“This is the gospel, that sins are remitted in the name of Christ; and no heart ever received tidings more glad.” Huldrych Zwingli's contribution to the Reformation may have been just as important as Luther and Calvin's, yet many still don't know much about him, let alone read his powerful works. Zwingli preached against ecclesial corruption, fasting, the requirement of celibacy on the clergy, the veneration of saints, excommunication, and more—setting the stage for the Swiss Reformation.
Simpson begins his biography of Zwingli with an introduction to the Reformation in Switzerland, and gives a great introduction to the points of union and divergence between Luther and Zwingli. Moving through Zwingli's birth to his death at the Second War of Cappel, Simpson provides keen insight into Zwingli's theology and the doctrinal differences that separated the German and Swiss Reformers.
No one can study that history, indeed, without soon confessing that Zwingli was a fine, bold, honest man, as fearless as Luther, a better scholar, and more self-controlled. Mr. Simpson takes advantage of the contrast; and the pages in which he works it out are the best in the book.
—The Church Quarterly Review
We like this Life of Ulrich Zwingli very well. It is written in a calm spirit and a clear manner. Mr. Simpson has, in fact, a strong sense of justice, a quality usually absent from theological affairs—combined with, and perhaps partly proceeding from, a careful study of the many sides of the subject. Mr. Simpson makes interesting comparisons between Luther and Zwingli, and sets forth their differences of doctrine with lucidity.
The religious history of Switzerland has significance all its own, significance which the present writer sees clearly and clearly presents to his readers. The story is well written and of high value. An extensive bibliography and a fair index add to its worth.
—The Christian Work and the Evangelist
Samuel Simpson (1868–1955) was educated at Oberlin Theological Seminary, Hartford Theological Seminary, and the University of Berlin. He was Associate Professor of American Church History at Hartford Theological Seminary from 1902–1909.