Motivated by Randal’s recent post, I thought the following from David Bercot’s book, “Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up,” might be of interest to some of you.
Originally, Christians had held their services in private homes (Romans 16:5). As congregations grew, they converted houses into meeting places, calling these “prayer houses.” No one was attracted to the early church by the architecture of its buildings, but rather by its teachings and by the godly lives of the people in the church. However, Constantine reasoned that many people would be attracted to Christianity if church buildings were more impressive. So at state expense, he constructed lavish church buildings that rivaled the magnificence of pagan temples. The new church buildings were arrayed with impressive colonnades and vaulted ceilings. Many of them had beautiful fountains and elegant marble floors. Constantine wanted it to be difficult for an unbeliever to walk past a church building without being tempted to peer inside because of the beautiful architecture.
His idea worked splendidly. Pagans were attracted to the magnificent church buildings and thousands of them were “converted” as a result (p. 127).