School of Music


Doctor of Philosophy


R. Scott Connell


Protestant Reformation, Black Church, Five Solas, African American Worship


Liturgy and Worship


Foundations are fundamental. Whether in the structure of a building, developing the mind, or establishing the faith, foundations are critical. The five solas of the Protestant Reformation are foundational to the Christian faith. When thinking of the Reformation and the five solas it produced, Psalm 11:3 comes to mind. This passage reads, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3, King James Version)? Today’s church needs to return to its foundations. This study argues that the five solas are a firm and solid foundation for the church. During the turbulent times of the Reformation, they held the church together. The Catholic church, like today’s church, got off course, off-centered, and strayed away from doctrinal truths. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3, KJV). While God has given the church truth and righteousness, there are times when the church becomes complacent and moves away from it. Today’s church, especially the African American church, needs to go back to the foundations. During the Reformation, the solas were instrumental in leading the people back to the truths of the Bible. As a result, restoration and reformation took place. The five solas: sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone), sola fide (Faith Alone), sola gratia (Grace Alone), solus Christus (Christ Alone), soli Deo Gloria (God’s Glory Alone) are fundamental doctrines that can help the church regain her footing.