Reformed Institute’s 16th Annual Convocation

“Still People of the Book? – Protestant Identity in Our Time”
with Dr. R. Bruce Douglass

Saturday, January 26, 2019

National Presbyterian Church
4101 Nebraska Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016

Continental breakfast 9:00 a.m.
Presentation and Response, 9:30 a.m. to Noon

Does it matter whether Christians know anything about the Bible? Does it matter whether they understand the claims their churches’ creeds make? For most of their history Protestants assumed the answer to questions of this sort was obvious. Not only did they seek to make the Bible as widely available as possible, but they also made a concerted effort to enable people to understand the basic doctrines of their churches. They valued, in other words, an educated laity, out of a conviction that religious literacy is important to the practice of discipleship, and that is a reason why Protestants were so effective in influencing the wider culture. In our time, however, that appears to be less and less the case — in the industrialized world, at least. In other parts of the world Protestants often exhibit today some of the same zeal for Biblical and theological knowledge that past generations did in this part of the world. But even in the United States, the level of Biblical knowledge among Protestants (including evangelicals) appears to be quite low, and the churches seem to be unable to do anything about it. What is the meaning and significance of this development? Does it portend a fundamental change in Protestant identity? If so, of what sort? Where is it taking us?

Dr. Bruce Douglass, a ruling elder in the PCUSA, was the Director of the Reformed Institute from its inception in 2003 until 2018. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Government, Georgetown University and Dean of the Faculty, Georgetown College 1994–1998. Bruce is the author of The Iron Cage Revisited (Routledge 2018) (among other works).

Books will be available for sale.

Snow Date: Saturday, March 23

There is no charge for this event; registration is helpful but not required
To register: or contact
Mary Hill, the program coordinator, 703.518.5125,

The Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington has been created by a group of Presbyterian churches in the Washington D.C. area to promote understanding and deepen appreciation of the Reformed tradition among the staffs and members of Presbyterian churches.

The Institute’s specific initiatives vary somewhat from year to year, and they are intended to meet the needs of a variety of different kinds of people. Some are targeted for lay leaders (elders, deacons, teachers, etc.); others are for particular sub-cultures within the life of the church (teens professing their faith, young adults, women, etc.), and still others are for all those, regardless of age, gender, etc. who are interested in taking advantage of the opportunities these offerings present.

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 Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington

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