“Plainly Diabolical”: Bishop Davenant Weighs in on Clerical Celibacy

By Michael Lynch

“It is unbelievable to think that the Roman Catholics, by imposing celibacy, are thinking about the holiness of the priesthood seeing that they are not able to hide the fact that this coercive celibacy of priests has morally polluted nearly the whole class of massmongers through their abominable lusts.”

“I believe it is a wholesome law, and that for the good and health of souls, that those who desire it should be free to marry, because experience teaches us that an opposite effect results from that law of continency. Since nowadays, they do not live spiritually, nor are they clean, but are polluted with their great sin by illicit sexual intercourse, when they should be chaste with their own wives.” Read more…

Do Something Hard This Summer


A few years Alan Jacobs posted an old syllabus for a class at the University of Michigan taught by the great English poet W. H. Auden.

It required 6,000 pages of reading… in one semester. Titled “Fate and the Individual in European Literature,” Auden’s course required students to read the entire Divine Comedy, Horace’s Odes, Augustine’s Confessions, four Shakespeare plays, the Pensees, Blake’s Narrative of Heaven and Hell, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Melville’s Moby Dick, and selections from Kierkegaard, Baudelaire, Ibsen, Rimbaud, Henry Adams, Rilke, and Kafka. Read more…

Brad Littlejohn Presents the Vision for Davenant House

In this new video, Davenant President Brad Littlejohn explains the vision for our Davenant House study center and summer programs, which this year will be taught by Dr. Alastair Roberts.

With Protestantism celebrating her 500th birthday this year, what should be a celebration has become for many instead an occasion for worried introspection. How much life does she really have left in her? Has Protestantism run its course? Does it really have the resources to cope with the challenges that modernity—and now postmodernity—are throwing at the church? After all, aren’t the individualism and secularism that we see all around us the product of the Reformation itself, with its determination to empower individual conscience and to roll back the reach of church authority? Many have made this argument.

And certainly a look around at the landscape of American evangelicalism in particular does not inspire much confidence. The “scandal of the evangelical mind” that Mark Noll wrote about 25 years ago is still there, despite real improvement: we are still reflexively anti-intellectual, much better at marketing than scholarship, and afflicted by a seemingly unshakeable addiction to personality cults and movements more interested in advancing their own brand than in asking and answering hard questions. Read more…

Renewing the Christian Mind

Davenant House is growing into a home for a renewal of Christian wisdom.

For all the good that has come of “Christian worldview” discipleship in recent decades, too often it has relied on polemic generalizations, caricatures, and easy answers. Wisdom, on the other hand, is possession of the principles of reality in the mind, illuminated by the Spirit-filled heart, and for the sake of the knowledge of God and glorifying Him.

Wisdom, unlike worldview, cannot be downloaded from a server or acquired from a video course. It requires a retrieval of the lost art of conversation and the cultivation of intellectually rich friendship. This is the vision for Davenant House. (Learn more about Davenant House.)

“The Church, now as always, needs open discussion of important, intellectual issues, as well as active collaboration and fellowship among Christians in advancing the mission of the Church,” says 2016 Davenant House guest Angie Tang, “and the Davenant House is a good effort towards that direction.”

Davenant House is not just a place to learn the right answers or the right ideas. It’s a place for reflection, for questioning, for conversation, for prayer—a place to connect with God, neighbor, and nature and be renewed for a life of faithful witness and service. Angie explains: “While the program engaged my mind in important and worthy study material, it did so in an atmosphere that was heavily influenced by fellowship with one another and interaction with nature. It allowed me to grow intellectually, but (perhaps more importantly) personally and relationally as well.”

Jonathan Kuo, another 2016 guest, says: “The Davenant House has all the ingredients for a stimulating period of intellectual and spiritual growth: excellent books, stirring conversations, homemade meals, stunning nature vistas, and a commitment to pursue wisdom together through communal work, reasoning, and recreation.”

Wisdom isn’t a set of talking points whose representatives have to be constantly reprogrammed. Rather, it makes free men and women capable of prudence and virtuous practice who can lead as servant heroes. Christian wisdom is a gathering of truth in love of God, so as to embody and radiate it to the world. “I’ve never experienced such a unified curricula,” observes Jonathan, “where each week—drawing on Aristotle, Aquinas, Calvin, and post-Reformation theologians—built upon the last and the selected texts incrementally brought us closer to the real, enduring, and solid principles of life in God’s world.”

We offer summer programs for evangelical Protestant undergraduates, graduate students, and young adults who are aspiring to positions of leadership and seeking to deepen the intellectual foundations of their faith in order to equip them for leadership in church, academy, and society. Several weeks of the year will be reserved for the use of individual or small groups of scholars or pastors to come and have a quiet space for study and writing, making use of our theological library on-site. Outside of the summer months, Davenant House is available for churches to use for officers’ retreats, pastors’ sabbaticals, prayer retreats or study days, etc.

Learn more about upcoming events, or apply to book your own visit, at davenanttrust.org/davenant-house.

Call for Book Donations for Davenant House


The Davenant Trust is seeking donations of books for its new study center in upstate SC, Davenant House. Our aim is to have a substantial library in theology and the liberal arts that will be of service to students participating in our residential summer study programs, to students in our Davenant Latin Institute residential courses, and to scholars and pastors using the facility for retreats and study sabbaticals. Read more…

Davenant House: Wisdom and Worldview

In this video Brad Littlejohn, Peter Escalante, and Jake Meador discuss one of the foundational principles of Davenant House, which is the valuing of Christian wisdom over “Christian worldview.”

The discussion begins with brief comments on why worldview language is, for all its benefits, often an unhelpful way to talk about the way a Christian person sees creation. We then move on to a discussion of how our project to emphasize Christian wisdom relates to the cultural liturgies series by Dr. James K.A. Smith. Read more…

L’Abri and Davenant House

In this video Brad Littlejohn is joined by Jake and Joie Meador to discuss the ways that L’Abri has influenced the thinking behind much of what we hope to do with Davenant House. Both Jake and Joie are former L’Abri students, at the Rochester and Swiss branches respectively, and were deeply shaped by their time there. That experience has helped to shape the way we are thinking about Davenant House: Read more…

Davenant House Program Aims: Faith and Science

In this video, Brad Littlejohn, Peter Escalante, and Jake Meador discuss one of the chief concerns of the Davenant House summer program: the relationship between faith and science. The discussion begins by looking at how the supposed conflict has been framed in much modern debate before transitioning into a higher-level look at how science has been thought of in classical Christian thought. Read more…