A Tale of Beginnings-
When ASOR met in Atlanta in 2010 so did ETS and though I was on hand for ASOR I was prowling around the ETS book exhibit when I happened upon a series of books on the Reformers published by a publisher which specializes in such things. In my glancing through their selections I noticed that they had many of the Reformers including several ‘minor’ ones. So I asked- ‘Hey I see you’ve got Luther and Calvin and Knox and others but why no Zwingli. Not only was he a Reformer before Calvin, he was also terribly influential and incredibly important’.
The editor on hand said that none was presently planned for Zwingli but might I be interested in doing it. My reply was, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, YES! Are you kidding? Not only need it be done, it must be done.
So as soon as I got home I set to work and wrote and wrote and incorporated materials I had written previously and wrote more and rewrote and reworked and then I sent the manuscript off to be checked and proofed by a couple of the foremost scholars of the Reformation at the University of Zurich and they loved it. So I sent it to the publisher after I finalized the title – Christ Our Captain: An Introduction to Huldrych Zwingli (revised from an earlier version of the title- The Piety of Huldrych Zwingli).
The publisher examined the manuscript and returned it, remarking that it didn’t portray Zwingli in the positive, pious, imitatable form they wished. But how could it? They further expressed the opinion that if I were to re-work it and leave out those bits and pieces which shed a darker hue on Zwingli’s visage it would be more acceptable. It seemed, in their mind, that the telling of the tale of Zwingli’s fling with the barber’s daughter in Einsiedeln wasn’t edifying enough.
But since when has truth not edified? Why must believers be whitewashed before they can be acceptable to a general audience? So, as a consequence, I refused to make the changes required and thus portray Zwingli as something he wasn’t.
I withdrew my manuscript and instead sent it along to my usual publisher (the publisher of the commentary series that’s taking me forever to finish). They, in my estimation wisely, have allowed me my own voice (for which I appreciate them). But more than that, they allowed me to tell a true story about a real man.
I have never in my life believed that the truth should be sacrificed for the comfort of people made uncomfortable by it. And that, dear reader, is why I write as I do, what I do. It’s why I post things about the Reformation and modern culture and the Bible and sin, and the ugliness and depravity of society.
Hier stehe Ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Ich kann NICHT ANDERS. Ich KANN nicht anders.