Original Research - Special Collection: Virtual Ecclesiology

The reformation of space for public worship: Past and present – Continuing the discussion

Jack C. Whytock
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 3 | a2307 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i3.2307 | © 2018 Jack C. Whytock | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2017 | Published: 24 April 2018

About the author(s)

Jack C. Whytock, Reformed Study Unit, North-West University, South Africa


In the light of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, this article will explore a neglected area of Reformation studies namely the reformation of space for public worship in the past and the present. The article has three parts: first, a general survey of worship space at the eve of the Reformation; second, the response of the Magisterial Reformers (with a focus upon those who would be classified as reformed) to the space for public worship by principle and actuality; and third, the ongoing use of space for public worship chiefly in the evangelical and reformed tradition. On this final point specific examples will be included concerning public worship space in the contemporary context. The article is an introduction in what is really a broad interdisciplinary approach raising matters related to church history, theology, liturgics, aesthetics, stewardship and architectural design in a general manner and will make suggestions for further ongoing discussion. This article endeavours to help by providing an historical context for further discussion of the subject matter of the use of space in public worship and it is hoped that further articles will follow from this introduction to the subject.


liturgy; church architecture; Reformed worship; aesthetics; worship space; stewardship in church architecture; Reformation of space for worship


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