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New Horizons

February, 2011: Church Architecture

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Contents

How to Lay Out Our Worship Space

For church officers, what we believe and confess informs and influences how we oversee, plan, and conduct public worship. We try to select content and order our services based on what we know to be true about God, Christ, sin, grace, the means of grace, and so on. Our doctrine molds our practice. In the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, our Confession and Catechisms summarize what we believe God's Word teaches on these matters, and we have a Directory for Public Worship (DPW) to spell out agreed-upon guidelines for worship that accord with that teaching.

For the person in the pew, however, it's the other way around. I think we should expect that, for the average Christian, his faith will be molded more by his worship. And this is a very important reason why the ongoing biblical reformation of the various aspects of worship is so important. Read more

Reforming Church Architecture

Picture a typical suburban landscape in America: a six-lane arterial strip punctuated by traffic lights, big-box retailers, multiplex cinemas, patches of "landscaping," a barrage of signs, and plenty of parking. Now picture a typical church in such a landscape: a large, prefabricated, windowless "worship center," dominated by a performance stage and surrounded by a sea of parking. It is a combination of the big-box retailer and the cinema.

A culture that builds such landscapes and such churches, we might reasonably assume, is a culture that is privatized, consumer driven, and amusement oriented. Clearly, our buildings are an expression of our culture. As Winston Churchill said, "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." But, of course, as those who have been transformed by God's grace, we strive not to be conformed to our culture; rather, we seek its reformation. As with all of culture, church architecture is in serious need of reform. Read more

Betty Andrews: A Woman of Prayer

Prayer has helped to define Betty Andrews, from her childhood with devout Dutch parents, to her years as a missionary in China, Pakistan, and Taiwan, to today, when, at the age of 93, she meets with another woman daily for prayer.

Betty and her late husband Egbert Andrews were Orthodox Presbyterian missionaries to Taiwan. Egbert, the son of missionaries to China, served forty-three years as an OP missionary to Manchuria, China, and Taiwan. Betty was an OP missionary for twenty-two years. Read more

 
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