The Danger of Preaching on Genesis
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In this video Conversation, Joel Hunter acknowledges the risk that pastors take when preaching on Genesis—and in particular, when they approach it with an attitude of humility, allowing the possibility that the text was not meant to be understood in literal terms.
Hunter notes that a large number of congregants in our churches today are uncomfortable with the literal narrative of creation in six twenty-four hour days. In fact, many believers are open to the notion that God used alternative means of creation. Those with this viewpoint are not convinced of the all-or-nothing mentality that pervades contemporary evangelicalism, but rather, they see the possibility of evolutionary creation as a testament to God’s abilities.
Hunter emphasizes, however, that one must avoid being dismissive or derisive of those who do hold to a literalist view of Genesis because for some, reconsidering the traditional creation narrative introduces questions to which they are unsure of how to respond. Many with this viewpoint feel that if Genesis can’t be understood in straightforward terms, then we cannot know how to read the story of the Resurrection—as a historical account, or simply as a metaphor? Questions like this have the potential to cause them to wonder if they must now question the whole truth of Scripture.
Without “bullying” literalists into a new scriptural interpretation, we should still provide Christians with the space—and permission—to more completely consider the “fullness” and the “great mystery” of God.
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
Joel Hunter is senior pastor at Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Fla. Hunter is also a board member of the World Evangelical Alliance and author of the book A New Kind of Conservative.