Monday, January 4, 2016

BULLINGER’S PREACHING



This is taken from Bruce Gordon’s article “‘Welcher nit bloubt der is schon verdampt’: Heinrich Bullinger and the Spirituality of the last Judgment” in Zwingliana, XXIX, 2002, 29, 30.

Bullinger’s regular practice was to preach three (in the early years up to six!) times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. In addition to his sermons for the early morning services, Bullinger also preached on the principal days of the Reformed church year (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost) and the patronal festival of Felix and Regula in September, leading Fritz B├╝sser to estimate that between 7,000 and 7,500 sermons were delivered in Zurich by Zwingli’s successor during his forty four years as head of the church. These sermons formed the crucial artery of Bullinger’s activity in Zurich, feeding all of his other intellectual, ecclesiastical, and political activities, with most of the ideas first expressed in the context of worship services recycled to fit a variety of contexts. The Word of God as the foundation for all human activity – this was as Bullinger believed it should be; yet, such a seemingly straightforward premise was in the fact the basis of a deeply complex set of issues. We still know far too little about how Bullinger worked in formulating and disseminating his ideas, nor have we penetrated the dense web of interrelationships between his sermons and writings on the one hand, and, on the other, the wider orbit of his activities as head of a large church consisted of more than a hundred urban and rural parishes. The large corpus of surviving sermons forms a map of Bullinger’s metal world; they provide a narrative structure, shaped by his language of biblical exposition, for the confusing array of domestic and international matters in which he found himself entangled. Bullinger spoke to the people of Zurich in sermons for almost fifty years, explaining the world in terms of scripture by choosing what he regarded s the appropriate text for particular situations.