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T.W. Hunt points to spiritual truths,
Hemphill reiterates God’s provision

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–It is impossible to fully comprehend the nature, grace and glory of God, but God wants to show his children more than they can imagine, a well-known Christian author told students and professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

T.W. Hunt, author of “The Mind of Christ” and several other books and a former professor of music and missions at Southwestern, delivered a series of chapel messages Sep. 4-6.

“You will not know the spiritual world through natural faculties,” Hunt said in his Sept. 4 message. “Everything about the spiritual life according to the natural mind is counter-intuitive.”

Being a spiritual person, Hunt said, is a daily way of life. While there is a “gulf of being” between God and humanity that is infinite, Hunt said there is no “gulf of relationship” because God wants to draw his children to himself.

“I never start the day knowing all that God is going to do,” Hunt said of his own spiritual walk. “One of the prayers that I pray early in the morning is, ‘Since I have no earthly idea where you’re going to take me, Lord, I just pray that your spirit will be so much with me that I will not make a misstep.'”

Among the spiritual things that humanity is unable to fully comprehend is God’s grace, Hunt said in his Sept. 5 message. God’s grace is not an attitude or an emotion, he said, but a dispensation.

“God’s attitude can be affected by sin,” Hunt said. “His grace cannot.”

Grace is “God’s unqualified acceptance of our repentance,” Hunt said, noting that “grace is the factor in God which overrules the necessity that his holiness destroy us.”

Hunt asserted that while God’s grace is unconditional and infinite, covering any and every sin, many people fail to realize that, causing unnecessary guilt and misery. “If we persist in not accepting grace, we are punishing ourselves,” he said.

In his Sept. 6 message, Hunt turned his attention to God’s glory and God’s promises of glory for his creation. Glory, he said, is part of God’s plan for humanity.

God’s glory, Hunt said, “is the aura emanating from the totality of God’s attributes.” God’s glory is “ultimate” and “absolute,” he said, and cannot be appropriated.

“We glorify God first,” Hunt said. “God shares his glory. We can only be glorified with Christ.” That will not happen fully until heaven, he said, when humanity’s spiritual experience will become complete.
“You’re a fragmented person,” Hunt said. “You’re a broken person. You’re not whole yet.”

Hunt’s message of spiritual fulfillment has been appropriate for Southwestern during these days of transition, said President Hemphill during prayer time in Thursday’s chapel.

In response to concerns expressed by some students over a story in the previous week’s Scroll campus newspaper concerning seminary funding issues, Hemphill assured the seminarians of his conviction that God will continue to provide all that they need to continue their training at Southwestern.

“This week we’ve been focusing on living in the spiritual realm and comprehending the grace of God. We are grateful to God for every dollar given to help our students through the ‘BGCT 2001 Adopted Budget’ or any other funding plan,” Hemphill said.

The “BGCT 2001 Adopted Budget” is one of several avenues by which Texas Baptists have supported Southwestern Seminary. Other avenues of giving that remain open this year include the traditional 67-33 percent Cooperative Program giving option as well as designated gifts through other BCGT giving plan options.

“Texas Baptist churches of all persuasions continue to generously support Southwestern through various means because they believe in you and your calling,” he told students during chapel. “I’m grateful for the support of local churches.

“T.W. [Hunt] has called us to focus on things above and never allow our focus to become too earthly,” Hemphill continued. “It reminds me that God is Jehovah Jireh — the God who provides. I am glad God has chosen to use human instruments to be the vehicles of his provision.”

In response to a later question about changes in funding through the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Hemphill elaborated, “Although the BGCT only provided about $40,000 through the ‘BGCT 2001 Adopted Budget’ before capping funds given through this option for 2001, Baptist churches in Texas have continued to support the seminary through a variety of means, including other BGCT giving options.”

Hunt seconded Hemphill’s confidence in God’s provision. “I haven’t always known where my income is coming from, but I learned a long time ago that God knows,” he said.

“I really believe that Dr. Ken Hemphill is absolutely the right man for this job at this unique, historic juncture,” Hunt said. “I believe that because I have known him and his wife for quite a long time and I know they are a man and woman of God.

“I think that God placed his hand on Southwestern in 1915 and I do not think he has removed it,” Hunt said. “His sources are far, far beyond anything we can imagine. It is not the sources I am worried about; it is the depending upon God I am worried about. I really believe God will supply in a way that is greater than has ever been in history.”

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  • Tony Imms