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Beck, Johann Tobias

(1804–78). B. Balingen; pastor at Waldthann near Crailsheim, and Mergentheim; prof. at Basel 1836 and Tübingen 1843. Opposed the critico-hist. tendencies prevalent in the Later Tübingen School; emphasized return to Bible and Biblical truth. Sought to build system of doctrine on Bible alone, avoiding historicotheol. terms and holding that even the Confessions were significant only because they performed a significant task in hist. Held that inspiration was the living, dynamic union and interpenetration of the human and divine spirit (3 levels of theopneustia;* errors and contradictions in “irrelevant” matters in Scripture). The kingdom of God, he taught, was the supermundane economy of spirit and life (the heavenly reality), brought and revealed to man through Christ. The ethical or moral is the first and essential mark of the Christian. The above formal and material principles led to departures from Luth. orthodoxy in Beck's theol. system (emphasis on the psychol. in his doctrine of justification rather than on the objective act, seeing the saving hand of love rather than the majestic pronouncement of the Judge; faith, construed as the active ethical grasp of Christ—a dynamic gift producing personal righteousness—is the cause of justification). Influenced A. v. Schlatter.* See also Biblicism; Ekman, 1; Kübel Robert Benjamin.

A. Schlatter, “Christus und Christentum. J. T. Becks theologische Arbeit,” Beiträge zur Förderung christlicher Theologie, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Gütersloh, 1904); A. Sturhahn, “Zur systematischen Theologie Johannes Tobias Becks,” Beiträge zur Förderang christlicher Theologie, Vol. 7, No. 6 (Gütersloh, 1903); G. Sentzke, Die Theologie Johann Tobias Becks and ihr Einfluss in Finnland (Helsinki, 1949).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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