Purity: The Swiss Reformation

Sources: Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations (Blackwell, 1996); Denis R. Janz, A Reformation Reader: Primary Texts with Introductions (Fortress, 1999); Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform (Yale, 1980); Bernard Cottret, Calvin: a Biography (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000); Diarmaid MacCulloch, "The Reformation 1500-1650" in Richard Harries and Henry Mayr-Harting, Christianity: Two Thousand Years (Oxford, 2001).

Reading: 2 Kings 22:1-23:25.

The Reformed Tradition: a Sweeping Social Project
Andreas Karlstadt reforms too forcefully, quickly, thoroughly for Luther
In Zurich 1530, Karlstadt finds a home in Ulrich Zwingli's Reformation
Switzerland has just won independence from the Holy Roman Empire 1499
Zwingli, then John Calvin, seek to restore biblical society after Israel and NT church
These humanistic, urban reformations resynthesize Bible and European culture

Zwingli in Zurich 1519-1531
The priest pursues the classics, Fathers, the 'original' Bible, Erasmus
Wins the powerful city council's appointment to Zurich's Great Minster 1519
Rather than following the lectionary, he preaches through Matthew
Successfully defends his Sixty-Seven Theses in 1523
Institutes weekly Bible studies ("prophesyings") in 1525
Evangelical communion replaces the Mass in 1525
Zwinglianism spreads in some Swiss cantons and southern Germany
Fails to reconcile with Lutherans at Colloquy of Marburg 1529-30
Killed in battle against Catholic cantons in 1531

Zwinglian Theology
Salvation is by grace alone
Scripture has full and final authority; all other authorities are derivative
Responsibility to judge orthodoxy is local rather than ecumenical
Rejects pope, mass, saving works, saints, orders, celibacy, penance, purgatory
Lord's Supper is remembrance in Christ's absence, signifying his body
Jesus' humanity and divinity are distinct, even separable (thus spiritualism)
The Holy Spirit's role is more directly appreciated to compensate
Against Luther's "two kingdoms," Church and state share the social agenda

Calvin: Paris to Basle 1534, Geneva 1536, Strasbourg 1538
Calvin's background is legal and classical rather than clerical or scholastic
A refugee in Basle, he writes Institutes [Catechism] of the Christian Religion
(six chapters: Law, creed, Lord's Prayer, baptism/Lord's Supper, false sacraments, liberty)
In Geneva, Farel recruits him (against his wishes) to help reform the city
He opposes city council's interference in church matters, is expelled, pastors in Strasbourg
In Strasbourg he learns church organization, gains a family, expands Institutes to 17 chapters
His reply to cardinal Sadoleto wins new respect; Geneva persuades him to return in 1541

Calvin in Geneva 1541-1564
Calvin transforms the city through moral persuasion, persistence, and tenuous politics
Calvinist Geneva enforces orthodoxy, church attendance, moral uprightness
Policies arouse both dissatisfaction and an influx of Protestant refugees
Geneva becomes a center of Reformed influence and missionary training
Executing Michael Servetus convinces rivals that Calvinism takes orthodoxy seriously
Calvin's impartiality, though unpopular, raises Reformed appreciation for the rule of law
Scottish reformer John Knox: Calvin's Geneva is "the most perfect school of Christ"
Calvin works (in vain) for reconciliation with Catholics and Lutherans

Calvinist Theology
God is fundamentally transcendent (thus no support for icons, a priesthood, etc.)
Predestination stresses God's sovereignty and unconditional grace
God's fundamental relationship to humanity is covenantal
Worship is constant devotion, social justice, temperance
A "moderate" position on the Lord's Supper: Christ is spiritually present
Ecclesiastical Ordinances structure church into doctors, pastors, deacons, elders
These rule as councils and Consistory; all this begins presbyterian policy

The Reformed Legacy
Calvin's career leads the Reformation out of mid-century stagnation and stalemate
Calvinism gains an upper hand in Netherlands, Scotland, England, America; repressed in France
In the Reformed tradition, Protestantism crosses over beyond medieval and Germanic circles
Zwinglian theology gains prominence among spiritualists, Baptists, evangelicals