Classifying pastoral care as an applied theology suggests that it stems from a separate and pure theology. In this new volume, R. John Elford contends that pastoral concerns and actions are not products of theology, but in fact are the catalysts that prompt and necessitate it. Elford offers a detailed critical analysis of the relationship between theology and pastoral care and compares how different faith traditions understand the pastoral.
He traces how shifting historical circumstances and perceptions of pastoral need spurred changes in theological understanding, and he asserts the need for these traditions to be in conversation with modern culture. In closing, The Pastoral Nature of Theology considers the role of morality in pastoral care and how contemporary issues often bring about profound theological problems.