A Center for the Retrieval of Christian Wisdom

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Davenant Discussions

a monthly gathering where we discuss a chosen topic and either invite a speaker to lead us through the topic or follow the lead of an author in a chosen reading

There’s no homework and you’re always welcome to jump in and participate.

This is a free event, but we do request donations to cover the cost of speakers and food.

Next Discussion October 1st: “Christian Statesmanship in an Age of Charlatans: Lessons from the Life of John Jay” with Dr. Brad Littlejohn


To be Rescheduled: "The Doctrine of Assurance: Early Debates and Ongoing Significance" with Dr. Jonathan Master

Can we ever know that we are saved? If so, how? Find out why the doctrine of assurance was called the most dangerous doctrine of the Protestant Reformers, and why it still matters for Christians today.

Session 1: From Calvin Through Westminster: The History of the Doctrine of Assurance
Session 2: The Importance of Assurance Today

Jonathan Master (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is President of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, , Associate Editor for The Banner of Truth Magazine, and co-host of the Theology on the Go podcast. Dr. Master is the author of the books Growing in Grace (Banner of Truth, forthcoming) and A Question of Consensus: the Doctrine of Assurance after the Westminster Confession (Fortress, 2015), co-editor (with Dr. David W. Hall) of On Reforming Worship (Covenant Publications, 2018), and editor of The God We Worship: Adoring the One Who Pursues, Redeems, and Changes His People (P&R, 2016). He is married to Elizabeth, and they are the parents of two daughters.

Join us on September 3rd, 2021 from 6 – 9 pm

Suggested Donation: $10-$15 

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October 2021: "Christian Statesmanship in an Age of Charlatans: Lessons from the Life of John Jay" with Dr. Brad Littlejohn

In an age of charlatans on the Right and hypocrites on the Left, it is easy to become deeply cynical about politics. But Christian statesmanship–and Christian citizenship–means learning to avoid the pitfalls of both cynicism and idealism, neither abandoning all hope in the possibility of morality in politics, nor yielding to the revolutionary temptation to ram through a perfectionist ideology. If we despair of finding models of Christian statesmanship in the contemporary landscape, we can at least find inspiration from the past, and particularly from the early years of the American Republic. In this lecture, I will introduce you to the remarkable life and work of John Jay, one of the great architects of the American nation. Lawyer, writer, constitutionalist, diplomat, peacemaker, chief Justice, governor–John Jay wore many hats during the tumultuous years of Revolution and nation-building, from 1774 till his retirement in 1801, but throughout it all, he wore his identity as a disciple of Christ above all, and leaned on his faith to guide him confidently through conflicts that would have brought many men to despair. Join us for an evening of learning about Jay’s life, faith, and political principles, and what Christians today can learn from his model statesmanship.

W. Bradford Littlejohn is the President of the Davenant Institute. He has a PhD in Theology and Ethics from the University of Edinburgh where he focused on the concepts of law, authority and Christian liberty in the English Reformation and on the thought of sixteenth-century Anglican, Richard Hooker. Littlejohn wrote his dissertation under the supervision of Oliver O’Donovan and Joan Lockwood O’Donovan. He is the author of The Peril and Promise of Christian Liberty: Richard Hooker, the Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology. 

Join us on October 1st, 2021 from 6:30 – 9 pm

Suggested Donation: $10-$15 

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November 12, 2021: "The dwelling place of God shall be with man: comparative study of Hebrew and ancient near eastern temple theology" with Dr. Sam Negus

When Christ proclaimed that he would destroy the temple and raise it up in three days, and when Paul taught his converted Christ-followers that they were each God’s image and their bodies were his holy temples, what did such statements mean to their hearers? How did the ancient Hebrews understand the meaning of their temple, and of God’s presence within it? To answer such questions, we must look both at the Scriptures themselves and at the religious “worldview” of their ancient near eastern neighbors–the cultures with which ancient Israel and Judah lived “in dialogue”. Although God is transcendent, unchanging, and eternal, he reveals himself to mankind in time through human institutions, human language, and human culture. Thus, without understanding the culture, institutions, and symbolic language of the ancient near east, we may struggle to hear all the resonances of God’s self-revelation. In this Davenant Discussion, I will use the biblical accounts of the construction and dedication of the Tabernacle and the Temple as a case study in how to read the Bible with the eyes and ears of its original hearers.

Dr. Sam Negus is a student of American history with nearly two decades’ collegiate and high school teaching experience, including as a visiting assistant professor at Hillsdale College and as instructor of history at the Atlanta Classical Academy. He lives with his wife and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina, where he enjoys hiking and partaking of the local fare, often concurrently.

Join us on November 12th, 2021 from 6:30 – 9 pm

Suggested Donation: $10-$15 

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December 2021: with Rev. Dr. Jady Koch

More information coming soon!

Join us on December 10th, 2021 from 6:30 – 9 pm

Suggested Donation: $10-$15 

January 8, 2022: "The Clapham Way: Lessons on Cultural Engagement from William Wilberforce and His Circle of Friends" with Dr. Nathan Finn

Join us for this film viewing, lecture, and discussion as we learn from the Clapham Saints and consider how to apply their vision to our contemporary context in post-Christian America.

Some Christians are “doctrine people” who are deeply committed to orthodox theology and ethics shaped by Scripture and the best of the Christian tradition. Other Christians are “piety people” who are mostly concerned with walking closely with Christ and pursuing personal holiness and spiritual maturity. Still other Christians are “justice and mercy people” who are committed to challenging injustice and promoting the common good. Finally, some Christians are “Great Commission people” who are passionate about spreading the gospel to the spiritually lost and promoting mission work among the unreached. While this sort of division is overly simplistic, we are always tempted to overemphasize some elements of the Christian life at the expense of others. In William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and his close friends, the so-called Clapham Saints, we have a historical example of holistic Christian faithfulness that embraced the importance of both doctrine and piety, both justice and evangelism.

Dr. Nathan Finn serves as Provost and Dean of the University Faculty at North Greenville University in Tigerville, SC. He is a historical and systematic theologian with expertise in Baptist history and thought. Most recently, Nathan is co-editor of Historical Theology for the Church (B&H Academic, 2021) and the forthcoming Theological Handbook for the People of God (B&H Academic, 2022). He has also published popular essays for The Gospel Coalition, Public Discourse, Baptist Press, Christianity Today, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Nathan is an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist tradition who frequently preaches and teaches in local churches. He has been married to Leah for 21 years and is the father of four children.

Join us on Saturday, January 8th, 2022 from 10 am – 2:45 pm

Suggested Donation: $10-$15 

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February 2022: with Dr. Benjamin Quinn

More Information coming soon! 

Dr. Benjamin Quinn serves as Associate Dean for Institutional Effectiveness and Assistant Professor of Theology and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the College at Southeastern. He also serves as pastor of Holly Grove Baptist Church in Spring Hope, NC. Benjamin earned his doctorate of philosophy in theology from the University of Bristol, U.K., and lives with his wife and four children in Youngsville, NC

Join us on Friday, February 4th, 2022 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm

Suggested Donation: $10-$15 

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Future Discussions will be announced soon!

“There were other joys to be found in their company which still more powerfully captivated my mind – the charms of talking and laughing together and kindly giving way to each other’s wishes, reading elegantly written books together, sharing jokes and delighting to honour one another, disagreeing occasionally but without rancour, as a person might disagree with himself, and lending piquancy by that rare disagreement to our much more frequent accord. We would teach and learn from each other, sadly missing any who were absent and blithely welcoming them when they returned.”

Augustine, Confessions IV.8.13