07 January 2018

Report on a Regional Convivium

Faithful readers may recall that I have posted brief reports on the papers presented at the annual summer convivia sponsored by the Davenant Institute. (Go herehere, here, and here for the concluding posts for the past four years.) With the surfeit of great papers, Davenant decided to add several regional off-season convivia to the roster. The most recent one took place at Davenant House in Landrum, South Carolina January 5-6.

Morning View from the Deck
In addition to great food, worship (including singling psalms a cappella), fellowship, and libations, we enjoyed plenary speaker D. Blair Smith of Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte) on "The Fatherhood of God in Fourth-Century Pro-Nicene Trinitarian Theology." Quite a mouthful but Christians today need to recall that it took the church centuries to develop concepts and their ramifications and interrelations we now take for granted. Except when we forget what certain expression meant and re-fill them with our own, contemporary meanings (more on this phenomenon below).

Other papers included "John Owen: Proto-Barthian?" by Thomas Haviland-Pabst, in which Thomas showed that Barth could have avoided the excesses of his "Christo-monism" had he read the Christo-centric Trinitarian theology of seventeenth-century Puritan theologian, John Owen. Both Barth and Owen serve as good reminders, however, that the Christian God is Trinity and that failing to begin theology proper with Trinity can lead to either a functional modalism or tri-theism.

Nathan Johnson presented "The Polyphonic Melody of Grace: Identity, Consecration, and Deliverance in the Passover and Eucharist” in which he developed a rich, biblical-theological understanding of the Lord's Supper that, if taken seriously, would help restore the sacrament to a meaningful place in the liturgy. Next, Zachary Groff, talked about his paper, “The Ancient Branch: 17th C. Scottish Presbyterian Commentaries on Romans 11:26." How to understand Paul's prophecy of the salvation of "all Israel" has perplexed commentators for over a thousand years but the seventeenth-century Scots had a take on it that was new to me. 

Mark Olivero gave his paper on “The Eternal Sovereignty of the Son: The Co-regency of Christ Reveals the One Absolute and Indivisible Authority of the Triune God” in which he revisited last year's dust-up over the alleged eternal subordination of the Son to the Father (see above) with a careful review of 1 Corinthians 15, the putative proof-text for subordinationists like Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem.

Finally, I read my paper, "Unconscionability: Reciprocity and Justice" and received valuable comments on my theological arguments.

All in all, great edification and a great time.

Lengthening Shadows at Davenant House

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