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One of the central things that a place dedicated to worship should do is frame a space that is conducive to true worship, and to do so in a way that does not tend to draw “worship” to itself.

With regard to the first, we have to ask ourselves what a Christian worship service should be like. Contrary to the operating assumption of many Christians today, it should not be a breezy and informal affair. First, worship should be disciplined and orderly, as Paul commends the Colossians for having just a worship service. “For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ” (Col. 2:5). Not only must it be orderly, it should be attended with reverence and godly fear. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). The word rendered serve here is worship. This means that when churches strive to create a sense of casual informality, they are striving to do the wrong thing.

But the second task of a worship space is also important. In one sense the worship space is set aside for the congregation, and the congregation is the bride of Christ, formed as such by the Holy Spirit. One of the distinctive characteristics of the Spirit is that He draws attention to the Son, who brings us to the Father. The Spirit is not garnering attention for Himself, and neither should a sanctuary do so.

So if a worship space goes overboard in giving “too much” glory to God, the failure is seen in how the glory does not take you on to the worship of God. And this failure, of course, is not actually a case of too much glory to God, which is impossible, but rather a mistaken attempt to render the wrong kind of glory to Him, which winds up giving glory to the creature instead.

So let the stones cry out.

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