Pews

Discussion in 'Church History' started by JM, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    A few years ago I visited a Russian Orthodox Church and they didn't have pews! After being heartily welcomed I asked why no pews and was told pews were a Protestant invention introduced when worship became sermon centered.

    I sense a spin on this tale. Can anyone enlighten me please?

    Yours in the Lord,

    jm
     
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    It's generally true for the first 1000 years.
     
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  3. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    Not a Protestant invention, but they are a later development in the history of the church. For the first 1,000 years, pretty much no churches had pews. They start appearing the later Middle Ages but even through the Reformation there were many churches without them. By the post-Reformation period they became standard in the West, but they were never used in the East.
     
  4. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    I think sitting in widow sills is the preferred method. It is supposed to help keep you awake. However I have heard of at least one case that did not work out very well, at first anyways.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Ask many a missionary, and you will find that the idea of sitting in rows, on benches or chairs, feels foreign to many cultures.

    I wonder if the convention of pulpit and pews is one reason why many of today's evangelicals treat a worship service as being practically the same thing as a Sunday school class.
     
  6. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Not sure, but it is the punch line of my son's current favorite joke, "why do churches stink"?
     
  7. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Fashioning pews in many contexts is expensive. Muslims just sit on the floor/ground. I thought ancient Jews did also.
     
  8. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    Why do you think Jenny Geddes had a stool ready to throw? No pews.
     
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  9. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Did they have folding chairs?
     
  10. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Pews make the most sense to me. I love how they encourage unity among church members.
     
  11. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Freshman

    The pews in the church in the village my sister lives in date back to 14th or 15th century, so clearly pre reformation. They aren't particularly comfortable...
     
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If you have pews, it's harder to fold up the chairs and turn your sanctuary into a b-ball court.
     
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  13. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Is it a sanctuary?
     
  14. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I keep joking that our church should get rid of the pews and replace them with rows of recliner lounges - each one complete with its own mini-fridge.

    I don't think the session has considered it yet.
     
  15. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Pews appeared in the West in the Middle Ages. Often, a wealthier family would donate a pew to the church. In some old churches, you'll still see inscribed in the wood the name or the heraldic emblem of the family.
     
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  16. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Baptists might have sanctuaries, but Presbyterians certainly shouldn't.
     
  17. brendanchatt

    brendanchatt Puritan Board Freshman

    Same with AC
     
  18. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    read this humorous account today, thought I'd share:

     
  19. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    In the Orthodox Churches men stood for the entire service. In Nepal, in almost all of the Churches there, the congregation sits on the floor for all except the singing. That would have seemed to be the pattern in the synagogue at the time of the New Testament. Acts 13:14-16
     
  20. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Orthodox do not kneel on the Lord's Day. It's considered improper.
     
  21. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    With the sports injuries I've had, and the subsequent knee surgeries, if I sit on the floor I can't get back up!
     
  22. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Come on, can you not wear a necklace to buzz one of the deacons to help?
     
  23. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Bill's sports injury: banging his knee against the coffee table while moving from the living room sofa to the refrigerator during half-time. Heh.
     
  24. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Biola University recently remodeled its chapel, replacing the soft, cushioned pews with hard wooden benches. Who thought that was a good idea? The wood was imported from Europe.

    I think the artist who was put in charge of the remodel made the decision to swap out cushioned pews for hard benches.

    Fail.
     
  25. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Actually, the first knee blew out when I was blocking home plate to keep a runner from scoring. We were both out!
     
  26. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    A catcher! That's beyond cool!
     

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