White, Protestant Worship and Church Architecture


James F. White, Protestant Worship and Church Architecture: Theological and Historical Considerations. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003.

Referenced in: Summary

White gives a very readable overview of the theology behind the great historical traditions of church architecture, with observations on how this theology and history may inform current worship issues faced by churches. It will be especially valuable for those of liturgical traditions, but others may benefit as well. He describes the systemic relationships between architecture, art, and theology, and how each reflect and shape the other. The historical survey covers Early and Medieval Patterns as well as Reformation customs. He also discusses current worship practices in American churches, the resurgence of interest in ancient forms, and the influence of Pentecostal theology across many different traditions. He offers a respectful comparison between two approaches to worship - experiential (worship as feeling/experience) and liturgical (worship as “work”). The discussion on liturgy strongly advocates lay involvement. He describes numerous architectural designs and floor plans with an emphasis on the sanctuary.

About the Author

The late James F. White was professor of liturgical theology at the University of Notre Dame and Drew University. He was a prolific scholar and author, and a highly regarded teacher.

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