By Nathan Handley
Union University News Office
JACKSON — Union University President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver encouraged students, faculty and staff to pursue prudence at Fall Convocation Aug. 25.
“The Christian concept of the virtue of prudence is a far cry from the ordinary idea of it as careful judgment that allows someone to avoid danger or risks,” Oliver said. “Prudence is not simply knowledge of what to do in a given situation. It is doing it.”
He said prudence is intimately linked with wisdom in Scripture, and the source of wisdom is identified in the university’s theme verse for the 2017-2018 academic year, James 1:5:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
“The process of this virtue in action includes deliberation or thoughtfulness, judgment and decision,” Oliver said. “…The imperative of prudence is always and in essence a decision regarding an action to be performed in the here and now.”
He said prudence is the perfected ability to make right decisions, and it is enabled by love as commanded in Scripture. He said a Christian’s actions must be shaped by love, and in a time when hate is prominent, Christians should be known for their loving actions.
“Specifically, let’s confront racial supremacy and hated for what it is – evil and anti-gospel,” Oliver said. “Let’s ensure that everyone in our community knows of our belief that every person bears the imago Dei (image of God), and that God’s Kingdom includes every tribe, language, people and nation.”
Oliver said Christians are called to repent of sin and bear witness to the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and this is always prudent.
Oliver’s address was his third in a series of convocation addresses on the virtuous life. His first address was on the virtue of courage, and his second was on justice.
“I want to remind us as we begin a new academic year that the virtuous life isn’t automatic,” Oliver said. “It is earned. It is the fruit of contemplation, experience and practice. Virtue is cultivated.”
Oliver’s complete address is available at livestream.uu.edu.