Saturday, January 17, 2009

A 19th Century Baptist on Architecture

At the second annual Baptist Congress of 1883, Dr. S.L. Caldwell, a former pastor, professor, and president of Vassar College, concluded a discussion on the merits of church architecture, especially for the Baptist ideal of the spoken word, with the following:

"...when we come to the exterior of churches I hold to what you may call the ecclesiastical idea. I don't like to see a church which is like every thing else, like all the buildings on the street, like all the public buildings. I like to have something uncommon, something which we have inherited, something which has come down with our Christianity; not a radical innovation, not some brand new thing which has been conceived by some rabid architect, but the old-style structure with its spire pointing heavenward, with the familiar form which marks it as the house of God, with the sign that it is set apart to the uses of religion, that is what I want to see."

Interesting, especially since they were meeting in the former theater, Boston's Tremont Temple.

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