By many modern accounts, the value of Protestant scholasticism, which reached its zenith in the seventeenth century, is dubious. But as Willem van Asselt observes in his introduction to the new translation of Franciscus Junius’ A Treatise on True Theology, no less a modern theologian than Karl Barth observed that the methodological merits of the Protestant scholastics was underappreciated.
Junius was the fountainhead of a basic distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology (theologia archetypa and theologia ektypa), a distinction that became formative not only for Reformed but also for Lutheran dogmatics (such as Gerhard) more generally. Van Asselt helpfully surveys the broad and long-term influence this kind of distinction enjoyed.
On distinctions like this Barth opined:
Things would have gone differently and more favorably for the history of modern theology if the foregoing distinctions, which are only apparently abstruse, had not become, at the ominous turn of the seventeenth century, a part of ‘dogmatic antiquity’ (according to Karl von Hase). Of course, one may complain about the limited viewpoint displayed in them or look with longing and hope beyond them toward the perfected theology. But the theologian must still carefully avoid trying to produce from his own resources that perfection. Instead, he must simply recognize that what is apparently abnormal is really the normal for this day and age.
–Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979 ), p. 114.
Now there’s a lot going on in this quote and in the surrounding text, but we might at least note that Barth was definitively against attempts to immanentize the eschaton, at least in terms of the perfection available to the ectypal theology of the wayfarers (theologia viatorum).