Faces of the Reformation continue with Ulrich Zwingli

The Faces of the Reformation continue with the fifteenth iconic individual: Ulrich Zwingli.

Ulrich Zwingli is a complicated character in the story of the Reformation. He begins his career as a happy political instrument in service to the pope and ends it dying at the hands of Catholic forces. He is a reformer — like Martin Luther — but unfortunately believes that Luther has not gone far enough in his reforms.

Zwingli’s theology becomes shaped not only by the Bible but also by the rationalist philosophies of humanists such as Erasmus. Zwingli begins to write in opposition to Luther and his teachings of the real presence.

In 1529, both Luther and Zwingli attend a meeting in Marburg, Germany, and agree on 14 points of doctrine. However, even after heated discussions, they cannot agree on how to understand Christ’s Words of Institution. Luther will not budge in his belief that Jesus is bodily present in the Holy Supper, writing “This is my body” on the table where the two were holding their debate. Luther showed that it was up to Zwingli to prove that “is” must mean “signifies” or “merely represents.” This he could not do. Therefore, an alliance between the two reformers could not be realized.

For more information, attend Sunday services at St. Paul’s in Fredonia, Immanuel in Gowanda or Trinity in Silver Creek. See more at: http://lutheranreformation.org/resources/faces-of-the-reformation-series/#sthash.G1tqI1CT.dpuf