Zwingli’s Opposition to the Worship of Mary

zwingli_lookoutWe do not insult Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, when we forbid that she be adored with divine honors; but when we would attribute to her the majesty and power of the Creator, she herself would not permit such adoration. For true piety has one and the same character among all men and is the same in all, because it originates by one and the same Spirit.

It cannot even be imagined, therefore, that any created being should at the same time be pious and suffer the worship due the Deity to be offered to himself. So also the Virgin Mother of God will as much the less accept the worship due the Deity as she is high above all created beings and reverently devoted to God, her Son. It is a mark of insanity in godless men and demons when they allow divine honors to be paid to them.*

Zwingli wrongly believed that Mary remained perpetually a virgin. But he was right to excoriate worship of her. Something as a Christian he simply could not and would not do.

*H. Zwingli, The Latin Works of Huldreich Zwingli. (W. J. Hinke, Ed.) (Vol. 2, p. 239).

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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3 Responses to Zwingli’s Opposition to the Worship of Mary

  1. Aaron Macks says:

    A background question: when one talks about the virginity of Mary, how exactly is the word defined? In the “never had sex with a man” manner, or based upon an intact membrane or something else? It’s a concept that gets argued a huge amount and yet….


  2. Rhys says:

    I like Barth on this (but that’s about it): “Where ever Mary is venerated, and devotion to her takes place, there the Church of Christ does not exist.” and “Mariology is an excrescence, i.e., a diseased construct of theological thought. Excrescences must be excised.”

    The virginity of Mary, at least in the perpetual sense, is a doctrine cobbled together by the Romanists from various apocryphal and pseudepigraphical texts. The most popular variant says that Joseph was previously married, that the “brothers of the Lord” are his children from that previous marriage, and that Joseph and Mary never had relations or children of their own because Joseph was an old man then. A minor variant suggests that the Lord’s brethren are cousins. Of course, none of this has any Scriptural support.

    For more Mariolatry fun from the Apocryphal, check out the “Infancy Gospel of James” (part of that one made it into the Quran!)


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