We’ve received questions about sources on the connection between theology and church architecture. They are scarce in the Protestant world, and as far as I am aware, Bruggink and Droppers Christ and Architecture is the best (and most recent) resource out there.
Often, the best sources are church buildings themselves, especially older ones that have not been changed too much, or have been restored to their original condition. If you really want to see the connection between the theology and architecture of a particular building, the ideal is to contact the church archivist (or sometimes an archivist in a university or public library if the building is an important or historic one in the city), and get out the original blueprints, statements of faith, and the minutes of elders’ or building committee meetings and see how what the people believed worked itself out in the sanctuary. It is especially telling to look at alterations and the minutes behind them to see how the sanctuary changed as the congregation’s theology morphed.
A sample bibliography from a study of the architecture and theology in four congregations in London, Ontario, is included below as an example. Some of the sources will be specific to the location and are included merely as examples; others would be useful to anyone seeking to understand a particular denominational architectural style and view of worship.
Architectural Conservancy Board of Ontario. Brackets and Bargeboards: Architectural Walks in London. The Architectural Conservancy Board of Ontario, Ltd., 1989.
Anglican Church of Canada. The Book of Common Prayer. Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1959.
Author unknown. Article in The Daily Free Press, London, Ontario: October 19, 1896.
Author unknown. A History of the Church of England in London, Ontario. London: C. P. Heal & Co., Printers, 1901.
Author unknown. A Souvenier: A Short History of St. Paul’s Cathedral. London, Ontario: Young Press Publishers, date of publication unavailable.
Author unknown. “Chart Showing Unions of Churches in Canada Leading Toward the United Church of Canada.” Place of publication unknown: United Church of Canada/Victoria University Archives at the University of Toronto, date of publication unknown.
Author unknown. “Seventieth Anniversary Souvenir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Ontario”. London, Ontario: London Printing and Lithographing Co., Ltd., 1905.
Author unknown. “Welcome to First-St. Andrew’s”. London: private publication, date unavailable.
Ballantyne, Rev. Francis. “Historical Sketches: Congregations in the London Presbytery”. Typed copy (1923) of undated Victorian manuscript.
Bettenson, Henry, ed. Documents of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.
Bowen, Desmond. The Idea of the Victorian Church: A Study of the Church of England, 1833-1889. Montreal: McGill University Press, 1968.
Browne, S. Gail. On This Corner…1896-1996: A History of Metropolitan United Church, London, Ontario. London, Ontario: Centennial Celebrations Committee, Metropolitan United Church, 1996.
Bruggink, Donald J. and Droppers, Carl H. Christ and Architecture: Building Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965.
Burke, Edmund. Architectural blueprints and drawing for First Methodist Church. Place of publication unknown: Burke and Horwood, Architects, date unavailable.
Calvin Theological College. Calvin Seminary Forum. Grand Rapids: Calvin Theological College, fall 2004.
Cameron, Nigel M. deS., ed. Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1993.
Crowfoot, Alfred Henchman. Benjamin Cronyn, First Bishop of Huron. London, Ontario: The Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Huron, 1957.
Davies, Horton. The Worship of the American Puritans. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.
DiSteffano, Lynne and Tausky, Nancy. Victorian Architecture in London and Southwestern Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986.
Elwell, Walter A., ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984.
Fox, Sherwood. A Century of Service: A History of the Talbot Street Baptist Congregation, 1845-1945. London, Ontario: private publishing, 1945.
Gill, Stewart D. The Reverend William Proudfoot and the United Secession Mission in Canada. Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.
Grey, Rev. Mr. H. “Speech at opening the Assembly” in Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, May 1844. Edinburgh: Robert Ogle, 1844.
Grey, William and Betty. The Episcopal Church Welcomes You: An Introduction to Its History, Worship, and Mission. New York: The Seabury Press, 1974.
Hague, Rev. Dyson. “Concerning the Church” in A Jubilee Memorial: The Story of the Church and First Fifty Years of the Diocese of Huron. London, Ontario: The London Printing and Lithographing Co., Ltd., 1907.
Houghton, S. M. Sketches from Church History. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1980.
Hyck, Thomas William. The People of the British Isles: a new history, vol. II. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1992.
Innis, Rev. G. M. “History of the Parish of St. Paul’s”. London: publisher unavailable, date of publication unavailable.
Lutman, John H. The Historic Heart of London. Thornbury, Ontario: Conestoga Press, 1988.
MacLeod, John. Scottish Theology in Relation to Church History Since the Reformation. Edinburgh: Free Church of Scotland Publications, 1943.
MacRae, Marion and Adamson, Anthony. Hallowed Walls: Church Architecture of Upper Canada. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin and Company, Ltd., 1975.
M-C Construction, Ltd. Blueprints for First-St. Andrew’s United Church. London, August 1955.
Miller, Orlo. Gargoyles and Gentlemen: A History of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Ontario: 1834-1964. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1966.
———. This was London: the First Two Centuries. Westport, Ontario: Butternut Press, 1988.
Mitchell, Alexander F. Catechisms of the Second Reformation With Historical Introduction and Biographical Notices. London: James Nisbet & Co., 1886.
Moore, O. Roy. Plan of Sanctuary of St. Paul’s Cathedral. London, ON: unpublished drawings, November 24, 1936.
Muir, Edward. Ritual in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
MVA Engineering Group. Architectural Prints for First-St. Andrew’s United Church. London, 2003.
Ollard, S. L. A Short History of the Oxford Movement. London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., 1915.
Richardson, Archdeacon. “Historical Sketch of the Diocese” in A Jubilee Memorial: The Story of the Church and First Fifty Years of the Diocese of Huron. London, Ontario: The London Printing and Lithographing Co., Ltd., 1907.
Rigg, Rev. James H. Modern Anglican Theology: chapters on Coleridge, Hare, Maurice, Kingsley, and Jowett and on the Doctrine of Sacrifice and Atonement. London: Alexander Heylin, 1859.
Ruth, Bill. Blueprints for sanctuary renovations of Metropolitan United Church. London: blueprints, 1995.
Scotford, John Ryland. The Church Beautiful: A Practical Discussion of Church Architecture. Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1945.
Various authors. The Hymnary: for use in Baptist Churches. Approved by the United Baptist convention of Maritime Provinces, the United Baptist Convention of Quebec and Ontario and the Baptist Union of Western Churches. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1936.
Walker, Williston with Handy, Robert; Lotz, David; Norris, Richard. A History of the Christian Church. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1985.
Wesley, Charles. Wesley’s Hymns. London: publisher unknown, 1779.
Williams, Bishop David. “What the Church Stands For” in A Jubilee Memorial: The Story of the Church and First Fifty Years of the Diocese of Huron. London, Ontario: The London Printing and Lithographing Co., Ltd., 1907.
Yates, Nigel. The Oxford Movement and Anglican Ritualism. London: The Historical Association, 1983.