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The Davenant Trust

This post is long overdue, but we are nonetheless excited to introduce the Davenant Trust. Originally the brainchild of Dr. Bradford Littlejohn, the Davenant Trust came together after the completion of 2013 Convivium Calvinisticum. While the Davenant Trust is independent from TCI, it exists in an obvious partnership with TCI, and most of its board members are regular TCI contributors. Most importantly, the goals and vision of the Davenant Trust are wholly complementary with those of TCI, as can be seen in its mission statement:

We aim to equip evangelical and Reformed Christians today for church leadership, civic participation, and faithful discipleship in other vocations as responsible citizens, by encouraging scholarly research into the time-tested resources of early Protestant theology, philosophy, ethics, civics, and jurisprudence, and by putting these resources at the disposal of the contemporary church.

This is all explained in more detail at the Davenant Trust website, and you can read all about it here. For now, speaking in my capacity as board member and secretary for the Trust, I’d like to give a basic explanation of our plans and a word about fundraising.

Long-Term Goals

The Davenant Trust has some ambitious long-term goals. Among these are the sponsorship of Ph.D students, the outfitting of curriculum for theological study centers and seminaries, and the creation of a permanent house of studies. These will be contingent on a sufficient level of interest and funding, and we understand that it will take some time before we can complete them. Still, following the old dictum of “the last in action is the first in intention,” we thought it appropriate to state these goals and to encourage others to offer support. Please let us know about your interest in any of these projects. We would especially like to hear from those who are interested in helping us to create these goals.

Short-Term Goals

To begin generating wider interest and to have some concrete “product” to show, the Davenant Trust has a number of projects that will be coming together very soon. These fall into two basic categories, academic conferences and translation and digitization projects.

The Davenant Trust will be sponsoring three conferences this year. Two of these are co-sponsorships with other fine organizations, and one is wholly our own. The first is coming up soon.

The Future of Protestantism

On April 29th, The Future of Protestantism will be held at Biola University. This event is being described as a “public conversation” between Drs. Peter Leithart, Carl Trueman, and Fred Sanders, though the Orthodox Presbyterian minister, it should be noted, also described it as a “three-way gentlemanly cage-fight.” The conversation will center around Dr. Leithart’s provocative essay “The End of Protestantism” and Drs. Trueman and Sanders’s thoughts in response. The moderator of the event will be TCI’s own Peter Escalante.

Admission to the event is free, and a live stream webcast will also be available. It is being sponsored by Biola’s Torrey Honors Institute, First Things, and the Davenant Trust.

The Convivium Calvinisticum

The 2nd annual Convivium Calvinisticum will be held on June 4-7th at Laureldale cottage outside of Landrum, SC. The theme for this year’s convivium is “Creation, Redemption, and Neo-Calvinism,” and the keynote speaker will be Dr. James Bratt of Calvin College. He will lecture on Abraham Kuyper with a particular focus on Kuyper’s political theories.

Other speakers will be Dr. Brian Auten of Patrick Henry College, Dr. Eric Hutchinson of Hillsdale College, the Rev. Benjamin Miller of Trinity Church Long Island, Dr. Brad Littlejohn, and Mssrs. Peter Escalante, Andrew Fulford, and Joseph Minich. You can expect more information and advertisements for this event on TCI in the months to come.

The Defending the Faith Conference

On Sept. 15-17th, the Defending the Faith Conference will be held at Sarum College in Salisbury, England. This academic conference will focus on the work of John Jewel and the Elizabethan/Stuart Anglican establishment. The keynote speakers are Thomas S. Freeman, Lucy Wooding, and Torrance Kirby, and many other papers will be presented by scholars from around the world. You can stay updated on conference details here.

Translation and Digitization

Both TCI and the Davenant Trust are committed to retrieving classic works of Reformed theology from the 16th and 17th century and making it accessible beyond academic specialists. The Davenant Trust is helping to begin this retrieval by sponsoring research projects will make these older works accessible and transportable, primarily through digitization and translation. We will announce more specific information in the future, but we currently have two projects which are starting up in this area, to be officially announced shortly. These projects will allow previously-inaccessible Reformational books to become available to a contemporary audience. Stay tuned to the Davenant Trust website for news about these to come in the next week or so.

Fundraising

As you can imagine, these projects require significant financial support. The Davenant Trust began with an initial seedfund, but to continue to work in the future it will depend upon fundraising and donations. While we certainly appreciate all of the promotional interest our readers regularly provide, we will need to talk about money. If you believe in the mission of TCI and Davenant Trust, please consider making a donation. These can be one-time gifts or annual donations, and they can be big or small. Also, do tell others who might have an interest about our goals and needs.

We would also like to emphasize that our goal is to move this material beyond the academy and into the church, as well as to the christian laity in their vocations. We truly believe that many intellectual, political, and legal tools have been lost to history, though they still sit on many library shelves, available to any who can tolle, lege. We would like to “take” those tools, but to also distribute, distill, and help Christians apply them in real and meaningful ways. The rebuilding and reinvigorating of the academia must take place in conjunction with that of the church and the society, and that means that all Christians have an interest in this work.

Please visit our Support Page for more information about funding opportunities and events.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.

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