Rituals and Worship

Sacred Space

As is the case with sacred time, generally speaking "sacred space" is not a category of thought in the Baptist tradition, and the tradition has no formally articulated view of it. The Baptist tradition places great emphasis on the direct, unmediated relationship between the individual Christian and the triune God. God does not mediate grace through any particular created entity, including particular "spaces."

Baptists do construct buildings in which congregations gather for worship, preaching, teaching, singing, and other congregational activities. Children will often be taught to "respect God's house" by, for example, not noisily running around or playing in the sanctuary of the building. However, Baptists are ever mindful that "the church" consists not in a building or an institution, but in the people of God gathered in committed fellowship in a given locale.

In a manner similar to that associated with sacred time, it can perhaps be said that Baptists believe that all space is sacred space, for God is present and at work everywhere (Psalm 139:1-12).

Study Questions:
     1.     Do Baptists believe God mediates grace through creation? Explain.
     2.     Describe the physical structure of the Baptist church. What do Baptists believe about sacred space?
     3.     How does biblical authority help to dictate the Baptist understanding of sacred space? Provide an example.

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