Christianity and the Problem of History

By Roger Lincoln Shinn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE REDISCOVERY OF BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY

CONFRONTED by the problems of history in our age, contemporary thought has rediscovered in striking fashion the significance of prophecy and Gospel. The renewed interest in biblical concepts of history has marked the thought of men with the greatest variance in religious ideas-men so diverse as Paul Althaus, John Baillie, Karl Barth, Nicolas Berdyaev, Edwyn Bevan, C. H. Dodd, Walter Horton, Reinhold Niebuhr, William Temple, Paul Tillich, and Arnold Toynbee, to mention only a few. So pervasive has been this renewed concern that to dismiss it as an aspect of a particular "neo-orthodox" movement is foolish. When in 1937 a group of several writers of various national and denominational backgrounds contributed essays to the Oxford Conference Book, The Kingdom of God and History, all criticized the assumptions of progressivism and turned in a more biblical direction.

Two great stimuli have done much to evoke this new interest: the course of modern history and the work of New Testament scholarship.

First, history itself has forced men to reconsider their assumptions about it. A swelling undercurrent of protest against the reigning optimism of the nineteenth century had been represented by Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. When Oswald Spengler

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