The Second Zurich Disputation – October 26-28, 1523

Schaff reports

The second disputation was held in the city hall, and lasted three days. There were present about nine hundred persons, including three hundred and fifty clergymen and ten doctors. Dr. Vadian of St. Gall, Dr. Hofmeister of Schaffhausen, and Dr. Schappeler of St. Gall presided.

Zwingli and Leo Judae defended the Protestant [Schaff misses it here, as ‘Protestant’ properly only applies to Luther’s work.  He should have written ‘Reformed’] cause, and had the advantage of superior Scripture learning and argument. The Roman party betrayed much ignorance; but Martin Steinli of Schaffhausen ably advocated the mass. Konrad Schmid of Küssnacht took a moderate position, and produced great effect upon the audience by his eloquence. His judgment was, first to take the idolatry out of the heart before abolishing the outward images, and to leave the staff to the weak until they are able to walk without it and to rely solely on Christ. 

Iconoclast Hottinger destroys a cross

The Council was not prepared to order the immediate abolition of the mass and the images [opting for a slower pace]. It punished Hottinger and other “idol-stormers” by banishment, and appointed a commission of ministers and laymen, including Zwingli, Schmidt and Judae, who should enlighten the people on the subject by preaching and writing. 

Zwingli prepared his “Short and Christian Introduction,” [a sort of ‘handbook’ for the ignorant clergy which spelled out Reformed doctrine and published on the 17th of November that year] which was sent by the Council of Two Hundred to all the ministers of the canton, the bishops of Constance, Basle, and Coire, the University of Basle, and to the twelve other cantons.

The Second Disputation put the seal on the Zwinglian Reformation.  From this point there would be no turning back.  Rome was officially dethroned and the papacy set aside in Zurich and the Cantons which adopted that Reformation.

The pace of Reform would become the central issue just 2 years later with the rise of the Anabaptists and their desire for ‘overnight’ change and their displeasure when that instant change wasn’t implemented.