huldrych zwingli, woodcut
by hans asper
the theology of huldrych zwingli was based on the bible, taking scripture as the inspired word of god and placing its authority higher than what he saw as human sources such as the ecumenical councils and the church fathers. he also recognised the human element within the inspiration noting the differences in the canonical gospels. zwinglianism is the reformed confession based on the second helvetic confession promulgated by zwingli's successor heinrich bullinger in the 1560s.
zwingli's views on baptism were largely a response to anabaptism, a movement which attacked the practice of infant baptism. he defended the baptism of children by describing it as a sign of a christian's covenant with disciples and god just as god made a covenant with abraham.
he developed the symbolic view of the eucharist. he denied the catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and following cornelius henrici hoen, he agreed that the bread and wine of the institution signify and do not literally become the body and blood of jesus christ. zwingli's differences of opinion on this with martin luther resulted in the failure of the marburg colloquy to bring unity between the two protestant leaders.
zwingli believed that the state governed with divine sanction. he believed that both the church and the state are placed under the sovereign rule of god. christians were obliged to obey the government, but civil disobedience was allowed if the authorities acted against the will of god. he described a preference for an aristocracy over monarchic or democratic rule.