Daily Archives: 28 Jul 2012

Zwingli’s Transcription of the Letters of Paul

Before he arrived in Zurich,  Zwingli transcribed the Letters of Paul from a newly printed Greek New Testament published by Erasmus in Basel (and added some marginal notes).  Here’s a sampling, just for your pleasure:

ABC News and the News That, In Their Words, “Mississppi [sic!] Church Refuses to Marry Black Couple”

They had booked their wedding far in advance. The invitations had been sent, the programs printed. But one day before Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson were to be married at the Mississippi church they frequented, they said a pastor told them they would have to find another venue — because they were black.

That’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard of. They attend the church. The church knows who they are. And then at the last minute the church tells them they can’t be married there? It makes no sense.

There has never been a black wedding at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Miss., since its founding in 1883. According to Pastor Stan Weatherford, some church members objected so strongly to breaking that precedent, they threatened to oust him from his pastorship.

Why did it have to be a Baptist church? Couldn’t it have been a Church of God or a Church of Christ or a Pentebabbleist church? Ugh.

The vast majority of Crystal Springs residents, blacks and whites alike, were “blown away” by the church’s decision, said Theresa Norwood, 48, who was born in Crystal Springs and has lived there her entire life.

Me too.

While the Wilsons were not members of the church, they often attended services there, and Te’Andrea’s uncle is an employee of the church, and her father is a member. Charles Wilson told WAPT that the couple had planned to join as members after their wedding, which was planned for July 20.

Guess that won’t be happening, will it….

Weatherford told WLBT-TV in Jackson that he would have liked to marry the couple as planned, but he decided to perform the ceremony elsewhere as a compromise to ensure that the Wilsons could be married while “addressing a need within our congregation.”

A need? What need? The need to have a KKK meeting at the hour the wedding was scheduled? It’s just absurd.  And yes, it remains absurd because it’s a man and a woman, not two men or two women.  The quest for ‘marriage equality’ by gays is not the same thing as racial equality in spite of the constant attempt to link the two by persons who aren’t familiar with the fact that one’s race is not a choice while who one has sex with is.

The Slaying of Samson

Zwingli on the bronze doors by Otto Münch (193...

Zwingli on the bronze doors by Otto Münch (1935) on the Grossmünster in Zürich, Switzerland.

Not that Samson, and not a literal slaying- but rather the theological slaying of one Bernhardin Samson, a purveyor of indulgences sent from Rome to Switzerland where he had the distinct misfortune of entering Zwingli’s territory (then at Einsiedeln- it was 1518).  Zwingli wrote a letter to his friend Rhenanus about the buffoon but sadly that letter is lost.  We do, though, have Rhenanus’ reply to Zwingli and it gives us a pretty good idea of what Zwingli thought of the man-

“I have laughed a great deal at the peddler of indulgences [Samson], whom you depicted so vividly in your letter. They give letters to the leaders in a war for those who shall perish in battle. How petty and unworthy of the representatives of the Pope these things are! What will they not think up so that Italy may get our money! And yet I do not consider this is a laughing matter, but rather one for tears. For nothing grieves me more than to see a Christian people laden with ceremonies that do not reach the heart of the matter or that are rather empty nothings. And I see no cause for it except that the priests, deceived by those mule-driving sophistical theologians, teach heathen and Jewish doctrines.

I am now speaking of the rank and file of the priesthood. For it does not escape me that you and those like you bring forth to the people the pure philosophy of Christ, straight from the fountain, uncorrupted by interpretation of Scotist or Gabrielist, but expounded by Augustine, Ambrose, Cyprian, Jerome, faithfully and correctly. But those people standing in a position where whatever is said the people at large think is true, bleat out nonsense about the power of the Pope, remission, purgatory, counterfeit miracles by the saints, restitution contracts, vows, pains of the damned, Antichrist.

But you in preaching to your congregation show the whole doctrine of Christ briefly displayed as in a picture; how Christ was sent down to the earth by God to teach us the will of the Father, to show us that this world, i. e., riches, honour, authority, pleasures, and all that kind of thing, are to be contemned so that the heavenly country can be sought with the whole heart, to teach us peace and concord and the attractive community of all possession (for Christianity is nothing else)—even as Plato dreamed of in his Republic, for he is to be numbered among the great prophets; to take away from us foolish affections of earthly affairs concerning country, parents, relatives, health, and other possessions, to declare that poverty and disadvantages in this life are not real evils.”

As Jackson notes

Very likely this letter is not to be taken as a full description either of monastic preaching or of Zwingli’s. But it presents doubtless the contrast between them; how the monks discoursed on Church teaching in reliance upon the scholastics where Zwingli relied upon the great Fathers, handled themes of vital importance, and based his doctrine upon the Bible itself.

Another witness to the biblical quality of his preaching at that time is Caspar Hedio, subsequently the Reformer of Strassburg, who wrote from Basel to Zwingli on November 6, 1519, in the following very complimentary terms respecting a sermon he heard him preach at Einsiedeln at Pentecost, apparently of that year, 1519, from Luke, 5:17–26, the story of the paralytic: “I was greatly charmed by an address of yours, so elegant, learned, and weighty, fluent, discerning, and evangelical, such a one as plainly recalled the energy of the old theologians.… That address, I say, so inflamed me that I began at once to feel a deep affection for Zwingli, to respect and admire him.”

By all accounts Zwingli was an impressive speaker with a sharp wit and, when necessary, a sharper tongue.

Thomas Wyttenbach: Zwingli’s Teacher and Mentor

Zwingli mentions, almost in a toss sentence in the midst of his ‘Exposition of the Articles,’ his teacher Thomas Wyttenbach-

“In the beginning of this year (for I came to Zurich on St. John the Evangelist’s Day [1519]) none of us had ever heard of Luther, except that he had published something upon indulgences—a subject on which I did not require much enlightenment because I had already been taught what a cheat and delusion indulgences were by my master and beloved faithful teacher, Doctor Thomas Wyttenbach, of Biel, who had held at Basel some time before in my absence a disputation on the subject.”

And on another occasion, he calls him the

… “most learned and holiest of men,” [who taught him that] “the death of Christ was the sole price of the remission of sins,” [and] “therefore that faith is the key which unlocks to the soul the treasury of [such] remission.”

Wyttenbach also helped Zwingli understand that the Supper is a memorial and not a sacrifice. Wyttenbach is another of those unknown (nearly) persons whose influence extended far beyond their fame.

Was Jesus a Mystic?

It’s a question Mauro Pesce addresses in a paper he is to deliver in Buenos Aires next week (1 August).  He’s already uploaded it (the paper, not Buenos Aires) here.

It starts like this

Tutta l’attività di Gesù che ci è nota dai vangeli è stata caratterizzata da una pratica di vita radicale. Questa pratica di vita consisteva nell’avere abbandonato il proprio lavoro, la propria casa e i propri beni e nel vivere in costante itineranza per incontrare le persone del suo popolo in modo diretto, faccia a faccia. Lo scopo fondamentale di questa scelta di vita era quello di permettere una assoluta concentrazione su Dio per permettere a lui di intervenire nella propria vita.

Il suo annuncio dell’avvento imminente del regno di Dio è strettamente collegato a questa pratica di vita. Dio deve intervenire nel modo, ma per accoglierlo sono necessarie delle condizioni. Solo una pratica di vita radicale come quella scelta da Gesù permette a Dio di intervenire. La pratica di vita di Gesù e il suo annuncio del regno di Dio come idea centrale della sua attività ci mettono di fonte al fatto fondamentale che ci permette di capire il centro della personalità di Gesù: la sua assoluta concentrazione su Dio. Gesù è convinto che Dio interverrà presto e trasformerà radicalmente la vita della gente, del popolo di Israele e anche dei non ebrei e la stessa natura, la terra intera.

The Olympics: An Observation

There is something fundamentally inappropriate in allowing millionaire professional athletes to compete against people whose only recompense is glory in victory.  That is no ‘level playing field’.

The Self Confidence of Those Who Ignore God

Calvin writes in his Commentary on Psalm 127

English: John Calvin Deutsch: Maße: 34 x 27 cm...

Solomon declares that nothing goes well for us except so far as God prospers our actions. [And] he [also] intends to repulse the foolish self-confidence of men who, ignoring God and relying only on their own wisdom or strength, dare to start anything that comes to their heads. Therefore, he sweeps away everything which they rashly claim for their own and calls them to humility and prayer to God.

There is a sort of self confidence which is evil, it arrogates to itself primacy and to its own ideas, to ‘anything that comes into its head’, equality with the will and purpose of God.  Nothing could be less Christian than for ‘believers’ to imagine even for an instant that what they ‘think’ about a matter matters as much as what God thinks about it.

Zwingli’s Third (And Final) Rejection of the Theology of Johannes Faber

Zwingli attempted three times to address the inaccurate understanding of his theology by Johannes Faber.  The final attempt was published on the 28th of July, 1526. Die dritte Schrift wider Johann Faber was published in Zurich and in 19 pages this little Flugschrift summarizes the differences between Zwingli and Faber (and, therefore, between Zwingli and Rome). The full title is Die dritte geschrifft Huldrych Zuinglins wider Ioansen Faber über das erdicht buechlin, das er “nüw zytung” genennet und im höwmonat hat lassen ußgon. Mit eim abtruck des gleytes, so gen Zürich von unser Eydgnossen siben orten botten uff den 12. tag mey überschickt ist. Ouch mit Zuinglins antwurt darüber, ggeben uff den 16. tag mey, alles im jar 1526. Books once had very descriptive titles. You COULD tell a book by its cover!

Zwingli wasn’t fond of Faber, who was given to the falsification of Zwingli’s views, so Zwingli called Faber the Shrewmouse. Their strained relations began as early as the First Zurich Disputation, of which Simpson observes

On the day appointed for the discussion upward of six hundred people from all classes came together in the Town Hall, the assembly place of the Great Council. Faber, the vicar-general of the diocese, and several other doctors were present, as representatives of the Bishop. None of the cantons except Schaffhausen sent deputies. Zwingli took his position at a table in the midst of the room, and before him lay the open Bible. Burgomaster Roust called the assembly to order and made a brief speech, setting forth the reasons which led to the calling of the meeting.

As soon as the meeting was declared open for discussion, Zwingli arose and challenged any who had spoken against him publicly and denounced him as a heretic to speak. Faber, who knew that this challenge was meant for him, arose and with some confusion replied that he had been sent not to dispute, but to learn why there were so many differences of opinion about religion in the canton, and suggested that, as the Diet of Nuremburg had promised a council soon, the questions in dispute be left for settlement until that time.

When it seemed unlikely that any one would accept his challenge, Zwingli addressed the assembly in his own behalf, denying the right of any to call him a heretic and declaring that he was ready to defend his doctrine against all comers.

An awkward pause followed this speech. As no one seemed ready to reply, the burgomaster adjourned the meeting until the afternoon. When the Council convened again a paper was read embodying their decision, i.e., “that Master Ulrich Zwingli continue to proclaim the Holy Gospel as long and as often as he will until something better is made known to him. Furthermore, all priests, curates, and preachers in cities, cantons and dependencies, shall undertake and preach nothing but what can be proved by the Holy Gospel and the Scriptures; furthermore, they shall not in future slander, insult, or call each other heretics.”

The heretic (I’m not bound by the requirement of the Council of Zurich!) Faber wasn’t pleased. And for the rest of his time he did his best to destroy Zwingli. Which brings us back to Zwingli’s final reply, linked to above, which should be read. It’s a lot of information in a short space.

The Marriage Equality Double-Standard: An Observation

Christians, real Christians, have long condemned the hate speech of Fred Phelps. On the contrary, very few persons supporting gay marriage have condemned the hate speech of Roseanne Barr. Double standard? You bet.  And yet when it comes to manifestations of hate Roseanne Barr and Fred Phelps are exactly the same.

How’s Your ‘Marriage Equality’ Car Running Without Gas?

Demonstrating the hypocrisy of the Chik-Fil-A haters. If it’s a Christian company it’s evil but if not, hey, who cares if they have views contrary to the views of the equality crowd.