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Ovdje ste: Homepage Ref. in W. Europe The Second Generation of Reformers Heinrich Bullinger
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The Reformation in Western Europe - The Second Generation of Reformers

Heinrich Bullinger(18 July 1504 – 17 September 1575)

Theologian. Zwingli’s successor in Zurich as pastor of the Grossmünster Church. The main author of the Confessio Helvetica. The second version of the Helvetic Confession was later adopted by many Reformed churches throughout Europe.
Bullinger and Matthias Flacius held theologically differing positions, especially concerning the Lord’s Supper, but the two never had any direct contact with each other. Bullinger kept an active correspondence with many influential politicians and theologians of his day, including Primus Truber and Pietro Paolo Vergerio, Protestant Reformers from Slovenia.

Bullinger and Flacius
Bullinger and Matthias Flacius never exchanged letters but nevertheless knew of each other’s writings and moves. They were on opposing theological sides, especially concerning the Lord’s Supper, and saw one another as a threat to their own doctrinal positions. Bullinger closely followed the developments concerning the internal struggles within Lutheranism between Flacius and his followers (referred to as orthodox Lutherans or Gnesio-[true] Lutherans) and those loyal to Melanchthon.
In 1561 Flacius was exiled from Jena University because of his teaching concerning original sin and became a refugee in Germany.

During the controversy at the Jena faculty Bullinger received regular reports about the quarrels and the issues at stake from the Flemish professor at Marburg, Andreas Hyperius (1511-1564). 

When Primus Truber was banished from Slovenia in July 1565, his place as general superintendent was given to Sebastian Krelj (1538-1567) who had been Flacius’ student in Jena. At that time it all looked like the Reformation in Slovenia was turning toward orthodox Lutheranism, represented by Flacius. Naturally, Bullinger was alarmed by this development.

In 1565 Flacius published a hermeneutical and grammatical book which contained thirty reasons why the presence of Christ is distributed through his body and blood at the Eucharist.  After the book came out, Bullinger immediately wrote to Theodore Beza (1519-1605, John Calvin’s successor in Geneva) that he wanted him to reply to Flacius and when Beza did not respond quickly, Bullinger wrote again some three weeks later saying that he expects him to answer Flacius.  Beza did so in the following year when he wrote a refutation of Flacius’ theses. It is interesting to note that Bullinger did not want to write against Flacius himself but looked to Geneva instead.

Bullinger must have felt relieved when in 1566 Emperor Maximillian II ordered the city of Regensburg to cancel their asylum to Flacius.

Bullinger and Truber

Six letters have been preserved from the correspondence between Bullinger and Primus Truber: five from Truber to Bullinger and one from Bullinger to Truber.

Truber began his correspondence with Bullinger after his plan of publishing the New Testament in Slovenian with a Zurich publisher, Gessner, had fallen through. In his letter Truber asked the Zurich Reformer to intervene in the conflict with Gessner who was disappointed and angry. Even though by this time Bullinger already held a generally negative opinion of Lutherans, he still responded to Truber and that is how their correspondence started.

Truber told Bullinger that he used his commentary on the Gospel of John for the introduction to the translation of the New Testament into Slovenian. He had also relied on Bullinger’s commentaries for some of his sermons. They exchanged their theological writings and sermons with each other and Bullinger pointed Truber to the literature of the Swiss Reformers.

According to Oskar Sakrausky, “Bullinger’s influence on the theological position of Truber reaches its peak in the teaching of the Eucharist.”  Several years later Truber was accused of ‘Zwinglianism’ concerning the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper by the superintendent of Württemberg, Jakob Andreae (1528-90). This indicates that Bullinger had influenced Truber on this issue.

Bullinger also had an interest in the political and religious happenings on the territory south of Austria and in the Turkish military advances and asked Trubar to inform him of any news he might have.


Bullinger and Vergerio

Pietro Paolo Vergerio the Younger and Bullinger exchanged 152 letters, written from 18 different locations, between 1549 and 1564.  In some of the early letters Vergerio writes to Bullinger about his desire to publish the New Testament in Slovenian and indirectly asks for financial help from Zurich.  When Truber’s Gospel of Matthew was published Vergerio mailed a copy to Bullinger with his personal dedication in it. 

Vergerio knew a little bit of Slovene and Croatian and wanted to help in publishing books in the South Slavic languages. He supported the printing of the first four books into Slovenian, of which three were Truber’s works and one was his. These books were the first ever to appear in Slovenian using the Latin alphabet.