Christian churches have worshipped God in catacombs deep in the earth, behind prison walls, on mountain tops, in open fields, in storefront halls, in beautiful cathedrals, in tin-roofed barns, and in neighborhood homes; but the Spirit of God has been equally present in all. With the growth of the church and the changing structure of the church, the construction of buildings for the worship of God has become big business. Evangelicals seldom can avoid the troublesome question: “What sort of church building shall we erect? Or, indeed, ought we to build at all?” It’s a rare congregation in which some earnest members do not opt for doubling or tripling the use of the old building “so we can send more missionaries to the field.” Others, equally sincere, argue for a strictly functional, no-nonsense structure with plenty of help from the faithful membership “to keep the labor costs in line.” Still others will hold out for a noble and beautiful edifice that will reflect, however faintly, the manifold splendor of God. Coming from opposite ends of the evangelical spectrum, Thomas Howard (pp. 18 to 23) and Ronald Sider (pp. 14 to 19) boldly probe the alternatives and seek to provide guidance for today’s Christians on an issue that defies easy solutions.

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