A write-up of the 2021 National Convivium Irenicum on “Education and the Kingdom of God”
Last summer in Oxford England in a pub The Inklings Symposium was conceived. I was an attendee at a conference on C. S. Lewis which shall remain nameless. It was a conference I later came to learn that my friend and fellow Lewis scholar, Jason Lepojarvi, has called a prime example of “Jacksploitation.”
The 2018 Protestant Wisdom Primer went well, with students appreciating the retreat atmosphere as well as the reading and guidance of Dr. Alastair Roberts.
Earlier this month we had our sixth annual Convivium Irenicum, held in upstate South Carolina near Greenville. As in previous years, we enjoyed a mixture of new people and long-time attendees and were blessed by an engaging keynote speaker and rich conversation around the conference’s theme.
This year Dr. Michael Allen of RTS-Orlando was our keynote and the topic was “reformed catholicity.” The urgency of the topic should be apparent: In a day of fracturing religious communities, a proper grounding in ecclesiology is essential. Dr. Allen, along with our other presenters, helped us toward that understanding over several days of convening.
Before I came to my first Convivium Irenicum a few years ago I remember wondering what the event would be like. Before getting involved with Davenant, my only experience in a reformed church was in the PCA. I had never been in an OPC church or an ARP church or a CRC church or even any sort of evangelical Anglican church.
That said, even in the PCA I had already found that the reputation Reformed Christians had for polemics and struggling to get on with each other was deserved. Given that, I was a bit nervous as I boarded the plane to fly down to Greenville. If we have fights just within the PCA, what will it be like to throw together a bunch of Anglicans, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed, and Reformed Baptists into a single space for a weekend?
Western Christians find themselves forced to navigate many different quandaries in the modern world. This assertion is not generally considered to be controversial. Controversy quickly ensues, however, when Christians attempt to more finely identify and address these challenges. In recent times, one frequently discussed item has related to a presumed “crisis of authority” afflicting (especially) the American church. What is this crisis? And does a renewed emphasis on the authority of the institutional church help us navigate through it?
A funny thing happened a couple weeks ago in Washington, D.C. On a Friday night not far from the city’s most boozy blocks near Adam’s Morgan, a dozen or so Protestant and Roman Catholic scholars, practitioners, and aspiring practitioner-scholars gathered to discuss a great text and its relevance to the political and intellectual life of the West. The text was The Laws of War and Peace, the magnum opus of Dutch Reformed thinker Hugo Grotius, who is often credited as the father of international law.
From June 6th through 17th this year, seven students gathered from four countries to participate in Davenant’s first ever Intensive Protestant Wisdom Summer Program (a shortened version of last year’s Five-Week Program).
Taught by Dr. Alastair Roberts, a leading evangelical blogger and writer from the United Kingdom, this program sought to help train Christian undergraduates, grad students, and seminarians in Christian wisdom so that they can be equipped to lead as servant heroes within the church and their local communities. By all accounts, it was a great success. Read more…
We are very pleased to announce that we will be holding our Third Mid-Atlantic Regional Convivium Irenicum, and our first ever in Washington, DC, examining the theme, “Christian Love and National Interest: A Protestant Ethic of National Security.” The event will be held on April 21-22 at Redeeming Grace Church of Fairfax, VA, and will be co-sponsored by Patrick Henry College and Providence Magazine.
How do we exercise our Christian duty to show love to enemies while also exercising our Christian duty to protect our neighbors and countrymen from them? Can we have open arms and strong borders? To what extent should we be see ourselves as patriotic citizens of a nation-state vs. members of the worldwide family of Christ, with obligations that might run counter to national interest? This event seeks to connect the idea of national security to Christian ethics, bringing together local scholars and theologians, pastors and interested laypeople, and those who serve (or are considering service) in the military, intelligence and law enforcement professions. Our hope is that attendees and participants walk away with a new—or a renewed—vision for how the historical Protestant ethical tradition speaks to the often-conflicting loyalties of Christian citizenship.
To address these important questions, we will be bringing in speakers including Dr. Mark Thiessen Nation of Eastern Mennonite University, Dr. David Shedd of Patrick Henry College, Drs. Marc LiVecche and Keith Pavlischek of Providence magazine, Dr. Bradford Littlejohn of the Davenant Trust, and Mr. Andrew Fulford of McGill University, and author of our recent Davenant publication, Jesus and Pacifism.
For full details, and to register, click here.
The Davenant Trust is pleased to announce two upcoming events in major cities.
How (Not) to Have a Foot in Both Kingdoms: Protestant Models for Christian Citizenship
A conversation with Dr. W. Bradford Littlejohn (The Davenant Trust), Dr. Vincent Bacote (Wheaton College) and Dr. Matthew Tuininga (Calvin Theological Seminary)
Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
Christians in an increasingly post-Christian America are apt to be conflicted and confused about their role in their nation’s public life. Should we seek our identity as citizens of Christ’s kingdom alone, accepting the role of strangers and pilgrims? Should we seek to transform our culture and communities to bring them under the lordship of Christ? Or something in between? Using the recent revival of the historic Protestant language of “two kingdoms” as a focal point of the conversation, our panelists will explore these and related questions. Dr. Littlejohn will present the pros and cons of Reformational political theology as a model for today, drawing on his forthcoming book, The Promise and Peril of Christian Liberty: Richard Hooker, the Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology. Drs. Bacote and Tuininga will respond and engage, developing insights from their own recent books, Political Discipleship and Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ’s Two Kingdoms.
Christian Citizenship in Post-Christian America
Join us on Broadway this October for a conversation on Christian citizenship at The King’s College in New York City, part of the Davenant Trust’s 2nd Mid-Atlantic Regional Convivium, a gathering of ecclesially-minded scholars, academically-minded pastors, and theologically-concerned professionals.