Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Definition of Salvation-History

When some people throw around the term "salvation-history" I often feel like quoting a line from the Princess Bride (with a Spanish accent): "You keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means".

Well here's a good definition from Robert W. Yarbrough:

"[We] may say at the outset that 'salvation history' denotes the personal redemptive activity of God within human history to effect his eternal saving intentions. This activity finds fulfillment in the ministry of Jesus foreshadowed in various Old Testament writings and institutions and culminating in the New Testament message of his death, resurrection, and eventual return."

"Paul and Salvation History," in Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul, eds. D.A. Carson, Mark A. Seifrid, and Peter T. O’Brien (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004), 297.


NWMihelis said...


Do you consider the terms "Redemptive History", "History of Redemption" and "Salvation History" to be interchangeable?

Either way, do you think that these other terms are equally abused/misused, or is that just unique to "Salvation History"?


Michael F. Bird said...

Nate, I prefer the term "redemptive-history"; although if ya want to get technical the German Heilsgeschichte is probably the best one to use. I think the crux of RH (or SH) is the idea that the Bible is a story with certain key moments and moving towards a certain goal.

Daniel Kirk said...

I feel like the landscape of post-WWII NT scholarship forbids me to use the term "salvation-history" or "redemptive-history." Apparently, it's inherently anti-semitic. I find it strange that people seem to equate salvation-history with a sort of Deist "world as closed system of cause-and-effect" view.

I like the term "redemptive history" also (a la Ridderbos), and feel like he allows for enought RH-ical discontinuity to poo-poo the idea that RH doesn't require God to "break in" (a la Martyn's apocalyptic programme).

Patrick said...

your understanding of salvation history is deeply flawed. the human being is passive in the entire process you describe. yet the agency of the church and of human beings of goodwill is central to the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Anders Branderud said...

T want to comment about "salvation":

Ribi Yehoshua ha-Mashiakh (the Messiah) from Nazareth’s authentic teachings reads:
[Torah, Oral Law & Hebrew Matityahu: Ribi Yehoshua Commanded Non-Selective Observance
The Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu (NHM) 5:17-20]
[Glossaries found in the website below.]:

"I didn't come to subtract from the Torâh of Moshëh or the Neviim, nor to add onto the Torah of Moshëh did I come. Because, rather, I came to [bring about the] complete [i.e., non-selective] observance of them in truth.
Should the heavens and ha-Aretz exchange places, still, not even one י or one of the Halâkhâh of the Torah of Moshehshall so much as exchange places; toward the time when it becomes that they are all being performed -- i.e., non- selectively -- in full.
For whoever deletes one [point of] the Halâkhâh of these mitzwot from Torah, or shall teach others such, [by those in] the Realm of the heavens he shall be called 'deleted.' And whoever ratifies and teaches them shall be called ' Ribi' in the Realm of the heavens.

For I tell you that unless your tzәdâqâh is over and above that of the [Hellenist-Roman Pseudo- Tzedoqim] Codifiers of halakhah, and of the Rabbinic- Perushim sect of Judaism, no way will you enter into the Realm of the heavens." (see NHM)

Quote from www.netzarim.co.il ; “History Museum”

The reconstruction is made using a scientific and logic methodology. One of the premises is that the historical Ribi Yehoshua was a Torah-observant Pharisee (why that premise is true is found in the above website, in which you also will find more information about why a reconstruction is needed).

The historical Ribi Yehoshua and his followers Netzarim observed Torah non-selectively. The above website proofs that the person who want to follow the historical Ribi Yehoshua must do likewise.

The above quote from NHM 5:17-20 shows what Ribi Yehoshua taught about heaven and whom will get there, and it proofs that the Christian doctrine of salvation is incorrect.

Anders Branderud

Jim said...

The term "Salvation History" is not inherently antisemitic but suffers this connotation largely via historical associations. In the first place in certain Classical Theologies (including Roman Catholic) it often smacked of a kind of Triumphalism. Then, in German Theology current during and after Hitler's rise to power, it often got folded into continuity with Nationalistic Accounts of German Culture and Race. However, within the Horizons of Biblical Exegesis, it did not as much from these more negative connotations. Vos, Cullmann, Ladd, etc. all use the term in its more neutral sense (Kasemann too, in his Romans Commentary). Often, the term "Eschatological Dualism" is used in place of "Salvation History" when speaking about Paul's Two-Age structure with its inherent "Already - Not Yet." I think it is high time that theologians begin to reclaim the terms SH and RH since they do serve to capture an element native to the biblical horizon.

Sacred Outfitter said...

Good Post.