Steeples without Churches

Off Manchester Road in Burnley is an old church spire. Oddly, it isn’t attached to a church. To its rear are some 1970s flats. A plaque on the tower is dedicated to Thomas Cook J.P., “Who desired that this steeple be preserved as the landmark it is. A symbol of the former use of this site as a place of worship to God and the enduring craftsmanship of time past.”

For local history and architecture, I applaud Mr Cook’s foresight. Burnley would have been a little drearier to have lost another fine steeple while gaining another block of brown flats. I wonder though if this monument to the Victorian age is rather more honest than many churches which still appear to function. Many of them now are just concert venues or branches of the welfare state, laudable though both of these functions are. Many Pentecostal churches resemble therapy centres, with their life coaching and summoning of emotion. Others resemble successful businesses, fleecing their punters as cleverly as any corporation. Still others are just museums, kindly educating the visiting public on the age of the windows and style of the pews. They have the outward trappings of churches, but there is very little spiritual activity going on.

Ephesians 1:22 states And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way 

The Church is primarily a spiritual organisation, Christ’s ‘body’ here on earth. She is His unblushing bride for whom He shall one day call up to be with Him. In the meantime, ignore the steeples without churches.