Biblical Typology -- By: Charles T. Fritsch

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 103:412 (Oct 1946)
Article: Biblical Typology
Author: Charles T. Fritsch

Biblical Typology

Charles T. Fritsch

(Continued from the July-September Number, 1946)

The Bible As Redemptive History

Under the influence of rationalistic philosophy, as we have seen, the conception of Biblical history was completely changed. The Bible was no longer considered the center and heart of history, the starting point of the interpretation of all history. It was simply a historical record of a past religion. Thus it lost its special significance as redemptive history, i.e., as history through which God was revealing Himself to man in an ever ongoing process.

There was a group of Protestant theologians in the middle of the 19th century, however, who vigorously opposed the historical positivism of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule, and held to the redemptive character and purpose of Biblical history. They formed the so-called Heilsgeschichtliche Schule, i.e., the holy- or redemptive-history school, which flourished in southern Germany. Its main representatives were Johann Tobias Beck (1804–78) and Johann Christian Konrad Hofmann (1810–77).1

The roots of this school may be traced back to Johann Albrecht Bengel, a German Lutheran, who lived from 1687 to 1752. He was a deeply pious man, always submissive to God and His Word, yet unafraid of men or their ideas. He is best known by his two works, Gnomon Novi Testamenti (Tübingen, 1742), which is an excellent, brief, suggestive commentary on the New Testament,2 and Ordo Temporum (Stuttgart, 1741), in which he maintained that “we must

not regard Holy Scripture as a text-book, but as an incomparable narrative of the divine economy with reference to the human race from the beginning to the end of all things—through all the ages of the world as a beautiful, glorious connected system.”3 He insisted on an organic and historical conception of Biblical revelation with strict regard to its different stages.4 But he failed to see the connection of this divine economy with individual salvation. The Christian is merely an observer who has been lifted out of himself and views with awe and reverence the marvelous spectacle of the divinely directed course of history as it unfolds in Scripture, but his life is lived in an altogether different realm from this divine economy. It is the duty of the devout Christian to penetrate as deeply as he can into the secrets and mysteries of Scriptural truth so that he may understand more clearly God’s purposes and plans. This intellectua...

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