Covenant Renewal Worship, Federal Vision men abuse Zwingli...

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It's impossible to reconcile the Zwingli-bashing of former Baptists within the Covenant Renewal Worship, Federal Vision party with the actual words of Zwingli at the Marburg Colloquy and here in Zwingli's Short Exposition of the Christian Faith (1531). Zwingli is no "mere memorialist." Read his doctrine below. Then read his actual liturgy for the Eucharist, asking yourself if anyone in the Covenant Renewal Worship, Federal Vision group would object to this liturgy if they had no idea where it came from?

Two things they may object to (even not knowing they were hearing Zwingli's liturgy) are things where Zwingli is right: namely, Zwingli's repudiation of special attire for the celebrant and the faithfulness of Zwingli's warnings of danger to participants who don't eat and drink by faith.

The liturgy is at the end of the Short Exposition, beginning with the words, "Here follows substantially the order of service we use at Zurich, Berne, Basel, and the other cities of the Christian alliance." It's also instructive to read the text from Augustine near the end of the Short Exposition which Zwingli cites as an explication of in his position. Scroll to the end for Zwingli's liturgy and his defense from Augustine.

A Short and Clear Exposition of the Christian Faith

by Ulrich Zwingli

Chapter IV: The Presence of Christ's Body in the Supper

To eat the body of Christ sacramentally, if we wish to speak accurately, is to eat the body of Christ in heart and spirit with the accompaniment of the sacrament.

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But when you come to the Lord's Supper with this spiritual participation and give thanks unto the Lord for His great kindness, for the deliverance of your soul, through which you have been delivered from the destruction of despair, and for the pledge by which you have been made sure of everlasting blessedness, and along with the brethren partake of the bread and wine which are the symbols of the body of Christ, then you eat Him sacramentally, in the proper sense of the term, when you do internally what you represent externally, when your heart is refreshed by this faith to which you bear witness by those symbols.

But those are improperly said to eat sacramentally who eat the visible sacrament or symbol in public assembly to be sure, but have not faith in their hearts. These, therefore, call down judgment, that is, the vengeance of God, upon themselves by eating, because they hold not in the same high esteem, in which it is rightly held by the pious, the body of Christ, that is, the whole mystery of the incarnation and passion, and even the Church itself of Christ. For a man ought to test himself before he partakes of the Supper, that is, examine himself and ask both whether he so recognizes and has received Christ as the Son of God and his own Deliverer and Saviour that he trusts Him as the infallible author and giver of salvation, and whether he rejoices that he is a member of the Church of which Christ is the head. If as an unbeliever he unites with the Church in the Supper, as if he had faith in these things, is he not guilty of the body and blood of the Lord? Not because he has eaten them in the literal, material sense, but because he has borne false witness to the Church that he has eaten them spiritually when he has never tasted them spiritually. Those, therefore, are said to eat merely sacramentally, who use the symbols of thanksgiving, to be sure, in the Supper, but have not faith. For this they are in more terrible condemnation than the rest of the unbelievers, because those simply do not acknowledge Christ's Supper, while these pretend to acknowledge it. He sins doubly who without faith celebrates the Supper. He is faithless and presumptuous, while the mere unbeliever is destroyed through his unbelief like the fool through his folly.

Chapter V: The Virtue of the Sacraments

These difficulties, O King, plainly show that we ought not, under the guise of piety, to assign to the Eucharist or to Baptism qualities that bring faith and truth into danger. What then? Have the sacraments no virtue?

First virtue: -- They are sacred and venerable rites, having been instituted and employed by Christ, the Great High Priest. For He not only instituted Baptism, but Himself received it, and He not only bade us celebrate the Eucharist, but celebrated it Himself first of all.

Second virtue: -They bear witness to an accomplished fact, for all laws, customs, and institutions proclaim their authors and beginnings. Since, then, Baptism proclaims by representation Christ's death and resurrection, these events must indeed have taken place.

Third virtue: -They take the place of the things they signify, whence also they got their names. The passover or passing by, through which God spared the children of Israel, cannot be placed before the eye, but a lamb is placed before the eye instead of this event as a symbol of it. Neither can the body of Christ and all that was accomplished in it be put before our eyes; the bread and wine are set before us to be eaten, in place of it.

Fourth: --They signify sublime things. Now the value of every sign increases with the worth of the thing of which it is the sign, so that, if the thing be great, precious, and sublime, its sign is, therefore, accounted the greater. The ring of the queen, your consort, with which Your Majesty was betrothed to her, is not valued by her at the price of the gold, but is beyond all price, however much it is gold, if you regard its material-for it is the symbol of her royal husband. Hence, it is even the king of all rings to her, so that if she should ever name her ornament separately and appraise it, she would doubtless say, "This is my king," that is, "this is the ring of my royal husband with which he engaged himself to me, this is the symbol of our inseparable alliance and trust." So the bread and wine are the symbols of that friendship by which God has been reconciled to the human race through His Son, and we value them not according to the price of the material but according to the greatness of the thing signified, so that the bread is no longer common, but sacred, and has not only the name of bread but of the body of Christ also, nay, is the body of Christ, but in name and significance, or, as the more recent theologians say, sacramentally.

The fifth virtue is the analogy between the symbols and the thing signified. The Eucharist has a two-fold analogy, first as applying to Christ, for as bread sustains and supports human life, as wine cheers man, so Christ alone restores, sustains and makes glad the heart bereft of all hope. For who can pine away in despair any longer when he sees the Son of God made his own, and holds Him in his soul like a treasure which cannot be torn from him and through which he can obtain all things from the Father? It has a second analogy as applying to us, for as bread is made of many grains, and wine is made of many grapes, so the body of the Church is cemented together and grows into one body from countless members, through common trust in Christ, proceeding from one Spirit, so that a true temple and body of the indwelling Holy Spirit comes into existence.

Sixth, the sacraments bring increase and support to faith, and this the Eucharist does above all others. You know, O King, that our faith is constantly tried and tempted, for Satan sifts us like wheat, as he did the apostles. But how does he attack us? Through treachery in the camp, for he busies himself with trying to overwhelm us through the body as through an old wall of our defense ready to tumble down, setting up the scaling ladders of the desires against our senses. When, therefore, the senses are diverted elsewhere, so as not to give ear to him, his schemes are less successful. Now in the sacraments the senses are not only made deaf to the wiles of Satan but bound over to faith, so that like handmaidens they do nothing but what their mistress, faith, does and directs. Hence they aid faith. I will speak plainly. In the Eucharist the four most powerful senses, nay, all the senses, are as it were, reclaimed and redeemed from fleshly desires, and drawn into obedience to faith. The hearing no longer hears the melodious harmony of varied strings and voices, but the heavenly words, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten for its life." We are present, therefore, as brethren, to give thanks for this bounty to us. For we do this rightly at the command of the Son Himself, who on the eve of His death instituted this thanksgiving, that He might leave us a lasting memorial and pledge of His love towards us. "And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto the disciples," uttering from His most holy lips these holy words, "This is my body" [Luke 22:19]. "Likewise also He took the cup," etc. -when, I say, the hearing takes in these words, is it not struck and does it not give itself up wholly in admiring wonder to this one thing that is proclaimed? It hears of God, and His love, and the Son delivered up to death for us. And when it gives itself up to this, does it not do what faith does? For faith is that which leans on God through Christ. When, therefore, the hearing looks to the same thing, it becomes the handmaiden of faith, and troubles faith no more with its own frivolous imaginings and interests. When the sight sees the bread and the cup which in place of Christ signify His goodness and inherent character, does it not also aid faith? For it sees Christ, as it were, before the eyes, as the heart, kindled by His beauty, languishes for Him. The touch takes the bread into its hands-the bread which is no longer bread but Christ by representation. The taste and smell are brought in to scent the sweetness of the Lord and the happiness of him that trusteth in Him. For as they rejoice in food and are quickened, so the heart, having tasted the sweetness of the heavenly hope, leaps and exults. The sacraments, then, aid the contemplation of faith, and harmonize it with the longings of the heart, as without the use of the sacraments could not be done at all so completely.

In Baptism, sight, hearing, and touch, are summoned to the aid of faith. For faith, whether that of the Church or that of him who is baptized, recognizes that Christ endured death for His Church, rose again, and triumphed. The same thing is heard, seen, and touched in Baptism. The sacraments, then, are a sort of bridles by which the senses, when on the point of dashing away to their own desires, are checked and brought back to the service of the heart and of faith.

The seventh power of the sacraments is that they fill the office of an oath of allegiance. For "sacramentum" is used by the Latin writers instead of "ius iurandum," i. e., "oath." For those who use one and the same Oath, become one and the same race and sacred alliance, unite into one body and one people, and he who betrays it is false to his oath. When, therefore, the people of Christ by eating His body sacramentally become united into one body, he who without faith ventures to obtrude himself upon this company betrays the body of Christ, as well in its head as in its members, because he does not "discern," that is, does not properly value the body of the Lord, either as having been delivered up by Him for us, or as having been made free by His death. For we are one body with Him.

We are forced, then, whether we will or no, to acknowledge that the words, "This is my body," etc., are not to be understood literally and according to the primary meaning of the words, but symbolically, sacramentally, metaphorically, or, as a metonymy, thus:-- "This is my body," that is, "this is the sacrament of my body," or, "this is my sacramental or mystical body, that is, the sacramental and vicarious symbol of that body which I really took and exposed to death."

Appendix on the Eucharist and the Mass:

I maintain, therefore, that the body of Christ is not eaten in the Supper in the carnal and crude fashion they say, but I believe that the real body of Christ is eaten in the Supper sacramentally and spiritually by the religious, faithful, and pure mind, as also Saint Chrysostom holds. And this is a brief resume of my view, or, rather not mine but the truth's own, in this controversy.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!