Love Under Fire


Zwingli Called to Zurich

After three years Zwingli was called to preach in the cathedral at Zurich, the most important town in the Swiss confederacy. The influence he exerted here would be widely felt. The churchmen proceeded to instruct him about his duties: LF 76.6

“You will make every effort to collect the revenues of the chapter without overlooking the least of them.... You will be diligent in increasing the income arising from the sick, from masses, and in general from every church function.” “As for the administration of the sacraments, the preaching, and the care of the flock, ... you may employ a substitute, especially in preaching.”6 LF 76.7

Zwingli listened in silence to this instruction and said in reply, “The life of Christ has been hidden from the people for too long. I will preach on the whole of the Gospel of St. Matthew.... I will consecrate my ministry to God's glory, to the praise of His Son, to the real salvation of souls, and to their growth in the true faith.” LF 76.8

The people flocked in great numbers to listen to his preaching. He began his ministry by opening the Gospels and explaining the life, teachings, and death of Christ. “It is to Christ,” he said, “that I desire to lead you—to Christ, the true source of salvation.” Statesmen, scholars, craftsmen, and peasants listened to his words. He fearlessly rebuked the evils and corruptions of the times. Many returned from the cathedral praising God. “This man,” they said, “is a preacher of the truth. He will be our Moses, to lead us out from this Egyptian darkness.”7 LF 77.1

After a time opposition arose. The monks heckled him and sneered at him; others resorted to insults and threats. But Zwingli bore it all patiently. LF 77.2

When God is preparing to break the chains of ignorance and superstition, Satan exerts his greatest power to keep people in darkness and to fasten their shackles more firmly. Rome worked with renewed energy to open her market throughout the Christian world, offering pardon for money. Every sin had its price, and the church gave people free license for crime if it would keep the treasury of the church well filled. So the two movements advanced—Rome licensing sin and making it her source of income, and the Reformers condemning sin and pointing to Christ as the sacrifice and deliverer. LF 77.3