Getting Directions

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Daily Reformation, Acts 15:1-11

About the Reformer

Heinrich Bullinger was a Swiss Reformer; born at Bremgarten, July 18, 1504; died at Zurich, September 17, 1575. He was the son of a priest, who looked after his bringing up. After receiving his elementary education in the schools of his native town, he was sent to Emmerich on the Lower Rhine to the Brethren of the Common Life, and in 1519 he went to Cologne. There, in the seat of opposition to the Reformation, Bullinger gradually became a convert to the new doctrines. When he began the study of theology, his text-books were the Sententia of Peter Lombard and the Decretum of Gratian, but noting that these were based on the Church Fathers, he resolved to study the latter more closely, thus learning from Chrysostom, Ambrose, Origen, and Augustine how widely the scholastics had diverged in their treatment of Christian truths. At the same time he came into possession of some pamphlets of Luther which convinced him that the Wittenberg Reformer marked an advance over the scholastics. Since, however, Luther like the Church Fathers, appealed to the Scriptures, Bullinger obtained a New Testament, which nourished his opposition to Roman doctrine. He was also strongly influenced by Melanchthon’s Loci communes, and by 1522, despite a bitter inward struggle, he had broken definitely with the Roman Catholic Church. Being thus debarred from an ecclesiastical career, he resolved to become a teacher, and after nine months he secured a position in the Cistercian monastery at Kappel, where he remained from January 1523, to Pentecost 1529. Not only did he introduce his pupils to the classics, but he also interpreted a portion of the Bible to them daily, in addition to lecturing on other theological subjects in the presence of the abbot, the monks, and many of the residents of the city. Through his preaching of a reformation of doctrine and life, the movement was completed in 1525-26, although Bullinger’s life was imperiled by the hostility of the adherents of the ancient faith. In the early part of 1527, the monastery was transferred to the authorities of Zurich and the monastery church became the parish church of the community, with Bullinger as the preacher.

—Philip Schaff, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge

Pulling It Together

He was going to find it and that was all there was to it. He would not accept any help from his wife or a convenient store clerk; and he surely was not going to refer to a map. He would drive them there by his own skill and cunning—if it took all night.

His spiritual journey looked much the same. Then he began to read the Bible. Slowly but just as surely his heart began to open, and then his mind, and then, all the more, his heart. He discovered in the scripture that he had gotten lost along the way and could not reason his way to God. Yet he also discovered that God had provided a way back. In order to arrive at the desired destination, he had to stop the struggle and allow God’s grace to guide him home.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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