A Center for the Retrieval of Christian Wisdom

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Past Davenant Discussions

 Here you will find media from some of our previous Davenant Discussions. Of course, our time together included more than just these talks and a recording is nowhere near as good as participating in the discussion in person, but the content is too good not too share and we hope this taste will inspire you to come experience a discussion in person.

"FINDING UNITY IN THE MIDST OF POLITICAL DIVISION: FRIENDSHIP, FORGIVENESS, AND REPENTANCE" WITH DR. NICK HIGGINS

Modern politics has often sought to create coalitions through shared objects of fear and anger. Yet, we know that a political community can not survive with these emotions turned up to 11. How can the ancient concept of friendship, particularly expressed in Aristotle provide a better understanding of political relationships, and how can it bring about the goal of a limited power in the political order? When friendship seems so distant what role does forgiveness and repentance have in the political order, and can our Biblical understanding serve as a model for our political relationship?

Nicholas Higgins is husband to Anita and father to 6 children. He is  Associate Professor and Department Chair of Political Science, Criminal Justice & Legal Studies at North Greenville University.   Nicholas received a B.A. from Patrick Henry College, a Master’s from the University of Dallas, and his Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. He and his family are members in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

WISDOM FROM DANIEL: POST-ELECTION REFLECTION WITH PASTOR PETER VANDOODEWAARD

Our times appear dark and confused, and American Christians accustomed to religious liberty, social stability and prosperity now face the increasing possibility of a very different kind of world. How does the church stay on course in turbulent times? How do we resist the temptation to fear? How do we engage in the public square? How do we stay on mission? Lessons from the book of Daniel will help us consider the answers to these and other questions – questions common to the experience of God’s believing people across the ages. 

Peter Van Doodewaard serves as pastor of Covenant Community Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Taylors, South Carolina.  He is married to Lauralee, and the Lord has blessed them with eight children.

Wisdom (Sapientia) in St. Augustine

From childhood to conversion to Bishop of Hippo, Wisdom (sapientia) features prominently in Augustine’s work, and tracing it’s development in his writings offers deep insight into his thought and life.  This lecture series considers what wisdom is and how it affects the life and thought of St. Augustine.

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. 

Session1:

The Davenant Institute · Davenant Discussions, The Story of Wisdom in Saint Augustine, Session 1

Session 2:

Augustine's Confessions

We had wonderful discussion as we explored the riches of the first part of Augustine’s Confessions together. Unfortunately, there is no audio of our informal discussion, but we’d love to have you join us in the future (Contact Us if you’d like to express interest in joining). The relevance of Augustine for our lives today may surprise you. This is rooted in his continuous allusion to and thorough centeredness upon the Scriptures. There are many opportunities to ponder application and relevance to our lives and for the church today.

 The Confessions begins: “You are great, Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your power, and infinite is your wisdom. And man desires to praise you, for he is a part of your creation; he bears his mortality about with him and carries the evidence of his sin and the proof that you resist the proud.”

 This sets the tone for the entire work as Augustine recounts his personal history of rejection of his mother’s faith, rebellious years, philosophical and theological explorations and wanderings, and subsequent transformation by God’s work of grace in saving him. Interwoven throughout are rich theological musings and prayers that have blessed followers of Christ and deeply impacted the church for over 1500 years. For example, just from the first chapter:

“I would not exist – I would simply not be at all – unless I exist in you, from whom and by whom and in whom all things are.”

“The house of my soul is too narrow for you to come in to me; let it be enlarged by you. It is ruins; restore it.”

 “However, Lord, to you most excellent and most good, architect and governor of the universe, thanks would be due, our God, even if you had not willed that I should survive my boyhood.”

 We will do well to consider these truths together and retrieve the riches of what Augustine has left us in his Confessions! Use our Contact Form if you’d like to join us for this or other future book discussions!

Why Believe the Bible? with Rev. Michael Spangler

Michael Spangler has done work on translating from the Latin van Mastricht’s Theologica theoretico-practico, a comprehensive manual of exegesis, dogmatics, elenctics, and practice, a mature and wholesome example of late 17th-century Reformed Orthodoxy. Jonathan Edwards said of it, “Take Mastricht for divinity in general, doctrine, practice and controversy, or as an universal system of divinity; and it is much better than Turretin or any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion.”

Rev. Spangler’s three talks were informative and practical. Translating von Mastricht is one of the most important retrievals of our time. Volumes 1 and 2 of the Theoretical-Practical Theology have already been published with four more volumes to follow. You can purchase them here from Heritage Books.

Theoretical-Practical Theology and the Bible: Mastricht’s life, his Theoretical-Practical Theology, and its chapter on Scripture.

In the Arena with the Bible’s Enemies: Mastricht’s methodical defense of Scripture’s truth and divine authority.

Defending the Bible in Your Own Life: Mastricht’s wise counsel for Christian apologetics today.

Ecclesiastes: Life in a Fallen World with Dr. Ben Shaw

Dr. Ben Shaw’s commentary on Ecclesiastes was recently published by Banner of Truth. Drawing on his expertise as a Hebrew scholar, Dr. Shaw shows that answers to questions on living in a fallen world as redeemed people are to be found in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Shaw’s book is designed for non-specialists and sheds light on its message for all who are willing to listen to its wisdom. You can purchase a copy here from Banner of Truth. 

Dr. Shaw shared 3 lectures along with much wisdom in the discussions we had following each one. 

Where in the (Intellectual) World is Ecclesiastes? From What Perspective Ought we to Read this Book?

Impermanence and Permanence: Living in an Ever-changing/Never-changing World

Life in Fullness: Where Ecclesiastes Takes Us

“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