Can you say ‘indictment‘?
Daily Archives: 11 Oct 2018
It is a great work to believe that Christ, nailed to the cross, is the Son of God. That this is the work of God, Christ Himself testified, Jn. 6:29: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” As many, then, as trust in Christ are built upon a rock, which no blasts of winds can shake, no inundating floods wash away. And as many as are built upon this are the church of Christ, for He Himself said “my.” But His church cannot be impure and wrinkled. Therefore it follows that those who trust in Christ are without spot and without wrinkle, for they summon up all their zeal to the end that they may not fall back into sin, in which beforetime they were dead, Rom. 6:2. But they who do not this utter noble thunderings with their lips, but by their deeds betray Christ, with the result that through them the name of God is in bad repute.
This is the church that cannot err—an attribute which the pontiffs arrogate to themselves with as much falseness as impudence. For this church rests upon the word of God alone, which is so firm and immovable that heaven and earth must pass away sooner than one jot of it [Mt. 5:18]. On the contrary, the church of the pontiffs rests upon its own word. They run, indeed, as if they had been sent by the Lord, but they speak visions, that is, things pleasing to their own heart [Jer. 23:16]. Hence they spread nothing but darkness before poor wretches’ eyes.
An individual during the time of sermon on the Lord’s day went into a wine shop to drink; by chance he fell on his sword that had slipped out of its scabbard and was carried out in a dying state. Another in the month of September last, on a day in which the sacrament of the Lord’s supper was administered, as he was secretly attempting while intoxicated to creep through a window to get to a strumpet, had his bones broken in several places by a terrible fall.
At last I said in conclusion, “Till hell swallow you up with all your houses, you will not give faith to God when he stretches forth his hand.” I perceived that my zeal gave no great pleasure to a good many, because they would not be willingly wakened from their lethargy. For you can scarcely believe how torpid the conscience of many is, who seem puffed up to the skies. The greater part of them fear disgrace to the city; a few of them, to our doctrine; but all of them quite foolishly. For what more glorious for us than this notable vengeance of God against the despisers of our doctrine?
Or, in short, skip Calvin’s sermon and you’ll really regret it. A lot.
That is, on 11 October, this is the passage read:
Schau herab vom Himmel und sieh herab von der Wohnung deiner Heiligkeit und deiner Herrlichkeit! Wo sind dein Eifer und deine Kraft? Das Aufwallen deiner Gefühle und dein Erbarmen – mir hast du es nicht gezeigt. Du bist doch unser Vater! Abraham hat nichts von uns gewusst, und Israel kennt uns nicht. Du, HERR, bist unser Vater, Unser-Erlöser-seit-uralten-Zeiten ist dein Name.
Warum, HERR, lässt du uns umherirren, fern von deinen Wegen, verhärtest unser Herz, so dass wir dich nicht fürchten? Kehre zurück um deiner Diener, um der Stämme deines Erbbesitzes willen. Für eine kurze Zeit haben sie dein heiliges Volk enteignet, dein Heiligtum haben unsere Feinde zertreten. Wir sind wie die geworden, über die du nie geherrscht hast, über denen dein Name nicht ausgerufen wurde. Hättest du doch schon den Himmel zerrissen, wärst schon herabgestiegen, so dass die Berge vor dir erbebt wären, (Isa 63:15-19 ZUR)
In a most enlightening footnote, Schaff writes
The deepest ground of Luther’s aversion to Zwingli must be sought in his mysticism and veneration for what he conceived to be the unbroken faith of the Church. He strikingly expressed this in his letter to Duke Albrecht of Prussia (which might easily be turned into a powerful argument against the Reformation itself).
He went so far as to call Zwingli a non-Christian (Unchrist), and ten times worse than a papist (March, 1528, in his Great Confession on the Lord’s Supper). His personal interview with him at Marburg (October, 1529) produced no change, but rather intensified his dislike.
He saw in the heroic death of Zwingli and the defeat of the Zurichers at Cappel (1531) a righteous judgment of God, and found fault with the victorious Papists for not exterminating his heresy (Wider etliche Rottengeister, Letter to Albrecht of Prussia, April, 1532, in De Wette’s edition of L. Briefe, Vol. IV. pp. 352, 353).
And even shortly before his death, unnecessarily offended by a new publication of Zwingli’s works, he renewed the eucharistic controversy in his Short Confession on the Lord’s Supper (1544, in Welch’s edition, Vol. XX. p. 2195), in which he abused Zwingli and Oecolampadius as heretics, liars, and murderers of souls, and calls the Reformed generally ‘eingeteufelte [ἐνδιαβολισθέντες], durchteufelte, überteufelte lästerliche Herzen und Lügenmäuler.’ No wonder that even the gentle Melanchthon called this a ‘most atrocious book,’ and gave up all hope for union (letter to Bullinger, Aug. 30, 1544, in Corp. Reform. Vol. V. p. 475: ‘Atrocissimum Lutheri scriptum, in quo bellum περὶ δείπνου κυριακοῦ instaurat;’ comp. also his letter to Bucer, Aug. 28, 1544, in Corp. Reform. Vol. V. p. 474, both quoted also by Gieseler, Vol. IV. p. 412, note 38, and p. 434, note 37).*
You should always read the footnotes. Luther could be the vilest of men, offensive even to his closest friends- and not just in his attitude towards the Jews. Equally vile are all the modern haters of Zwingli, because they hate him without cause. And nothing is more vile, more wicked, and more un-christian than hating someone with whom you aren’t even really familiar.
*The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes: The History of Creeds (Vol. 1).
There’s a great little essay in Nota Bene that you ought to take a look at. It’s about Zwingli and the Bible translation and exposition he did. It’s grandly done.
In Righteous Gentiles: Religion, Identity, and Myth in John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, Sean Durbin offers a critical analysis of America’s largest Pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, along with its critics and collaborators. Although many observers focus Christian Zionism’s influence on American foreign policy, or whether or not Christian Zionism is ‘truly’ religious, Righteous Gentiles takes a different approach.
Through his creative and critical analysis of Christian Zionists’ rhetoric and mythmaking strategies, Durbin demonstrates how they represent their identities and political activities as authentically religious. At the same time, Durbin examines the role that Jews and the state of Israel have as vehicles or empty signifiers through which Christian Zionist truth claims are represented as manifestly real.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it.
On the battlefield, not far from the line of attack, Mr. Ulrich Zwingli lay under the dead and wounded. While men were looting . . . he was still alive, lying on his back, with his hands together as if he was praying, and his eyes looking upwards to heaven. So some approached who did not know him and asked him, since he was so weak and close to death (for he had fallen in combat and was stricken with a mortal wound), whether a priest should be fetched to hear his confession. Thereat Zwingli shook his head, said nothing and looked up to heaven. Later they told him that if he was no longer able to speak or confess he should yet have the mother of God in his heart and call on the beloved saints to plead to God for grace on his behalf. Again Zwingli shook his head and continued gazing straight up to heaven. At this the Catholics grew impatient, cursed him and said that he was one of the obstinate cantankerous heretics and should get what he deserved. Then Captain Fuckinger of Unterwalden appeared and in exasperation drew his sword and gave Zwingli a thrust from which he at once died. So the renowned Mr. Ulrich Zwingli, true minister and servant of the churches of Zurich, was found wounded on the battlefield along with his flock (with whom he remained until his death). There, because of his confession of the true faith in Christ, our only savior, the mediator and advocate of all believers, he was killed by a captain who was a pensioner, one of those against whom he had always preached so eloquently. . . .
The crowd then [Oct. 12] spread it abroad throughout the camp that anyone who wanted to denounce Zwingli as a heretic and betrayer of a pious confederation should come onto the battlefield. There, with great contempt, they set up a court of injustice on Zwingli which decided that his body should be quartered and the portions burned. All this was carried into effect by the executioner from Lucerne with abundance of abuse; among other things he said that although some had asserted that Zwingli was a sick man he had in fact never seen a more healthy-looking body.
They threw into the fire the entrails of some pigs that had been slaughtered the previous night and then they turned over the embers so that the pigs’ offal was mixed with Zwingli’s ashes. This was done close to the high road to Scheuren.
Verdicts on Zwingli from scholars and ignorant alike were varied. All those who knew him were constant in their praises. Even so there were still more who were critical either because they really did not know him or, if they had known him a little, were determined to show their resentment and spoke ill of him. (Janz, A Reformation reader : Primary texts with introductions.)
In the faithful discharge of his duty as chaplain he was stooping down to offer a consoling word to a fallen comrade when a large stone, hurled by a Waldstätter, struck him on the side of the head, near the temple, and he sank insensible to the ground. When he regained consciousness and attempted to rise, a soldier who was passing by stabbed him with his spear. Contemplating the wound, as his life-blood flowed from it, he exclaimed, “What does it matter! They may kill the body, but they cannot kill the soul.” These were his last words.
After the battle, a Forester searching among the dead and wounded approached the spot where Zwingli lay. The Reformer’s hands were clasped and his eyes, which were directed toward heaven, wore the fixed expression of one hovering between life and death. In the dim light of his torch the Forester perceived that the wounded man’s lips were moving as if in prayer. Not knowing that it was Zwingli, he offered to fetch a priest to absolve his sins. Unable to speak, Zwingli declined the offer by a slight motion of his head. By this time a little group had assembled around the fallen but unrecognized Reformer, and inferring that he was of the Reformed faith from his continued refusal to accept priestly mediation, all joined in reviling him.
At length one of the bystanders, an officer from Unterwalden, more zealous and cruel than the others, drew his sword and gave the dying man a fatal thrust. Thus, in the very prime of manhood, in the very flower of his usefulness, perished the Reformer of Zurich, the man who, as co-laborer with Luther in the Reformation of the Church, is entitled to share with him in large measure the credit and distinction of having been the founder of the movement.*
You can check out more stuff from and about Zwingli here. That should give you something to do on this lovely Saturday while you’re between ballgames and hotdogs. And if you’re looking for a simple yet accurate (i.e., one that isn’t skewed by Lutheran misinformation) biography of Zwingli, then this is for you. Or if you’re a Logos user, you can check it out here.
*Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (pp. 273–275).