- ( 1504-1575 )leading first-generation Swiss reformerThe successor of Ulrich Zwingli as leader of the Reformation in Zurich, Heinrich Bullinger moved to consolidate the gains that had been made during Zwingli's short career. He was born on July 18, 1504, in Bremgarten near Zurich. He was guided to the priesthood and sent for training at Emmerich and Cologne. As the Reformation began, he absorbed its teachings from his father, an early sympathizer. Bullinger taught at the Cistercian monastery near Kappel (1523-29).He later became the pastor in his hometown, where he remained until he succeeded Zwingli as pastor of the Grossmünster in Zurich following the latter's death in 1531. He held that position for the rest of his life, more than four decades. He published more than 100 religious titles, many of which were translated, reprinted, and circulated widely throughout Europe.Bullinger tried to foster Protestant unity, especially between the Swiss Reformed and the Lutherans. To that end, with two colleagues he authored the "First Helvetic Confession," the classic early confession of faith issued in 1536. However, while Bullinger's effort found broad support among the German-speaking Swiss Protestants, it found little favor in Germany.A decade later, John Calvin emerged as the new leader of the French-speaking Protestants based in Geneva. Meanwhile, Bullinger worked on the "Consensus Tigurinus," a statement of agreement between what had become two wings of the Swiss Reformed movement. In 1566, Bullinger composed the "Second Helvetic Confession," which found support from all the Swiss Protestant centers except Basel. He never composed a systematic theology, but came close in his Decades (1549), a collection of 50 sermons that covered the major theological themes. He died on September 17, 1575.immensely influential in his own day and through the end of the 16th century, Bullinger was later overshadowed by Zwingli and Calvin in the Protestant tradition. in the 20th century, his important role was more favorably acknowledged.See also Reformed/Presbyterian tradition.Further reading:■ J. W. Baker, Bullinger and the Covenant: The Other Reformed Tradition. (Athens: University of Ohio Press, 1980)■ J. W. Baker and Charles S. McCoy, Fountainhead of Federalism: Heinrich Bullinger and the Covenantal Tradition (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1991)■ Pamela Biel, Doorkeepers in the House of Righteousness: Heinrich Bullinger and the Zurich Clergy 1535-1575 (Bern, N.Y.: P. Lang, 1991)■ Ulrich Gabler and Erland Herkenrath, Heinrich Bullinger 1504-1575, Gesammelte Aufsatze zum 400, Todestag (Zurich: Theologische Verlag Zurich, 1975). Bruce Gordon, Clerical Discipline and the Rural Reformation. The Synod in Zurich, 1532-1580 (Bern, N.Y.: P Lang, 1992).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.