Theology and Law

Private Property and Christian Charity


Adam J MacLeod



October 20-21st, 2023


Davenant House

419 Glenolden Dr. Landrum, SC 29356

5:30PM, Oct. 20th to 4:30PM, Oct. 21st

The Davenant Institute invites you to our spring rendition of our now bi-annual Carolinas Regional Convivium Irenicum! This gathering at Davenant House centers on using literature for encouraging the growth of classical Protestantism and retrieval of wisdom for the church. Please join us for a Friday night and Saturday of fellowship, friendship, and conversation renewing Christian wisdom for the church.

See details below about our Keynote Speaker and the line up of presentations.


Theology and Law: Private Property and Christian Charity

“The general property of man in animals, in the soil, and in the productions of the soil, is the immediate gift of the bountiful Creator of all. ‘God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them. And God blessed them; and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’” 

So writes American Founder James Wilson in his essay “On the History of Property.” Private property seems to derive in some way from the dominion mandate, God’s summons to Adam and Eve to subdue and enrich the earth. Yet how does this general property, belonging to the whole human race, become private property—apportioned (very unequally) among individuals? How indeed could such a thing be legitimate, if private property rights are used to excuse some of God’s image-bearers from access to the fruits of the earth needed to sustain them? 

Throughout the centuries, Christians have wrestled with this question, drawing upon Scripture’s rich and complex teaching on property, which seems to both celebrate it and warn against it, to approve of profound inequalities and call for broad distribution. Some have gone so far as to argue that among Christians, all property should be common. And yet Christian nations and law codes throughout the centuries have consistently endorsed and confirmed private property relations, while also establishing institutions and norms to guard against too much exploitation of the weak by the strong, the poor by the rich.

Today, property law is at risk of breaking free from the Christian milieu that long nurtured it. Runaway notions of intellectual property have contributed to the emergence of super-powerful corporations and permanent asymmetries of power. It is hard to make sense of the confusing new terrain of digital property within received notions of ownership and use, a problem AI is likely to intensify further. Crushing burdens of both public and private debt have raised urgent questions surrounding the justice and feasibility of debt forgiveness. All the while, ordinary Christians still urgently need catechesis in what it means to use their wealth and property in the service of Christian charity—not merely in “charitable giving,” but in all their spending, saving, and investing. 

At the Fall 2023 Carolinas Regional Convivium, our third on the broad theme of “theology and law,” we invite you to join us in investigating the relationship between private property and Christian love—in the ethical, political, and legal spheres.



4:30-5:30 Pm:

Arrival and check-in

5:30-7:00 Pm:

Dinner is served

6:45-8:30 Pm:

Welcome and Paper Session 1

8:30 Pm:

Evening prayer, followed by fellowship


7:45 Am:


8:30 Am:

Morning prayer

9:00 Am-12:00 PM:

Morning paper presentations

11:45 AM-1:00 Pm:


1:00-4:00 Pm:

Afternoon paper presentations

4:30 PM:




Friday night (includes dinner)


Saturday (includes lunch)


Friday-Saturday (includes dinner, breakfast, lunch, and lodging)


Friday-Saturday Student Discount (includes dinner, breakfast, lunch,
and lodging)

Keynote Speaker

Adam J. MacLeod

Adam J. MacLeod (J.D., University of Notre Dame Law School) is Professor of Law at St. Mary’s University in Texas. He is also a Research Fellow of the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy. He has been a visiting fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University and remains a faculty member in the James Madison Program’s summer graduate seminar on the Moral Foundations of Law. He teaches courses concerning property, intellectual property, jurisprudence, and private rights theory, and speaks in academic and public venues about private rights and private ordering.


Deadline for paper submissions is midnight ET of September 9, 2023!

PLease JOin Us!

Register now for

the Regional Convivium

In order to keep costs at a reasonable rate and to encourage the atmosphere of fellowship for which our Convivia are most fondly remembered we ask for your help with meal preparation and clean-up. A sign-up sheet will be passed around at the event.  The information packet (to be sent nearer the event) will include a detailed schedule, directions to Davenant House, etc.

In addition to our keynote speaker, the Fall 2023 Carolinas Regional Convivium Irenicum schedule will include the presentation of papers, Q&A, and worship, as well as meals on site. 

For More details, contact Brad Littlejohn
[email protected]
Fall 2023 Carolinas Regional Convivium
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