God has been unbelievably kind to the Davenant Institute over the past year, allowing us to expand our reach, strengthen our foundation, and bring Protestant wisdom to more people than ever before. To celebrate the end of an unbelievable year, here are 22 things that, by the grace of God, Davenant do this year.
1. Adding to our Library of Early English Protestantism, Davenant Press published A Learned Discourse on Justification, written by the great English theologian Richard Hooker, and modernized by Dr. Brad Littlejohn and Rhys Laverty. This work seeks to head off two opposite errors: insisting so rigidly on a right articulation of the doctrine that we neglect Christ himself, or minimizing differences over justification as unimportant. Centuries on, this remains one of the classic statements of Reformational soteriology, presenting both the Protestant and Catholic account of the doctrine of justification.
2. We held two regional Convivia Irencia this year at the Davenant House in Landrum, SC. The Spring Convivium explored “The Poetic Lens: Seeing with Wisdom’s Adornment and Virtue’s Delight”, looking into how the use of poetic imagery and figurative speech draws us in to delight in the beauties of wisdom and to act on its virtues. The Fall Convivium, our second on the broad theme of “theology and law” invited participants to investigate the relationship between law and wisdom, ancient and modern.
3. In March we held our first ever Bay Area Davenant Dinner, hosting 75 enthusiastic guests who came to hear Davenant’s vision for a changing culture and to support the Institute. Dr. Ryan Anderson spoke on “Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture”, sharing his personal insights on the opportunities and challenges of speaking Christian truth in our modern secular space. Colin Redemer also presented on behalf of the Davenant Institute, articulating how and why Davenant is uniquely positioned as an organization to train and equip the next generation of Protestant leaders to know and speak the truth.
4. This spring, with the aid of our generous donors and a hard-working volunteer group from Wisconsin, we were able to finish around 800 sq. ft. of the basement at Ridgeview House, creating a family apartment for married Davenant House students or visiting scholars. As Davenant’s reach expands, we need the extra space!
5. In May we held our second Twin Cities Regional Convivium Irenicum with the theme, “Christian Faithfulness in an Age of Anxiety”. About 25 participants were eager to hear and discuss how we as Christians in America today can see crisis as the regular backdrop against which the church is called to carry out its world-saving work. By stepping back from the chaos of our own moment to see how the church has handled political and social crises in the past, we can gain fresh perspective and renewed hope to persevere through the trials of our own day.
6. In June, we published a new edition of Serious Comedy by Patrick Downey. This is a masterful survey of Western tragedy and comedy which spans writers ancient and modern, considering the tradition in the light of the serious comedy of the Gospel. Originally published in 2001, our new edition features a new introduction by the author, and a new foreword by Colin Redemer.
7. Also in June we held our 2022 National Convivium, our largest and most successful yet! Attendees from all over the U.S. and abroad gathered to hear Dr. James Eglinton speak on this year’s theme, Philosophy and the Christian. Participants listened to paper presentations, ate and drank together, worshiped, hiked, and debated ideas. Our annual National Convivium is an important time of rich conversation, friendship, and learning for our army of friends!
8. Davenant Hall added a new M.Litt, Pastoral Ministry Track degree, with sub-tracks in Anglican Studies, and Reformed and Presbyterian Studies. Customized for ministry, this three-year course of study offers a unique and low-cost alternative to an M.Div. We are partnering with churches, presbyteries, and dioceses to re-imagine the shape of theological education. All specific Pastoral Ministry courses are taught or co-taught by ordained ministers with years of experience; and ecclesial mentors provide, life-on-life on-the-ground training.
9. As Davenant has grown, it has become necessary to add to the energetic team making everything work behind the scenes. In 2022, we made two key hires: Mark Hamilton to Editor-in-Chief of the Davenant Press and Robin Harris to Communications & Marketing Director. Our excellent Editor-in-Chief of Ad Fontes, Onsi Aaron Kamel, stepped down from his position to pursue a PhD, and Rhys Laverty has taken his place. We are thrilled to be growing our core staff as we take the Davenant Institute onward and upward!
10. Revamped Websites: Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the exceptional talent of our graphic designer and webmaster, we were able to invest in a new online home for the Davenant Institute that reflects the growing international profile of our work. Together with our new Davenant Hall site, we are able to effectively present the wide range of ministry activities going on here at Davenant.
11. This July, in Bethesda, MD, we were pleased to host our second Davenant Dinner event, featuring renowned scholar Joshua Mitchell speaking on the rise of identity politics and the failure of Protestant witness in the public square. Seventy guests, young and old, were in attendance to hear Dr. Mitchell offer a stirring call for Protestants to again take the lead in rebuilding American society by tackling the theological confusions at the root of our current political troubles.
12. On August 2nd, we published the proceedings from the 2021 National Convivium Irenicum as Reforming Classical Education, a collection of essays that explore what a distinctly Protestant form of classical education may look like today. Christian educational renewal undoubtedly involves bringing out treasures old—and there remain some which are still neglected. Yet renewal must also be open to treasures new, as we creatively respond to the challenges and circumstances of our time.
13. During the summer we held two separate iterations of our course, “How to Read the Bible and the World.” M.Litt students gathered at our Davenant House retreat center in the beautiful Carolina Blue Ridge foothills, spending each day worshiping, reading, debating, and doing projects around the property. The course introduced students to the patterns of God’s self-revelation in his world and his Word, and served as a kind of intellectual crash course in how to be an intelligent, faithful and historically-grounded Protestant in the twenty-first century.
14. Thanks to our new partnership with Tantor Media, we were able to offer David Haines’ best-selling book, Natural Theology: A Biblical and Historical Introduction and Defense as an audiobook! Many of you read this excellent survey of the Biblical and historical case for natural theology when it came out last year. If you missed it, now you have the chance to listen to, as well as read this important work.
15. This September we were delighted to hold our second ever UK Davenant Convivium Irenicum, in which we considered how we can reclaim the right roles of reason and tradition in our theology, comprehending rightly how they integrate with Scripture. Oak Hill College in London was gracious enough to host the event. Our Army of Friends in the UK continues to grow!
16. This September, teachers, college students, churchmen, and scholars gathered together for the first-ever Florida Regional Convivium Irenicum in Melbourne, Florida. Participants considered, discussed, and reimagined how classical wisdom might reshape contemporary classical education to the end of bringing souls to stand in awe and wonder of the cosmos, rather than merely making soldiers for the culture war. Speakers included Dr. Ben Merkle, Nathan Johnson, Dale Stenberg, and Dr. Bradford Littlejohn.
17. In October we published our groundbreaking book, Protestant Social Teaching, a coherent, catholic, biblical set of convictions about what it means to love one’s neighbor in personal and political life. The essays in this volume span the breadth of human life, from birth to death, from work to welfare, while providing a clear moral compass on hot-button issues like abortion, just war, and environmental care. Over 80 enthusiastic men and women attended our Protestant Social Teaching book launch in D.C, coming out to hear Brad Littlejohn, Marc LiVecche, and Jake Meador speak about their respective chapters in the books, ask questions, and have their books signed.
18. Many members of the Davenant team and network converged on Denver, Colorado for the 74th Annual Meeting of ETS, the Evangelical Theological Society. For the second year in a row, Davenant exhibited at the conference, with Davenant’s booth spotlighting our latest and bestselling publications, our pioneering Davenant Hall program, and our vision for retrieving and renewing classical Protestantism at the intersection of church and academy. On the second night of the conference, Davenant rented out an old-fashioned British pub in south Denver, Pints Pub, for our “Army of Friends Party,” which saw nearly 100 guests representing dozens of universities, seminaries, churches, come together for fellowship, merriment, deep conversations, and lively debates.
19. In November, Davenant teamed up with our friends at Colorado Christian University after the close of ETS to host a high-profile debate between our President, Brad Littlejohn, and Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director of 9Marks to debate Religious Liberty and the Common Good. Over two and a half hours of probing questions, the disputants laid out two fundamentally different visions for the future of Protestant political theology—the magisterial Protestantism promoted by Davenant since its inception, and the Baptist pluralism of which Leeman is an eminent representative. The debate was, by all accounts, charitable yet hard-hitting and deeply illuminating.
20. Our flagship journal, Ad Fontes, released four new issues including a symposium on Johannes Zachhuber’s magnificent new book, The Rise of Christian Theology and the End of Ancient Metaphysics. Other issues featured essays on literature, postmodernism, postliberalism, and much more. We also added a new feature of original poetry, helmed by Poetry Editor Colin Redemer.
21. We were proud to publish an affordable new edition of Begotten or Made, Oliver O’Donovan’s masterpiece of reproductive ethics, complete with a new introduction by Matthew Lee Anderson and a retrospective by the author. In this prescient volume, originally published in 1984, the eminent theological ethicist Oliver O’Donovan offers a penetrating analysis of our confusion over human nature and the proper boundaries of medical science.
22. On December 20, 1606, three ships set sail under the flag of the Virginia Company to plant the Protestant religion, the reformed catholic faith, in the New World. The Davenant Institute has started a new tradition: to celebrate this Protestant founding of the United States with an annual fundraiser. With the help of the Davenant Institute’s immense army of friends around the globe, we were able to double last year’s ambitious target of $20,000 in a day, raising $41,000 in our annual 12/20 campaign!
We’re amazed at God’s blessings on our work this past year, but we’re hungry for more. We already have nearly 23 big goals lined up for 2023 and need your help to make them a reality. Please consider chipping in with your tax-deductible year-end gift, and pray for God to bless us with wisdom as we decide how to deploy our resources in the coming year. Visit our Kindful page below and make your end-of-year gift today.