Zwinglius Redivivus

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»Die theologisch-akademische Welt blickt heute nach Emden«

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Die Emder Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek hat den ersten Schritt eines bedeutsamen Projektes zur Erforschung der weltweiten Kirchengeschichte gemacht. Sie stellte gestern (29.10.) den ersten Band einer kritischen Ausgabe der Akten und Dokumente der Synode von Dordrecht aus dem 17. Jahrhundert vor.

Von November 1618 bis Mai 1619 kamen im niederländischen Dordrecht bei Rotterdam Kirchenvertreter aus den Niederlanden und aus allen reformiert geprägten Regionen Europas zusammen. „Die Synode war ein kirchliches und politisches Ereignis mit Wirkung bis in die Gegenwart und hatte Bedeutung für die weltweite Kirchengeschichte“, so Hermann Selderhuis, Projektleiter und Herausgeber der Edition und Professor für Kirchengeschichte an der Universität Apeldoorn. Wenn das Projekt abgeschlossen sei, liege mit der Edition erstmals eine komplette Zusammenstellung aller Akten und Unterlagen dieses kirchengeschichtlich so bedeutsamen Ereignisses vor.

Etc.  It’s a great report- on a great project.


Written by Jim

October 30, 2014 at 11:16

Posted in Church History

News From Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

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Vorstellung des ersten Bandes der Akten zur Dordrechter Synode

Akten der Dordrechter Synode – Präsentation des ersten Bandes der Akten in Emden

Im Rahmen der Tagung zur Prädestinationslehre (29.-30.10.2014) in der Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek findet im Anschluss an den öffentlichen Vortrag von Professor Dr. H. J. Selderhuis die Präsentation des ersten Bandes aus dem Editionsprojekt zur Dordrechter Synode statt.

Mittwoch, 29. Oktober 2014, 19.00

Öffentlicher Vortrag:
Zwischen Heidelberg und Dordrecht. Emdens Bedeutung für die Reformierte Kirche in den Niederlanden
Herman J. Selderhuis (Apeldoorn/Emden)

Präsentation des ersten Bandes der Akten und Dokumente zur Dordrechter Synode 1618/19:

„Acta of the Synod of Dordt”

Ort: Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek Emden, Kirchstr. 22, 26721 Emden


Written by Jim

October 29, 2014 at 10:07

Posted in Books, Church History

Luther’s Reformation Day…

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Frank Viola posted a snippet on three things he calls ‘shocking but little known’ facts about Luther.  And then he cited, in all instances save one, examples from books ABOUT Luther rather than Luther himself.  I’d be more persuaded if he had cited Luther himself instead of secondary sources about Luther.  When you’re talking about what someone thought, it’s only right to cite them and not what someone else said about them.

luther 99

By the way, it is Luther’s Reformation Day and not Reformation Day because, again for the umpteenth time, there were a number of Reformatory movements and Luther’s wasn’t even the first.

Written by Jim

October 29, 2014 at 09:52

Posted in Church History, Luther

The End of the Second Zurich Disputation…

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Was October 28, 1523-

gmHere’s how it happened:

The [City] Council [of Zurich], on Monday before St. Gall’s day (i. e., October 12th), summoned all the clergy of the canton to discuss in a public debate on Monday, October 26, 1523, what should be done about the Church images and also the mass. Urgent invitations to be represented were sent to the bishops of Constance, Basel, and Chur, to the University of Basel, and to each canton.

The answers were characteristic. Constance declared (October 16th) that he would be answerable to both his rulers (Pope and Emperor) if he took part in the proposed disputation; urged the Council to give the idea up, and leave all such questions for answer at the coming General Council. Basel declared that he was too old and weak to make the journey; that only the whole Church should undertake such changes, and also they should avoid schism. Chur sent no reply at all. The cantons, except Schaffhausen and St. Gall, declined to send deputations. Bern and Solothurn replied in friendly fashion, but said the matter should be discussed by the Confederacy as a whole; the abbot of St. Gall politely declined to come; Lucerne reproached Zurich for her persistency in error; Upper Unterwalden was bitter and abusive.

Notwithstanding this rather discouraging result, Zurich persisted and the debate was held.  The Council laid down the same general conditions as in January: the language used should be the vernacular; the final authority should be the Word of God. Schaffhausen was represented by Sebastian Hofmeister; St. Gall by Vadian and Schappeler. The burgomaster presided, and 350 ecclesiastics of the canton and 550 other persons were counted as attendants.

The proceedings lasted three days. The first day was given to a debate upon the proposition: the Church images are forbidden by God and Holy Scripture, and therefore Christians should neither make, set up, nor reverence them, but they should be removed. It was resolved to remove them wherever it could be done without disturbance or wounding tender consciences.

Those in prison for the offence of removing them were recommended to mercy, and the burgomaster promised to spare them.

The second and third days were taken up in discussing this proposition: the mass is no sacrifice, and hitherto has been celebrated with many abuses, quite different from its original institution by Christ. The debate being now on a burning question was livelier. Zwingli shrewdly avoided a plain statement as to the exact nature of the elements, for the time had not come for his radical stand, but he showed wherein a representation differed from a repetition of Christ’s sacrifice. He confessed that transubstantiation and its defenders, especially the monks, had too frequently been attacked by abuse rather than by argument, but stoutly declared that the monks were hypocrites, and monasticism was of the devil.

The debate on the third day began at noon, and was in continuation of the preceding. But although so much time was consumed, no decision was arrived at, except to let the Council handle it. It was perhaps noticed that the debate on the third day did not begin till noon. The explanation is that Zwingli preached that morning. So many country preachers could not separate without having a sermon from the leading city preacher. Many months later he expanded the discourse by urgent request, and published it March 26, 1524.  It is called “The Shepherd.” In it he contrasts the good and the false shepherds. He set plainly before them the prospect that fidelity would lead to martyrdom. Such was the fate he expected for himself, as appears from his letters.*

The Papist yoke was cast thoroughly aside and Zurich became the first city to embrace Reform.

*S. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 203–205).

Written by Jim

October 28, 2014 at 10:22

Posted in Church History, Zwingli

Believe Me, Martin, Very Little Has Changed

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The deplorable conditions which I recently encountered when I was a visitor constrained me to prepare this brief and simple catechism or statement of Christian teaching. Good God, what wretchedness I beheld! The common people, especially those who live in the country, have no knowledge whatever of Christian teaching, and unfortunately many pastors are quite incompetent and unfitted for teaching. Although the people are supposed to be Christian, are baptized, and receive the holy sacrament, they do not know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, or the Ten Commandments, they live as if they were pigs and irrational beasts, and now that the Gospel has been restored they have mastered the fine art of abusing liberty. – Luther, Preface to the Small Catechism.

So very little has changed.

Written by Jim

October 27, 2014 at 19:41

Posted in Church History, Luther

‘Reformation Day’? Nope. ‘Reformations Days’? Yup.

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‘Reformation Day’  Nope!’

‘The Reformation’ is a misnomer if ever there were one, for in fact there was no ‘one’ Reformation any more than there was just one Reformer. ‘The Reformation’, when used by students and the general public, usually refers to the Reformation of Martin Luther which commenced at the end of October in the year of our Lord, 1517.

Even then, though, Luther’s intent wasn’t as earth-shattering as later ages took it to be. For Luther, the placement of a series of theses in Latin on the Church Door at Wittenberg Castle was nothing more than an invitation to debate. In other words, Luther didn’t see his act as the commencement of a revolution; he saw it as an academic exercise.

‘The Reformation’ is, then, little more than a label derived from historical hindsight gazing mono-focularly at a series of events over a period of time across a wide geographical landscape. Each Reformer had roots sunk in fertile ground and their work was simply the coming to fruition of generations of shift in the Roman Catholic Church.

Hence, it would be more appropriate to speak of ‘Reformations’ in the same way that we now speak of ‘Judaisms’ and ‘Christianities’. The Reformation was no monolith.

Who, then were the Reformers who gave birth to the Reformations most closely associated with them? They were Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, in just that order.

In 1515 while he was Pastor of the village Church in Glarus, Huldrych Zwingli began to call into question the dependence of the Church on the teachings of the Scholastics. He also questioned the value of the Vulgate for preaching and began earnest study of the Greek New Testament. There, memorizing the letters of Paul (in Greek) he discovered the Gospel which would come to feature so prominently in his Reforming efforts: Salvation is by grace, through faith, and not through works as proclaimed by the Scholastic theologians. By 1519, when he moved to Zurich to become the Pastor of the Great Minster, Zwingli was already well on his way to Reforming the worship of the Church and the administration of the ‘Sacraments’. In short order, within a few years, the Mass was abandoned and replaced by the ‘Lord’s Supper’ and the fixation of the Church on images was denounced and those images removed in due course.

Zwingli’s Reformation was carried out with the cooperation of the City government, which is why Zwingli, along with Luther and Calvin, were to be known to history as ‘Magisterial Reformers’. Not because they were ‘Magisterial’ but because each had the support of their city’s magistrates.

North of Zurich, in Wittenberg, Luther’s Reformatory efforts were coming to full steam around the same time. In 1520 he broke with Rome irrevocably with the publication of his stunning ‘On The Babylonian Captivity of the Church’. From there, there was to be no turning back. And here we must remind ourselves that at this juncture Luther was not dependent on the work of Zwingli, nor was Zwingli dependent on the work of Luther. Both were pursuing reform along parallel tracks, separately.

Further to the West of Switzerland a decade later John Calvin, an exile from France, a lawyer by training and a theologian by training and desire, began his own efforts at Reform. Several years after Zwingli’s death and long after Luther’s demise Calvin plodded away in Geneva attempting manfully to bring that raucous city to heel under the power of the Gospel.

Each of these Reformers were ‘Fathers’ of their own Reformation. Each was, originally, independent of the other and in many ways they tried very hard to retain that independence even when their common foe, the Church of Rome, was the target as their common enemy. Each contributed to ‘The Reformation’ in their own unique way.

If, then, we wish to honor their memory and their efforts, it behooves us to set aside our preconceptions or our beliefs that ‘The Reformation’ began on October 31, 1517. It didn’t. It began in 1515 in Glarus. And it began in 1517 in Wittenberg. And it began in Geneva in 1536.

Happy Reformations Days.

Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 07:42

If They Had Mentioned Zwingli Maybe I Wouldn’t Be So Critical…

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But how does anyone write an essay about the Reformation and ignore the great man?  That’s like talking about space exploration without talking about the Apollo program.

So anyway, because they ignored Zwingli, I’ll point out that the date is wrong unless they are thinking of 7th Day Adventist Churches- because the 25th is Saturday, the 26th is Sunday.  For shame, First Things, for shame (mostly for ignoring Zwingli).


I’ll tell ya how- You start by remembering Zwingli and not completely overlooking him…   *mumble*.

Written by Jim

October 24, 2014 at 15:47

Posted in Church History


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