1484-1531AD Huldrych Zwingli

From: http://thekingdomcome.com/Huldrych_Zwingli

Huldrych Zwingli: The Swiss Luther

Huldrych ZwingliHuldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli didn't like to be compared to Martin Luther because unlike many of Luther's contemporaries, Zwingli advocated Reform completely independent of Luther's influence.

Indeed, Zwingli's distaste of the Roman Catholic Church was triggered not initially by theological issues but more political. The issue was that Zwingli was very much a nationalist, proud of his Swiss heritage & opposed the practice of the Pope utilizing Swiss military to protect Rome. Zwingli found it appalling that his countrymen had to resort to becoming foriegn soldiers just to make a living. He felt the Church was using & abusing the Swiss. Even to this day, the Vatican utilizes "Swiss Guards" or mercenaries as sort of the Papal version of secret service.

Zwingli too had spent time as a Swiss mercenary for Rome but by 1520 he started attacking not only that practice but many other practices including the same things as Luther opposed; indulgences, fasting, & celibacy, among other things. Again, all of this independent of Luther's influence.

Zwingli's reforms in Switzerland were as extensive if not more radical than the German & English reforms.

Some distinctions of the Zwinglian reforms were:

  • Abolished priestly chanting & instruments as a form of music in Church
  • No icons/images in Church
  • Dissolved convents (for nuns & priests)
  • Approved of civil war, if necessary to bring about reforms
  • Lord's Supper/Communion is a memorial (not real blood & body)

It was Zwingli's advocacy of a theocratic system & in contrast to Luther's position that the "sword is only granted to the State & not to the Church" (see here) that would eventually be the death of Zwingli.

On Oct 9th 1531, marching in front of his army against the Swiss Roman Catholic states (the Roman Catholics joined together for a suprise attack on Zurich) was felled that very day.

A little known figure to many of today's Christians, Zwingli perhaps is more in line with the Anabaptist tendencies of many modern-day Reformed Christians. From the infamous meeting at Marburg where Luther & Zwingli disputed over the nature of the Lord's supper, to Zwingli's Bible translation (see Froschau Translation), to his theocratic concepts Zwingli contributed greatly to the Reformation in Switzerland & beyond.