Are building dedications Biblical?

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Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Junior
In the OT the Temple and Tabernacle were dedicated with religious services, but I wonder if this means that we should have building dedications in the NT? My gut is no, since God has not required buildings to be built, but it seems very common, even among RPW-affirming churches.
How would you feel about a new church building being dedicated on the Lord's Day? Not just mentioned in thankful prayer during a worship service, but a specific service called for a dedication?
If you think that those sort of dedications fall within the scope of the RPW, what form should they take; what elements are commanded for them?
Thanks in advance
 

TooManySystematics

Puritan Board Freshman
I think perhaps "church dedication" might be a bit of a loaded term. If what we mean is that we're placing a relic in the altar, burying a St. Joseph statue in the lawn, and the like, all to make the place "holy", then no.

But if what we mean is that, when we're setting the final stone when building it, or when a congregation moves into an old building, through prayer the people thank God for the blessing of the building, that it might be filled with the voices of the Saints praising God, and that it would serve its purpose well, I don't think we can object to that. We do the same thing for our food during dinner, or when a new Christian school opens. We're thanking God for his blessing and asking that whatever he's blessed us with (food, a building) might perform its regular function.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Junior
I think perhaps "church dedication" might be a bit of a loaded term. If what we mean is that we're placing a relic in the altar, burying a St. Joseph statue in the lawn, and the like, all to make the place "holy", then no.

But if what we mean is that, when we're setting the final stone when building it, or when a congregation moves into an old building, through prayer the people thank God for the blessing of the building, that it might be filled with the voices of the Saints praising God, and that it would serve its purpose well, I don't think we can object to that. We do the same thing for our food during dinner, or when a new Christian school opens. We're thanking God for his blessing and asking that whatever he's blessed us with (food, a building) might perform its regular function.
I agree. But I'm asking about calling a special service in order to "Dedicate a Building"
Mr. Coldwell's answer above is excellent; I'm just looking for others' thoughts as well, given it seems such a prevalent thing.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I've not seen it as an incursion on worship at all but mostly a celebratory moment. In one we finished out regular worship, then went out back where construction would begin, thanked God for his provision, and prayed for the success and safety of the workers. After the building was completed we held our regular worship in this new facility with no change to our normal service. A prayer set aside the facility for God's use, and recognized that any fruit would be the result of God's mercy and provision. Oh, and we had a dinner party :) a week or so later.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
I’m not sure what a special service for a dedication would even look like, not to mention the obvious RPW concern. It is my belief that corporate worship should be on the Lord’s Day, morning and evening. Anything beyond that would be concerning in my humble opinion.
 

TooManySystematics

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree. But I'm asking about calling a special service in order to "Dedicate a Building"
Mr. Coldwell's answer above is excellent; I'm just looking for others' thoughts as well, given it seems such a prevalent thing.
Oh, I see. A separate service is not necessary. It makes sense that once you move into the new building, maybe as a pre-service prayer during the nearest Sunday thank God for the building and such, but there's no need to really go beyond that.
 

TooManySystematics

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the replies....given their small number, perhaps this isn't as prevalent as I'd thought.
I think many Reformed churches might call their first regular service in their new building a "dedication service", but it's materially not different from a regular service, except for maybe an additional prayer, song choice and sermon text.
 
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