Art and Theology?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Visual Theology | One Comment


Evangelicals have had an uneasy relationship with the arts. Some see them as a necessary evil, others a hobby worth a little time. But not more time than more important things. Certainly, the arts couldn’t be useful in teaching deep spiritual truth, could they?  But they’re forgetting that the same God who said “Come let us reason” also said “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”  In a shocking display of affection, a woman poured on Jesus a very expensive jar of perfume. It was a shock to the disciples to see such waste. But even in this Jesus could recognize the beauty and high price of worship. He commends her, and predicts that this will always be told of her anywhere the gospel was preached. Christ gives the highest compliment to a simple act of beautiful worship . A strange woman with an expensive jar of perfume could taught the disciples something about sacrifice and worship. 

No matter what you think of the arts, remember this: they can help paint the images people need to understand complex ideas. Christ used arguments in his teaching, but he also used short quips, told stories, used analogies and even expensive perfume to make a point. An entire world of artistic tools are at our disposal. R.A. Torry, the evangelist and founder of Biola University, saw the value of using the then new technology of film for missions purposes. He writes

We all recognize the use of the visual in attracting and holding attention. Biblical pictures on inexpensive films can be effectively used on children and grown ups, for, remember, no one is ever too old to be interested in pictures.

1 Comment

  1. Essy
    April 23, 2012

    Art is much more than a vehicle for a message – as it transends the need for words.


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