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God has different vantage point on reality, crisis, author says

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Presenting God’s view of reality, a daunting venture to be sure, is the latest writing endeavor of author and speaker T.W. Hunt — one he says sums up his life’s work.

“From Heaven’s View: God Bringing His Children to Glory” is a nine-week study that reviews the spiritual insights Hunt and his daughter, Melana Monroe, gleaned from her battle with breast cancer three years ago. Published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, the study was released in August.

Monroe’s illness marked the third time Hunt, LifeWay’s former prayer coordinator, had dealt with cancer. Earlier, it claimed his mother-in-law’s life, and in 1983, his wife, Laverne, survived a bout with the disease.

Initially, Hunt said he experienced deep grief over the possible loss of their only daughter. But then, he said, God began waking him up every night between 2 and 4 a.m. and giving him new insights about suffering. At the same time, Monroe was receiving similar messages, he said.

“About halfway through her year of treatment, we realized God was showing us the same thing — how our suffering looked to him as our Father,” Hunt said. “We realized we were to view all of life from God’s perspective.”

That means trials can be occasions for spiritual growth, he said. In fact, after their chemotherapy treatments, Hunt said both his wife and daughter declared they preferred going through cancer to missing the lessons they learned if they hadn’t had the disease.

In May, LifeWay’s Broadman & Holman Publishers released the trade book, “From Heaven’s View,” by Hunt and Monroe. In it, a chart by the authors illustrates the differences between looking at things from the world’s view and from heaven’s view. Examples include:

— Circumstances may loom larger than God’s control. But from heaven’s view, God’s power is infinite; nothing can separate Christians from his love and providence.

— The world sees heaven as the distant future. From heaven’s view, Christ works within his children right now, developing the glory that will mature when they leave the earth.

— A person may view each event with finality. But God is focusing on the process of bringing Christians to glory, with events drawing importance from their place in that process.

Their research led Hunt and Monroe to adopt the belief that biblical figures like Joseph, Daniel, David and Paul saw life in heavenly terms. That means they thought in terms of eternity rather than their little world’s confines, which is one of the themes of the book and workbook, Hunt said.

From Heaven’s View discipleship study includes a workbook, a teacher’s guide and five video tapes of Hunt and Monroe teaching the material. While there are only eight lessons in the book, the teacher’s guide includes an introductory session and the kit includes a video session introducing the study.

Dale McCleskey, an editor in LifeWay’s adult ministry publishing area, said he believes the study can be a tool in preparing the church for Christ’s return.

It is designed to help believers exchange their limited perspective of life and reality for God’s view because he sees the whole picture, McCleskey said. The study can give Christians a new perspective on God, angels, humans and life.

“God can see our lives in their entirety, so he doesn’t get as excited about our crises as we do,” McCleskey said. “Sometimes God’s actions or seeming inaction make little sense from our earthbound perspective, but he always deals with us with a greater end in view.

“This really changes the way you look at things,” McCleskey said.

In their book, Hunt and Monroe also discuss how Christians tend to ignore the processes of Christianity.

To believe accepting Christ is the end product of Christianity is wrong, they say. A believer has a duty to grow and change spiritually.

Hunt and Monroe divide God’s actions into three grand categories or frameworks.

The first is the creation, the second is redemption and the third is bringing his children to glory.

Christians had no part in creation and a very little part in redemption, Hunt said.

“God did it all and offers it to us as a gift of grace,” he said. “We have only to receive the gift, but we have much more to do with the third framework. God involves us in the process of growth and coming into his glory.”

Hunt said he was concerned he and Monroe might be “coloring outside the lines” too much with the new book. However, they soon realized the ideas they presented are new culturally, not biblically.

As Hunt and his Monroe co-teach From Heaven’s View in workshops across the nation, they are gathering enough material for a follow-up study, they said.

“My primary hope is that God will be glorified and that each Christian who reads it will appropriate that glory for their life and will see what God wants to share with them,” Hunt said.

The workbook can be purchased on www.lifewaystores.com.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: NEW STUDY.

    About the Author

  • Ken Walker