Christ Reformed Church (URC), Washington D.C.
Brian also holds degrees from Stanford University and Calvin Theological Seminary. He studied the exegetical roots of the Reformed doctrine of the covenant as a Fulbright Scholar in the Netherlands. His dissertation was published in 2009.
Brian has also worked in as a Communications Director on Capitol Hill and at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is currently a senior consultant working with the Missile Defense Agency.
Why did you choose to attend WSC?
I was working with Michael Horton at the White Horse Inn and also reading a lot of J. Gresham Machen. Between both the original vision for Westminster Seminary California and the firsthand testimony of a number of graduates, I had little doubt that WSC was the best place you could be if you wanted to be faithful to the Word of God.
What were the most significant things that you learned/gained during your time at WSC?
Without a doubt, the unity of the Scriptures around the Reformed doctrine of the covenant. I vividly recall walking out of every single biblical studies class having been totally amazed by the way Scripture fit together, Old Testament and New, Law and Gospel, eschatology and soteriology. This was a revelation for me and set my course for doctoral studies exploring the exegetical roots of covenant theology in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I have to give Meredith Kline pride of place for jaw-dropping exegetical lectures, but Futato, Jones, Baugh, et al comprised a lineup that was hard to beat.
What are your present endeavors and/or future plans?
I think it’s safe to say I have one of the more unique resumes for a URC minister. After getting a Ph.D., I have done some teaching and writing and also worked in a number of public policy jobs in Washington DC. I currently have two jobs, planting Christ Reformed Church (URC) one mile north of the White House in Washington and working as a consultant at the Missile Defense Agency in the Department of Defense. I’m loath to compare myself to the Apostle Paul, but I can’t help making cracks about my “missile making” ministry.
How did your education at WSC equip and prepare you for your present and future roles and responsibilities?
WSC has an amazing ability to make you more theologically orthodox while also making you more open-minded. I believe Westminster grounded my Reformed confessional convictions in the Scriptures so solidly that I have greater freedom and confidence to engage in debate and dialogue with different views. During my student travels to Rome, Geneva, and the Netherlands, and now in DC, I feel right at home talking about my faith in a diverse setting. And I attribute a lot of that confidence to Westminster, both its diverse atmosphere and its broad, scholarly perspective.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time at WSC?
A debate was scheduled between Mark Futato and Joey Pipa on the interpretation of Genesis 1 & 2. I thought I’d pull a clever prank and draw up a poster in the style of a boxing promotion, and me and a few buddies plastered them around campus the morning of the event. I’ll never forget sitting inside the student lounge and watching Ed Clowney walk up, slowly read the poster, and then begin convulsing in laughter. When I think of Clowney, I think of him laughing.
What advice would you give to prospective students considering graduate theological education?
As students introduced themselves at my first-year welcoming ceremony, I remember someone talking about how they had wrestled with the decision between Gordon-Conwell and Westminster Seminary California. Meredith Kline, who taught at both places, quickly chimed in that there was simply no comparison; WSC had been the right choice.
I remember being surprised by the strength of Kline’s conviction, but now I share it. There is no comparison. Westminster Seminary California is the right choice.
Why? WSC will teach you to preach. I have heard it said over and over in my ministry, that you can always tell a Westminster California graduate in the pulpit, and not because they are cookie-cutter copies of one another. Rather, they’ve all been instilled with that same awe and wonder at the riches of the Word of God that I mentioned earlier. When they get in the pulpit, they want nothing more than to share with others what they’ve received and they have the tools to do so.