Ulrich Zwingli – Change in a Hurry

What fascinates me about Ulrich Zwingli is the speed at which he brought change.  He first took on the priesthood in 1518 and began with teaching a systematic exposition of the Bible.  Thoroughly grounding the city of Zurich in scripture as the highest standard, he blitzed through an amazing number of reforming measures between 1522 and 1526:

  1. Breaking of Lent
  2. Clergy Marriage
  3. The Sixty-Seven Articles
  4. Translation of the Mass
  5. Removal of Images
  6. Severance from the Papacy
  7. Dissolution of the Minister Chapter and Monasteries
  8. Reform of the Minster School 
  9. Study Groups for Clergy
  10. Termination of Music
  11. Replacement of the Mass
  12. Quarterly Communion
  13. Synodal Government and the Establishment of Discipline under shared Laity/Clerical Control

Zwingli’s reformation spread well beyond Zurich, but stirring up a hornet’s nest with his disputations in the years to follow ended in his martyrdom by 1531.  He only had a 14 year ministry – four years building a scripture foundation, five years reforming, five years spreading the reformation.  Zwingli’s speed and determination is a picture of getting the job done, earning him a reputation as “Third Man of the Reformation” only behind Luther and Calvin.

Maybe gradual consensus building and collaboration is the preferred method of change under normal circumstances, but you got to love a guy who jumps in and gets the job done.  Zwingli’s story opens the possibility of bulldozing anything and everything.  If you have a concrete conviction from Jesus, maybe there is license to get a little reckless?

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One response to “Ulrich Zwingli – Change in a Hurry

  1. You really don’t read a whole lot about Zwingli in regards to the Reformation. everything is all about Luther and his changes, but I’m fascinated by the sweeping reforms of the faith.

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