Faith in a Secular City

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How can we present Christianity as a reasonable and compelling option, when it is not even considered as an option at all by many in greater Boston? Yet, real longing exists even in the secular city: longing for truth, beauty, justice, transcendence, connection. As the brilliant, and once skeptical, St. Augustine famously prayed, “O Lord, our hearts our restless, until they find their rest in You.”



On April 4–6, Park Street Church will host a conference—Faith in a Secular City—designed to help connect these deep longings to their fulfillment in Christ. The goal is to equip believers to interact respectfully and thoughtfully with skeptics and seekers about questions of faith. Accordingly, we want to invite all who are seeking to engage meaningfully with our culture and the pressing questions of our day.


Please note, normal conference registration is now closed. However, There is still space to attend ALL the PLENARY sessions with Alister McGrath (9:00, 11:30 and 3:30) and the SCIENCE seminar with Gerald Gabrielse. Furthermore, you will find plenty of lunch options within a five minute walk from the church. Although your participation in the 1:30 seminar will be limited to the science topic, this scenario will still allow you to benefit from the full conference. You will also been able to hear a 10 minute synopsis of all the seminars which will be presented in the 11:30 plenary session.

In order to participate, please continue to register online, or come to the registration table on Friday evening at 6pm or on Saturday morning (7 - 9am). Suggested donation of $20 will be welcome. Thanks for your understanding.



Keynote Speaker

Alister McGrath is a British Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian and Christian apologist, currently Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at Kings College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture. McGrath has been newly appointed as the Andreos Idreos Professor of Science and Religion by Oxford University. McGrath holds a D.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity in Theology, and a Doctor of Letters in intellectual history from the University of Oxford. He is noted for his work in historical theology, systematic theology, and the relationship between science and religion. Among his best known books are The Twilight of Atheism, The Dawkins Delusion, Mere Apologetics, C. S. Lewis—A Life, and A Scientific Theology.


Featured Speakers

Gerald Gabrielse is the Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard University and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. He received a B.S. degree from Calvin College (1973), a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1980), and did postdoctoral work with Nobel laureate Hans Dehmelt at the University of Washington. He became Professor of Physics at Harvard in 1987, and chair of the Harvard Physics Department in 2000. He chaired the DAMOP Division of the American Physical Society in 2011. Gabrielse started low energy antiproton and antihydrogen physics, and leads one of the five large international teams now working in this area. A group description and resume are at


Gordon P. Hugenberger is the senior pastor at Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts. Hugenberger received his B.A. in engineering and applied physics from Harvard University, M. Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from the College of St. Paul and St. Mary and the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies in Oxford, England. Hugenberger served on the Translation Review Board for the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. He has published the book The Lord’s Prayer: A Guide for the Perplexed and numerous articles. He is currently writing a commentary on the Book of Judges for the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series.


Dick Keyes is the director of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough, Massachusetts, where he has worked with his wife and family for 30 years. He holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University, and an M. Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He has worked for L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and in England, where he served also as a pastor in the International Presbyterian Church in London. He has been an adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is the author of Beyond Identity, True Heroism, Chameleon Christianity and Seeing Through Cynicism, as well as several chapters in anthologies such as No God But God, ed. Os Guinness and Finding God at Harvard, ed. Kelly Monroe, and The New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics. He is now working on a book about the questions of Jesus.


Dale S. Kuehne is the 2nd Richard L. Bready Chair of Ethics, Economics and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College. He is also Professor of Politics and was the Founding Director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. In addition, he serves as the Vice-chair of the State of New Hampshire Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Kuehne authored Sex and the iWorld: Rethinking Relationship Beyond an Age of Individualism, and has consulted with several NGO’s and governments on issues related to sexuality, marriage, and family. Prior to coming to Saint Anselm he taught at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and was the founding director of the Pryor Program for Leadership Studies at William Jewell College in 1993. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, a M.A.T.S. in Church History from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Theory from Georgetown University.


After studying philosophy at Harvard College, Mark D. Roberts earned a Ph.D. from Harvard in New Testament. He is a Presbyterian pastor who currently serves as the Executive Director of Digital Media for the H.E. Butt Foundation in the Texas Hill Country. Mark is the author of several books, including Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Crossway, 2007). He has been a seminary professor, blogger (, and devotional writer ( His Daily Reflections are emailed to over 30,000 people each morning. In 2007, Mark spent three hours on a nationwide radio program debating the truth of Christianity with Christopher Hitchens. He and his wife, Linda, have two children: Nathan (junior at NYU) and Kara (freshman at Harvard).




Seminars and Schedule

Science Track

The Practicalities of Embracing Science Starting with Faith | Dr. Gerald Gabrielse
In the United States, many Christians and many scientists regard Christian faith and science as incompatible. This makes it challenging for Christians living in a technological society fueled by modern science. It also makes it challenging for some who appreciate or practice science to consider Christian faith. In his plenary presentation, experimental physicist Gerald Gabrielse advocated a very different approach.  For him, "Science enriches Christian faith" and "Christian faith gives meaning and motivation for science." In this second presentation, he will discuss practical principles that Christians can use to approach science and faith.   He asserts that the same simple principles can be used by Christian parents preparing their children for the science that they will study, for Christian students considering scientific careers, and for practicing scientists who are people of faith. 

Genesis and Science | Dr. Gordon Hugenberger
In this talk we will address seven common misunderstandings of the Genesis account of creation which have caused unnecessary conflict with the findings of modern science. As we have time, we will also turn our attention to nine categories of empirical evidence which support the biblical account, when the latter is properly understood. Although our imperfect understanding of Scripture and our imperfect understanding of nature are sometimes at variance and require us to be humble about our ignorance, Galileo rightly insists: "Both the Holy Scriptures and nature originate in the Divine WordŠ. [T]wo truths [coming from that inerrant source] can never contradict one another.


Bible Track

Are the Gospels Reliable? | Dr. Mark D. Roberts
The New Testament Gospels are our chief source of information about Jesus of Nazareth. Yet they are filled with stories that do not fit our contemporary, scientific assumptions about the world. Moreover, secular media, often in partnership with biblical scholars, regularly challenge the historical accuracy of the biblical Gospels. Thus, we rightly wonder: Are the Gospels reliable as a source of historical information about the real Jesus?


Culture Track

Who is Tolerant? | Dick Keyes
There are few criticisms today which are so likely to lead people to dismiss your faith as their judgment that you are intolerant. Tolerance is basically a positive word, but which has been used to intimidate and silence the Christian faith. We will discuss how to understand this challenge and respond to it.

Who Are We? Sexuality and the Image of God. | Dr. Dale S. Kuehne
We will explore one of the most difficult issues facing the Church and Culture today: Sexual Identity.  Specifically we will explore whether the Biblical teaching about sexuality is good news and consider how to engage a world that is persuaded orthodox Christianity is on the wrong side of history.

Friday, April 4

6:00 PM Registration

7:00 PM CityWide Amped
Why Faith Makes Sense: Developing a Christian Mind
by Dr. Alister McGrath


Saturday, April 5

7:00 AM Registration

Why Apologetics Matters—And How You Can Do It
by Dr. Alister McGrath

God Decides, We Measure
by Dr. Gerald Gabrielse

11:00 AM Break

Seminar Survey/ Special Presentations

12:30 PM Lunch


3:00 PM Break

The God Delusion? Richard Dawkins and the New Atheism
by Dr. Alister McGrath

5:00 PM Dismissal


Sunday, April 6

Confessions of a Lapsed Atheist
by Dr. Alister McGrath

9:45 AM Christian Education
Special Presentations

Confessions of a Lapsed Atheist
by Dr. Alister McGrath

Confessions of a Lapsed Atheist
by Dr. Alister McGrath

5:30 AM Christian Education
Special Presentations