Lutheran Witness: April 2013


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From the editor

Take a freshman English composition class at almost any college or university, and the teacher will tell you, “Words mean things.” And the teacher would be right. Throw words around haphazardly, create new definitions or misuse them altogether, and you’ve effectively caused them to lose their meaning, their very purpose.

So too with the architecture of a church building. The way in which a church is built means something. Its design gives form and shape to what those who attend the church believe and what they confess. “The church building is a matter of theology,” writes the Rev. Robert Weinkauf in this issue of the magazine. “It reinforces what Scripture speaks, what we believe, what points to Christ.”

Throughout the centuries, Lutherans have maintained that premise, and so they have a long history of giving special time and care to the design of the holy space in which they gather around our Lord’s Word and Sacraments. Within the pages of this issue, we explore why that same beauty and mystery, found uniquely in His house, still matters to Lutherans today.

And we discover, now particularly in the season of Easter, how Christ’s death and resurrection—the very core of our confession—is built into the architecture of our churches.

Read the Rev. Robert Weinkauf’s “Catechism in Stone” to understand why a church building is a declaration of faith. Or learn from the Rev. Christopher Seifferlein, who answers frequently asked questions about Easter, church furniture, paschal candles and paraments in “What Does This Mean?”

The Rev. Ryan Ferhmann’s “Furnished for the Gospel” clarifies the meaning behind altars, fonts and pulpits, while the Rev. Seth Mierow’s “These Stones Teach” encourages parents to use those same pieces of church furniture to instruct little children in the faith.

The Rev. Laurence White’s “Serving the Gospel” explains how our Lutheran theology has, even since the Reformation, historically formed the way in which we’ve built our churches, and Paul Soulek, in “Traditionally Contemporary,” talks to our youth about how Christ forgives and shows mercy to all of us, regardless of whether we love the past or the latest and greatest.

Words mean things. So also does the design of our churches. In the pages of this issue, may we learn again together why that matters, why our churches reinforce what Scripture speaks, what we believe, what points to Christ.

Adriane Heins, Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness

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