Tuesday, January 11, 2011

R.C. Walton on Bullinger

The following is taken from Robert C. Walton’s article on Bullinger in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church edited by J.D. Douglas in 1974. I have had this dictionary since the mid 1970's but only just read Walton's article. Walton has published much in the area of the Swiss Reformation (he also wrote the article on Zwingli in the same dictionary) and it is interesting to see what he chooses to highlight in the constraints of a dictionary article.

“Although he accommodated his own moderate Augustinian doctrine in predestination to the more rigorous one advance by Calvin, Bullinger remained a lifelong opponent of Calvin’s theory of the two polities within the Christian commonwealth and the Genevan ecclesiastical discipline. He was Thomas Erastus’ closest ally in the partially successful struggle to prevent the introduction of a Presbyterian polity into the Rhineland Palatinate, and he supported the English bishops against Thomas Cartwright’s Presbyterianism because he viewed it as new form of papal tyranny. Denying that the punishment of Christians should include exclusion from the Lord’s Supper, he delegated all coercive power to the secular magistrate whom he assumed was Christian. It was left to the clergy to fulfill their prophetic function by preaching the Word and administering the sacraments to a Christian people whom Bullinger, a covenant theologian, believed were in a covenant relationship with God.”

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