Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bullinger and the task of the ministry of the Word

“As antistes Bullinger had to exercise extreme wisdom and discernment with respect to the future direction of the Zürich church in uncertain times, not to mention that his leadership was required to address matters of church and state, church discipline, a strained relationship with the Lutherans, in addition to the Anabaptist controversy. In his maiden Karlstag address (on the annual occasion to commemorate Charlemagne who is traditionally linked to the founding of the Grossmünster) Bullinger delineated his understanding of the office of minister. For Bullinger what is fundamental to the office of minister is that of a prophet through the faithful exegesis and proclamation of Scripture in building up the congregation:

‘The task of a true prophet is none other than … to exegete the Holy Scriptures, to oppose errors and evils, to further the fear of God and truth, and finally not only to offer righteousness, faith and mutual love to the hearts of men with full eagerness and zeal, but to heavily press these upon them. It is also his task to strengthen the faint, to comfort the sad, and encourage and exhort those failing or falling behind in the way of the Lord.’”

(Cited from “Bullinger and Romans”, Reformed Theological Review vol 69 (2010), pp34-47, p35)

Bullinger goes on to state the following:

“First of all, we would like to point out, dear reader, that we have written no laws, but commentaries, which one must verify, and may not be considered as divine oracles. The Bible is the only measuring stick for the truth. Where, then, you notice that I have not been quite correct in my interpretation, lay my commentary aside and follow the Bible.”

(cited from the same article p39)

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