Saturday, August 25, 2007

Neill on Heilsgeschichte

Neill, speaking about Luke's bringing together of history and theology, and the fact that some scholars (from the form-critical school) have seen this as an unpardonable heresy, says this...

What is the relation between Heilsgeschichte, salvation-history, the record of the mighty acts of God, and ordinary history, those banal things that happen from day to day? Some would answer 'there is no connection...'. (Luke's) answer to the question is perfectly clear; Heilsgeschichte and secular history are the same history; each from a different point of view is the story of God's providential government of the nations, all of which he holds in the hollow of his hand. It is for this reason that, at the outset of his gospel, he so carefully relates the ministry of Jesus to the rulers of the secular and religious worlds. For him, the world since Pentecost is the scene of the new mighty acts of God in history. History can be understood in no other way; it is the scene of the forward march of God among the nations, as God goes out through his Word to gather out from all the nations a people acceptable to himself. For this reason the Church is all-important, since it is only through the Church that the march of God among the nations can become manifest.

Interpretation of the NT, 287