I was very interested when I came across William Boekestein’s contribution to the Bitesize Biography series, Ulrich Zwingli. In previous readings on Zwingli I have found him to be one of the great lights within Church History seeing as he was one of the primary figures in the Swiss Reformation. As you might assume Zwingli was at the forefront of much controversy which is not only interesting from a historical perspective but even from the perspective of modern day Christians who want to glean from the successes and failures of the saints from the past.
The book itself includes a useful timeline covering the major benchmarks in Zwingli’s life, an introduction, 12 chapters covering the span of Zwingli’s life, and an appendix with Zwingli’s 67 articles a treatise written like a church confession or statement of faith.
As I mentioned above Zwingli began the work of reforming the Church of Rome in Switzerland. Ironically Zwingli’s reformation almost paralleled the German Reformation of Martin Luther for similar reasons, the selling of indulgences which assumed a works based salvation. In other words one could purchase their salvation or even the salvation of someone that had already died. The proceeds from the selling of indulgences went to fund the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica. For both of these reformers the selling of indulgences represented significant theological error hence the reason for reform.
Unlike Luther, Zwingli did not have the support of the governing powers. As you can imagine not having the support of the local authorities required Zwingli to commit much of his time to political debate and winning supporters for his reform. The trade off was a lack of time for writing and publishing theological works as Luther did. Boekestein does an outstanding job at laying out some of these distinctions between the two reformers highlighting Zwingli’s unique contributions to the Swiss Reformation.
I truly enjoyed reading Boekestein’s biography on Zwingli. Boekestein writes with an organized and easy to read style. He is able to identify aspects to Zwingli’s life that are significant even to modern day readers while keeping a thorough treatment of Zwingli’s life. If you have never heard of Zwingli or if it has been some time since you have picked up some Zwingli you will definitely find this to be a good read.
Rating 4 stars out of 5
This book is provided to me gratis in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.