Ulrich Zwingli

Ulrich Zwingli was a highly regarded Swiss Protestant leader during the era of the church reformation, and he actually played a significant role in the breaking up of the Roman Catholic Church thus setting up the protestant wing. He is, in fact, ranked in the third place after Martin Luther and John Calvin with regard to the protestant reformers. Initially Zwingli was a Roman Catholic cleric in the state of Zurich, Swiss city and his main oppositions was against the selling of indulgences, as well as the manner in which the Catholic Church was pardoning those souls in purgatory. Therefore, for being a protestant reformer, he shaped views in relic worship as well as the practice of baptism in the sixteenth century. His work later then impacted the church today (Nichols).

Zwingli was apparent born at Wildhaus Switzerland on January 1, 1484 to parents Margret and Ulrich Zwingli. For once his family background influenced him to pursue theology matters as, for instance, his father was an influential principal magistrate in his home village while his brother named Bartholomew was also the community priest. Moreover, his brother named Johannes was an abbot in the Benedictine abbey found in Fischingen, whereas his probable uncle, Bunzli was also an abbot in the Old St. John’s church near Wildhaus. Moreover, along the way on his higher education he came across the influence of Thomas Wyttenbach on the advancement of theology as well his total immersion in the philosophies of humanism at an institution, that he met humanities who would eventually sow extensive seeds of activism and reformation in his mentality (Hambrick-Stowe).

The general public displayed immense, religious enthusiasm externally, however, it was not enough to counteract the molder of morals, and this resulted mainly from the church’s mercenary army system. The clerical to a great level neglected their responsibilities; where a lot of them lived in states of concubinage, and attached in the shameless chase of spiritual pretends, hence damaging their reputation. While being in Zurich, Zwingli became outspoken concerning the deeds of the Pope who was much into politics and this made him denounce the mercenary system and also made him publicly relinquish his papal retirement fund. One significant achievement into his revolts was the refusal of Zurich canton into entering any alliances with France (Brock).

Relic Worship

A relic is described by the Catholic Church as Something connected with or belonging to Our Lord or even the Saints, which include either a piece of clothing they wore or a part of their bodies. This practice by the church has been active since time immemorial, and it is even adept that everywhere a chapel is opened, or a sanctuary consecrated, it usually cannot be comprehensively complete exclusive of some artifact or additional of the saint to give holiness to it. The relic of the saints together with the cross and decayed bones of the church martyrs form a great element of the possessions of the Church. The grossest pretenses have been practiced in view to such relics, and most driveling stories have been narrated of their wonderfully working powers, along with that too by clergies of high name in the account of Christendom (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Zwingli was more outspoken on the issue of the Catholic Church practicing relic worship where he termed it as worshiping idols and items, which were against the teachings of the Bible. Which followed, was a religious disputation basically fighting against the practical institution of the state Catholic Church, the excessive adoration of the saints, the use of images which hung throughout the worship halls, the kneeling before Jesus or Mary’s portraits, as well as placement of saints’ bones in alters. None of the notable delegates of the prehistoric Faith was in attendance, but nevertheless Zwingli urged the acceptance of his church doctrines so fruitfully which made even his friends warn him against fighting for the removal of the ancient beliefs and customs, as well as, their usage in church proceedings. Actually, the reforms came into effect in Zurich in 1525 (Nichols).


According to the historic catholic Christian faith, the act of baptism or rather the sacrament of baptism was highly connected to salvation, whereby the clergy described it as a practice of washing away peoples’ sins thus setting them free and allowing them to be admitted into an everlasting life.  They saw the act as carnal; where someone is dipped in water symbolically, but the effect is purely spiritual where they are liberated from sins, undergo regeneration and renovation, as well as diminution of trespasses. It was this stand of the church that baptism was the atonement of redemption equated to salvation and also the work of God that saw Zwingli question the credibility of the same (Baptists and the Protestant Reformation).

Zwingli criticized the traditional view of baptism, which basically denoted that the practice was the work of the Almighty, rather than being that of the recipient; therefore, he sought to reverse the view to indicate that the act was the work of an individual before God than it being the work of the Almighty in the convert. The idea of terming baptism as being part of the sacraments by having the power to remit sins did not appeal to Zwingli as all his interpretations were from the Bible. He argued that in no way would water-baptism have contributions in washing away sins as he saw no sacrament had that power to clean away sins (The Reformers' Defense of Infant Baptism).

His further arguments pointed out that people could only be saved through grace, and also by limiting the way of salvation to any specific act would largely constrict God in such a manner that His sovereignty would not consent. Moreover, he put across that there were actually no way physical actions in this case like dipping someone in water would have any bearing in terms of spiritual transformation. This criticism saw him come up with a redefined meaning of baptism which generally was covered in Anabaptist innovation as well as the sacramental objectivism of the Catholic Church. He described baptism as the declaration of faith as it increased or bolstered one’s faith. In addition, he saw it as a vow of allegiance as well as a mark of belonging to the Christian world (Baptists and the Protestant Reformation).

Through his definitions on baptism, he went further to clarify categorically that it was only the blood of Jesus Christ that had the ability to take away sins. Zwingli’s views on baptism have had numerous ramifications specifically through his theological innovation; therefore Christianity doctrines have impacted the society much on the ways people think as well as act and have seen the shift from reparation to cognition. This brought out the cognitively based holiness where people recognized baptism and accepted the faith as a doctrine of religion. Also, these reforms saw the change of practices based on community to those of individualism (The Reformers' Defense of Infant Baptism).

Personal faith set in which saw the doing away of communal participation in the church liturgy as well as in the sacraments. Needless to say, there was a remarkable shift of Christianity from covenant to fatalism where even though God had made agreements with humans, it was not a refutation of God’s sovereignty, but an admission of the humanity dignity (Ulrich Zwingli).

The church culture of Celibacy was eventually rejected as opposing to Holy Writ, which let nuns and monks getting married. Since the early year of 1522 Zwingli, together with ten additional ecclesiastics, gathered at Einsiedeln and tackled a lobby to the Bishop of Constance with regard to allowing priests the freedom to enjoy the marriage rite. They made declarations on the sceneries which prevailed pertaining the shameful and disgraceful life which the clergy till the moment led with the opposite humanity, thus giving dreadful scandal to everybody. Through the petitions celibacy was dropped and this opened the gates for numerous priests throughout Zurich to enter the marriage sacrament. What followed was a fresh marriage law, which regulated all the innovations and also the Mass ritual of the Catholic Church fell under scrutiny and was abolished thus introducing the memorial church service of the Last Supper in its place.


Zwingli’s views and their impact, however, did not achieve much force like Luther’s and Calvin’s due to the geographic locality of Zurich city. Nevertheless, majority of his views saw their way to the university levels and due to their influence they received some publications for instance the generally recognized sixty-seven articles. He is renowned as a reformer who influenced the establishment of Protestantism to the nation of Switzerland. He largely changed the religious orientation with regard to the Swiss society, thus actually without him the country would at present still be subjugated by the Catholic doctrine; hence religious pluralism grew in Switzerland. His theocracy and views paved the way for a refinement of the rectification in Switzerland which opened numerous opportunities to form the Church of United Methodist (Potter). Overall, his impact to the Christian religion through the reformation of baptism and relic worship brought out theological thinking throughout the country cantons and his works and views paved way for contemporary churches all over the world. 

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