To encourage further theological reflection, as well as architectural discussion, CT has invited others from various church traditions to respond to the article by Dr. Webber. Following are brief articles representing Baptist, Christian Brethren, Presbyterian, and Methodist perspectives, in contrast to Webber’s Episcopalian viewpoint.
The Baptist Journey
It can be generally said that most Baptist churches are characterized by certain building features that are determined by Baptist theological emphases:
• An emphasis on the centrality of the Bible means that the pulpit is usually centrally located.
• The emphasis on believer’s baptism and a regenerate church calls for the baptistry to occupy a prominent place in the building.
• The importance of the public imitation or the altar call means that the congregation should be close to the minister and the pulpit; the evangelistic emphasis also means it should be easy for people to move forward to make decisions. The emphasis on intimacy and immediacy is also causing some younger ministers to use pulpits that are slender stands.
• Allowance for the choir to help in the evangelistic invitation means it is usually behind the pulpit. A recent movement toward a semicircular style of auditorium has seen some churches moving the choir to the side.
• The Lord’s Table is usually in front of the pulpit.
For economic reasons, and in order to encourage fellowship, many churches have smaller auditoriums and are holding multiple services. High steps are avoided in order to make it easier for people to come into the building.
Since they major on outreach, Baptists are especially interested in better ways to communicate. Provision is being made for visuals with rear projection screens. Consoles for special ...1
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