Luther vs. Zwingli at Marburg: Why the Fuss?
The Marburg Colloquy of 1529 was a pivotal event of the Reformation era.
The political and religious consequences of Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli’s failure to come to agreement on the Eucharist set the course for a political and religious split with reverberations that have lasted almost 500 years.
Today’s observer of the theological discussions at Marburg may too easily embrace a post-Enlightenment arrogance that assumes the doctrinal disputes of Luther and Zwingli to be petty and superfluous. But the Reformers did not engage in polemics and debate over minor theological intricacies. Certainly the personalities, ethnicities, and fallen nature of the Reformers played a part in the discussions, but the political and religious stakes were too high to disagree for disagreement’s sake.
Luther and Zwingli firmly agreed on at least one thing: one’s theology of the Lord’s Supper was not minor or secondary, but essential to correctly understanding the entire Christian faith. The debate over the Lord’s Supper occupied a primary place in both Luther and Zwingli’s theologies because of the questions of Christology that arose in the midst of conflict.
Over the next few days, I’d like to show how Luther and Zwingli’s differing views on Christ’s humanity were the primary cause of their division on the Eucharist.
We will start by looking at each Reformer’s Eucharistic theology in particular, and then we will turn to the Reformers’ views of Christ’s humanity and their debate over “flesh” and “spirit.” Hope you stay tuned for what I hope will be a historically informative discussion on the Lord’s Supper.
written by Trevin Wax. copyright © 2008 Kingdom People Blog.