There is a good conversation going on over at The Gospel Coalition blog. So far, there are four entries:
- Should Churches Spend Money on Nice Buildings? — The series opens quoting David Platt, who argued in Radical Together that churches misuse God’s resources when they invest in buildings.
- Reforming Church Architecture — David Gobel looks at the history of the Church’s views on architecture, and argues for a balanced view of the importance of seeing the Church as a body of believers rather than a building, while also recognizing that art and beauty do matter. This is something I’d never considered until recently, when I read about the importance of church architecture in Culture Making by Andy Crouch.
- We Want to Stay Light and Mobile, Flexible and Ready — J.D. Greear agrees that architecture is important, but believes that modern times call for modern architecture and the ability to make use of other modern spaces. This is in contrast to the view of the Reformation (and of the previous article), where architecture assumes an objective standard of beauty and is designed to focus our worship on a transcendent and beautiful Creator.
- Buildings Matter Because People Matter — Matthew Lee Anderson’s article looks more at the pragmatic concerns of buildings. Our physical environment affect us in subtle ways, and while architecture is far from the most important component of our worship, it is not irrelevant.
One example of a congregation that put a lot of thought into the architecture of a recently-constructed church building is R.C. Sproul’s church, St. Andrew’s (pictured at the top of this post). You can read about their building here.
My own opinion on this matter is still relatively unformed. Like I said, I hadn’t given it much thought one way or another. I see merit in all four of these arguments. My cop out answer is that this falls under Christian liberty, and that there is no one way that is right for everyone. Still, it’s good to consider stuff like this. What do you think?