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Ulrich Zwingli, the Protestant Reformer We All Tend to Forget

Brett Nichols

Posted on July 26, 2020 06:05

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A quick look at a protestant reformer that stood right next to Martin Luther in his contributions to the reformation of Christianity.

 

When many people think of the Protestant Reformation or communion the name Martin Luther usually always comes to mind. However, the choice in a certain church reformer's life to address the abuse done by the papal authority was already beginning to be challenged slightly prior to Luther. One of the key individuals responsible for this occurrence other than the reformers Luther and Erasmus was Ulrich Zwingli, who alongside Luther, paved the future for the Protestant church. Zwingli was Luther's "greatest contemporary" specifically, in "German-speaking lands." Zwingli's early life choices in the guiding of his theology and academic views will be further addressed along with his Neoplactonistic theology and its effect on his views on the Eucharist. This contrasted with a brief view of the Eucharistic beliefs of Luther and Calvin, and how these views all came out of a heart that truly desired freedom from the religion of Roman Catholicism.

Zwingli was born was from Swiss descent and was born in the hills of Toggenburg in the year of January 1484, "less than two months after Luther." As a child, he was always trying to improve himself for his country much of this patriotism would continue in his ministry in the future. Luther in his later years he began his studies in many locations such as Bern, Vienna, and twice at Basel. His studies lead him to be a priest in a Swiss village named Glarus. One thing of many that differentiate Luther and Zwingli is that Luther was a monk of great prestige and Zwingli was a "parish priest from start to finish" and he continued to be in this role loyally between 1506 and 1518.

In between this time of ministry Zwingli noticed corruption irrupting from the Swiss mercenary contingency as they were brutally tearing society apart, considering in his own words they were, "selling blood for gold." Zwingli consistently challenged the ideals in Glarus, as he challenged the selling of indulgences, much like Luther did with the authority of John Tetzel during the beginning of the reformation. He also challenged the false doctrine that was sweeping over the minds in society, specifically the teaching that a pilgrimage could "avail for salvation," despite the fact that no trace of this practice was found in the word of God. Zwingli's continued persistence against injustice and his significantly increasing popularity lead him to Zürich in 1519 where he began to again teach the Gospel in a more human-focused lens in a similar fashion to the other reformers, although each with their own presentation.

Zwingli would go on to establish the idea that within communion the bread and wine were symbolic of the blood and flesh of Christ that was shed for the sins of all mankind, unlike the Catholic view of a literal transformation of the wine and bread into Christ's blood and body. Zwingli's views became a massive influence to modern Protestantism and that should not be drowned out by the contributions of other reformers.

Brett Nichols

Posted on July 26, 2020 06:05

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Source: Desiring God

The first thing we should do is get the issue of the name out of the way. Let us not stumble over the name. If he lived among...

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