JACKSON, Tenn. – April 28, 2010– Gene Fant, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Union University, explores the connection between stories and the gospel in his new book, “God As Author: A Biblical Approach to Narrative.”
“We’ve always heard that the gospel is like a story,” Fant said. “I try to explore how stories are like the gospel – that stories are about loss, about conflict and about the deep longing we have to have losses restored and conflicts brought to a peaceful end.”
Published by B&H Academic, “God As Author” came about as a result of Union President David S. Dockery challenging Fant, also an English professor at Union, “to explore how the lordship of Christ really worked in my discipline to the nth degree,” Fant said.
So Fant set out to explore that with a Pew Summer Research Program fellowship. The book is the fruit of the reading and reflection he did as part of that program. The book analyzes a variety of stories and shows how the gospel can be seen in stories across the spectrum – even in secular stories and pre-Christian stories. Almost universally, stories contain parallels that either anticipate the gospel or point directly to the gospel, Fant said.
“Perhaps the gospel is not just like a story; perhaps story, narrative in general, is like the gospel,” Fant writes in the book’s preface. “My clear conviction is that something stands behind the power of narrative. In fact, I believe that Someone stands behind it. There is an Author whose skill and grace imbue the broad range of the stories that we tell. There is a Father who gave us a story to help us understand our place in this world, a story that points back to Him.
“His story is, in many ways, the only story that we know. When we use that realization as a foundation for interpreting and generating narrative, it changes everything, including ourselves.”
Because he loves stories himself, Fant wanted to explore why stories matter, and to argue why Christians of all people should be readers. In the last third of the book, Fant answers the question, “What is the mission of the Christian reader and writer?”
“We have an incomplete Christian worldview if we don’t include mission, because we are saved to do something,” Fant said. “So for those who like stories, either reading them or generating them, the last third of the book is all about that – how we live now as readers and writers.”
The book is available at the LifeWay Christian Store in Jackson, and at online retailers like Amazon, in both print and Kindle formats.
“God As Author” is Fant’s second book. His first, “Expectant Moments,” is a devotional for expectant parents that he co-wrote with his wife Lisa.