Throughout history, Christians have affirmed that Jesus is the focus of Scripture. But one Bible scholar is being forced to take early retirement by a conservative seminary for seeing too much Jesus in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament anticipates a Messiah—one who would fulfill the law and redeem Israel—and the New Testament presents Jesus as the fullness of God's revelation. Evangelical scholars agree on that much. But they debate the extent to which the Old Testament—and which of its passages—can be read Christologically.
For example, some believe Psalm 23 describes only the relationship between David and God, while others say the psalm also anticipates Christ's ministry as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11–18). Douglas Green, professor of Old Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) in Philadelphia, goes further. He argues that Christ is also the sheep.
Green argues that the psalm is messianic prophecy. "'David' is no longer historical King David, but rather 'eschatological David.' … The psalm now predicts that Yahweh will be faithful to his promise to protect and preserve his Messiah at every point in his life's journey," he wrote in one published paper.
Seminary trustees were troubled by Green's interpretative method because it clashed with WTS's standards. But in 2009 it unanimously approved a paper he wrote as containing "acceptable clarifications and allowable exceptions" to the school's document on biblical interpretation.
In November, the trustees reversed their decision, stating that portions of Green's interpretive methods were "inconsistent with the seminary's ...