In 1959, classes were held on church architecture and the congregation studied the question, “What theological beliefs should we try to express in a church building?”
Questions asked included, “What is the message of the church?” “What is the church?” “How is the church related to the world?”
Several conclusions were drawn:
- The sovereignty of God and the insufficiency of man required a rescue which God effected through the incarnation, crucifixion, redemption, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
- The Church is the worshiping community of people who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who gather to hear the Word proclaimed through scripture, sermon, and sacrament, and who respond with commitment to Jesus Christ who is its Head.
- The Church should not be conceived as a place of refuge to which people come, but rather as a place of consecration from which people go forth into the world.
From that theological study, they declared what the architectural implications were:
“Consider the design…so that the proclamation of the church may be clear in an age in which it is likely to be misunderstood. The fundamental problem of church architecture is not so much the problem of expressing contemporary ideas as it is the problem of unmistakably presenting an old tradition so that it can be made clear once more to people who have forgotten it. The point of concern is that the artist…direct his powers to a Godly end and that … he not allow his need to be creator to control the meaning of his creation. Because of the rather close association of Eastminster with MSU, it seems appropriate to add a word here concerning the Godly use of the mind and the sins with which it is beset … …. [The academic man] needs … to be reminded that there is no salvation in knowledge, that he is not saved by right opinion, and that the proper use of the mind is to illumine life rather than build walls against it.”