Other than Martin Luther, Heinrich Bullinger, and also John Calvin, the many important beforehand Reformer was Ulrich Zwingli. A first-generation Reformer, he is related to as the founder of Swiss Protestantism. Furthermore, history remembers him as the very first Reformed theologian. Despite Calvin would later on surpass Zwingli together a theologian, he would stand squarely ~ above Zwingli"s large shoulders.

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Less than 2 months after ~ Luther came right into the world, Zwingli was born top top January 1, 1484, in Wildhaus, a little village in the eastern part of contemporary Switzerland, forty miles indigenous Zurich. His father, Ulrich Sr., had risen native peasant share to become an upper-middle-class male of means, a successful farmer and shepherd, and the cook magistrate for the district. This prosperity permitted him to provide his boy with fantastic education. He presided over a residence where typical Swiss values were inculcated in young Ulrich: sturdy independence, solid patriotism, zeal for religion, and also real interest in scholarship.

The elder Ulrich at an early stage recognized the pundit abilities that his son and also sent him to his uncle, a previous priest, to learn reading and writing. Thanks to his prosperity, Zwingli"s father to be able to carry out his child with more education. In 1494, he sent out the ten-year-old Ulrich to the tantamount of high institution at Basel, whereby he studied Latin, dialectic, and music. That made together rapid progression that his father moved him come Berne in 1496 or 1497, wherein he ongoing his researches under a noted humanist, Heinrich Woeflin. Here Zwingli was given far-reaching exposure to the ideas and also Scholastic techniques of the Renaissance. His talent were noted by the Dominican monks, that tried to recruit him to their order, however Zwingli"s dad did not want his child to become a friar.

Universities the Vienna and Basel

In 1498, Zwingli"s father sent out him come the college of Vienna, which had end up being a center of timeless learning together Scholasticism was displaced through humanist studies. Over there he studied philosophy, astronomy, physics, and old classics. In 1502, the enrolled in ~ the college of Basel and also received a fine humanist education. In class, he come under the affect of thomas Wyttenbach, professor the theology, and began to be mindful of abuses in the church. He additionally taught Latin together he sought further classic studies. He received his bachelor"s (1504) and also master"s (1506) levels from the school.

Zwingli was ordained come the priesthood in the roman Catholic Church and also immediately to buy a pastorate in ~ Glarus, his boyhood church. Paying money to a prince because that a church place was a typical practice prior to the Reformation. His time was invested preaching, teaching, and pastoring. The also committed himself to much private study, teaching himself Greek and studying the Church Fathers and also the ancient classics. He came to be enamored with the pagan philosophers and also poets of old. Most significantly, he began reading the humanist works of Desiderius Erasmus and was profoundly impressed through his scholarship and piety. This sparked a highly prized correspondence through Erasmus.

During his business in Glarus, native 1506 to 1516, Zwingli twice served as chaplain to bands of young Swiss mercenaries. Swiss soldiers for hire were in great demand across Europe and were a significant source of earnings for Swiss cantons. Also the pope had Swiss guards around him. Yet this practice expense the stays of many of the finest Swiss young men. As a chaplain, Zwingli witnessed numerous of castle fighting each other, Swiss death Swiss on international soil for foreign rulers. That was compelled to provide the last rites plenty of times. The fight of Marignano (1515) took practically ten thousand Swiss lives. Zwingli concerned deplore the malice of this system and began come preach versus it.

His final year in ~ Glarus verified to be pivotal. That was right now that Zwingli came to an evangelical understanding of the Scriptures. Erasmus published his Greek new Testament in the year, and Zwingli devoured it; the is claimed he memorized Paul"s epistles in the initial language. This developed a little an ext than a year prior to Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the Wittenberg castle Church door. Thanks to his research of the Scriptures, v no expertise of Luther"s ideas, Zwingli started to preach the same message Luther would quickly proclaim. He wrote: "Before everyone in the area had ever heard that Luther, I began to preach the gospel of Christ in 1516. . . . I began preaching the gospel prior to I had also heard Luther"s name. . . . Luther, who name ns did not understand for at least one more two years, had absolutely not instructed me. I adhered to holy bible alone."

Popular Preacher at Einsiedeln

Because of politics pressures and also his sermons against mercenary fighting, Zwingli was required to leaving Glarus in 1516. He offered as a priest in ~ the Benedictine monastery the Einsiedeln until 1518. Einsiedeln to be a resort city the was well-known for its shrine to the Virgin Mary. This shrine attracted huge numbers of pilgrims native all components of Switzerland and also beyond. This broader audience heard Zwingli preach, which increased his reputation and influence.

Einsiedeln was smaller than Glarus, therefore his duties to be lighter. That afforded him more time because that the study of Scripture and also the Church Fathers. He check out the functions of Ambrose, Jerome, Chrysostom, and Augustine, and also the writings of Erasmus. Further, he replicated by hand Erasmus"s Greek brand-new Testament. As he identified himself together a famous preacher, he likewise began attacking several of the abuses of the church, specifically the revenue of indulgences, and his preaching began to take it on a more powerful evangelical tone. However, Zwingli did not yet check out the require for changes in what the church believed. Rather, the felt reform need to be mainly institutional and moral. Also, the remained more dependent ~ above the Church Fathers 보다 the scriptures in his teaching. The was no yet prepared for the work of reform.

In December 1518, Zwingli"s cultivation influence secured because that him the office that "people"s priest" at the Grossmünster (Great Cathedral) at Zurich. This pastorate to be a far-ranging position. Zwingli immediately broke indigenous the normal practice of preaching according to the church calendar. Instead, the announced he would certainly preach sequentially through whole books of the Bible. On January 1, 1519, his thirty-fifth birthday, Zwingli began a series of expository sermons v Matthew that were drawn from his exegesis the the Greek text. He continued this consecutive layout until he had preached through the entire brand-new Testament. This ambitious job took six years and prepared the ground for the work of reform the was to follow.

In autumn 1519, Zurich suffered break out of the plague. Two thousand that its 7 thousand citizens died. Zwingli determined to continue to be in the city to treatment for the sick and also dying. In the process, he self contracted the an illness and virtually died. His three-month recovery taught him much around trusting God. This an individual sacrifice likewise increased his popularity with the people.

Introducing Reform

As Zwingli preached through the Bible, he expounded the truths the encountered in the text, even if castle differed native the historical tradition of the church. This type of direct preaching was not without challenges. In 1522, some of his parishioners defied the church"s rule around eating meat throughout Lent. Zwingli sustained their practice based on the biblical truths the Christian liberty. He witnessed such limitations as man-made. That same year, he created the an initial of his many Reformation writings, i m sorry circulated his principles throughout Switzerland.

In November 1522, Zwingli began to job-related with other religious leaders and the city board of directors to carry about significant reforms in the church and also state. In January 1523, he created Sixty-seven Theses, in which the rejected many medieval beliefs, such as compelled fasting, clerical celibacy, purgatory, the Mass, and also priestly mediation. Further, he began to question the use of pictures in the church. In June 1524, the city of Zurich, following his lead, ruled that all spiritual images to be to be gotten rid of from churches. Likewise in 1524, Zwingli took yet one more step that reform—he married Anna Reinhard, a widow. All of this appears to have actually happened prior to Zwingli ever before heard the Luther. This was truly one independent occupational of God.

By 1525, the Reformation motion in Zurich had gained significant traction. On April 14, 1525, the Mass to be officially abolished and Protestant worship solutions were started in and also around Zurich. Zwingli decided to implement just what was taught in Scripture. Anything that had no clear Scriptural assistance was rejected. The native of Scripture were read and preached in the language the the people. The entire congregation, not merely the clergy, received both bread and also wine in a straightforward Communion service. The minister wore robes prefer those found in great halls rather than at Catholic altars. The veneration the Mary and also saints to be forbidden, indulgences to be banned, and also prayers because that the dead were stopped. The break v Rome was complete.

Anabaptists: Radical Reformers

Zwingli also entered into controversy with a new group recognized as the Anabaptists or Rebaptizers, a an ext radical reform activity that began in Zurich in 1523. Despite Zwingli had made great changes, he had not unable to do far enough for these believers. For the Anabaptists, the issue of baptizing believers just was second to separation native the roman Catholic Church. The Anabaptists sought whole reconstruction that the church that was akin come a revolution.

Zwingli experienced the Anabaptist proposals together radical excess. In response to the Anabaptist requirements for the prompt overhaul the church and society, the urged moderation and also patience in the change from Rome. The counseled the the Anabaptists must bear v the weaker brethren who were slowly accepting the to teach of the Reformers. However, this technique only resulted in the conflict in between Zwingli and also the radicals come widen.

An order by the magistrates that Zurich for all babies in the city to it is in baptized showed too explosive. The Anabaptists comment by marching with the highways of Zurich in loud protests. Rather than baptizing their infants, they baptized each other by putting or immersion in 1525. They additionally rejected Zwingli"s affirmation the the city council"s authority over church work and promoted total separation of church and also state.

The Anabaptist leaders to be arrested and charged through revolutionary teaching. Some were placed to death by drowning. It is not well-known whether Zwingli consented to the death sentences, but he did no oppose them.

The Lord"s Supper Controversy

Meanwhile, a controversy started brewing between Zwingli and also Luther over the Lord"s Supper. Luther held to consubstantiation, the belief that the body and also blood the Christ were existing in, through, or under the elements. Over there is, that contended, a real existence of Christ in the elements, though he differed native the roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation, i beg your pardon holds that the elements readjust into the body and blood the Christ as soon as blessed by the priest during Mass. Zwingli adopted the place that the Lord"s Supper is mainly a memorial of Christ"s death—a symbolic remembrance.

In an effort to carry unity come the Reformed movement, the Marburg Colloquy was convened in October 1529. The 2 Reformers showed up face come face, in addition to Martin Bucer, Philip Melanchthon, john Oecolampadius, and other good news leaders. Castle agreed in rule to fourteen that the fifteen items put before them: the church-state relationship, infant baptism, the historical continuity of the church, and more. However no agreement could be reached regarding the Lord"s Supper. Luther claimed that "Zwingli was a "very an excellent man," however of a "different spirit," and also hence refused to expropriate his hand of fellowship readily available to him v tears." to colleagues, Luther commented of Zwingli and his supporters, "I suppose God has actually blinded them."

In among the strange ironies of history, Zwingli, who earlier had protest the practice of utilizing mercenaries in war, passed away on the battlefield in 1531. An escalating conflict between Protestants and Catholics had actually cantons in arms, and also a war soon damaged out. The city that Zurich went to fight to protect itself against five invading Catholic cantons from the south. Zwingli accompanied Zurich"s military into fight as a ar chaplain. Clad in armor and also armed through a battle-ax, he was severely wounded on October 11, 1531. When enemy soldiers uncovered him lied wounded, they eliminated him. The southern forces then subjected his corpse to disgraceful treatment. Castle quartered him, hacked his continues to be to pieces, and also burned them, then combined his ashes v dung and scattered them abroad.

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Today, prominently presented at the Water Church in Zurich, is a statue the Zwingli. He is standing through a bible in one hand and also a sword in the other. The statue to represent Zwingli in his towering influence over the Swiss Reformation, strong and resolute. Though his Zurich ministry was relatively short, he achieved much. V his heroic stand for the truth, Zwingli reformed the church in Zurich and also led the means for other Reformers come follow.

See also:

Zurich Revolutionary: Ulrich Zwingli

This excerpt is taken from Pillars of grace by Steven Lawson_._