Typology and “Christ in all of Scripture”

We’ve been discussing typology in the comments to a previous post and I found a very interesting quote from the pen of Bernard Ramm (1956). He writes, “In an effort to find devotional and edifying truth in all Scripture, and to find Christ veritably in all Scripture, some dispensationalists have pressed typological interpretation beyond its proper measure.”

What’s interesting about this (fifty years later) is that dispensationalists today are by and large accused of “literalism” which is intended as a theological four-letter word and the opposite of Ramm’s charge. The shoe is on a very different foot in recent years and Ramm’s quote is still accurate but his modern violators wear a different set of clothing usually bearing the label “redemptive-historical, biblical-theological” or  “Christ-centered.”

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt Waymeyer on June 20, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Fascinating quote, and excellent observation.

  2. Being accused of finding Christ under ever Scriptural rock is a welcome accusation. Luke 24:27 comes to mind. Of course, that doesn’t mean that some typology claims do not stretch beyond the intended meaning. They do. But I also think we are more often than not too slow to point to Christ in all of Scripture than the other way around. Good observation, Paul.

  3. It’s a fair challenge to the typologists (of which I am proud to be included in their number) that we can overdo it.
    The problem, it seems to me, is that we are all committed to excellent exegesis – but typology is more than that. Kaiser asks whether it’s more than an “exegetical science”, indeed a “theological art”?

    Thus is cuts against literalism.

  4. Posted by Scott Christensen on June 20, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    I am amazed at how often spiritualizing texts take place even in technical exegetical commentaries. Here is one example. John 10:22-23 says:

    “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.”

    Not a few interpreters take the word “winter” as refering symbolically to the cold reception the Jews gave Jesus rather than a simple marker of time for the readers who may not know that Hanakkah takes place in the winter.

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