I love Dallas Theological Seminary – the classes, the professors, and the general learning environment. But as I was giving a tour of the campus I realized that there was one thing that I am a bit disappointed in here at DTS, and that is: the chapel. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t like the speakers we bring in, and I’m not complaining about how much we have to attend – I have been greatly edified by the speakers and worship. What I’m disappointed in is the building, the architecture of our chapel.
Now I’m no architect, nor do I claim to be, but there is something in the beauty of churches and cathedrals that I miss in our society today. I am somewhat dismayed by the shift in church buildings from being magnificent things of beauty to being simply functional meeting places. There’s something missing without the beautiful architecture.
Dr. John Hannah, in my Historical Theology class, made the comment about the architecture of medieval churches. He said that they fit form to function, not vice versa. He noted the atmosphere created when you enter a great cathedral with high sloping arches, great (often colored) windows letting in beams of light – you tend to become reverent and silent. The first thing you want to do is look up at the domes and arches, and you gasp in silence at the beauty of the architecture. Dr. Hannah said that he thinks this promotes worship, it promotes reverence, it inspires beauty in worship.
I have to admit that I am sad that most churches have gone the route of fitting function to form nowadays. I see it in the churches today, and I see bits of it in the chapel here at DTS. Here is a picture of it:
It has the beauty of the high arches, it has such potential, but what gets me is the large, barren, white walls. There is so much more that could have been added. Whenever I walk into our chapel I compare it to the beautiful chapel that my good friend Robbie Crouse is able to attend at Beeson Divinity School, pictured below: