A Plea for Conservative Church Designing

Church construction of even the older denominations has been taken by the fad of the modernistic.

LESTER G. STECK, M.D.

In all types of present-day buildings there is a definite trend toward the ultramodernistic. This is desirable for buildings for many pur­poses. Office buildings of the modernistic design are functional; an abundance of light, air con­ditioning, and good acoustics are attractions to prospective occupants. Certainly the modern one-story house has its advantages, but some present-day dwellings are going so extremely modernistic that it is difficult to recognize them as homes.

Seventh-day Adventists have always stood for conservatism in their manner of life. Our mes­sage as based on the Bible is the most reason­able and consistent of any faith. We teach and try to practice plainness of dress, so as not to be unduly noticeable by wearing the latest style or to be the subject of remarks by dressing in the fashion of our parents or grandparents. Let us apply this same principle to our churches.

Church construction of even the older de­nominations has been taken by the fad of the modernistic. The stand of the present-day archi­tects seems to be that at one time the systems of church design that have lived through the centuries were once considered modernistic, and that out of all the contemporary of that age come the Byzantine, the Gothic, the Roman­esque, and the Georgian. That cannot be de­nied, but do Seventh-day Adventists expect time to last until something equally as good and long lasting can be crystallized out of the present-day contemporary or modernistic? Would it not be more in keeping with our message to build our churches more on traditional lines, such as the Gothic that has for centuries been synony­mous with a house of worship, rather than erect a building of such modernistic design that even the people in the community cannot recognize it as a church?

It is interesting that any magazine or publi­cation wanting a church picture to adorn their cover or illustrate an article seldom chooses one of modernistic design. My plea to church build­ing committees is that they take plenty of time to study church designs and to visit as many churches in as wide an area as is possible; for a church is built to be the house of God, a sanc­tuary in which to worship Him, and is not erected to glorify any man or committee of de­signers. It should always stand as a monument to what its builders think of their God, and changes are difficult, if not impossible, to make after the edifice is once built.

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LESTER G. STECK, M.D.

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