Virtue as Consent to Being
A Pastoral-Theological Perspective on Jonathan Edwards's Construct of Virtue
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
"Who but a scholar, pastor, and poet could turn a cacophonous chord like virtue, suffering, and pastoral theology into sweet, soul-caressing music that resonates in our hearts and sings to the scholar, pastor, and poet in each of us? Phil Zylla is . . . and does. Zylla's incisive exploration of virtue draws out the scholar in us. His deft blending of virtue and suffering--as requisites of compassion-infused ministry--engages our pastoral nature. And the elegant encapsulation of pastoral care as pati cum, to suffer with, awakens us to poetic tenderness. This book expands the mind, deepens the heart, and ignites the imagination."
--Charles J. Conniry Jr.
Vice President and Dean
George Fox Evangelical Seminary/George Fox University
"This is a significant, serious, and in many ways beautiful work on pastoral virtue and vocation. Here the author deftly reclaims Jonathan Edwards's heuristic vision of virtue as 'consent to being'--a voluntary alignment of one's heart with the divine and beautiful ordering of the world. Extending the trajectory of Edwards's moral vision, Phil Zylla adds his own important insight--that virtue so conceived necessarily also involves an agreement to 'suffer with' those whose experience reflects the present brokenness of God's world. Such costly consent to compassionate solidarity is the quintessential feature of Christ-like virtue and the pastoral vocation. In an era when honed social skills and leadership techniques are treated as the key guarantors of pastoral success, this book points us back to what matters most in ministry. It rings true!"
--Glen G. Scorgie
Professor of Theology
"Phil Zylla beautifully captures the transformative power of Jonathan Edwards' moral vision by showing how it may deepen and strengthen our understanding of pastoral ministry. He shows how Edwards' own pastoral ministry would have been more reflective of his own moral sensibilities and intentions had it been informed by this moral vision and the pastoral images that it implies. This book is more than a retrieval of Edwards' moral vision for our own troubled world and more than an exercise in pastoral theology. It is itself a clarifying vision of what pastoral ministry can be in a world that cries out for compassion, of a ministry expressive of the reformative qualities and intentions of the attentive poet, the weeping prophet, and the good shepherd."
Professor of Pastoral Psychology, Emeritus
Princeton Theological Seminary