Beeson Divinity School chapel

The chapel at Beeson Divinity School (Samford University) is definitely one of the more interesting chapels I’ve ever seen (not personally, just pictures). I don’t know of any other chapel that utilizes the church art/architecture of the Italian renaissance as its basic form and then fills it with images and motifs from the Reformation and subsequent Protestant history. I’m a fan! But I’m sure that there are a lot of people who are not fans…including, if he were alive to see it, my beloved Barth, who was very much in-line with traditional Reformed sensibilities on this topic.

Here’s a nice video tour of the chapel:

FYI: Beeson was founded by Dr. Timothy George as an interdenominational evangelical seminary within Samford University, a Southern Baptist school.

Also, it’s hard to see in the video, but the dome of the chapel includes portraits of various important church figures: Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Bunyan, Wesley, etc. — even Lottie Moon! You can view the official guidebook here.

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2 comments

  1. I’m not sure if I’m a fan, Kevin, but I have seen pictures before and yes it is impressive… perhaps because of its ‘unusualness’, as you point out. Perhaps what’s most unusual about it is that it’s a Southern Baptist institution!

    • Yeah, the Southern Baptist context (and Dr. George is a Southern Baptist) is interesting. That’s definitely part of why I’m a fan — it pushes the boundaries of Southern Baptist (or American evangelical) aesthetics.

      I should say that I do have some criticisms: e.g., the resurrected Jesus on the dome is a bit too European and, more importantly, not particularly gripping. Frankly, it comes across as cheap and sentimentalist. Things that I do like, however, include the portraits circling the dome. Plus, the pulpit is great. Even for those who don’t like the paintings, the overall structure (of the architecture), the red wood, and the organ centerpiece are certainly well-done.

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