Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Arnold Kurtz

Second Advisor

James Cox

Third Advisor

Alan Collins


From its beginning the Seventh-day Adventist church has taken seriously the commission of Christ to proclaim the gospel to all the world. In this endeavor she has laid emphasis on the spoken word in evangelism. It is not so surprising then that the rather controversial area involving the role of art in the visual proclamation of the gospel has received only passing attention. In view of the keen interest, and in some cases excesses, in art and architecture among the Christian churches today, however, the Adventist church cannot stand aloof. She is bound to be influenced and, therefore, needs to give concerted study to the relationship of art and architecture to the proclamation of her unique message to the world. Administrators, pastors, and leading laymen have a significant responsibility today to give wise counsel for the building and furnishing of houses of worship that will rightly represent the teachings of the church. It has been the purpose of this project to stimulate this kind of study, and to this end a number of recommendations are submitted for consideration.

The final result, within the limits of this project, is the submission of suggestive guidelines for building committees of Seventh-day Adventist church buildings. The pursuit of this goal has required a wide survey of historical and current literature pertaining to church art and architecture. Interviews with pastors, architects, and artists have yielded valuable information. The field component has involved the study of some forty churches, some reflecting the traditional styles and others the contemporary trends. The sample churches are only illustrative. Criteria for evaluating the quality and suitability of the churches charted has fallen into three main areas: theological, practical, and aesthetic. It is expected that the basic principles established will have application not only for the church in North America but also worldwide.

The material is organized in four main sections which correspond to the content of the four chapters: (1) the role of art in worship, (2) a brief historical survey of the main types of church architecture, (3) a survey of contemporary trends, and (4) governing considerations for a Seventh-day Adventist church. A summary chart at the end of each chapter provides a quick overview of the points made. Diagrams, floor plans, and pictures serve to make references to visual images more comprehensible. The appendices present additional church plans, church building check lists, and an index to pertinent counsels from the writings of Ellen G. White.

The ultimate aim of the project is to lead people to a keener understanding and appreciation of worship in the "beauty of holiness." Art, when true to its purpose, will lead worshippers to a fuller ascription of praise to God, the Creator and Lover of Beauty.

Subject Area

Liturgy and architecture; Seventh-day Adventists--Liturgy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.


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