Monday, October 8, 2012

Question - Why Church Steeples?

We are building a new church.
What is the biblical position regarding a tower (steeple)?
Some people are not pleased with what was built.
What should we do?

Profile:Male 46-60 Africa


What is the biblical position of a tower or steeple for a church building?
There is none.
For a New Testament church there is no tower or steeple on the buildings recorded in Scripture.
In fact there were no church buildings in New Testament days.
I have read where scholars have said there were no buildings designated for church use until after 300 A.D.

In Genesis 11:1-9 people built a tower in Babel for their own greatness and God tore it down.
I do not see how any references of towers in the Old Testament suggest a New Testament church should have one or needs one.

Many middle-ages cities had towers but the reason was for religious, political and military reasons to show dominance, as my old college Sociology professor from Ole Miss taught me.
I knew taking "Cities and The Wealth of Nations" from esteemed  Professor Dr. Vaughn Grisham would pay off someday.

In Proverbs the greatness of God is likened to a strong tower.
Proverbs 18:10
New King James Version (NKJV)
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.

In the New Testament we only hear of towers three times.
Nowhere are we told to build one.
This is not to say you are wrong building a tower/steeple.

 Mark 12:1
New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.
(The tower and vineyard do suggest the ministry of the Lord on this 
Earth expanding His kingdom.)

Luke 13:4
New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
(This has nothing to do with God's Kingdom or church.)

Luke 14:27-29
New King James Version (NKJV)
27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
(This tower could be viewed as part of the Kingdom.  This is no biblical mandate to build a steeple or tower.) 

So, building a tower or steeple for Christian houses of worship comes from the middle ages where important religious and government buildings towered over cities.

Is it prohibited to have a tower/steeple? No

If the tower is for God’s glory it should be attractive and not ugly.
Yes, In the spirit of Christian unity and family, if possible, take practical steps to beautify the tower if some people in the church are not pleased with the tower's appearance.

My advice is invest in Kingdom work not costly monuments.
The Kingdom lasts.
Our buildings do not.
And yes, I know at some point some churches will spend money for a building.
All spending should be done wisely with a Kingdom purpose. 

Steeples and towers are OK.
We need to support the Lord's work as He builds His Kingdom.
Hebrews 11:9
By faith he (Abraham) dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

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