Saturday, January 1, 2011
Preliminary Thoughts on Zwingli
I've spent the last few days reading a book on Huldrych Zwingli, one of the primary movers and shakers in the Protestant Reformation. I'm doing research on major movements and events that have shaped modern Evangelical worship. For my focus, it starts at the Reformation. The more I read, the more I come to the conviction that, while necessary, the Reformation was also reactionary - an event/movement that happened in a particular time in history with particular cultural and intellectual currents swirling about. That's always true for any historical happening. Nothing occurs in a vacuum. We are less than ten years away from the 500th anniversary of the Reformation - if you count Luther's nailing of the ninety-five theses on the Wittenburg church door (1517) as the beginning. Much was gained in the Reformation, but much was lost in over-reaction. We should have the courage to take a critical look back as we approach this important milestone.
One of my resolutions for 2011 is to begin research and writing again. Even though I am no longer in an academic setting, I love discovery and reflection. I prejudged Zwingli before I began reading. My opinions haven't really changed; they're just more informed, and in a sense, more firmly held than before.
In a nutshell, I believe one of the great losses of the Reformation for many Evangelical Protestants (especially "low church" Protestants - that is, non-liturgical) is a sacramental understanding of the Lord's Table. My research into Zwingli is important because he is the Reformer most responsible for a "memorialist" conception of the rite. This blog is not the place to develop my assertion. But it is good to be challenged to read and reflect again.
As my reading progresses, I may post thoughts along the way in this blog.
Happy New Year, all!