Zwinglius Redivivus

Nihil salvum esse potest, donec rabies. – John Calvin

Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

The Council of Trent: Reform and Controversy in Europe and Beyond (1545-1700)

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Exactly 450 years after the solemn closure of the Council of Trent on 4 December 1563, scholars from diverse regional, disciplinary and confessional backgrounds convened in Leuven to reflect upon the impact of this Council, not only in Europe but also beyond. Their conclusions are to be found in these three impressive volumes. Bridging different generations of scholarship, the authors reassess in a first volume Tridentine views on the Bible, theology and liturgy, as well as their reception by Protestants, deconstructing many myths surviving in scholarship and society alike. They also deal with the mechanisms ‘Rome’ developed to hold a grip on the Council’s implementation. The second volume analyzes the changes in local ecclesiastical life, initiated by bishops, orders and congregations, and the political strife and confessionalisation accompanying this reform process. The third and final volume examines the afterlife of Trent in arts and music, as well as in the global impact of Trent through missions.

Written by Jim

18 Sep 2018 at 11:19 am

Posted in Church History

Violences et religions: The University of Geneva MOOC

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About this course: La question « violences et religions » est d’actualité, et pas seulement depuis les attentats d’Al-Qaïda ou de Daech. Pour bien la comprendre, ce cours propose de prendre du recul et de l’envisager sous un angle historique et comparatiste. Le domaine concerné étant l’espace euro-méditerranéen, ce sont essentiellement le christianisme et l’islam qui seront traités (quelques séquences sont également consacrées au judaïsme). Notre approche commencera avec quelques-uns des textes les plus difficiles de la Bible et du Coran puis vous entraînera dans un survol historique : christianisation de l’Europe et islamisation du monde méditerranéen, avec leurs cortèges de contraintes religieuses ; répression des hérésies, croisades, statut des minorités dans le monde arabo-musulman ; guerres de religion en Europe, puis tentatives d’établir la liberté de conscience ; l’islam moderne, et ses courants réformistes, du wahhabisme à la Nahda (Lumières) ; réflexions et défis d’aujourd’hui, avec le concours de plusieurs personnalités du monde de la philosophie, du droit, de la psychanalyse, de la théologie… Ce cours fait appel à 25 spécialistes de Suisse, de France, de Belgique, du Canada et du Maroc. Quelques-uns s’expriment en arabe, mais la grande majorité des séquences est en français (les séquences sont intégralement sous-titrées en français et en arabe).

Signed up and ready to go!  Visit the course page here.

Written by Jim

17 Sep 2018 at 12:28 pm

Posted in Church History

#ICYMI – Peter Opitz on the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Reformation

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This is a wonderful interview with an absolutely brilliant scholar.  It includes this Q and A-

Mit Zwingli und Calvin hatte die Schweiz ihre eigenen Reformatoren. Aber sie waren inspiriert von Luthers Vorarbeit.

Es gab viele wichtige Reformatoren, deren Namen heute leider oft vergessen sind. Heinrich Bullinger zum Beispiel war Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts in ganz Europa die wichtigste Person für den reformierten Protestantismus, wichtiger als Calvin, der erst später relevant wurde. Zweifellos aber gab Luther den Startschuss und prägte mit seinen Schriften die Anfänge der Reformation. Viele seiner Gedanken wurden schon früher geäussert, aber während man manche seiner Vorgänger einfach als Ketzer verbrannt hat, war Luther zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Ort und erhielt die nötige Unterstützung. Die Schweizer Reformatoren haben seine Schriften gelesen, sind aber ihre eigenen Wege gegangen.

Read the whole.

Written by Jim

15 Sep 2018 at 7:41 am

Posted in Church History, Zwingli

In the Mirror of the Prodigal Son: The Pastoral Uses of a Biblical Narrative (c. 1200–1550)

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In the Mirror of the Prodigal Son provides a comprehensive history of the function of the parable of the prodigal son in shaping religious identity in medieval and Reformation Europe. By investigating a wealth of primary sources, the book reveals the interaction between commentaries, sermons, religious plays, and images as a decisive factor in the increasing popularity of the prodigal son. Pietro Delcorno highlights the ingenious and multifaceted uses of the parable within pastoral activities and shows the pervasive presence of the Bible in medieval communication. The prodigal son narrative became the ideal story to convey a discourse about sin and penance, grace and salvation. In this way, the parable was established as the paradigmatic biography of any believer.

I reviewed it for Reading Religion. You can see the review here.

Written by Jim

13 Sep 2018 at 9:19 pm

Fun Facts from Church History: The Day Calvin Returned To Geneva

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Calvin, having arrived from Strasburg on September 13, went to the Town Hall, and was received by the syndics and Council. Some hearts had, no doubt, been beating high in anticipation of this interview; and the reformer himself did not set out to it without emotion. When he came to Geneva, in 1534, he was twenty-seven years of age, rather young for a reformer. He was now thirty-two, the age of our Saviour at the time of his ministry. He could already speak with authority; nevertheless, it might be said of him as of St. Paul—his bodily presence is weak. He was of middle stature, pale, with a dark complexion, a keen and piercing eye, betokening, says Beza, a penetrating mind. His dress was very simple, and at the same time perfectly neat. There was something noble in his whole appearance. His cultivated and elevated spirit was at once recognisable; and although his health was already feeble, he was about to devote himself to labours which a man of great strength might have shrunk from undertaking. Amiable in social intercourse, he had won all hearts in Germany; he was now to win many at Geneva.

On presenting himself before the Council, Calvin delivered to the syndics the letters from the senators and pastors of Strasburg and Basel. He then modestly apologised for the long delay which he had made. He had intended to vindicate his own conduct and that of his colleagues who were banished with him three years and a half before; but the very warm reception given him in the town, and by the magistrates, showed him that Geneva had quite got over the prejudices of that period. A vindication would have involved recalling to mind painful facts and ungracious sentiments; and this was not the business which he had to do at this moment. His Christian heart, his intelligent mind joined to counsel him otherwise, to forget. He therefore did not vindicate himself either before the Senate or before the people.*

*J. H. Merle D’aubigné D.D. and William L. R. Cates, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, vol. 7 (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1876), 66–67.

Written by Jim

13 Sep 2018 at 7:02 am

Posted in Calvin, Church History

Fun Facts From Church History: Luther Wasn’t a Fan of the Fathers

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At Luther’s table

luther… there was talk about the writings of the church fathers on the Bible and how these left the reader in uncertainty. He [Martin Luther] responded, “I’m not allowed to make judgments about them because they’re writers of recognized authority and I’m compelled to be an apostate.

But let him who wishes read them, and Chrysostom in particular. He was the supreme orator, but how he digressed from the thing at hand to other matters! While I was lecturing on the letter to the Hebrews and consulted Chrysostom, [I found that] he wrote nothing about the contents of the letter.

I believe that as the greatest orator Chrysostom had plenty of hearers but that he taught without fruit. For it ought to be the primary and principal function of a preacher to reflect upon the substance, contents, and sum total of the matter and instruct his hearer accordingly. Once this is done the preacher can use rhetoric and exhort.”

In other words, stick to the text when you’re preaching it! And that, regrettably, the Father’s didn’t do.  The Father’s are useful only for the windows they open on the history of the Church.  Their exegesis is, frankly, rubbish.  And their theology is, for the most part, frankly, ridiculous.

Written by Jim

12 Sep 2018 at 5:24 am

Posted in Church History, Luther

Fun Facts From Church History: The Zurich Catechism of 1534

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1534_zurich_catLeo Jud produced one of the earliest Reformed catechisms and he did so, unsurprisingly, in Zurich.  It’s known as the Zurich Catechism of 1534 and you can read it here.

If you’ll note the bottom of the title page you’ll see the Scripture which served as the motto or theme of the document.

Written by Jim

11 Sep 2018 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Church History

The Feast Day of Saints Felix and Regula- My Favorites after Jerome…

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And my favorite Saints because of their fun story:

Der Legende nach soll das Geschwisterpaar Felix und Regula und ihr Diener Exuperantius um 300 n. Chr. in der Thebäischen Legion im Walis gekämpft haben. Da sie sich nicht von ihrer christlichen Überzeugung anbringen liessen, mussten sie vor ihren Verfolgern fliehen. Sie entkamen über die Furka und das Reusstal, überquerten den Klausenpass, folgten dann der Linth und kamen bis nach «Turicum» am Zürichsee. Hier wurden sie überwältigt und auf der damaligen Insel in der Limmat, wo heute die Wasserkirche steht, enthauptet. Mit den Köpfen in der Hand seien sie noch einige Meter den Hügel hinaufgelaufen. Dort, wo später das Grossmünster erbaut wurde, sind sie gemäss der Überlieferung endgültig zusammengebrochen.

It’s the only Papist observance I like.  So every year on 11 September I think about their legend.  Because it’s fun.  Who else was beheaded and picked their heads up and walked around?  Who?  That’s right, nobody!  I wish I was back in Zurich….

Auch in diesem Jahr wird der Märtyrer gemäss römischem Kalender am dritten Tag vor den Iden des September, also am 11.September, feierlich gedacht. Zehn orthodoxe Kirchen der Region Zürich laden gemeinsam zur Prozession und zum orthodoxen Abendgebet ein. Die Prozession startet um 18.15 Uhr beim Fraumünster, stoppt dann bei der Wasserkirche, dem Ort des Martyriums der Zürcher Stadtheiligen, und zieht weiter zum Grossmünster, wo sich einst die Grabesstätte der drei Märtyrer befand.

Happy Feast of Felix and Regula.  Beheaded, and still able to romp around Zurich.

Written by Jim

11 Sep 2018 at 7:21 am

The Anniversary of Farel’s Death Approaches

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L’«agitateur» Guillaume Farel est mort il y a 450 ans

farelHow neat – and what a great nickname! I want to be called L’«agitateur»!

«L’image symbolique que l’on a de Farel, c’est sa statue devant la collégiale où il brandit la Bible. Mais il la brandit pour la valoriser au maximum, certes. Mais aussi pour écraser les autres», estime Olivier Labarthe, pasteur et historien qui travaille à une édition des écrits de Guillaume Farel au sein de l’Institut d’histoire de la Réformation de l’Université de Genève, convaincu du caractère bien trempé du réformateur neuchâtelois

«Guillaume Farel s’inscrit dans une circulation d’idées de type humaniste qui se sont radicalisées autour de la confrontation entre ce qu’on lit dans la Bible et ce qu’on voit dans l’Eglise de ce temps. Mais il écrit beaucoup en français et c’est dans cette langue qu’il va faire une synthèse de cette théologie latine et allemande, la rendant ainsi accessible à un plus large public», rappelle Christian Grosse, professeur d’histoire et anthropologie des christianismes modernes à l’Université de Lausanne.

And more.

Written by Jim

10 Sep 2018 at 5:26 am

Posted in Church History

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Papist Propaganda Against the Godly Reformers

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This late sixteenth-century anti-Protestant broadside includes a large hand-colored woodcut depicting the Catholic Church under attack by seven historical figures and one allegorical representative of the Reformation.  Situated from left to right and numbered one through eight, these include: (1) Martin Luther (1484–1546); (2) “Unhold,” a demon;  (3) Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560); (4) Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531); (5) Johann Oecolampadius (1482–1531); (6) Caspar Schwenckfeld (1490–1561); (7) Andreas Rudolff-Bodenstein von Karlstadt (ca.1480–1541); and (8) Jean Calvin (1509–1564).   All eight are assisted by various devils.  In turn the Catholic Church is supported and strengthened by its four central towers, each identified with one of the four Doctors of the Western Church: St. Ambrose (ca. 339–397), St. Jerome (ca. 345–420), St. Augustine (354–430), and St. Gregory (ca. 540–604).

The English translation of the caption title, the text above the illustration, reads:

“Mirror of the militant, true, steadfast, age-old Catholic Church of God, against which many tyrants, heathens, Jews, and heretics revolt, tear down, burn, and break by storm, but which Church to this day remains steadfast against all storms, and which until the end of the world by God’s grace shall endure.”


Written by Jim

9 Sep 2018 at 8:07 am

Posted in Church History

Zwingli Virtual

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#ZwingliVR: Dein Termin mit Huldrych

Erlebe die Folgen der Reformation in Virtual Reality! Ausgerüstet mit einem Headset und einem Rucksack-Computer betrittst du die virtuelle Welt. Huldrych Zwingli ist dein Gastgeber: hilf ihm, die Kirche zu verändern.

#ZwingliVR tourt zwischen dem 23.9. und dem 7.10. durch Zürich:
– Grossmünster Zürich: 23. bis 25.9., jeweils von 10 bis 18 Uhr
– Marktplatz Oerlikon: 30.9. bis 2.10., jeweils von 10 bis 18 Uhr
– Bahnhof Altstetten: 4. bis 7.10., jeweils von 10 bis 18 Uhr

Das Erlebnis ist kostenlos und dauert ca. 10 Minuten.

Weitere Infos unter:

#VR #VirtualReality #mixedmedia #reformation #zwingli #zhreformation #immersion #immersive #Zurich #swissdesign #swissmedia #inlovewithswitzerland #history #swisshistory #grossmuenster

Das Projekt wird gefördert und ist im Rahmen von ZH-REFORMATION.CH Im Kontext der internationalen Reformationsfeierlichkeiten haben Kanton und Stadt Zürich, die Evangelisch-reformierte Landeskirche, der Reformierte Stadtverband Zürich und Zürich Tourismus den Verein «500 Jahre Zürcher Reformation» ins Leben gerufen. Im Zentrum der Aufmerksamkeit steht die Aktualität der Reformation – ihre spürbaren Nachwirkungen und gesellschaftlichen Prägungen im heutigen Zürich. Barbara Weber und Martin Heller wurden mit der inhaltlich-kuratorischen Gesamtleitung beauftragt; kritisch und neugierig entwickeln sie ein facettenreiches Langzeit-Festival für Stadt und Kanton – von Mitte 2017 bis Anfang 2019.
Weitere Informationen unter

Written by Jim

7 Sep 2018 at 5:27 am

Posted in Church History, Zwingli

A New Volume on Historical Theology

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Find all the details here.

Written by Jim

6 Sep 2018 at 5:41 am

Posted in Books, Church History

Martin Bucer (1491–1551): Collected studies on his life, work, doctrine, and influence

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This volume is of interest to all who care about important things.

This present volume aims to stimulate Bucer-research as it brings together a selection of the best of De Kroon’s and Van ’t Spijker’s articles some of which appear for the first time in English translation. In the first section Bucer is described as taking his independent stand in the patristic and scholastic tradition. The next five articles go into the close personal and theological relation between Bucer and John Calvin and make clear how much of Bucer works through in Calvin and Calvinism. Bucer’s efforts to bridge theological and ecclesiastical gaps brought him often in discussion with catholic as well as protestant theologians. How he dealt with this is the topic of the third section in this volume. The two following articles deal with his view on discipline and on the right of resistance. The next articles deal with Bucer’s doctrinal legacy and the last section focuses on sanctification as one of the most important characteristics of his theology.The most important issues of contemporary Bucer-research and the outlines of his theology are convincingly presented in this volume by known experts for this topic.

V&R have sent along a review copy.  If you are interested in the front matter and the table of contents, you can download a pdf of all that here.  Like the other volumes in this exceptionally articulate series, this volume brings to light valuable information about its subject matter.

Though most of the essays are by two persons (see the TOC), the value of the collection of essays is not thereby diminished.  The layout of the volume is quite sensible and the contents seamlessly fit together to conspire to offer a coherent whole which could well serve as both an introduction to the thought of Bucer and an introduction to an important era in the history of the Reformation.

The essays appear in about an even linguistic distribution of German and English offerings.  Particularly enjoyable – at least to the present reviewer – are

  • Willem van ’t Spijker – ‘You have a different spirit from us’ Luther to Bucer in Marburg, Sunday 3 October 1529.
  • Marijn de Kroon – Die Augsburger Reformation in der Korrespondenz des Straßburger Reformators Martin Bucer unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Briefwechsels Gereon Sailers.
  • Marijn de Kroon – Freedom and Bondage.
  • Marijn de Kroon – Martin Bucer and the Problem of Tolerance.

The others are quite useful but these four are really remarkably important and revelatory.  And though the word ‘groundbreaking’ is used far too often to describe academic works, it fits in this case.

A word about the series in which this volume appears seems in order at this juncture.  It is superb.  Herman Selderhuis is doing a really brilliant job of assembling volumes for this series which instruct and inspire research.  Every book in the series not only informs but they also prod thought and almost impel further studies.  In the best possible sense, each of these works is a treasure.

I highly recommend both this volume and its series companions.  None have yet disappointed and none will ever disappoint one fiftieth as much as your local and national politicians will.

Written by Jim

4 Sep 2018 at 10:59 am

The Augsburg Confession

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Die Europäische Melanchthon-Akademie Bretten startet am 15. Oktober 2018 einen Lektürekurs zu Melanchthons Bekenntnisschrift, die Confessio Augustana.

Im Mittelpunkt steht die Confessio Augustana (CA) und ihre Entstehung. Philipp Melanchthon hat sie für den Reichstag zu Augsburg 1530 verfasst. Gedacht war sie als „Konsensbekenntnis“. In ihrem ersten Teil handelt sie von den Themen, bei denen aus Sicht der reformatorischen Bewegung Einigkeit mit dem römischen Katholizismus bestand. Der zweite, kleinere Teil benennt die verbleibenden Streitpunkte zwischen Wittenberg und Rom. Melanchthon hoffte vergeblich, es könne auf der Grundlage der CA die Einheit der Kirche (der „Konsens“) bewahrt werden.


Written by Jim

4 Sep 2018 at 5:40 am

Posted in Church History

I Didn’t Know Faithlife Had This Film…

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If you subscribe to Faithlife (or whatever it is you have to do to have access to films), you should DEFINITELY watch this film.  It’s fantastic.

Written by Jim

3 Sep 2018 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Church History

Today With Zwingli: A Letter from Oecolampadius

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Pax Christi tecum, mi frater.

Non est, quod nos perturbet obsistentium nobis ferocia. Annon pacem, ut pręcepit dominus [Luc. 10. 5. 6], pręfati sumus? Nonne de gloria domini agitur? Quos parentes? quos amicos? quos doctores? quam creaturam agnoscemus? Nequaquam essemus veri nepotes Phinees.

Si vindicari cum mansuetudine poterit gloria patris, non patiemur, ut immites iure arguamur. Sin zelum docebit unctio, relinquemus spiritui suum impetum. Expectabimus tamen, quidnam scripturus sit Martinus, orabimusque, ne genio suo indulgeat.

Mitto hic, quę calumniis Fabri Capito noster feliciter respondit. Nescio, an Germanica legeris, quę multo feliciora sunt. Xylotectus hinc migravit post festum assumptionis die quarto, Christiane quidem, sed magno cum cruciatu.

Sępe illum invisi ęgrotantem, sed confuso sermone balbutientem ęgre intelligebam; imo plane  intelligebam, Christum in pectore ipsius inter dolores summos regnare.

Accepi tuos libellos, pro quibus gratiam habeo. In Petri Gynorii, quem Albanensem hic dicebamus, fasciculo nihil inveni pręter libellum Eccii, qui, qualis sit, statim et ego cognoscam. At nihil ille  dabit, quod non ipsissimum referat Eccium.


3. Septembris.
Tuus Ęcolampadius.
Hic tibi commendari cupit, qui literas reddit.
Hulrico Zwinglio, euangelii fidelissimo ministro apud Tigurinos,  suo dulcissimo in Christo fratri.


Written by Jim

3 Sep 2018 at 7:59 am

Fun Facts From Church History: Pious Teens Don’t Get on Swings

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James Walter Douglas was born in Virginia in November 1797. After completing his primary education Douglass moved to the village of Christiana, Delaware, after obtaining a position as a trainee clerk. The teenaged Douglass also became a pious member of the local church. The extent of his faith is evident in Douglass’s personal diary, where he explains his reasons for not using a rope swing erected by other young men in Christiana:

“A very high and quite expensive swing was put up in the village by the young men [and has become] a great resort for the young people of the town. I was very much in doubt whether I ought to attend it, and at length determined that I ought not, for these reasons:

1. It takes time, and we must account for our time.
2. It is setting an example of levity.
3. The Lord Jesus would not attend such a place.
4. Nor [would] his apostles.
5. Nor [would] our minister, Mr Latta…
6. Please when carried to excess is criminal. Is this not excess?
7. What good can I get [from the swing]. Will I be more virtuous? Wiser? Better tempered? More full of grace? No, no I will not…”

Now that’s a pious teen….

Written by Jim

2 Sep 2018 at 7:45 am

Posted in Church History

The Synod of Dordt Commemorative Conference

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I hope this if live streamed or youtube-d.

The H. Henry Meeter Center is co-sponsoring “The Synod of Dordt Commemorative Conference,” on September 14th and 15th,  2018, in the Calvin Theological Seminary auditorium (3233 Burton St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546).

This two-day conference to commemorate the Synod of Dordt and its work brings together a range of experts who will explain in accessible presentations what the Synod did, why this gathering was significant at the time, and how this four-hundredth anniversary should be commemorated in churches and communities today.


Written by Jim

31 Aug 2018 at 5:08 pm

Call For Submissions

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The Journal of Early Modern Christianity (JEMC) is inviting submissions for the 2018 and 2019 issues. JEMC intends to contribute to interdisciplinary, interconfessional, and comparative research on early modern Christianity.  —

Written by Jim

28 Aug 2018 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Church History, Refo500

Fun Facts from Church History: Zwingli’s Description of the Catabaptists

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drowning_anabaptistsThey are mostly a class of rabble, homeless from the want of means, who make it their business to win old women by pompous discourses upon divine things to extract from them the wherewithal to support themselves, or to gather in considerable alms. In general, they make pretense of the same holiness of which Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons writes in connection with the Valentinians and Nazianzenus [Gregory of Nazianzus] in connection with the Eunomians.

Then, in reliance upon this, they teach that a Christian cannot be a magistrate; that it is not lawful for a Christian to put even a guilty man to death even by process of law; that we must not go to war even if tyrants or godless persons and robbers resort to force and plunder, slay, and destroy every day; that an oath must not be taken; that a Christian should not exact duties or taxes; that all things should be held in common; that the souls sleep with the bodies; that a man can have several wives “in the spirit” (having, however, carnal intercourse with them); that tithes and revenues should not be paid, and hundreds of other things.

Nay, they daily scatter new errors like tares amid the righteous seed of God.*

Small wonder Zwingli and the rest of the Reformers and the civic authorities had little time for such anarchists.
*The Latin Works of Huldreich Zwingli, Volume 2. (W. J. Hinke, Ed.) (pp. 272–273).

Written by Jim

27 Aug 2018 at 6:49 am

Posted in Church History, Zwingli