Who Needs The Church In A Post-Christian World? Christ Reformed DC’s Spring Speaker Series

  • It is rare to have a United States Senator speak at a church conference. It is even more rare for the Senator to have something theologically interesting to say.  On Thursday evening, March 31, Senator Ben Sasse will speak at Christ Reformed Church in Washington, DC (URCNA) on the topic, “The Church as Heaven’s Embassy.” Sasse’s talk is the first of a series of three presentations this spring at Christ Reformed DC addressing the question “Who Needs the Church in a Post-Christian World?” The series will be free to the general public at Christ Reformed DC’s Capitol Hill location, and also available online at its website.

Sasse’s talk will explore how the church functions as “heaven’s embassy,” forming and shaping Christ followers as dual citizens here on earth. Far from making us passive in the affairs of this world, this heavenly calling distinctively shapes our earthly citizenship to be one of selfless love and faithful witness toward our neighbors.

Senator Sasse’s talk has particular relevance for believers working in DC. Many Christians are drawn to DC to make a difference through cultural and political engagement. Too often, however, they fail to recognize the importance of their dual citizenship. Sasse will speak from his own experience about how his heavenly citizenship and church membership forms and shapes his calling in public service.

A Series for a Post Christian World

Christ Reformed DC’s 2022 speaker series seeks to address the realities of living in a post-Christian world and provide a basis for both believers and skeptics to embrace a new role for the church in our society, highlighting the church’s unique and abiding value to our war-torn world, even for those who are not its members. After Senator Sasse’s presentation addressing the church and politics, two additional speakers will join us at Christ Reformed DC.

On Thursday, April 28, Darryl Hart, who teaches history at Hillsdale College, will present “What The Church Can Learn from Benjamin Franklin.” Hart’s talk will explore how the church is called to be in dialogue with our unbelieving neighbors in the world, or in the words of Christ, “be in the world, but not of the world.” Drawing on his recent book, Benjamin Franklin: Cultural Protestant, he will show what the church can learn from secular thinkers such as Franklin, and likewise, what our culture can learn from the church. 

On Thursday, May 12, Justin Holcomb will speak on “Abuse, Healing, and the Church.” Holcomb is an Episcopal priest, Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a new co-host of The White Horse Inn radio program. He has extensive experience as a counselor to victims of abuse. His talk will describe how the heartbreaking statistics on various types of abuse do not begin to reveal the darkness and grief experienced by the survivors. However, the work of Jesus Christ deals directly with the effects of abuse. Holcomb will explore how the church can respond and care for survivors in ways that are compassionate, practical, and informed.

Who We Are and the Purpose of this Event

With this series, Christ Reformed DC is returning to its roots. Planted almost fifteen years ago in 2007, the church hosted annual speaker series from 2009–13, on topics such as Calvin in the Capital, Christianity and Politics, Preaching in the Capital, and Finding Comfort in the Gospel: The Genius of the Heidelberg Catechism (and here). Over the years it has been blessed by teaching from speakers such as Michael Horton, W. Robert Godfrey, T. David Gordon, Darryl Hart, David Van Drunen, and others. 

The speaker series serves a number of purposes in support of our ministry. Our first and primary goal is that we edify the local church—both our own and neighboring churches—by drawing upon the vast resources of our Reformed heritage. We believe that confessional Christianity possesses abundant wisdom that the church today is desperately in need of hearing. 

We also want to make known to our new neighbors on Capitol Hill, the vast majority who are unchurched or post-churched, that we are a safe space to explore the faith and ask questions. We want to engage believers and nonbelievers from all backgrounds and traditions on topics of mutual interest to our community, addressing them from a distinctively Christian and Reformed perspective. 

Our prayer is first and foremost that the Lord would continue to preserve and bless us through the ordinary means of grace. We also pray that these upcoming events would open new doors for gospel ministry as we seek ways to lay out the welcome mat for the world around us, and to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost.

©Brian Lee 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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  • Brian Lee
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    Rev. Dr. Brian Lee (B.A., Stanford; M.A., Westminster Seminary California; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is the founding pastor of Christ Reformed DC. Prior to being called to plant CRDC, Brian worked on Capitol Hill in various capacities, and previously worked as an editor and writer for Modern Reformation and the White Horse Inn. He has authored numerous popular articles and has published scholarly works on the biblical interpretation of the Reformation. He has taught at Reformed Theological Seminary, Calvin College, and Calvin Seminary. He lives with his wife and daughter in Alexandria, Virginia.

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7 comments

  1. Cheering you all on and praying for you. This looks like a great series.

    I pray that these messages will have a significant impact on many for Christ by the Holy Spirit’s power and enabling.

  2. Franklin is a very good choice for a subject, because in addition to everything else, he devotes four pages of his autobiography to one of the greatest evangelists the church has ever had.

    In his account of the reasons for Whitefield’s orphanage, Franklin doesn’t, surprisingly, appear to have grasped that the “improvidence” of the deceased parents in Georgia consisted of their not having been able to acquire slaves, slavery being illegal in Georgia (In fact, the slaves that Whitefield owned and assigned to the service of the orphanage in Georgia, were in a position, quite legally, to cut loose from him at any time, and the that applied also with the man he bequeathed them to. They probably knew this. Those of us who tut-tut about Whitefield owning slaves, should take this into account).

    • Susan,

      Can you elaborate? Is there another confessionally Reformed Question in the house or send it from whom he would rather hear on this topic? I’ve known Ben for 20+ yrs. He’s very thoughtful.

    • One of the points of this series is that the church is a place of refuge and rest from strife and the battles of the day, as Machen put it. Whether you agree with Sen. Sasse’s politics or not shouldn’t really matter when we are gathering to consider what matters more — the politics of this world, or the polis of the next?

      Sen. Sasse is one of a handful of Senators who is confessionally committed to the principle that the next world is the source of meaning for this world. That is why we have invited him to speak about the relationship of the church and our heavenly calling to this world and our earthly callings.

    • Rev. Lee,

      It seems that the target audience of this conference is believers working in DC. Is that correct? Believers outside DC have a very different perspective than those in it. What motivated you invite a speaker that belongs to GRACE?

      • Walt,

        Can you explain the premise of your question? It’s not self-evident.

        I know Justin and have benefitted from his work on abuse. As a survivor of Mark Driscoll’s reign of terror in Seattle and a pastor and student of these issues, he’s well positioned to talk about this matter.

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