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Sola fide

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Sola fide (Latin for "faith alone"[1]) is the doctrine taught in most branches of Protestant Christianity that states that salvation is earned solely by acceptance of Jesus' execution by the Roman authorities as a sacrifice for the sin of humanity, and that one's works of good will or charity have no bearing on one's right to a place in Heaven. This doctrine was based on Martin Luther's interpretation of the words of Paul on Salvation, which claims that good works are not sufficient to achieve salvation in the eyes of YHWH.[2]

Fide does not mean faith anyway. Latin does not have a word for the English word "faith", it is at best only a bad approximation. Fide is better translated as duty, loyalty or fidelity, and not as faith. Remember, Romans would have considered the faith as we understand the word to mean today, as superstition.

This doctrine is not universally accepted by all Christian denominations. The Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox which are the oldest Christian traditions have rejected sola fide, treating heaven as a meritocracy of the faithful. The Catholic Church anathematized those who believe in faith alone, while all historic churches consider the notion a heresy. Catholics consider faith without reason nothing more than superstition.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. It is properly pronounced /'sola 'fides/, though if you want to tweak fundies, you can always say /'sola fi:dz/ so you can say "Sola fides? In my vagina?"
  2. Romans 9:30-33 being one example of Paul's teaching.
  3. Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio