Now I go away from Luther. What I was able to give you was rather short. Even a whole semester’s seminar on him is not enough. But l hope I gave you some kind of survey helping you to overcome at least some interpretations of this great prophetic personality. In him the Reformation broke through. — Now I come to people who took over his breakthrough and carried it through in different ways.
Zwingli is not as original a theologian as Luther was, in whom the breakthrough occurred. He is partly dependent on and partly independent of Luther, but he is never the first beginning, as it was in Luther. What is the character of Zwinglian Christianity? This is not so easy. Zwingli was very much influenced by the humanists. He remained his whole life a friend of Erasmus, in spite of all the roughness with which Luther separated himself from Erasmus. Zwingli did not, as later on Melanchthon also never did. These people were humanists besides being Christians. They were Christian humanists. And this is especially clear in a man like Zwingli. The authority of the Scriptures in Zwingli is based on the call of the Renaissance: Back to the sources! The Bible is the revelation of God. “God Himself wants to he the schoolmaster.”. (Luther could never have written such a sentence; He is certainly something more powerful than a schoolmaster!) But the decisive difference is that Zwingli had a fully developed doctrine of the Spirit, something which was lacking in Luther and the other Reformers. “God can give truth, through the Spirit, in non-Christians also,” he said.
The truth is given to every individual always through the Holy Spirit, and this Spirit is present even it the word of the Bible is not present. In this way he liberated somehow from the Biblical burden which Luther put upon people.