(CPT) Gratitude as Intellectual Virtue: On John Webster’s “Theology in the Order of Love” (Part 1)

Although the regeneration of our fractured natures is God’s work from beginning to end, we must fill out this reality by working hard in pursuit of intellectual powers (abilities), and virtues. Webster acknowledges a long list of intellectual virtues, but focuses on just two: gratitude (to God and to others in the communion of saints), and generosity.

We’ll think about gratitude to God in the remainder of this post, and gratitude and generosity to others in a later post.

Webster reminds us that “Gratitude is fundamental to regenerate life: ‘Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you.’ (1 Thess. 5.18).” For theologians in our theological work, this includes gratitude to God as our teacher.

As our instructor, God doesn’t merely pass on information to us. Rather, he establishes a relationship and he makes us his friends. We don’t just know information. God enables us to know God (Jn 17:3). In God’s grace, “Ignorance and idolatry are overcome; powers of mind which creatures have neglected to exercise or squandered on worthless objects are awakened, reanimated and redirected.” And this is not done in isolation: in his saving work of regeneration, God is created an “intellectual society”, a “company of pupils or disciples (Isa 2.2-4; Mic. 4.1-3; Mk 6.34).”

Read it all.


Posted in Anthropology, Theology, Theology: Scripture