Classical Wonder for Contemporary Minds


Ben Merkle &

Nathan Johnson



Saturday, September 10, 2022


2711 North Harbor City Blvd
Melbourne, FL 32935



Join us for fellowship, lunch and discussion exploring what it might look like to reimagine contemporary classical education in the here and now, for the sake of enlarging the soul with the glory of God that is displayed in every thing and texture of the cosmos.


Classical Wonder for Contemporary Minds

For the last century, education has been allied to the ends of the market, and the consequent means of instruction have largely left our children to be treated as the products that emerge at the end of a bureaucratic assembly line. Of course, there have been and are many faithful people in these systems who have deployed their agency to truly inspire wonder in the hearts of children, but the system itself is not intended for this, and it progressively evaporates the opportunities for those who are teachers to connect with their students at that level.

It is not surprising, therefore, that we have witnessed a range of alternative education models over the last half-century. However, Christians should be cautious about the temptations of our times. The temptation to construct an “alternative system” in the contemporary vacuum easily risks allowing the ghost of progressivist education to negatively “in-form” the ends of our own calling. Whereas they did “public” school, we do “private” school. Whereas they did “vocational” training, we do “intellectual” training. Where they are “contemporary,” we are “classical,” “secular” becomes “religious,” and the disciplines themselves (history, biology, economics, etc) become objects of counter-politicization. They have their “secular” history and we our “religious” one.

But this is not to escape the Leviathan of modern education, but to internalize its very chief error—that education is some means to an end other than itself—but now only billed as in the service of our team. Urgently needed today, in a day that consumes the imagination and wonder from which the entirety of the classical tradition can be truly internalized, grasped, and (most importantly) lived in a renewed and contemporary way. What is required is not chiefly a new program of education, but a new imagination for what education even is in the first place.

And yet, it is fitting that we also seek to “organize” education in such a manner as to bring our young ones into a life of wonder in the engagement of God’s creation and the human response to it. In this conference, we ask what it might look like to reimagine contemporary classical education not along the vectors of fighting any battle or recovering any particular thing, but rather what it might mean to educate here and now, simply for the sake of enlarging the soul with the glory of God that is displayed in every thing and texture of the cosmos.



Plenary Speaker, Ben Merkle (President, New Saint Andrews College): Education and Vocation


Dale Stenberg (Teaching Fellow, The Davenant Institute): Fear, Fulfillment, Festivity 


Lunch Break


Nathan Johnson (Professor, New College Franklin): Followers of the Way: How the Seven Liberal Arts Serve Theology and Ethics


Colin Redemer (Vice President, The Davenant Institute): Education and ReEducation in the Digital Frontier

Our SpeakerS

Dr. Ben Merkle

Dr. Ben Merkle, Fellow of Theology and President of New Saint Andrews College, holds a D.Phil. in Oriental Studies and an M.St. in Jewish Studies from Oxford University. He is the author of The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great and Defending the Trinity in the Reformed Palatinate: The Elohistae. He is a minister at Christ Church, Moscow, ID, and has taught at New Saint Andrews for over a decade. He and his wife, Bekah, have five children.

Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a PhD candidate in Humanities at Faulkner University. He also holds two M.A. degrees in Biblical Studies and Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary and an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College. Currently, he serves as Assistant Dean of Academics and Professor of Moral Philosophy, Theology, and Quadrivium at New College Franklin in Franklin, TN. He and his wife, Hannah, have two vivacious golden retrievers and too many books.

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the Florida Convivium

For More details, contact DALE STENBERG
[email protected]
Florida Regional Convivium Irenicum 2022


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