I found this interesting video the other day of an 11 yr old boy “preaching”(?) Christ throughout the Bible. I thought it would be good to listen to so I gave it a go. While I must admit that I was entertained by the little man passionately praising Christ, I was struck by the thought, “this is not Redemptive History!” What I was hearing was really a string of topics which vaguely summarized the content of each book of the bible and then simply ascribed them to Christ. While I agreed with most of the statements as far as they go (i.e. Jesus really is our kinsman redeemer in Ruth et al.) – they had no basis in the text, no demonstration of the truth of the statement. Is this what passes for Redemptive History these days?
Redemptive History Defined
So what is Redemptive History (RH)? According to Geerhardus Vos, “Biblical Theology (or RH) is that branch of Exegetical Theology which deals with the process of the self-revelation of God deposited in the Bible… It has not completed itself in one exhaustive act, but unfolded itself in a long series of successive acts… Revelation is the interpretation of redemption; it must therefore, unfold itself in installments as redemption does.” Vos goes on to state, “the process of revelation is not only concomitant with history, but it becomes incarnate in history. The facts of history themselves acquire a revealing significance.” We could summarize by saying that RH is the organic unfolding of God’s Redemption (Through Christ) revealed in actual history.
Redemptive History Delineated
What is wrong with simply attaching Christ to the broad topical summaries of biblical books then is that its is missing the particular history. Missing the tree for the forest. I have heard many accuse RH of focusing only on the ‘birds eye view’ ( which is what this 11 yr old demonstrated) but in reality, RH is all about seeing the ‘tree’ because of the ‘forest’. The historical details matter. More than that, they are the content of the revelation.