Monday, June 27, 2005

Heinrich Bullinger II

Took the shrink wrap of Vol.1 and read the two "new" introductions: "Henry Bullinger (1504-1575): Shepherd of the Churches", an biographical essay by George Ella - 60pp., and "Henry Bullinger's Decades", a helpful overview and history of Decades as well as a chapter on Bullinger as a preacher and the centrality of preaching/sermons to reformation saints by Joel Beeke with George Ella - 60pp. (With this volume totalling 1000pp. and vol.2 being just as thick, this looks to be a lot of reading :-) )
These two intro's were very well written and accessible to the common person, and thus were in sharp contrast to the overtly scholastic essays in Architect of the Reformation. The essays I have read, that is! :-) Gordon's "Introduction" seemed very political, while Edward Dowey's "Heinrich Bullinger as Theologian: Thematic, Comprehensive, and Schematic" was both a welcome overview of some of B's major theological works and a passable (to my untrained mind) argument for B being a "'schematic' or programmatic rather than systematic" theologian. Just starting the third essay on "Bullinger on the Trinity" by Mark Taplin.
The Decades, besides the Second Helvitic Confession, are probably B's most comprehensive presentation of his overall theology. They are composed of five sets of ten (decades) sermons on every major topic (except CT, specifically), and are commonly divided thusly: The Word of God and Faith (First Decade); Ethics (Second and Third Decades); The Doctrine of God (Fourth Decade); and The Doctrine of the Church (Fifth Decade) [after Beeke], and are prefaced by a compilation of various ancient creeds - a major concern the reformers had for illustrating their continuity with the historical confession of faith.
At least two of B's other works which may be profitable for the church today - if they were translated and published in the common tongue - would be firstly his Summa Christlicher Religion (1556) an "epitome" of the Decades ideal for adults and young adults as a "summary of the Christian religion in which we present briefly and correctly, without wrangling and scolding, such matters drawn from Holy Scriptures as are necessary for every single Christian to know, believe, do and allow, and also to suffer and die in blessedness," according to Bullinger (Dowey, p.53); and, secondly, his Catechesis pro Adultioribus (1559) prepared for use in "upper school classes" at the request of the Zurich Synod and ideal for new converts and those preparing for confession of faith. Other works would be as welcome!

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