-Appointed priest in Glarus (1506)
-Appointed “people’s priest” in Zurich (1519) – most influential religious position in the city
-Already influenced by the writings of Erasmus
- Spoke out against the indulgences
- 1521 – began reading the works of Luther
-Began advocating the sole authority of scripture; opposed cult of the saints, fasting, worship of Mary
-1523 – Zurich city officials adopted Zwingli’s reforms and became the first Protestant state outside of Germany
-Taught a true “sola scriputra” – scripture alone is the standard – a normative pattern for church life.
-Basic principle: if the Old or New Testament did not say something explicitly and literally, then Christians should not believe it or practice it.
-The ultimate authority would be the Christian community under the sole leadership of Christ and the divinely inspired scriptures.
-This authority is expressed through the civil government acting in agreement with scripture.
-The city council ordered a debate between Zwingli and the representatives of the Roman church (January 1523).
-Zwingli defended the following:
The Gospel derives no authority from the church.
Salvation is by faith alone.
Christ is the sole head of the Church.
-Denied: sacrificial character of the Mass, salvation by works, value of saintly intercessors, binding character of monastic vows, existence of purgatory
Advocated clerical marriage
-The city council declared Zwingli the victor and basically brought the German reformation to Zurich
-Another debate (October 1523) focused on the Mass and the use of images; Zwingli won this one as well. (Mass is not a sacrifice, Eucharist is a memorial, no images, no music)
-The city council voted, however, to make gradual changes: retained Latin Mass; quiet removal of images from cathedrals; priestly vestments no longer used; organs destroyed
-“. . . Everything that is added to the true institutions of Christ is an abuse. . . . The people must be educated in the Word of God so that neither vestments nor songs have a place (in the worship).”
-Conrad Grebel agreed with Zwingli: “Whatever we are not taught by clear passages or examples must be regarded as forbidden, just as if it were written: ’This do not; sing not.’”
-They advocated no audible singing (“sing and make melody in your hearts” – Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19).
-Zwingli taught that public worship should consist of:
Exposition of scripture by trained men
Individual private prayer
Observance of the Lord’s Supper
-Luther was not as strict; he retained much of the ceremonialism of the Church.
-By the end of 1524 even the monasteries were dissolved.
-1525, the Mass was abolished; a simple service in the vernacular was begun: removed pictures, statues, crucifixes, candles, other ornaments; walls were whitewashed, altars replaced with tables, organs torn apart.
-Agreed on a state Church, “people’s Church” (means as one is born into the state – into the Church also)
-Luther thought sacraments (baptism/Lord’s Supper) could generate faith.
-The relationship between the Word of God and the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper)
-Luther viewed the Word of God and the sacraments as inseparable. Both mediate Christ’s power and presence. Thus, they can create as well as demonstrate faith.
-Zwingli viewed the Word of God as creating faith and the sacraments as demonstrating faith. Word and sacrament are distinct and the Word is greater than the sacraments (McGrath, Reformation Thought, 188).
-Luther saw “is” as literal. -Luther took it as metaphorical.
-Zwingli saw “is” as metaphorical -Zwingli took it as literal.
-The inability of Luther and Zwingli to agree illustrated a difficulty that would continue to plague the reformers:
“The exegetical optimism of the early Reformation may be regarded as foundering on this rock: Scripture, it seemed, was far from easy to interpret.” (McGrath, Reformation Thought, 189).
-Zwingli encouraged other Swiss cities to join their Reformation, several did: Bern, Basel, Geneva (Calvin.)
Summary of Zwingli’s teachings:
The main theses he put forth were (1) that the church is born of the Word of God and has Christ alone as its head; (2) that its laws are binding only insofar as they agree with the Scripture; (3) that Christ alone is man's righteousness; (4) that the Holy Scripture does not teach Christ's corporeal presence in the bread and wine at the Lord's Supper; (5) that the mass is a gross affront to the sacrifice and death of Christ; (6) that there is no biblical foundation for the mediation or intercession of the dead, for purgatory, or for images and pictures; and (7) that marriage is lawful to all. With the friendly cantons of Basel and Bern, Zürich negotiated a Christian Civic Alliance (or League) based on the treaty by which Basel had been received into the Swiss confederacy but also including a common profession of faith.
-Name given by opponents, to re-baptize; didn’t like the name, only one true baptism, as an adult believer
- preferred the term “Swiss Brethren”
-Began as a reaction against Zwingli in Zurich
-Conrad Grebel (1498-1526) from Zurich; layman
Friend of Zwingli and initially accepted his teachings; in time he disagreed with Zwingli:
Strict biblicism; opposition to infant baptism; distrust of state government; idea of a free, voluntary, confessional Church
He challenged Zwingli on infant baptism, but Zwingli would not budge; he was set on the commonwealth idea of Christianity (state-church). This had been the dominant idea of the Church since the time of Constantine and Zwingli did not see a need for change.
Fundamental distinctive teachings: Nature of the Church / Lord’s Supper
-The Church is made up of voluntary, committed, practicing believers rather than a “people’s Church” (inclusive state Church). One is not born into the Church but is accepted on a profession of faith and a promise to lead a holy life (this is made at one’s baptism).
-The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance, a meal of fellowship- symbol of unity. It is not to be celebrated in a church building because it might encourage “false devotion.” It is to be shared in homes in the evening (following Christ’s example) [Grimm, The Reformation Era, 218]
Debated Zwingli on infant baptism (and the nature of the Church) January 17, 1525
The city council declared Zwingli the winner; Grebel and Manz were forbidden to speak further in public about these issues. Furthermore, anyone who did not have their infants baptized within 8 days would be banned from the city.
January 21, 1525 – they gathered at the house of Felix Manz’s mother (in Zurich) and discussed the situation further. Grebel baptized Georg Blaurock (a former priest) who then baptized all the others present (sprinkled/poured). Within a week 35 of the group had been baptized. The first Anabaptist congregation was thus started.
January 30 – Manz and Blaurock and 35 others were arrested. The city council brought Zwingli and others to debate again and try to convince them of their errors. Most were released; some held longer, but released within a month. The Anabaptists continued to teach their beliefs and the council initiated a series of persecutions, which only helped to spread the movement.
-Felix Manz (1498-1527) a priest in Zurich
Followed Zwingli except on Baptism (sprinkling/pouring, immersion), state-church.
They said he was inconsistent on Baptism.
Had their own Bible studies; concluded baptism was for adult believers.
They were brought before the city council and ordered to stop having their own meetings.
Ordered to baptize their infants or leave town.
They decided to continue teaching adult, believer’s baptism; practiced sprinkling at first then immersion.
Opposed close connection between state & church.
Manz was drowned by order of the city council.
Many others drowned; many burned at the stake.
50,000 were executed in 1535.