Zwingli the semi-Manichean and Baptism

I'm presently researching a paper on baptism which I'm happy to say has taken me to Luther's Large Catechism and Calvin's Institutes, and finally to Zwingli's thought as well. I have always really disliked Zwingli and felt that he was a pathetic theologian. I feel so more strongly than ever now. Here is a quote from an article on Zwingli, who along among the Reformers rejected the sacramentality of water baptism.

All this raises an interesting question. Zwingli was not the first theologian to have a strong view of the sovereignty of God. Augustine and Luther are two others that come immediately to mind, both of whom touched Zwingli deeply. Yet neither of these, nor any other theologian for that matter, sensed a tension like Zwingli between sovereignty and sacraments. Thus, one concludes that there was something else in Zwingli’s equation other than his view of God.

That “something else” is his incipient philosophic dualism. Simply put, Zwingli believed that the flesh was evil, the spirit was good, and “ne’er the twain shall meet.” He was not a complete dualist in the Manichaean sense. Nevertheless, based on passages such as John 6:3 and Galatians 5:17, he saw a yawning chasm between the spirit and the flesh. “As long as we are in the flesh, we are never without sin. For the flesh and the spirit are contrary the one to the other, so that we do not do the things which in the spirit we would do. . . . All who are in the flesh are sinful.” This is because the flesh is always evil. As he says, “The flesh is mire; hence whatever comes from man is stained.”

That says it pretty well! From HERE.


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