Arts and the Church

From Kevin DeYoung:

The Church and the arts have had an on-again off-again relationship for a couple millennia. At times, the Church has been a patron of the arts, supporting and encouraging sculptors, painters, and musicians out of its largesse. At other times, the church has been standoffish toward the arts, seeing them as a waste of time, or worst, an expression of hedonism and sensuality.

Today, although many churches could hardly be called artist-friendly, there is a resurgence of interest in and advocacy for the arts. In the under-40 church crowd, loving the arts is like loving your grandma, as in, only the most backward philistines don’t. There are two things no young Christian dares to be against: social justice and the arts.

The passion for encouraging the arts is understandable and in large part commendable. Not only does the Church have a long history of commissioning art, but the Bible speaks highly of those with gifts of artistry and craftsmanship (see the famous pair, Bezalel and Oholiab). And let’s be honest, many of our churches are not exactly a haven for the artsy crowd. Church culture is usually more conducive to the bourgeois than the bohemian. So it makes sense that we would have to go out of our way to welcome artists and encourage their work.

DeYoung goes on to assert 6 theses concerning the church's relationship to the arts.

1. We must allow art to be art.
2. Art is valuable, but so are a lot of other things.
3. Art can do some things, and it can't do other things.
4. Our worship should strive for artistic excellence, but our worship will inevitably be "popular" and propositional.
5. Churches can learn to welcome artists, but artists should not expect the church to be an art gallery.
6. Artists can help us see our idols, and artists have idols of their own too.

Read the entire article HERE.