Protestant Reformation

Topics: Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, Catholic Church Pages: 5 (1638 words) Published: December 3, 2013

While there were many who disagreed with the Catholic Church during the years of the Reformation one of the more striking figures would have to be Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli. Huldrych was born in Wildhaus, Switzerland on 1 January 1484. Even though his family was not well off Zwingli's father, also named Huldrych, sent him to study with an uncle, Bartholomew Zwingli, who was a parish priest and eventually Dean of Wesen in 1487. 1 Zwingli progressed efficiently and quickly through his studies and was sent to Basle the spend time studying at the school run by Henry Wölflin at the age of 10. Moving quickly and testing his instructor's teaching knowledge he continued his education at the University of Vienna, age 14, where he studied under the humanist Conrad, Celtis. He then moved on to the university of Basle, age 18, where he spent time with Leo Jud and Conrad Pellican, future colleagues in Zurich. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1504 and his Masters in 1506.2 In the same year he achieved his Masters Zwingli became the parish priest for Glarus.3 During his educational life Zwingli met men such as Johann Meyer of Eck and Erasmus. Educated in the fashion of the Humanist thinking of the day it is said of Zwingli that, "He became a reformer because he was a Humanist, with a liking for Augustinian theology."4 Between the time he became a priest and the time he died in battle Zwingli Managed to accomplish many things that would advance the cause of the reformation.

Before his death at the Second Battle of Kappel (Capel) on October 11, 1531, at the age of 47, Zwingli had accomplished much in the way of developing the theology of the growing Protestant faith. While Zwingli and Luther may have agreed on many points of the faith one area of profound division was over the presence of Christ's body in the Communion. Luther held to the belief that when one partook of the bread and wine that, while the bread and wine did not change into the body and blood of Christ, the body and blood were present with them to nourish the believer.5 Zwingli, on the other hand firmly believed that that bread and the wine and the actions accompanying them in the Communion were strictly symbolic of a more spiritual reality.6 According to Lindsay, the Fourth thesis at the Bern Disputation of 1528 states that, " it cannot be proved from the Scripture that the Body and Blood of Christ are substantially and corporeally received in the Eucharist."7 With this, Zwingli would agree.

While Zwingli was not willing to part ways entirely with the Catholic Church in regards to infant baptism he was an ardent advocate of allowing the clergy to marry. In a meeting in which Zwingli had composed sixty-seven theses to be presented and debated he said, " I know of no greater nor graver scandal than that which forbids lawful marriage to priests, and yet permits them on payment of money to have concubines and harlots. Fie for shame!"8 There were many area of disagreement between the Reformers and the established Church, such as who should rule and make laws governing both church and state. Zwingli upheld the right of the state to make laws and govern religion but also allowed the people to rise up and rebel against the ruling parties if necessary. This was in great contrast to the stand taken by the Anabaptist in later years. Though changes were slow in coming and in many cases were hard won, major changes were taking place in regards to how the church was to be governed, who was to receive the cup and bread, whether or not priests were allowed to marry, as well as many other theological issues.

One group that came about as a process of Zwingli's teachings, though they did not feel that Zwingli had carried scripture or the reform of the church to its logical conclusion, was the Anabaptists. Though often referred to as "rebaptizers" due to their unwillingness to accept infant baptism or baptisms performed by...
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