- Luke 25:27

Here in Luke 25, a questioning Lawyer attempts to trick and trap Jesus by asking Him questions. However, instead, Jesus uses the lawyer’s own questions to help him see his sin. The lawyer asks Jesus, “How do I inherit eternal life?” and Jesus replies with the greatest commandment in the verse above.

What’s interesting is the second part of Luke 10:27, “and your neighbor as yourself” is referenced from Leviticus 19:18 which says, You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” In other words, the lawyer believed that loving his neighbor only included his own people. People who look, act, and think like he did–People who are only within his own race, political party, zip code, and economic class. However, what he intentionally forgot was that Leviticus 19 doesn’t end with verse 18, but ends with verse 34.

In chapter 19 of Leviticus, God tells this lawyer who his neighbor is by using the writer to say in Verse 33-34, 33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord our God.”

Here in Leviticus, the writer is telling the Israelites that they are commanded to not do an Immigrant wrong, but rather love him/her as a neighbor because they were once Immigrants in the land of Egypt. This is exactly what Jesus is attempting to tell the lawyer.

When Jesus compels the lawyer to say “love your neighbor as yourself.” He is compelling him to understand that his neighbor is someone so different it is the Immigrant.

Likewise, as followers of Christ, Jesus too commands us to love Immigrants in our midst because as the Reformation clearly articulates, every word in the inerrant and infallible Bible is breathed out by God and is alive, and therefore should be understood and viewed as our blueprint on how to live life. And one way we are called to do so is by loving Immigrants.

 

Memphis immigration Project exists to inspire the Christian community and people of good will to love their Immigrant neighbor.

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