June is not so far away anymore, and it is time to announce the theme and Call for Papers for our Fourth Annual Convivium Irenicum, to be held, as usual, at Laureldale Cottage (now Davenant House) in the SC Blue Ridge mountains. The theme of this year’s conference will be “Confessionalism and Diversity in the Reformed Tradition” and our plenary speaker will be Dr. Carl Trueman, who holds the Paul Woolley Chair of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary. Dr. Trueman is an eminent historian of the Reformation and early modern Protestantism, and also a witty and highly-regarded commentator on contemporary ecclesiastical and cultural issues.
As with previous Convivia, this is not your normal academic conference, but equally a retreat/fellowship time, that will be characterized by paper presentations, organized and informal conversation, food, drinks, and fellowship, and worship together. We will have room for a slightly larger attendance this year (and should be able to accommodate nearly all attendees in lodging provided on-site), but attendance will still be limited to 30, so register soon. Also, as with previous Convivia, we encourage not merely scholars and students, but pastors and theologically-interested laypeople to attend.
We welcome 250-500 word abstracts for papers related to the theme. Papers may investigate both historical and contemporary aspects of the theme; here are a few ideas, though others are welcome:
- highlight a figure or movement in the Reformed tradition that falls outside of what we have come to consider the mainstream, but nonetheless lies within confessional boundaries (i.e., “deviant Calvinism”)
- explore the process of confessionalization and the role that confessions played in shaping early Reformed faith and practice. Were they intended as irenic or polemical documents? What status were they intended to have?
- explore the role that confessions have played within the lives of Protestant churches and the challenges of maintaining their relevance in changing times
- argue what the role of confessions should be in the life of the contemporary church. How tightly should they regulate doctrinal freedom? How can they help govern the life of a particular communion without severing fellowship with others outside the confessional tradition? Do older confessions need to be amended or replaced?
Papers, as presented, may be from 30-45 minutes in length (leaving an equal time for Q&A); please stipulate whether you would like a shorter or longer slot. We also welcome proposals for guided discussions on a set of readings. All papers will be eligible for submission to an edited volume of conference proceedings which will be published by the Davenant Press (see previous published proceedings here). Paper abstracts should be submitted to Dr. Brad Littlejohn ([email protected]) by March 14th.
For full details about the Convivium, including the registration form, see here.