Christian Art’s Dilemma

Ever wonder why art has lost its wonder, why the lackluster and cheesiness abounds? The cliche and the kitsch have run rampant, and Christian art is usually the worst. Sadly, most Christian art is only cringe-worthy, but why?

The real question is how should a Christian think about art? If our children know how to think correctly, the question of what art to enjoy is easier. How does God view art and beauty? Does He accept our best? Does God have “aesthetic standards”? Did God create rules for good art that are woven into the fabric of creation?

“All the arts come from God and are to be respected as Divine Inventions.” -John Calvin

Art’s highest purpose is to glorify God by pointing back to Him. Throughout all cultures and times, art is a universal expression. There are four criterion of Christian art:

  1. Art should be honest
  2. It should be creation affirming
  3. Art should not be manipulative
  4. It must have a degree of meaning

Christians must be careful while engaging in the arts. Our hearts respond to art. The fact is that art can be intoxicating and addicting. The type of art Christians engage with should lift us up to the beauties currently unknown. The splendor of that which was lost at the Fall or the joyful anticipation of the coming perfect splendor of the radiance of God’s majesty.

Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:1 are essentials for our analysis of art: These passages commands the believer to focus on whatever is good, beneficial, true, seeking that which is above. If a piece of work is questionable, James 1:5 gives us help. He says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” The Lord promises He will help us.

“Keep my eyes fixed upon the Beautiful and Sublime in its eternal significance, and upon art as one of the richest gifts of God to all mankind.” -Abraham Kuyper

Nicole Leaman

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Nicole Leaman is a wife and mother of four daughters. With a degree in Criminal Justice, she writes essays about social matters regarding women and culture as a Senior Contributor to The Reformed Conservative.

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