Samuel Adams in his book The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N. T. Wright offers many important insights in regard to ‘apocalyptic theology’ in contradistinction to NT Wright’s ‘worldview’ or what I would call ‘naturalist’ approach to biblical studies and theological reflection. One aspect I want to highlight from Adams’ book (his published PhD dissertation written at the University of St. Andrews) is his point about a theology history (we might also classify this as a theological ontology and its implications for historiographic method and conclusion). What he writes, as the reader will see, doesn’t just contradict Wright’s naturalist approach, but it implicates any historiographical work that appeals to a natural theology in regard to its own historiographical methodology. For my money this implicates the current work being done in the name of ‘theology of retrieval’ by many evangelical Reformed types. I have made this same critique in years past, in regard to the reality of the prior assumptions that so-called ecclesial historians, such as Richard Muller, bring to their work of re-constructing the Protestant history of the 16th and 17th centuries as that developed in what has come to be called Post Reformed orthodoxy. What the reader will see, as Adams so concisely details, is how we all bring informing theological matrices to the task of re-constructing the “recorded” history. As such it is best to be upfront about this, and as a matter of first order importance, be transparent about what particular ‘theology of history’ we are bringing to our historiographical reconstruction. This way we won’t lead our readers to think that we are simply presenting them with the ‘naked facts’ of history. We won’t allow our readers to confuse, potentially, our theological frameworks for the so-called ‘reconstructed’ history, as if the history we are culling comes with its own inherent sacrosanct imprimatur. Adams writes:
From the outset the issue has been the reality of God and the theoretical implications of that reality for the work of historiography—historiography, that is, in the service of theology. A theology of historiography, as I have argued, is not divorced from a theology of history because historiography must assume a narrative, a story, in order to make sense of historical “data.” Bare facts do not exist outside of the complex webs of human interpretation. The stories that make up history are never metaphysically or theologically neutral. Therefore, it is methodologically dishonest not to begin with a theology of history, even if that theology is informed to a large extent by historical events. There is no way out of this circularity, nor should there be. But there is a way into this circularity. This is what is referred to (perhaps ambiguously) as the “apocalyptic event,” the breaking-in from outside that both sets anew the agenda for the story and also maintains at all times a transcendent corrective/critique. This somewhat abstract and theoretical way of speaking of the theology of history is only a conceptualization of the concrete reality of the incarnation and the relationship of the Father’s action in sending the Son, becoming Jesus of Nazareth, living, bearing witness to the kingdom, dying, rising and ascending. This is the reality of God that is given in history but cannot be contained by any one prior telling of history, except to say that the final meaning of all history is revealed in the life, death and resurrection of this same Jesus of Nazareth.
Robert Dale Dawson, as he writes on a doctrine of resurrection in theology of Karl Barth, offers an insight that dovetails nicely with Adams’ point about the analogy of the incarnation as the basis for developing a genuinely Christian theology of history:
A large number of analyses come up short by dwelling upon the historical question, often falsely construing Barth’s inversion of the order of the historical enterprise and the resurrection of Jesus as an aspect of his historical skepticism. For Barth the resurrection of Jesus is not a datum of the sort to be analyzed and understood, by other data, by means of historical critical science. While a real event within the nexus of space and time the resurrection is also the event of the creation of new time and space. Such an event can only be described as an act of God; that is an otherwise impossible event. The event of the resurrection of Jesus is that of the creation of the conditions of the possibility for all other events, and as such it cannot be accounted for in terms considered appropriate for all other events. This is not the expression of an historical skeptic, but of one who is convinced of the primordiality of the resurrection as the singular history-making, yet history-delimiting, act of God.
Rather than naively assuming that human beings just do have the natural or latent capacity to read history in brute investigative ways, as Adams and Dawson both underscore, respectively, for the Christian telling there is no such natural historiographical capaciousness available. This, in particular, as Adams develops, implicates the type of methodology that NT Wright deploys in his biblical studies mode vis-à-vis Pauline theology; more generally his point, along with Dawson’s, particularly as that relates to the development of Church history, implicates any historiographical work, insofar that that work has prior commitments (those of the historian) informing the re-constructional work of said historian.
The aforementioned tells us at least two things: 1) all interpreters, whether historians or not, bring a priori ideological and ideational commitments to their interpretive work, 2) as Christian interpreters we necessarily work from the new creation of God’s historical life for the world in Jesus Christ. The latter point ought to inflect the prior insofar that Christians, even historian ones, principially, always are bearing witness to the reality of Jesus Christ. If the historian, or interpreter in general, claims to be presupposition-less when approaching their task as a historian, as Muller, and other retrievers of historical theology often claim, or imply, the discerning Christian ought to challenge this with the fact both Adams and Dawson point up, respectively. That is, nobody is a tabula rasa, we are all shaped by some ideation; if we claim to not be, it is this this mode itself, of being naïve to our ideational forces, that becomes the ideological construct that ends up informing our respective tellings of theological history. As such, one consequence, as already mentioned, ends up being that the historian’s prior theological framework becomes conflated with the way they re-construct the history. And when this reconstruction is grounded in a natural theology, as if the Church or Biblical historian is ‘doing theology’ in their historical reconstruction, the historian’s natural theology becomes the very history they are ostensibly reconstructing. But it is this very point that ought to be up for consideration prior to the narrativizing of Holy Scripture’s history, if not the history of the Church and its respective interpretations and dogmatizing.
The final reduction: every interpreter is befuddled by their own ideational sitz im leben. We ought to admit this, and then recognize that God has provided the world with a new history to think “history” from (we could think geschichte and historie at this point) within. That is, the Christian ought to recognize that the ground and grammar of all interpretation, for the Christian, has been provided for and delimited by the God’s new creation as actualized in the resurrection/ascension of Jesus Christ. This is the “ideological” frame the Christian exegete, whether that be of the Bible, Church history, Ethics so on and so forth has been provided with, and is provided with afresh anew, apocalyptically, by the irruptive reality of the Theanthropos, Jesus Christ, who is the reality, the telos and goal, from beginning to end, of all of creation; and thus, all of world history and its developments.
 Samuel V. Adams, The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N. T. Wright (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2015), 271.
 Robert Dale Dawson, The Resurrection in Karl Barth (UK/USA: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007), 13.