Friday, August 20, 2010

Off topic

I assigned Claire to read Paul Johnson's A History of the America People. I remember the histories I studied in school were synoptic, impersonal, and boring. It took me years to realize that I love history. Johnson is a great writer with a love of history and a fondness for America that has little to do with liberal or conservative politics. His narratives are both informative and entertaining. Nevertheless, Johnson is a bit difficult for a 12-year old to read, so it has been important for Claire to keep track of new vocabulary. Her daily reports provide me the opportunity to reinforce what she's learning, but they also provide me opportunities to teach off topic.

Sometimes, the most important lessons are learned tangentially.

The other day Claire sent me her vocabulary list including the word, "antinomian." She defined antinomian as, "A member of a Christian sect holding such a doctrine." Well, I think I can spot a non-answer when I see one. I challenged Claire to explain whether she was antinomian. Further, I asked her to look up the meaning of the Latin phrase, "Sola Fide."

At dinner we discussed that antinomianism holds that salvation comes without keeping the Law. Sola Fide asserts that salvation comes by faith alone. A few days later we continued the discussion as I asked Claire, based on her understanding of Sola Fide, to also define Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria. English derives itself from the Latin and Greek, so it wasn't too difficult for her to grasp:

Sola Fide: by faith alone

Sola Gratia: by grace alone

Sola Scriptura: by Scripture alone

Solus Christus: through Christ alone

Soli Deo Gloria: unto God's glory alone


In support of Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria, I offer you Romans 5:1-11 (KJV):

Therefore being justify by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,

and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

For when we were yet without strength,

in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:

yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us,

in that, while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justify by his blood,

we shall be saved from wrath through him.

For if, when we were enemies,

we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,

much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

by whom we have now received the atonement.

Sola Scriptura is implicit in this passage as well, because for one to receive the message of grace by faith through Jesus Christ unto God's glory one must believe that the Scriptures are true.

While I'm thankful for the opportunity to teach theology on a tangent from Claire's American History reading, I'm most hopeful that the Five Sola's will mean for her more than mere vocabulary. Encapsulated within those five Latin phrases is the hope of eternal life.

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