The Davenant Institute advances and renews Christian wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build networks of friendship and collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness.
The Davenant Institute seeks to respond to two increasingly urgent questions within the Church in America, but in the Western world more broadly:
- How can we be good citizens and faithful Christians in a society where those are no longer the same thing?
- How can our churches learn to work together in the midst of our differences without watering down our witness?
The tools for answering both of these questions, we believe, can be found in a retrieval of the wisdom of our Christian forefathers, especially the great scholars and teachers of the Reformation and post-Reformation period. It is our aim to translate this wisdom to our contemporary context, in the broadest sense of the word translation: translating texts from Latin to English, translating ideas from older idioms and philosophical jargons to more accessible modern forms, and translating principles into practice for Christian leaders, and aspiring leaders, in church and society. We seek to pursue this task in three ways:
We seek to offer the tools for retrieving the lost riches of Christian wisdom through both online courses and residential programs, in both formal and informal contexts. We also aim to offer guidance to Christian study centers in their work of renewing Christian scholarship and equipping Christian students at our universities, and to sponsor programs which assist and promote collaboration between Christian study centers. We also help fund research projects by promising scholars dedicated to the renewal of the church.
We seek to disseminate the fruits of Christian scholarship to a wider audience of students, pastors, Christian leaders, and theologically-concerned professionals by using the tools of traditional and new media. We will publish books and articles, as well as recording and disseminating audio-visual materials, to help educate a wider audience about our Reformational heritage and its enduring relevance for contemporary challenges in church and society, and to help evangelical scholars find platforms for maximizing the impact of their research. We will sponsor conferences, symposia, and events within the evangelical and Reformed world that are aimed at clarifying the task of faithful Protestant public discipleship in the contemporary world, or at retrieval of classical Protestant resources.
We seek to build networks of friendship and collaboration between ecclesially-minded scholars and students, academically-minded pastors, and theologically-concerned professionals and Christian leaders in the Reformed and evangelical world. We believe that translation happens most effectively in community, and it is our goal to establish communities of irenic discourse dedicated to the renewal of Christian wisdom, built on both virtual and face-to-face relationships. We will sponsor regular “Convivia Irenica,” convivial conference-retreats dedicated to this vision in geographical centers across the US, Canada, and Western Europe.
To help us continue to make this mission a reality, we invite you to join with us in this great work that the Lord has called us to.
Those calling for theologically-serious but open-minded and dynamic retrieval of the past for the sake of the present have often felt like voices crying in the wilderness.
The Davenant Institute is named for the irenic English Reformed scholar and Bishop of Salisbury John Davenant (1572-1641), who exemplified the Golden Age of English ecclesiastical learning. As the President of Queens’ College Cambridge (1614-21), Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University (1609-23), and Bishop of Salisbury (1621-41), he modeled a theology that was forthrightly Reformed in the essentials and encouraged charity, diversity, and vigorous discussion in non-essentials. He is particularly known for his instrumental role as a member of the English delegation at the Synod of Dort, where he successfully advocated a more moderate and Reformational formulation of the Calvinist theology of grace.