On the 30th of June in the year of our Lord, 1525, Huldrych Zwingli published one of his most delightful and useful volumes, Von dem Predigtamt. Who, and what, is a Preacher and what does his office entail? But even more centrally, the ‘problem’ with which this book wishes to deal is the question, ‘ob ein ley sollt das wort gottes sagen’. Do layfolk have the right to preach?
It might seem an odd question to us, but in 1525 Zwingli was at the center of the Anabaptist storm and among those people, unauthorized preaching was part and parcel of their belief that the entire church was corrupt, including all the ordained. So preach they did- even if as equipped for it as a dog for higher science.
Zwingli has some pretty forthright things to say in this text including but not limited to
Anabaptism is wholly and totally against God.
Without a thorough knowledge of Hebrew and Greek there is no knowledge of the contents of the Old and New Testaments. Every commentary in the world cannot measure up to the value of a knowledge of those languages.’
Romans 10:15 clearly shows that only the ‘sent’ may preach.
And of course by sent, Zwingli means duly authorized by the rite of ordination. These re-baptizers, though, were sent only by their own wicked imaginations and were therefore neither legitimate nor authorized by God.
Zwingli’s book is a fantastic read. For even more on Zwingli’s understanding of the preaching office, Hans Scholl’s essay is a valuable resource.