was given out from the altar (yet to be repositioned) in the Grossmiinster at Eastertide in Zurich, April 1525. By 1525, Zwingli's eucharistic understanding had become more complex. To the 'pledge' (Pflicht) of the forgiveness of our sins contained in God's act of instituting the sacrament became conjoined our remembrance of the sacrifice once made for us, and our testimony to one another when we receive it. So the eucharist was not simply about what God does for us; but also about what we do for God, and for one another. By 1525, Zwingli's philological training had sent him to the origins for the Latin word 'sacramentum'. He discovered in Varro that it had been adopted early in the Latin church for a pledge deposited by a litigant before an altar and recovered when the suit was successful and that it had originated in the word used by the Roman army for a soldier's oath. This resonated, as Diarmaid MacCulloch has pointed out, in the heartland of Europe's mercenary armies. Receiving the eucharist was the equivalent of a contingent of troops reverently giving the salute before the flag.24 By doing so, we strengthened our inward faith and inscribed in our hearts the reality of what the Bible had told us of Christ's once-for-all sacrifice for all humanity on the Cross.
What was true of the eucharist must also be true for the other biblical sacrament, baptism. Here, Zwingli had initially found it difficult to develop a coherent, biblically based argument, consonant with his developing theology, to counter the emerging Anabaptist arguments in favour ofadult (re)-baptism. In 1525, however, he could argue that infant baptism was a covenant-sign or pledge 'by which a man proves to the church that he either aims to be, or is, a soldier of Christ, and which informs the whole church rather than yourself of your faith'.25 This was set out in the scriptures, initially in the rite of circumcision, given by God to Abraham and his descendants, not in order to confirm Abraham's faith but as a pledge that Abraham would lead his children to God. Since Zwingli was not convinced by original guilt, baptism was not a washing away of sin. It was simply the entering into a new life and community. In practical terms, baptism was thus to take place during Sunday worship. As with the eucharist, there was a reductionist simplicity at work. The baptismal font and gold or silver accoutrements were replaced by an earthenware, zinc, copper or glass bowl and plain ewer - liturgical ware that would eventually become widespread in the Reformed tradition in France, the Netherlands, and Scotland. And the salt, oil, candles and exorcism of the Roman rite were banished for good.
24 MacCulloch, Reformation, pp. 147-8.
25 Stevens, Theology of Huldrych Zwingli, p. 198.
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