Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Art and True Spirituality

As I mentioned yesterday, evangelicals are sometimes faulted for being interested just in the Truth or focusing on getting souls saved. The feeling is that "time is short" and we need to be serious about what we do. Writing fiction is just wasting time in imaginary worlds, and don't have "eternal value".

Francis Schaeffer argues in Art and the Bible that "true spirituality includes the Lordship of Christ over the whole man (p 376)." The first point he makes is that God made man and woman in His own image. Who is God but the ultimate Creator? If we are to truly honor God in all we do, it makes sense that we would be creative beings as well.

Too often spirituality in American evangelicalism takes on a dichotomy of body and soul, or sacred and secular. "I don't listen to secular music, only Christian rock." This is actually a Platonic idea instead of a scriptural idea. As Schaeffer says, "Redemption is for the whole man (p 376)." As a saved person, my whole life is under the lordship of Christ. It doesn't stop at the church doors on Sunday, but it extends to my work, my relationships, and everything I do - including my creative aspects. I've said it elsewhere: we don't have Christian plumbers, we have plumbers who happen to be Christians. An author shouldn't be labeled a "Christian" author to give them a special distinction from a regular author. Too often this label only keeps the author from being recognized outside of our Christian ghettos.

The arts and sciences do have a place in the Christian life - they are not peripheral. For a Christian, redeemed by the work of Christ and living within the norms of Scripture and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the Lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts. A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God - not just as tracts, but as things of beauty to the praise of God. An art work can be a doxology in itself (p 377).

Tomorrow we'll look at examples of art in the Bible.

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P.S. All quotes are from Art and the Bible, book five in A Chrisitan Worldview of the Bible as Truth, Volume 2 of The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview.

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