Looking Toward 2023: In Search of Christian Wisdom

Dear Friends, 

Everywhere you turn, businesses, politicians, and spiritual or social movements promise to offer a road back to meaning, identity, or belonging. But instead of offering real hope and grounding, these promises are simply the mark of a generation desperately lost.  

Some Christians, in reaction to this rootlessness, build archaic shelters out of the church’s history without considering the conditions of the present. Others reject authority and structure altogether and disappear into their individualistic therapeutic “religion.” Both remain lost.  

Too many Christians camp over the scorching flames of legalism, wokeism, or whatever “ism” comes next, warming their hands on indignation until enemy camps die out. Christian leaders try to re-pave religion in America with worldview and ideology—but their manufactured “wisdom” collapses under the weight of reality.  

The state of the academy is little better. Too often, capable scholars become slumlords within their cramped areas of expertise. We pay rent to their theories and thoughts until their knowledge proves too specialized for everyday relevance, and too expensive for everyday use. 

Rarely does the academy—including evangelical institutions—encourage experts to consult the wisdom of pastors on the ground, seek truth alongside others, and confront the boundaries of their knowledge. The modern academy relegates Protestantism to the back alleys of mediocrity and mistrust, where scholars trade quick answers for cheap credit.

But at the Davenant Institute, we understand the pitiful life cycle of isolated knowledge. We see how wisdom grows deep and full within a community, empowering individuals with confidence to navigate reality as well as the humility to grapple with different experiences. The companionship of fellow Christians, in various stages of their journey and from various corners of church tradition, is what refines our faith.  

Amid the ruin, Wisdom still calls; at the gates of our heritage, she cries aloud to remember, resource, and reform. We listened to her call, and so did you.  

At the Davenant Institute, we understand that our culture, church, and academy need more than promises of false belonging. We need a deep heritage that already provides it. 

Over the past nine years, we at the Davenant Institute have been heeding Wisdom’s call, and have labored to restore the new church on the foundations of the old.

Through our programs, publications, and community, the Davenant Institute retrieves treasures old and new for the renewing of the contemporary Church. Our army of friends combines intellectual resources, and elevates the present by retrieving Protestant wisdom from the past. 

And the more we uncover the Church’s wisdom, the more wanderers will come home.  Now—during the erosion of modernity—is the time to build.  

Recently, with the aid of a special one-time grant, we renovated and expanded the Davenant House complex to accommodate 45 guests, leaving ample room for future expansion for conferences and intensive programs on 75 acres. 

In just this last year, we. . . 

Hosted our most well-attended National Convivium Irenicum to date. It was so highly attended, in fact, that we had to turn many prospective attendees  away and are working on expanding our capacity for next year.  

Significantly enriched and expanded our Davenant Hall M.Litt. program. We’ve developed dedicated tracks in Anglican Studies and Reformed and  Presbyterian Studies, along with modules for applying the riches of the classical Protestant tradition to the needs of pastoral ministry. 

Published five new books that offer crucial resources, old and new,  for renewing the evangelical mind. Our recent publications include Natural Theology, Reforming Classical Education, and Protestant Social Teaching, which gathers the best voices in Protestant moral theology to offer an accessible primer on how  to respond to relevant cultural questions. Two of our most important publications will be published over the next few months: a republication of Oliver O’Donovan’s seminal work of reproductive ethics, Begotten or Made, and an affordable, two-volume English translation of the classic work of Reformed orthodoxy, the Leiden Synopsis.

Through the tireless efforts of volunteers, donors, and staff, the Davenant Institute continues our work to restore the deep intellectual heritage of the Protestant tradition.  

But it’s your support that allows the Davenant Institute to excavate Protestantism’s deep past, and build Christians an intellectual home in the present. Our heritage sits there abandoned, waiting for its inhabitants to return. By giving a gift today, you help restore the lost riches of Christianity to a starving, wandering world. 

While we patch up the intellectual fragmentation of the modern church, we must breathe life into these restored ruins by rebuilding the broken bonds of trust upon which Christian wisdom depends.

We hope that you will partner with us as we do the work God has set before us to remember, resource, and reform. Encouraged by God’s provision and your generosity, we have set the goal high: Over the next seven weeks, we aim to raise $100,000 to fuel the work of the Institute in 2023!

To donate, please click here to visit our Kindful page.

I am confident that, with enough support from you and our army of  friends, Christians will no longer lose their churches, communities, and nation to corrosion and confusion. 

Instead, our faith will offer a sturdy intellectual foundation on which to build and flourish. A foundation where communities are not torn apart by hyper-individualism, where misapplied history and fruitless tradition have no place, and where endless wandering will come to an end.  

Together, we will remember, resource, and reform the Protestant tradition by excavating  and restoring its strong intellectual foundation. And brick by brick, gift by gift, we will restore the contemporary church.  

Wisdom calls at the gates. It’s time to stop wandering and call the lost to “look to the  rock from which we were hewn.”  

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug… For the Lord comforts Zion; He comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden,  her deserts like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.” Isaiah 51:1-5