Daily Archives: 16 Apr 2019

Heinrich Bullinger: On the Sub-Christian Nature of Polygamy and the Nature of Marriage

450px-Zwingli_und_BullingerBullinger writes

But it is not appropriate that in lawful matrimony any more should be than two alone, to be joined together under one yoke of wedlock.

For the use of many wives, which our fathers usurped without any blame, may not stablish polygamy for a law among us at these days. The time of correction is now come to light, and Messiah now is come into the world, who teacheth all rightly, and reformeth things amiss.

He therefore hath reduced wedlock to the first prescribed rule and law of matrimony. “Two,” saith the Lord, “shall be one flesh.” And the apostle saith: “Let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband.”

The multitude of Solomon’s concubines therefore appertain not to us. We have not to follow the example of Jacob, who married two sisters.

For Christians, even marriage takes its cue from Christ and not from culture.  For Christians, marriage consists of the joining together of one man and one woman.  Period.

But what about divorce?  Bullinger, along with the rest of the Reformers, frowned on it, though they saw it as a concession to the weakness of many.  Still, the divorced were not free to remarry.  Period.

But what if the spouse dies?  Bullinger writes

And yet, notwithstanding, the word of truth condemneth not the second, third, or many marriages which a man maketh, when his wife is deceased.

Marriage, for Christians, means something more than it does for the larger society.  The culture may root like pigs in the trough but Christians are called to a better, less porcine, life.

Another Day, Another Shooting

Police in Sevierville say at least one person has been injured in a shooting at a busy shopping center Tuesday afternoon. The shooting was reported around 4 p.m. at Five Oaks Mall, which houses Tanger Outlets and other stores.  Police say there is no danger to the public and the shopping center is open. A spokesperson says this is not an active shooter situation.


Greater and Lesser Miracles

Divine Providence is an inscrutable thing.  Take, for instance, the fire that destroyed much of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday. By any account a terrible tragedy.  Nonetheless, miraculously, no one was hurt or killed.  Given the amount of traffic in that fantastic structure each day that’s no small thing and Divine Providence was clearly at work protecting visitors and workers.

A lesser miracle, it seems to me, is the preservation of the Altar Cross that has become such a talking point amongst the crowds-

I have to admit, I’m not seeing very much of the miraculous here.  The preservation of an altar and a cross seem, at best, a bit of a minor thing.  Especially when compared with the lives spared or, alternatively, what to me would have been an even greater miracle: the inability of the flames to take hold in the first place.

The greatest miracle, it seems to me, is if the fire had never started.  But then of course no one would even notice that as they haven’t noticed that before, there, or many other places and on many other days.

The greatest miracle isn’t that terrible things are somewhat thwarted.  The greatest miracle is that terrible awful dreadful things don’t happen every single day and hour to each and every one of us.

For that miracle, we are ungrateful.  We don’t even think about it most of the time.  Or, in other words, great miracles take place in our lives every day and pass unnoticed, because our foolish eyes are closed to the daily mercies of God.

On the rare occasion that a dreadfulness occurs, we take notice if it isn’t a total and complete destruction.  And on other days, all those many other days, we blithely, blindly, and foolishly take God for granted and utterly ignore all of his loving protection.

What fools we are, and what blindness has stricken us.

Paula Fredricksen’s Lecture

Winter is Coming….

Luther Gets to Worms

Luther arrived in Worms on Tuesday morning, April 16, 1521, at ten o’clock, shortly before early dinner, in an open carriage with his Wittenberg companions, preceded by the imperial herald, and followed by a number of gentlemen on horseback. He was dressed in his monastic gown. The watchman on the tower of the cathedral announced the arrival of the procession by blowing the horn, and thousands of people gathered to see the heretic.


No, Mary Magdalene Wasn’t An Apostle

No, friends, Mary Magdalene wasn’t an ‘apostle’. Disciple, yes. Important disciple, yes. Apostle? Never so listed or named in the entirety of the New Testament either by herself or others. So, no.


Quote of the Day: We’re So Afraid to Make People Angry…

We are so reluctant to displease men, and so desirous to keep in credit and favor with them, that it makes us most unconscionably neglect our known duty. A foolish physician he is, and a most unfaithful friend, that will let a sick man die for fear of troubling him; and cruel wretches are we to our friends, that will rather suffer them to go quietly to hell, than we will anger them, or hazard our reputation with them. — Richard Baxter

Today With Zwingli

On 16 April, 1522 Huldrych Zwingli’s sermon titled Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen was published in Zurich at the printing house of Froschauer. It was a greatly expanded version of the actual sermon preached shortly after the Lenten Fast was broken, with his approval. Unlike Barth’s Romans, this book really did fall on the playground of the theologians like a bomb.

Zwingli’s point was simple- the Church wasn’t authorized to heft upon souls requirements foreign to the requirements of the Bible. Its tradition wasn’t superior to Scripture; Scripture takes precedence over tradition.

In his own words-

[They] had not so strong a belief in God, that they trusted alone in him and hoped alone in him, listened alone to his ordinances and will, but foolishly turned again to the devices of men, who, as though they desired to improve what had been neglected by God, said to themselves: “This day, this month, this time, wilt thou abstain from this or that,” and make thus ordinances, persuading themselves that he sins who does not keep them.

This abstaining I do not wish to condemn, if it occurs freely, to put the flesh under control, and if no self-confidence or vainglory, but rather humility, results. See, that is branding and injuring one’s own conscience capriciously, and is turning toward true idolatry…In a word, if you will fast, do so; if you do not wish to eat meat, eat it not; but leave Christians a free choice in the matter…

But when the practice of liberty offends your neighbour, you should not offend or vex him without cause; for when he perceives it, he will be offended no more, unless he is angry purposely. … But you are to instruct him as a friend in the belief, how all things are proper and free for him to eat.

Today With Zwingli: ‘No, I Won’t Be at Baden’

zwingli_writing_bullinger_RG2In a letter to the Council of Bern, dated April 16, 1526, Zwingli sets forth in detail his reasons for refusing to attend the disputation in their city. In substance they amount to this: (1) That under the circumstances the safe-conduct offered him would be absolutely worthless; and (2) there was not the slightest chance of his obtaining a fair hearing.

Although Zwingli was absent, from the seclusion of his study in Zurich he virtually superintended the discussion on the part of the Reformers. For weeks previous, he labored unceasingly outlining arguments for the use of those who would represent him in the conference. The gates of Baden were strongly guarded by sentinels during the session, but means were found of eluding their vigilance, and letters were regularly exchanged each day between Zwingli and Œcolampadius. Myconius declares that “Zwingli labored more by his meditations, his sleepless nights, and the advice which he transmitted to Baden, than he would have done by discussing in person in the midst of his enemies.”*

*S. Simpson, S.  Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (pp. 160–161). New York: Baker & Taylor Co.

New by Ulrich Luz