Sacred Space and the Trivialisation of God

“But modern Christians have tended to lose sight of God’s transcendence and his holiness. We have tended to trivialise God and make him just like one of us, instead of who he really is. [R.C.] Sproul also looks at the issue of church architecture and why it matters. His words show us why we may be doing God a real disservice with our dumbed-downed and desacralised church buildings.”

(Bill Muehlenberg – Culture Watch)  Have you noticed? Most new evangelical churches in the West today are deliberately being made NOT to look like a church. They look just like any other building – and that is being done on purpose. There is nothing about the building to indicate that it might in fact be a place of Christian worship.

For example, almost always there is no cross to be found anywhere. And even the name is designed to play down any Christian connotation. Thus we have things like ‘CityLife’ or ‘OceanView’ or ‘RiverSide’ or some other nondescript name. Gone are the days of the ‘First Baptist Church’ or the ‘Park Street Lutheran Church,’ etc.

And of course things are just the same inside: you would have no idea the building is a house of worship. It looks a lot like a nightclub or a disco, complete with black walls, strobe lights, and smoke machines! And don’t forget the mandatory café. Now many people will choose a church based on who has the spiffiest and most expensive coffee machines!

All this is being done – it is claimed – to help bring in non-Christians; to make the church more seeker-sensitive; and to not scare away prospective visitors. We want to play down any Christian symbolism and messaging, in order to make things less scary for the non-Christian. At least those are the sorts of claims being made.

But are these folks right? Are these sorts of strategies really serving the gospel, bringing in non-believers, and winning the lost? One can ask some real hard questions here. As far as the seeker-sensitive service goes, some of those most heavily into this over the years have now come out and admitted that this has really been a failed strategy.  View article →