Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reformation Overview: Zwingli and Calvin

I know this is pretty basic stuff, but I learned more about Zwingli here than I did in seminary, of what I recall.  [I still need to read more of James Swan's past articles on Zwingli.] We had to read so much on Luther and Calvin and other issues, that maybe I skipped the pages I was supposed to read on Zwingli.

I thought this was a pretty good overview of Zwingli and Calvin.  I either fell asleep in seminary when they talked about the execution of Felix Manz for his having himself re-baptized, or they spent so much time on Luther and Calvin, and the Arminian Anabaptists, that I did not know about that until I watched this video.

The first time I saw this (within the last 2-3 years), I was shocked that the Zurich city council executed Feliz Manz by drowning, just because he rejected his infant baptism and had himself re-baptized.  That is still amazing to me that they were that extreme back then.  I assume that Manz and the other students of Zwingli were more "Reformed" in their theology, in contrast to the more famous group of Anabaptists, who were very Arminian in theology and pacifists.

I was impressed with Zwingli copying by hand the NT Greek text of Erasmus for himself and his model of expository teaching and preaching (verse by verse, book by book).  It seems Calvin is more famous for that, because Zwingli was killed in the second battle of Kappel in 1531; and Calvin's sermons were all written down and later published.  It seems the other person who was the first to exemplify Expository Preaching was John Chrysostom in the late 300s to early 400s.

The dispute between Luther and Zwingli on the Lord's Supper is famous.  I was disappointed in the abrupt way it ends, without explaining that Luther wrote "this is My body" on the table in chalk, and the need for a little more elaboration on that issue.  Good to know that they agreed on 14 out of 15 points of doctrine against the Roman Catholic Church.

The Calvin overview was bare bones basic.  Since I have sought to study more on Calvin than what is here, I wish they had gone into more details on him, his life, and his theology; and I wish they would have given more context to the Servetus issue and his execution - that Calvin wrote letters to Servetus while he was in prison and Calvin pleaded with him to repent; and Calvin also asked the city council to not burn Servetus, but to execute him in a more swift and merciful way.  They did not listen to Calvin.

Oops; I forgot Part c of Zwingli and Calvin!

From what I have understood, Servetus denied that Jesus was the eternal Son of God, the Deity of Christ, and the Trinity, and had published several books not just denying these doctrines personally, but was spreading these heresies and seeking to win people to his views.  So, it seems Servetus thought Jesus was some kind of creature, "son of God", but not the eternal only unique Son, the Word, who existed from all eternity.

There are other sections of this "Reformation Overview" that was done by Ken Curtis of the Christian History Institute.

There are six parts.  Each part is around 30 minutes, but most of them are broken into 3 parts for the You Tube series, so they will all be around 8-10 minutes each.  Look around for the others there at the side bar of the YouTube site for the others.  It seems like an excellent series for a church for introducing the main historical issues and persons of the Reformation period.

1. John Wycliffe - part 1a - look for parts b and c
2.  Jan Huss - part 2a - look around for parts b and c
3. Martin Luther - part 3a - look around for parts b and c
4. Zwingli and Calvin - part 4a - look for b and c
5. The Anabaptists- part 5a - look for b and c
6. William Tyndale - part 6a - look for b and c

One can order the entire series on one DVD from Vision Video/Gateway Films here. 

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