My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
Today, a stinky little story about that uniquely ecclesiastical type of seating, the pew. In the early church, the believers met in homes, so we’ll have to guess that they did whatever was practical. When church buildings started, people stood. In about the 13th century, in
, stone benches against a wall were introduced. Later, they were moved into the middle, forming a semicircle around a pulpit. Later yet, the seating was affixed to the floor, and later again, replaced with wooden seating. England
The word “pew” derived from a word meaning “balcony”, which at that time meant detached seating for the watching of a performance. Galleries, or what we now call balconies, didn’t come along until the 16th century. By this time, sermons became the focus of a worship service, and a gallery made it possible for more people to be closer to the preacher, so they could hear the message clearer, given that this was still centuries before electronic amplification. Later yet, seating was added behind the pastor for a choir, and after that, totally clearing the stage, which made the room look like a lecture hall.
All of the changes solidified the image of clergy being separate from laypeople, who were encouraged to passively absorb whatever was directed toward them, and makes the Bible’s direction in First Thessalonians 5 verse 11 to build up one another practically impossible, when with one major exception, everyone else is looking at the back of others’ heads.
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.” While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better. I comment on that in blip 94.