Site Meter
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|

Ulrich Zwingli

(4 posts)

Before Arminius

Monday··2018·01·08
Although the Arminian Remonstrance took place in the seventeenth century, the controversy goes back much farther than that. None of the doctrines bearing the “Arminian” or “Calvinist” labels originated with Arminius or Calvin. Arminianism has its roots in Pelagianism, the system put forth by the fifth century monk Pelagius (360–418). Calvinism is simply a reiteration of Augustinianism, so named after Augustine (354–430), bishop of Hippo (in modern-day Algeria), who, against Pelagius, defended the biblical doctrines of original sin and monergistic soteriology. Pelagianism diverged much farther from orthodoxy than Arminianism. While an Arminian may be a Christian (as R. C. Sproul once said, “just barely”), a Pelagian cannot. Pelagius taught that everyone was born in the same state as Adam, able to keep the law perfectly and believe the gospel. Augustine said, No, man has inherited Adam’s sin. Consequently, his very nature is so corrupted that, without divine grace—bestowed upon those whom the Father has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world—he is neither able nor willing to believe. Enter John Cassian (360–435), a monk from Gaul (France), who concocted a middle way between Pelagianism and Augustinianism. Short of denying original sin as Pelagius had, Cassian taught that man, though corrupted by sin, retained the ability by the natural powers of his mind to take the first step towards conversion and, having taken that first step, would then gain the Spirit’s help in coming the rest of the way. This middle way was called Semi-Pelagianism, and “is not at all differing from . . . Arminianism.” Both Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism were rejected by the Reformers. Like Augustine, the Reformers held to the doctrines of the sovereignty of God, the total depravity of man, and unconditional election. As Boettner shows, they stood together in their view of predestination: It was taught not only by Calvin, but by Luther, Zwingli, Melanchthon (although Melanchthon later retreated toward the Semi-Pelagian position), by Bullinger, Bucer, and all of the outstanding leaders of the Reformation. While differing on some other points they agreed on this doctrine of Predestination and taught it with emphasis. Luther’s chief work, The Bondage of the Will, shows that he went into the doctrine as heartily as did Calvin himself. . . . Thus, it is evident that the five points of Calvinism, drawn up by the Synod of Dort in 1619, were by no means a new system of theology. On the contrary, as Dr. Wyllie asserts of the Synod, “It met at a great crisis and was called to review, re-examine and authenticate over again, in the second generation since the rise of the Reformation, that body of truth and system of doctrine which that great movement had published to the world.” —The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented, 2nd ed. (P&R, 2004), 11–13.

An Independent Work

Wednesday··2018·10·03
Martin Luther is universally considered the father of the Reformation, and with good reason: he was the first, and suffered the wrath of Rome to a greater extent. All Reformation roads, however, do not lead back to Luther. In Switzerland, a priest named Ulrich Zwingli (less than two months younger than Luther), before having heard of Luther, was pursuing even more extensive reforms in the church. This is where the Swiss Reformation began. In December 1518, Zwingli’s growing influence secured for him the office of “people’s priest” at the Grossmünster (Great Cathedral) at Zurich. This pastorate was a significant position. Zwingli immediately broke from the normal practice of preaching according to the church calendar. Instead, he announced he would preach sequentially through whole books of the Bible. On January 1, 1519, his thirty-fifth birthday, Zwingli began a series of expository sermons through Matthew that were drawn from his exegesis of the Greek text. He continued this consecutive style until he had preached through the entire New Testament. This ambitious project took six years and prepared the ground for the work of reform that was to follow. . . . As Zwingli preached through the Bible, he expounded the truths he encountered in the text, even if they differed from the historical tradition of the church. This kind of direct preaching was not without challenges. In 1522, some of his parishioners defied the church’s rule about eating meat during Lent. Zwingli supported their practice based on the biblical truths of Christian liberty. He saw such restrictions as man-made. That same year, he composed the first of his many Reformation writings, which circulated his ideas throughout Switzerland. In November 1522, Zwingli began to work with other religious leaders and the city council to bring about major reforms in the church and state. In January 1523, he wrote Sixty-seven Theses, in which he rejected many medieval beliefs, such as forced fasting, clerical celibacy, purgatory, the Mass, and priestly mediation. Further, he began to question the use of images in the church. In June 1524, the city of Zurich, following his lead, ruled that all religious images were to be removed from churches. Also in 1524, Zwingli took yet another step of reform—he married Anna Reinhard, a widow. All of this appears to have happened before Zwingli ever heard of Luther. This was truly an independent work of God. By 1525, the Reformation movement in Zurich had gained significant traction. On April 14, 1525, the Mass was officially abolished and Protestant worship services were begun in and around Zurich. Zwingli chose to implement only what was taught in Scripture. Anything that had no explicit Scriptural support was rejected. The words of Scripture were read and preached in the language of the people. The entire congregation, not merely the clergy, received both bread and wine in a simple Communion service. The minister wore robes like those found in lecture halls rather than at Catholic altars. The veneration of Mary and saints was forbidden, indulgences were banned, and prayers for the dead were stopped. The break with Rome was complete. —Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 431–433.

Monergist Reformer: Ulrich Zwingli

Thursday··2018·10·04
The monergism of Ulrich Zwingli: Zwingli defined election as “the free disposition of God’s will concerning those who are to be saved.” Thus, God is unconstrained in His choice of whom to save. Zwingli adds, “In the predestination of men to salvation, it is the will of God that is the prime force, but His wisdom, goodness, and righteousness and other attributes assist.” Elsewhere he says, “It is election which saves us, and it is wholly free.” Finally he notes, “Election is a free, sovereign and authoritative disposition of the will of God concerning those who are saved.” . . . Zwingli taught that the choices God made in eternity past are irreversible. He writes: “God’s election stands fast and remains sure. For those whom He chose before the foundation of the world, He chose in such a manner, that He chose them for Himself through His son.” He adds, “The election of God stands firm and immovable.” . . . The act of believing does not number a person among the elect, Zwingli said. Long before a person believes, Zwingli contended, he was chosen by God in eternity past. He writes, “Those who are elect from eternity are surely elect before they believe.” The act of believing only reveals that one is a member of God’s elect. In fact, many such elect have not yet believed. Zwingli says, “Many are elect, who do not yet have faith.” . . . Zwingli had little to say about the extent of Christ’s atonement. However, in one place in his writings he declared that sovereign election is inseparably connected with the death of Christ. He explains, “Election . . . belongs to His goodness to have chosen whom He will, and it belongs to His justice to adopt the elect as His children and to bind them to Himself through His Son, whom He gave for a sacrifice to render satisfaction to divine justice for us.” This is a clear affirmation that the death of Christ was intended to save those who had been chosen by God. Thus, while it was not a major aspect of his teaching, Zwingli apparently held to the doctrine of definite atonement. . . . Zwingli also held to the eternal security of the believer. He states, “Faith is so efficacious, prompt and lively a medicine that whoever drinks it is safe and secure.” Though the elect may become temporarily ensnared in sin, Zwingli taught that they remain secure in grace. He says: “Even if one of the elect should fall into such horrible sins as are contrived by the impious and the reprobate; for the elect these are a cause for rising up again, whereas for the reprobate they are a cause for despair.” . . . Zwingli believed that those who hear and reject the gospel in unbelief are predestined to condemnation. He asserts, “As election is granted to those who are to be saved, one should not speak of election with regard to those who will be lost; the will of God does indeed ordain concerning them, but only to repel, reject and repudiate them, in order that they may be an example of His justice.” Zwingli distinguished between vessels of wrath prepared for destruction and vessels of mercy prepared for life (Rom. 9:22–23). God sovereignly grants mercy to the elect, but justice to the nonelect. He assigned the direct responsibility for unbelief not to God but to the individual sinner. Thus, God remains absolutely just in the eternal destiny of the nonelect. —Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 440–443.

Zwingli’s Sixty-Seven

Tuesday··2018·10·09
In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. You already knew that—everyone does. What everyone does not know is that a little more than five years later, in 1523, Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli presented Sixty-seven Articles in Zürich, Switzerland. With all due respect to Luther, I find these much more interesting and edifying than the Ninety-five Theses. I think most true Lutherans will, as well. XXIV is my favorite. The Sixty-Seven Articles of Zwingli. The articles and opinions below, I, Ulrich Zwingli, confess to have preached in the worthy city of Zurich as based upon the Scriptures which are called inspired by God, and I offer to protect and conquer with the said articles, and where I have not now correctly understood said Scriptures I shall allow myself to be taught better, but only from said Scriptures. I. All who say that the Gospel is invalid without the confirmation of the Church err and slander God. II. The sum and substance of the Gospel is that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, has made known to us the will of his heavenly Father, and has with his innocence released us from death and reconciled God. III. Hence Christ is the only way to salvation for all who ever were, are and shall be. IV. Who seeks or points out another door errs, yes, he is a murderer of souls and a thief. V. Therefore all who consider other teachings equal to or higher than the Gospel err, and do not know what the Gospel is. VI. For Jesus Christ is the guide and leader, promised by God to all human beings, which promise was fulfilled. VII. That he is an eternal salvation and head of all believers, who are his body, but which is dead and can do nothing without him. VIII. From this follows first that all who dwell in the head are members and children of God, and that it is the church or communion of the saints, the bride of Christ, Ecclesia catholica. IX. Furthermore, that as the members of the body can do nothing without the control of the head, so no one in the body of Christ can do the least without his head, Christ. X. As that man is mad whose limbs (try to) do something without his head, tearing, wounding, injuring himself; thus when the members of Christ undertake something without their head, Christ, they are mad, and injure and burden themselves with unwise ordinances. XI. Hence we see in the clerical (so-called) ordinances, concerning their splendor, riches, classes, titles, laws, a cause of all foolishness, for they do not also agree with the head. XII. Thus they still rage, not on account of the head (for that one is eager to bring forth in these times from the grace of God,) but because one will not let them rage, but tries to compel them to listen to the head. XIII. Where this (the head) is hearkened to one learns clearly and plainly the will of God, and man is attracted by his spirit to him and changed into him. XIV. Therefore all Christian people shall use their best diligence that the Gospel of Christ be preached alike everywhere. XV. For in the faith rests our salvation, and in unbelief our damnation; for all truth is clear in him. XVI. In the Gospel one learns that human doctrines and decrees do not aid in salvation. About the Pope. XVII. That Christ is the only eternal high priest, from which it follows that those who have called themselves high priests have opposed the honor and power of Christ, yes, cast it out. About the Mass. XVIII. That Christ, having sacrificed himself once, is to eternity a certain and valid sacrifice for the sins of all faithful, from which it follows that the mass is not a sacrifice, but is a remembrance of the sacrifice and assurance of the salvation which Christ has given us. XIX. That Christ is the only mediator between God and us. About the Intercession of the Saints. XX. That God desires to give us all things in his name, whence it follows that outside of this life we need no mediator except himself. XXI. That when we pray for each other on earth, we do so in such manner that we believe that all things are given to us through Christ alone. About Good Works. XXII. That Christ is our justice, from which follows that our works in so far as they are good, so far they are of Christ, but in so far as they are ours, they are neither right nor good. Concerning Clerical Property. XXIII. That Christ scorns the property and pomp of this world, whence from it follows that those who attract wealth to themselves in his name slander him terribly when they make him a pretext for their avarice and willfulness. Concerning the Forbidding of Food. XXIV. That no Christian is bound to do those things which God has not decreed, therefore one may eat at all times all food, from which one learns that the decree about cheese and butter is a Roman swindle. About Holiday and Pilgrimage. XXV. That time and place is under the jurisdiction of Christian people, and man with them, from which is learned that those who fix time and place deprive the Christians of their liberty. About Hoods, Dress, Insignia. XXVI. That God is displeased with nothing so much as with hypocrisy; from which is learned that all is gross hypocrisy and profligacy which is mere show before men. Under this condemnation fall hoods, insignia, plates, etc. About Order and Sects. XXVII. That all Christian men are brethren of Christ and brethren of one another, and shall create no father (for themselves) on earth. Under this condemnation fall orders, sects, brotherhoods, etc. About the Marriage of Ecclesiasts. XXVIII. That all which God has allowed or not forbidden is righteous, hence marriage is permitted to all human beings. XXIX. That all who are known as clergy sin when they do not protect themselves by marriage after they have become conscious that God has not enabled them to remain chaste. About the Vow of Chastity. XXX. That those who promise chastity [outside of matrimony] take foolishly or childishly too much upon themselves, from which is learned that those who make such vows do wrong to the pious being. About the Ban. XXXI. That no special person can impose the ban [excommunication] upon any one, except the Church, that is the [full] congregation of those among whom the one to be banned dwells, together with their watchman, i.e., the pastor. XXXII. That one may ban only him who gives public offence. About Illegal Property. XXXIII. That property unrighteously acquired shall not be given to temples, monasteries, cathedrals, clergy or nuns, but to the needy, if it cannot be returned to the legal owner. About Magistry. XXXIV. The spiritual (so-called) power has no justification for its pomp in the teaching of Christ. XXXV. But the laity has power and confirmation from the deed and doctrine of Christ. XXXVI. All that the spiritual so-called state claims to have of power and protection belongs to the laity, if they wish to be Christians. XXXVII. To them, furthermore, all Christians owe obedience without exception. XXXVIII. In so far as they do not command that which is contrary to God. XXXIX. Therefore all their laws shall be in harmony with the divine will, so that they protect the oppressed, even if he does not complain. XL. They alone may put to death justly, also, only those who give public offence (if God is not offended let another thing be commanded). XLI. If they give good advice and help to those for whom they must account to God, then these owe to them bodily assistance. XLII. But if they are unfaithful and transgress the laws of Christ they may be deposed in the name of God. XLIII. In short, the realm of him is best and most stable who rules in the name of God alone, and his is worst and most unstable who rules in accordance with his own will. About Prayer. XLIV. Real petitioners call to God in spirit and truly, without great ado before men. XLV. Hypocrites do their work so that they may be seen by men, also receive their reward in this life. XLVI. Hence it must always follow that church-song and outcry without devoutness, and only for reward, is seeking either fame before the men or gain. About Offence. XLVII. Bodily death a man should suffer before he offend or scandalize a Christian. XLVIII. Whoever through stupidness or ignorance is offended without cause, he should not be left sick or weak, but he should be made strong, that he may not consider as a sin that which is not a sin. XLIX. Greater offence I know not than that one does not allow priests to have wives, but permits them to hire prostitutes. Out upon the shame! About Remittance of Sin. L. God alone remits sin through Jesus Christ, his Son, and alone our Lord. LI. Who assigns this to created beings detracts from the honor of God and gives it to him who is not God; this is real idolatry. LII. Hence the confession which is made to the priest or neighbor shall not be declared to be a remittance of sin, but only a seeking for advice. LIII. Works of penance coming from the counsel of human beings (except excommunication) do not cancel sin; they are imposed as a menace to others. LIV. Christ has borne all our pains and labor. Therefore whoever assigns to works of penance what belongs to Christ errs and slanders God. LV. Whoever pretends to remit to a penitent being any sin would not be a vicar of God or St. Peter, but of the devil. LVI. Whoever remits any sin only for the sake of money is the companion of Simon and Balaam, and the real messenger of the devil personified. About Purgatory. LVII. The true divine Scriptures know nothing about purgatory after this life. LVIII. The sentence of the dead is known to God only. LIX. And the less God has let us know concerning it, the less we should undertake to know about it. LX. That mankind earnestly calls to God to show mercy to the dead I do not condemn, but to determine a period of time therefore (seven years for a mortal sin), and to lie for the sake of gain, is not human, but devilish. About the Priesthood. LXI. About the form of consecration which the priests have received recent times the Scriptures know nothing. LXII. Furthermore, they [the Scriptures] recognize no priests except those who proclaim the word of God. LXIII. They command honor should be shown, i.e. e., to furnish them with food for the body. About the Cessation of Misusages. LXIV. All those who recognize their errors shall not be allowed to suffer, but to die in peace, and thereafter arrange in a Christian manner their bequests to the Church. LXV. Those who do not wish to confess, God will probably take care of. Hence no force shall be used against their body, unless it be that they behave so criminally that one cannot do without that. LXVI. All the clerical superiors shall at once settle down, and with unanimity set up the cross of Christ, not the money-chests, or they will perish, for I tell you the ax is raised against the tree. LXVII. If any one wishes conversation with me concerning interest, tithes, unbaptized children or confirmation, I am willing to answer. Let no one undertake here to argue with sophistry or human foolishness, but come to the Scriptures to accept them as the judge (for the Scriptures breathe the Spirit of God), so that the truth either may be found, or if found, as I hope, retained. Amen. Thus may God rule.

@TheThirstyTheo



Who Is Jesus?


The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian


Norma Normata
What I Believe


Westminster Bookstore


  Sick of lame Christian radio?
  Try RefNet 

Links