Taught by Dr. Bradford Littlejohn and Tim Jacobs, this course will run from January 9 through March 18. The syllabus is available here.
Protestant moral theology is memorably summed up by Martin Luther’s dictum, “The Christian is the most free lord of all, subject to none. The Christian is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.” In this course, we will unpack this profound dialectic, explaining the true shape of Christian liberty that flows from justification by faith but that is ordered to love of neighbor in the life of sanctification.
Beginning with a careful consideration of Luther’s often-misunderstood doctrine of Christian freedom, we will then outline what it means to use this freedom well, guided by the conscience and the law, and taking shape in the virtues. These last, although often neglected in Protestant theological ethics, were emphasized by many key thinkers and offer an essential framework for thinking about the way that sanctification takes hold in the whole person.
Finally, we will seek to apply these building blocks to four main aspects of the Christian’s life in society, as understood by magisterial Protestant thinkers: the three estates of State, Church, and Family, and the doctrine of work and vocation. The course will be based chiefly on primary-source readings and will consist of roughly equal parts lecture and discussion.
This course, making use of classic readings from Aquinas, Calvin, Hemmingsen, and Hooker, along with meditation on key passages of Scripture, will help the student gain a right understanding of the meaning of sola Scriptura and the use of moral reason in classical Protestantism.
Dr. Bradford Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the Founder and President of the Davenant Institute. He also works as a Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has taught for several institutions, including Moody Bible Institute-Spokane, Bethlehem College and Seminary, and Patrick Henry College. He is recognized as a leading scholar of the English theologian Richard Hooker and Has published and lectured extensively in the fields of Reformation history, Christian ethics, and political theology. He lives in Landrum, SC with his wife, Rachel, and four children. Follow him on Twitter at @WBLITTLEJOHN.
Tim Jacobs is a Lecturer in Philosophy at The Davenant Institute, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of St. Thomas, TX. He also holds an MDiv and ThM from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He specializes in ancient and medieval philosophy, virtue, natural law, metaphysics, and classical logic, and has published several articles as well as contributed to Four Views on Christian Metaphysics, Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia, and Lexham Bible Dictionary. He lives with his wife and three kids in California. Follow him at TLJACOBS.COM.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2hr/wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion in the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register now to reserve your spot. The course will proceed contingent on sufficient enrollment; on rare occasions, a class has to be cancelled due to insufficient interest. Once the registration period closes, the class meeting time will be set on the basis of a poll of availability from registrants. In case of cancellation or scheduling conflicts, students will be eligible for a refund or a transfer to another course. Although a Bachelor’s degree is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.