On Meeting Places & Architecture for the Church’s Public Worship

“The [Samaritan] woman saith unto Him…  ‘Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.’  Jesus saith unto her, ‘… the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.”

Jn. 4:19-21

“And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made…”

Acts 16:13

“…when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them…  And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.  And there sat in a window a certain young man…”

Acts 20:7-90

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Order of Contents

Articles
Meeting Places Have No Religious Significance
On the Naming of Churches & Meeting Places
On Dedications of Meeting Places for Worship
On Consecrating & Dedicating Things
Ought not Meeting Places to be Adorned with the Best?
But do not the Expansive Walls & Ceiling Remind One of God’s Greatness?
May the Meeting Place be Called a ‘Church’?
On Love-Feasts
Latin

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Article

Willet, Andrew – ‘The Sixth Question, Concerning Temples & Churches’  in Synopsis Papismi...  (London, 1592), pp. 362-374

Willet (1562-21) was a reformed Anglican.  While he was not a puritan in the strict sense, he certainly had puritan characteristics and answers the issues Scripturally, helpfully and rightly, not reflecting the common Anglican errors and practices, as, for instance, defended in that time by Richard Hooker.

Willet uses the term ‘temples’ for church buildings because Romanists called them this.  One reason why Romanists called them this is because they believed sacrifices (the mass) were made in them.

Table of Contents

1st Part, Of the Situation of Churches
.       Appendix, Concerning the Form & Fashion of Churches
2nd Part, Of the End & Use of Churches
.      1st Article, Whether our Churches are for Sacrifice
.      2nd Article, Whether Churches are More Holy Places in Themselves
.      3rd Article, Whether Churches & Temples may be Dedicate[d] to Saints
3rd Part, Of the Adorning & Beautifying of Churches
4th Part, Of the Dedication of Churches
5th Part, Of Things Hallowed & Consecrate[d] for Churches

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That Meeting Places for Christian Worship are Only to have a Natural Use for the Purpose & No Religious Significance Whatsoever

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), Intro, section 3, pp. 48-49

“Most false it is that the Tabernacle and Temple were nothing but a meeting place of the people for worship, as our churches or chapels, are:

1.  Because it is to argue the Holy Ghost of want [lack] of wisdom, to spend so much canonic Scripture in setting down things idly, not tending, at all to edification, and teaching us nothing of God, and in specifying the form, height, length, breadth, curtains, candlesticks, sockets, rings of natural places that contained their bodies…  Now certain it is, ‘Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, Rom. 15:4.

2.  Many things in the Tabernacle, as candles in daylight, rings, sockets, showbread, belonged nothing to a natural place, as our chapels, or meeting houses do.

3.  Expressly the Scripture makes them more than places; to wit, holy, religious, and typical signs of divine institution; as the Tabernacle was a type, Heb. 8:2,5; 9:1,2 etc.; 10:1-3.  And the Temple a type of Christ’s body, Jn. 2:19; 1:14-15.  And all these were types and shadows of heavenly things, Heb. chapters 8-10; Gal. 4:1-2, etc.; Col. 2:16,17.  Which our churches and chapels are not, being only places common to sacred and civil actions.


3.  Yea, because the Tabernacle and Temple and their implements were teaching shadows of good things to come, and our Churches and Chapels are not so, nor have they any moral or religious use or influence on our spirits as the Tabernacle and Temple had; therefore the Lord, who is express in all morals, which of their own nature do teach and edify; he behoved to name Bezaliel, and Aholiah, and the form and color of the priests’ garments, which also are typical, and could not name our elders, or the color or form of their garments.

4.  All these weak retortions [of Rutherford’s Anglican opponents] suppose that the Tabernacle and Temple were types of our meeting houses for worship, which is a mere conjecture; they were no more types of our chapels than of the Jewish synagogues;”

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On the Naming of Churches & Meeting Places 

Andrew Willet

Synopsis Papismi…  (London, 1592), pp. 369-370

“2. How names are to be given to places, we cannot better learn than of those ancient founders of names, the holy Patriarchs: As Abraham Gen. 22:14 calls the mountain Jehovah-jireh, ‘The Lord hath seen.’  So Jacob gives holy names to the place where he met the angels, Gen. 32:2, and where he wrestled with the angel, v. 31.  They, as we see, gave holy and reverent names unto places, not made peculiar for God’s service, but only for civil use for the places to be called and known by: how much more ought churches and houses of God to be called by his name?

We therefore conclude that churches ought not to be erected in saints’ names, to worship them thereby and make them our patrons, mediators, and presenters of our prayers [as Romanists]: for this were great idolatry: Even like as the heathen called their temples by the names of their idols, Venus, Jupiter, Diana and the like:

Yet we refuse not to call our churches by the names of saints, as they have been called of old, because we are not inventors of names; and terms inured by continual custom can hardly be left.  We use them only as civil terms to distinguish places by: if any otherwise use them, for any religious purpose, they do amiss.  And yet we deny not but that the names of holy men may be safely remembered by thanksgiving unto God for such excellent instruments, and setting before our eyes their good example.

And concerning the names which have been superstitiously given in times past unto churches and other places (though it were to be wished that they never had been so given) yet now we use them (setting apart all superstition) as civil names of difference, as St. Luke [the author of Acts] describes the ship of Alexandria wherein they were carried, whose badge (says he) was Castor & Pollux, Acts 28:11.  In a civil matter of description, he refuses not to use the names of the heathen gods.  Augustine also gives a good rule concerning such names.  He speaks of the names of days, which were called after the names of heathenish idols, as the fourth day in the week, which we call Wednesday, was then called and is yet in the Latin tongue,Dies Mercurij, Mercury, his day.

Sic dicitur, a paganis, & a multis Christianis, sed nolumus vt dicant, et vtinam corrigātur: melius de ore Christiano ritus loquendi ecclesiasticus procedit.’

So it is called of the heathen, and of many Christians, but I would not have them called so, and I wish they were amended: for a Christian kind of speaking best becomes a Christian.  Sed si quem forte cōsuetudo traxerit, etc. sciat illos omnes homines fuisse.  ‘But if custom prevail with a man so to speak, let him understand that all they were but men,’ whom the heathen take for gods.

So say we, it were to be wished that we had names void of all show of superstition: but seeing for our speaking we must be ruled by custom, let us know that those saints by whose names places are called, are no gods, nor God’s fellows, nor patrons or mediators for us, nor any way to be worshipped: But they are the fellow servants of all.”

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On Dedications of Meeting Places for Worship

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government...  (1646), pp. 90-91

“Consecrating of churches is taken two ways:

1.  For a mere dedication or civil destination of any thing to its end and use: As when a house is builded, a garment is first put on, when we refresh ourselves with a draught of water, we may pray for a blessing on these [Lk. 9:16], and on all the creatures for our use [1  Tim. 4:4-5]; and the very habitual intention of the builder of an house to dwell in is a civil dedication of it to that use for which it is ordained.

Prayer added to it for a blessing of it in the use makes not a consecrated thing; for then my clothes every day put on, my sleep, my daily walking in and out, my physic, my meals, my horse, my ship I sail in, should all be holy, consecrated and religious things, which I were to reverence as religious things; for all these may be blessed in their use.

[2.]  But here is that [which] we condemn in religious dedication of churches:

1.  That the end being sacred, to wit, the habitual worshipping of God in that place.

2.  The praying for the church or house of worship, to say nothing of the vain ceremonies used in the dedication of churches:

These two are applied to make the church holy and to denominate it the house of God, and capable of religious veneration and salutation [it was the custom of Anglicans to bow to or salute even the architecture or furniture of the church’s building].  Then:

[1.]  Certainly all the synagogues of Judea should be religiously holy, as was the Temple.

2.  And prayers should be more acceptable to God in the synagogue for the house’s sake [as was an Anglican custom for their church buildings], than prayers in any other place.

3.  God shall bind Himself by promise to hear prayers in the synagogue, or made with the face toward the synagogue, as He did toward the Temple: we were [then] obliged in the New Testament to pray with our faces toward the churches or meeting places in the New Testament, and we should have one famous and celebrious Church for all Jews and gentiles more holy than all the little holy temples now consecrated as holy places, and where shall this be?  And what typical signification shall it have?  It must signify Christ to come, or already come; both are unlawful.”

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On Consecrating & Dedicating Things

See also Rutherford above on the dedicating of meeting places.

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Willet, Andrew – 5th Part, ‘Of Things Hallowed & Consecrate[d] for Churches’  in 9th Controversy, ‘Departed Saints’, 2nd Part, Sixth Question, ‘Concerning Temples & Churches’  in Synopsis Papismi...  (London, 1592), pp. 373-74

Willet (1562-21) was a reformed Anglican (who gets the answer right, unlike the more common historic practice of Anglicanism, as defended by Richard Hooker).

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As God is Worthy, Ought not Meeting Places to be Adorned with the Best?

Articles

Willet, Andrew – 3rd Part, ‘Of the Adorning & Beautifying of Churches’  in Synopsis Papismi...  (London, 1592), 9th Controversy, ‘Saints Departed’, 2nd Part, The Sixth Question, ‘Concerning Temples & Churches’, pp. 370-72

Willet (1562-21) was a reformed Anglican.

Rutherford, Samuel – Intro, section 6, pp. 91-93  of The Divine Right of Church Government...  (1646)

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But do not the Great, Expansive Walls & Ceiling Remind one of God’s Greatness?

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), p. 92

“4.  More might, and ought, to have been done [in regard to the dimensions of the Temple] by David and Solomon, if it had been a moral ground to build a house to be a witness of Almightiness;

3.  And God appointed sacrifices and sacraments in both Testaments as testimonies of the great Lord Jesus; yet in base and obvious creatures; we may not devise symbols or witnessing images of the Almightiness of that God whom we serve, at our pleasure;”

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May the Meeting Place be Called a ‘Church’?

Thomas Hall

Question 55, ‘Whether we may call the Meeting-Place a Church?’  in A Practical & Polemical Commentary, or, Exposition upon the Third & Fourth Chapters of the Latter Epistle of Saint Paul to Timothy...  (London, 1658), p. 460.  Hall (1610–1665) was an English, presbyterian puritan who was ejected at the Great Ejection of 1662.

“And the Houshold of Onesiphorus.

…As the apostle before, [2 Tim.] Ch. 1:16, prayed for the house of Onesiphorus, so here he salutes them.  By ‘house’ here is meant (by a metonymy of the subject very frequent in Scripture) the people in the house, as wife, children, servants; which may serve as an answer to that cavil of the sottish illiterate Quakers who revile us for calling the place where the Church meets, ‘The Church’; when this metonymy is so frequent in Scripture, ‘The house’ for the people in the house, and ‘the Church’ for the people that meet in the church.  The Apostle uses the very word Church in this very sense, 1 Cor. 14:28,35, ‘It is a shame for a woman to speak in the Church’ [1 Cor. 14].”

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On Love-Feasts not being an Ordinance of Worship

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), Intro, section 3, p. 64

“4.  Some things are not matters of worship at all, but of goods, as the community of goods, love-feasts, matters of civil conversation, these are only in their morality (as touching distribution to the necessities of the saints, and brotherly kindness) unalterable, and no otherwise.”

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Latin

1600’s

Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 3 (2nd part)  (Amsterdam, 1663-1676)  The ToC is at the front of the volume.
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Voetius (1589-1676)
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Book 4, Tract 4

Of the External Requisites and Adjuncts of Sacred Practices

1. Of the Temporalities of Sacred Practices

Tract 4, Section 2

Of Church-Buildings

1. Of Church-Buildings and Places of Holy Things under the Old and New Testament  851

2. Of the Church-Buildings of Papists  862

3. Questions on Church-Buildings are Pressed Hard in the Controversy Between us and the Pontiffs  868

4. Textual Problems, and the History of Church-Buildings is Delineated  872

5. A Delineation of Some More Dogmatic Problems on Church-Buildings  881

6. A Delineation of Some Other Problems, More Moral and Practical, on Church-Buildings  887

Tract 4, Section 3

Of Utensils and Other Adjuncts of Church-Buildings

1. Of Bells  894

2. Of Vessels and other Sacred Utensils which themselves are of an Active Church-Building, They Being Kept in the Chancel [Choro Continentur]

3. Of Altars

4. Of 1. Candlesticks, Candles, Lamps; 2. Censers; 3. Books; 4. Sacred Vestments.  936

5. Of Cemetaries  939

6. Of Dedications [of Church-Buildings and Anniversary Feasts]  960

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“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands…”

1 Tim. 1:8

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