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As a Pastor and professor I often find myself faced with a conundrum; the need to make a decision on how much information and detail is too much for a Sunday morning message. This leads to what I call ‘analysis paralysis,’ which is a process that can take me days to break down difficult concepts into palatable bites.

Currently, I am taking the congregation through chapter six of the book of Genesis, which has caused me more pain than I care to admit. I was plagued with questions like: Do I explain the most famous opinions concerning who the sons of God are as compared to the daughters of men; do I give the verses concerning the angelic participation discussion in Job, Matthew, and 1st and 2nd Peter; and do I give my opinion as to where I have landed on this ancient debate? Well, after careful prayer and days of study, I was reminded of the Biblical Seminary ethos of teaching, whereas we train men and women how to think and not necessarily what to think. I knew if I proclaimed where I landed on this passage most of my congregation would also adopt that proclamation as their interpretation without ever doing the study. Therefore, I was careful to give them the critical opinions as well as the supportive and refuted text concerning these positions. 

Finally, and most importantly, I was reminded of how much time is spent arguing and debating about issues within a text which can derail the true purpose of the text. Genesis chapter six was not written to provide us a theology of angels and demons. Genesis chapter six was not written to specifically deal with unequally yoked marriages. Genesis chapter six is about a wicked world that has moved so far from God, causing Him to be grieved that He created man and declaring to destroy it and man by flood. Genesis chapter six is about God’s compassion to spare the one righteous man on earth and his family because despite society’s rebellion, he chose to remain righteous and walk with God. Genesis chapter six is about having the faith to believe God’s Word and to respond accordingly. Genesis chapter six is a prequel to how God would deliver those who would trust in His Son as Lord and Savior, and protect them from His wrath by providing them a new life in Him.

Larry L. Anderson Jr., is Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and the Director of the Urban Programs at Biblical. He is also the pastor of Great Commission Church [www.greatcommissiononline.com], previously located in the suburb of Roslyn, PA, but now situated in the West Oak Lane community of Philadelphia to provide a holistic ministry to an urban setting.  See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/larry-anderson.  

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