19 May

Another Driver of values and ideas in our Society is the Arts sector.  The Church has had a patchy relationship with the Arts over the years but in Evangelical circles in recent years the sector is often not regarded very highly.  This is in sharp contradiction to the Bible.  There are numerous Biblical passages that relate to the Arts, many of them affirming various artistic expressions, from music to fine art to crafts and so on.

Take for example the passage at Exodus 31:1-11.  God is giving directions for the design and making of the sacred tent and its furnishings as well as special clothing for the priesthood.  In so doing there is warm affirmation of the calling and practice of the Arts.  Consider the following:

  • Artists are chosen by God to do His work
  • The Artists are filled with the Spirit of God to get the job done
  • God has further given the Artists wisdom and skill to fulfil their calling
  • The creations brought about by this co-working of Artist and God are magnificent, pleasing to God and to all who encounter them.

What does this say to the Arts today?  In a word, affirmation.  It is good to be an Artist and it is good to be involved in the Arts.  Looking at the world around us reminds us that God Himself is an artist. Passages like the one above from Exodus tell us clearly what God thinks of the Arts.  Then there’s God’s foray into some wall-art (graffiti!?) in Daniel 5:5 and in John 8:6-8 we find that Jesus was involved in some pavement sketching!

So, to all you Artists out there, especially to those of you who have felt that you don’t belong, be encouraged.  Be affirmed.  And let’s hear from you about how you have found the Bible addressing what you do….

Food for thought

Dr David Wilson


Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Arts



3 responses to “WISDOM FOR THE ARTS

  1. Peter Breen

    May 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    An inspiring utube clip using art for change:

  2. Peter Breen

    May 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Graffiti and the anciet world. Well researched. Exegesis of cultures. I was exposed to some amazing wall art in the Carnavon region of Western Qld. Daniel and his mates saw some amazing graffiti bringing judgement. As Simon and Garfunkel said :” The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.” Clean up the world and you might kill some prophets! I preached a sermon in 1996 about the Magnificat. Mary’s words as a work of art inspired by her spirit and the spirit of god all wrapped into each other. The church in my experience [evangelical/fundamentalist] has been anything but visionary or risktaking. Utilitarian around worship and evangelism. Dont even talk about life drawing and nudity! But there are changes with some from my past church life stepping into the water. So much more to say and the annointing of servants of Israel in the tabernacle by the Spirit of God is indicative of the need for the spirits help for art even in a restricted environment [worship] Visual images call out a different response to the written and spoken and sung word. Put all together. Ethics does play a part but not restrictive systems of theology.Interesting debate. By the way – a work of art does not need to be by a “Christian” to “reveal” some epiphany during contemplation and it does not need to have a Bible text on it or around it to justify it.

    • Noel Buchanan, member NGV, ACMI, Morning Melodies subscriber and AB supporter.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      Another big AMEN! I like the observations you share, Peter Breen, and I got into heaps of trouble as a teenager listening to early, early Bob Dylan. Have you heard about Bruce Cockburn (Canada) or T-Bone Burnett (Los Angeles)? The last sentence is spot on!


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