Dispensational Motifs in the Writings of Erich Sauer -- By: Russell H. Bowers Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 148:591 (Jul 1991)
Article: Dispensational Motifs in the Writings of Erich Sauer
Author: Russell H. Bowers Jr.


Dispensational Motifs in the Writings of Erich Sauer

Russell H. Bowers Jr.

Pastor, Evangelical Baptist Church
North Haven, Connecticut

In tracing the development of dispensational thought through the first two-thirds of this century, one frequently encounters the names Darby, Brookes, Scofield, Gray, Chafer, McClain, Walvoord, Pentecost, and Ryrie. To restrict creative formulation of dispensational thought to these men, however, unfortunately reinforces the notion that dispensationalism is solely an Anglo-American phenomenon. Little of substance is generally said of the late principal of the Wiedenest Bible School in Germany—Erich Sauer. Can or should he be eliminated from consideration as a germinal thinker in dispensational theology? Have his writings little or nothing to contribute to current intramural dispensational deliberations?

This article attempts to identify selected elements of Sauer’s dispensational thought, suggest a connection between his thought and past dispensational works, and point up areas where Sauer has anticipated or could profitably contribute to current discussions within dispensationalism.

Sauer’s Trilogy

In 1937 Sauer published Das Morgenrot der Welterlösung: ein Gang durch die altestamentliche Offenbarungsgeschichte and Der Triumph des Gekreuzigten: ein Gang durch die neutestamentliche Offenbarungsgeschichte. The two obviously complement one another and, according to translator G. H. Lang, “were written as one book.”1

English translations were published in 1951 by Paternoster Press (and subsequently by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)—The Dawn of World Redemption: A Survey of Historical Revelation in the Old Testament (1952) and The Triumph of the Crucified: A Survey of Historical Revelation in the New Testament (1952). In 1950 Sauer produced Der göttliche Erlösungsplan von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit. Lang’s translation From Eternity to Eternity: An Outline of Divine Purposes appeared in 1954.2 Though Sauer has written other books, these are a trilogy, and the present discussion is limited to them.

F. F. Bruce, in his foreword to The Dawn of World Redemption is generous in his praise of the book.

We have nothing quite so good, as far as I know, by way of a handbook of evangelical theology based, not on the logical sequence of most credal statements and dogmatic treatises, but on the historical order exhibited by the Bible itself. The thoroughly Biblical character of the whole work, in form as well as in substance, is...

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