Reflection of the Debate: Conflict at Marburg

one page reflection 300 wordsAnswer the following questions How did the positions of Zwingli and Luther on the sacrament of the Lord?s Supper differ? What
was the purpose of this debate? Based on this example, why did many Reformation debates lead
to further hostility rather than compromise and unity between religious and sectarian opponents? What implications did this have for the future of the Protestant Reformation?
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DEBATES PLAYED A CRUCIAL ROLE IN THE REFORMATION PERIOD.
They were a primary instrument for introducing the Reformation in innumerable cities as well as a
means of resolving differences among like-minded Protestant groups. This selection contains an excerpt
from the vivacious and often brutal debate between Luther and Zwingli over the sacrament of the Lord?s
Supper at Marburg in 1529. The two protagonists failed to reach agreement.
The Marburg Colloquy, 1529 The Hessian Chancellor Feige: My gracious prince and lord
[Landgrave Philip of Hesse] has summoned you for the express and urgent purpose of settling the
dispute over the sacrament of the Lord?s Supper.? Let everyone on both sides present his arguments in
a spirit of moderation.? Now then, Doctor Luther, you may proceed. Luther: Noble prince, gracious lord!
Undoubtedly the colloquy is well intentioned.? Although I have no intention of changing my mind,
which is firmly made up, I will nevertheless present the grounds of my belief and show where the others
are in error.? Your basic contentions are these: In the last analysis you wish to prove that a body cannot
be in two places at once, and you produce arguments about the unlimited body which are based on
natural reason. I do not question how Christ can be God and man and how the two natures can be
joined. For God is more powerful than all our ideas, and we must submit to his word. Prove that Christ?s
body is not there where the Scripture says, ?This is my body!? Rational proofs I will not listen to.? It is
God who commands, ?Take, eat, this is my body.? I request, therefore, valid scriptural proof to the
contrary. Zwingli: I insist that the words of the Lord?s Supper must be figurative. This is ever apparent,
and even required by the article of faith: ?taken up into heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father.?
Otherwise, it would be absurd to look for him in the Lord?s Supper at the same time that Christ is telling
us that he is in heaven. One and the same body cannot possibly be in different places.? Luther: I call
upon you as before: your basic contentions are shaky. Give way, and give glory to God! Zwingli: And we
call upon you to give glory to God and to quit begging the question! The issue at stake is this: Where is
the proof of your position? I am willing to consider your words carefully?no harm meant! You?re trying
to outwit me.? You?ll have to sing another tune. Luther: You?re being obnoxious. Zwingli: (excitedly)
Don?t you believe that Christ was attempting in John 6 to help those who did not understand? Luther:
You?re trying to dominate things! You insist on passing judgment! Leave that to someone else! ? It is
your point that must be proved, not mine. But let us stop this sort of thing. It serves no purpose. Zwingli:
It certainly does! It is for you to prove that the passage in John 6 speaks of a physical repast. Luther: You
express yourself poorly and make about as much progress as a cane standing in a corner. You?re going
nowhere. Zwingli: No, no, no! This is the passage that will break your neck! Luther: Don?t be so sure of
yourself. Necks don?t break this way. You?re in Hesse, not Switzerland.

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