The Ten Theses of Berne.

Today the city of Berne, more commonly spelled Bern, is the de facto capital of Switzerland, referred to by the Swiss as their Bundesstadt, or "federal city". It is also the center of the canton of Berne which is rather like a state of the Swisss confederacy. Berne is the second largest of the 26 Swiss cantons by both surface area and population it is located in west-central Switzerland. In 1353, Bern joined the Swiss Confederacy, becoming one of the eight cantons of the formative period of 1353 to 1481.

In 1520, Berchtold Haller came to the church at St. Vincent in Berne. Haller was influenced by Philip Melanchthon, a collaborator with Luther, and Huldrych Zwingli, who began the Swiss Reformation, continued in large measure by John Calvin. He was leaning toward the Reformation, but the city had affirmed Catholic doctrines in 1523 and explicitly forbade the preaching of Protestantism and Luther's ideas. They did allow the preaching of biblical themes, and that's exactly what Haller did. The ideas of the reformation began to circulat widely do his popular sermons which also appeared in printed form. On January 6, 1528, the city council called for a conference to dispute the matters raised, and there the Ten Theses of Berne were presented. They were roundly affirmed with only a few dissenting ministers. The conference had a ripple effect that was felt at Basel, at Saalhausen, at Lausanne, at Geneva, and even in the Netherlands and as far away as England.

Johann Maier von Eck (13 November 1486 – 13 February 1543), often Anglicized as John Eck, was a German Scholastic theologian, Catholic prelate, and early counter reformer who was among Martin Luther's most important interlocutors and theological opponents.

The Conference was a debate between the Reformed and the Roman divines. The Roman contingency was headed by Dr. Johann von Eck. (Von Eck had a similar disputation with Luther in Leipzig in 1519.) Three ministers, Berthold Haller, Francis Kolb, and Sebastian Meyer, friends of Zwingli, and a gifted layman, Nicolas Manuel, had previously prepared the way for the debate under great opposition. The magistrate convened the convocation of the clergy and laity, which continued nineteen days, from January 6 to 26, 1528, discussing ten theses which Zwingli had revised and published at the request of Haller. Delegates appeared from other cantons (except the strongly Roman Catholic ones), and the South German cities of Constance, Ulm, Lindau, and Strasburg. The Bishops of Constance, Basle, Lausanne, and Sion were also invited, but declined to attend, except the Bishop of Lausanne, who sent a few doctors. The principal champions of the Reformed cause were Zwingli (who also preached two very effective sermons on the Apostles' Creed, and against the mass), Œcolampadius, Haller, Kolb, Pellican, Megander, Bucer, and Capito. The reformed position triumphed and spread to Zurich, and Basle—the three most enlightened and influential German cantons—were closely linked together in the Reformed faith. (ccel)

We should probably note here that Zwingli held what we now call the Memorial view rather than the Catholic, Sacramental, view of the mass.  Today we would probably say that ZWingli was preaching against the idea that the mass was more than a memorial. 

The Bernese Theses are as follows:

The Pope's claims to be the earthly head of the Church, over time had concentrated much political power in the Church. Canon law sometimes superseding the laws of the local government.

  1. The holy Christian Church, whose only Head is Christ, is born of the Word of God, and abides in the same, and listens not to the voice of a stranger.
  2. The Church of Christ makes no laws and commandments without the Word of God. Hence human traditions are no more binding on us than they are founded in the Word of God.
  3. Christ is the only wisdom, righteousness, redemption, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Hence it is a denial of Christ when we confess another ground of salvation and satisfaction.
  4. The essential and corporeal presence of the body and blood of Christ can not be demonstrated from the Holy Scripture.

    The doctrine of the real presence, as it is sometimes called, was rejected by those who followed Zwingli into what is often called the reformed tradition. It was a dividing point between Calvin and Luther, with Luther remaining more catholic.

    The notion the the Mass is a sacrifice is also held by those protestant churches that remain more in the catholic tradition.

  5. The mass as now in use, in which Christ is offered to God the Father for the sins of the living and the dead, is contrary to the Scripture, a blasphemy against the most holy sacrifice, passion, and death of Christ, and on account of its abuses an abomination before God.
  6. As Christ alone died for us, so he is also to be adored as the only Mediator and Advocate between God the Father and the believers. Therefore it is contrary to the Word of God to propose and invoke other mediators.
  7. Scripture knows nothing of a purgatory after this life. Hence all masses and other offices for the dead are useless.
  8. This point on Images reminds us of the Iconoclast Controversy. Also see worship.
    The worship of images is contrary to the Scripture. Therefore images should be abolished when they are set up as objects of adoration.
  9. Matrimony is not forbidden in the Scripture to any class of men, but permitted to all.
  10. Since, according to the Scripture, an open fornicator must be excommunicated, it follows that unchastity and impure celibacy are more pernicious to the clergy than to any other class.

In his farewell sermon, Zwingli thus addressed the Bernese: 'Victory has declared for the truth, but perseverance alone can complete the triumph. Christ persevered unto death. Ferendo vincitur fortuna. Behold these idols, behold them conquered, mute, and scattered before us. The gold you have spent upon these foolish images must henceforth be devoted to the comfort of the living images of God in their poverty. In conclusion, stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal. v. 1). Fear not! the God who has enlightened you, will enlighten also your confederates; and Switzerland, regenerated by the Holy Ghost, shall flourish in righteousness and peace.' 1/5/19 1/5/19 1/22/19 1/22/19 1/22/19