Christianity Knowledge Base

Soli Deo gloria is one of the five solas propounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation; it is a Latin term for Glory to God alone.

Soli deo gloria

"SDG" at the end of a G. F. Handel manuscript

The emphasis was allegedly in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day.

The doctrine states essentially that everything that is done is for God's glory to the exclusion of humankind's self-glorification and pride. The idea is that Christians are to be motivated and inspired by God's glory and not their own.

Soli Deo gloria is the motto of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, a Christian Community of friars of the Episcopal Church founded within the Anglican Communion in 1969.

The Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach appended the initials "SDG" at the end of the musical manuscripts of each of his cantatas [1] and, indeed, many other works. This dedication was also used by his contemporary George Frideric Handel (see image on right).

The 16th century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Cross used a similar phrase, Soli Deo honor et gloria, in his Precautions and Counsels.

Soli Deo Gloria is also the motto for Wheaton Academy, a high school located in West Chicago, Illinois, which was founded in 1853.

As related to Solus Christus[]

A common criticism of this Sola is that the doctrine is somewhat redundant to Solus Christus, since the divinity of Jesus has been acknowledged since before the time of the Apostolic Fathers and the Council of Nicea.

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