Rediscovering Reason and Tradition in Evangelical Theology


The Davenant Institute

September 24, 2022

Oak Hill College, London

Join us at Oak Hill College for the second ever UK Davenant Convivium Irenicum. Our plenary speaker will be Dr. David Shaw, Vice Principal and Lecturer in New Testament, Greek, and Biblical Theology at Oak Hill. Other speakers will be announced in the near future, following paper submissions.

Conference proceedings will run from 9:30am to 5pm on Saturday 24th September, 2022.

Our Theme

The Reformation truly ignited in 1521, when Martin Luther declared he would not recant his Protestant views unless “convinced by Scripture and plain reason”. He had found the superstitions and papal inventions of the late Middle Ages wanting, and the Reformation unstoppably followed. By standing upon both Scripture and reason, Luther and other Reformers saw themselves as doing nothing new. Rather, they were maintaining true church tradition, keeping in step with the ancient church councils and the best medieval theologians. Their many confessions and catechisms were attempts to reestablish and protect this tradition once more.

But has modern evangelicalism strayed from this Reformation mindset? In a desire to defend the sufficiency of Scripture against modernism, theological liberalism, and over-elaborate systematic theology, the roles of both reason and tradition have diminished among evangelicals. As a result, Scripture is pressed to provide clear answers for everything, and doctrines lacking crystal clear proof texts are regarded with suspicion.

Yet in the face of the most vexing questions about the doctrine of God and living ethically in the twenty-first century, evangelicalism finds itself tied in knots, unable to find answers. To remedy this, it is vital for evangelicals to reclaim the Reformation’s approach to reason and tradition, understanding how they fit with the doctrine of sola Scriptura.

We will be gathering at Oak Hill College to reflect on reclaiming the right roles of reason and tradition in our theology, comprehending rightly how it integrates with Scripture. Our plenary speaker will be Dr. David Shaw. Other sessions will feature speakers selected from submissions to our open call for papers.

Interest in this topic is growing throughout the UK, and many are doubtless in search of other like-minded people. We hope also that the day will provide the opportunity for people to forge connections with others in the same pursuit.

The event will run from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Join us for a time of rich fellowship, conversation, and growth in wisdom!

Keynote Speaker

Dr. David Shaw (Ph.D, University of Cambridge) teaches Greek, New Testament, and Biblical Theology at Oak Hill. He also worked part time as the Theological Adviser of the FIEC (the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches), and serves as editor of Primer which is co-published by Oak Hill and FIEC. He is an elder at Spicer Street Church, St Albans, and has published articles on a wide range of issues including Pauline theology, the doctrine of justification, and the evaluation of children’s Bibles. He is married to Jo and they have four children and three cats.

Our Schedule

Saturday, September 24, 9:30 AM – 5 PM

Location: Oak Hill College, Chase Side, London, N14 4PS

9:30-9:40 AM | Welcome
9:40-11:10 AM | Keynote Address: David Shaw, “Is Retrieval Leading To Renewal?
The Place of Tradition and the Progress of Theological Retrieval: Some Reflections and Next Steps” (with Q&A)
11:10-11:40 AM | Tea and coffee
11:40 AM-12:40 PM | Session #2 (speaker and topic TBA)
12:40-1:40 PM| Lunch
1:40-2:40 PM | Session #3 (speaker and topic TBA)
2:40-3:10 PM| Tea and coffee
3:10-4:10 PM | Session #4 (speaker and topic TBA)
4:10-5 PM | Q&A with all speakers
5 PM | Wrap up

Call for Papers

The Convivium Irenicum falls somewhere between a retreat, a typical Christian conference, and an academic conference. As such, we do not schedule our spakers ahead of time, but invite proposal from scholars, pastors, and expert laypeople who would like to join Davenant’t army of friends as we seek to retrieve the riches of the historic church.


We welcome paper submissions offering historical, philosophical, theological, and exegetical reflections on the topic of reason and tradition’s roles in theology, challenges in this area today, and great figures who could contribute to our understanding.

Email Rhys Laverty ([email protected]) by 31st July to submit a paper.

Register Now

Second UK Convivium Irenicum

The Davenant Institute

September 24, 2022

Why "Convivium Irenicum" and not "conference"?

We prefer “Convivium Irenicum” to “conference” as it stresses the two aspects of the day which we feel are most significant.

Firstly, we aim for the day to be convivial. Rather than arriving, receiving our download of information, and then heading home, we aim to foster fellowship and forge connections between people in search of the riches of the historic church.

Secondly, we aim for the day to be irenic. Rather than pre-packaging easy contemporary answers in each address, we seek to draw together many strands from church history in conversation with one another, working together to integrate ourselves with the whole Christian tradition.

Second UK Convivium Irenicum