How can one "bridge the gap" in the modern era? Tim senses that the solution is "figural exegesis," and I agree. I think that the key lies in understanding the nature and function of figural exegesis within the "economy of God." Here are my comments on his post:
The key for bridging the past and present, then, is dogmatic. We see that all the parts of scripture ultimately point to a "different world" and so by inhabiting this world we sensitize ourselves to the "fit" between it and the parts, we can't help but hear the constant echoes. I would have thought that the key for bridging past and present would have something to do with the Trinity, the ordo salutis, and the rule of faith. This is not to ask us to jump into an alternative reality which ignores historical causality etc., it is to open us to a different dimension of this reality which intersects with it in complex ways (Childs calls it dialectical). The "glue" which joins the past and the present is apocalyptic and theological and we can't see it because, perhaps, in our quest for external, objective parameters for validating the results of interpretation we've lost the apocalyptic glasses to see what every believer at least intuitively knows has always been there. For Luther, allegorical exegesis was a reflex and he did it even when claiming to be reading "historically."
I have a feeling this all relates to Barth's theory of "the three times of the Word." A relevant essay on this is one by Seitz, which I referenced in my post on The theological crisis of biblical criticism.