Luther And Zwingli Analysis

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Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli are seen as the vital figures of the Protestant Reformation. In this essay I will focus on the theological roots of disagreements between Luther and Zwingli. It is notable that both Luther and Zwingli were exposed to differing influences naturally affecting their theological views. Zwingli was more radical and a republican who was also very much a Swiss patriot. Where Luther believed that the Gospel should be defended by preaching of the Word, Zwingli was an advocate for the use of the sword for defence of the Fatherland and the Gospel. The root of the disagreements between Luther and Zwingli, an issue they could not find common ground with, is the Eucharist. It is due to the clashing of Zwingli’s rational approach to understanding of the Eucharist and Luther’s more mystical approach to Scriptures that lead to this. Subsequently, despite the face to face meeting at the Castle of Marburg, the stubbornness of both parties left them still in conflict with each other’s interpretation. I will discuss how both their views differ, predominantly with regards to the Eucharist. Firstly, both Luther and Zwingli had differing philosophical upbringings and environments. Luther was educated in the theories of William of Occam whereby he was influenced by the belief that the truths of revelations are profound and lie beyond reason. This belief maintained that one cannot explain truths of revelations through reason. In contrast, Zwingli was educated in Thomism, the works of Thomas Aquinas, who thought of the truths of revelation and of reason to be more in agreement than Occam. Moreover, Thomism stressed the priority of divine grace and man as the instrument of the divine predestination whereas Occam emphasised... ... middle of paper ... ...owever Zwingli still refused on the bases that this was still too close to the Roman transubstantiation. In conclusion, the difference in approach to the Scriptures heavily impacts the interpretation and understanding that both Luther and Zwingli have of the Eucharist. For Luther, if Christ is not present during the Supper then there is no place for the body of Christ as an essential element to our redemption. However, the ubiquity of Christ solves this. This belief is greatly mystical comparative to Zwingli who sort that the belief that Christ is present at the Alter leads to forms of idolatry whereby earthly objects are being held above heavenly ones. Zwingli stays true to his influence of reason from Aquinas and interprets the elements of the Eucharist to signify the body and blood of Christ rather than suggesting that Christ in present in his body in the bread.

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