How should Christian art be informed by the Christian worldview? (part 2)

In the first post, we considered the Creator and we made some observations about implications for how we should think about art. One of the main things we saw was that God is clearly creative and there is a call for us to be creative too. Now we are going to…  

Consider Creation

We see in the beginning that when God saw all He had made He pronounced, “very good” (Gen. 1:4; 10; 12; 18; 21; 25; 1:31). There was no sin, no death, and no problems. Man had perfect fellowship with God (cf. Gen. 3:8) and enjoyed God’s beautiful creation.

God’s creation shows us what God wants for us. He wants us to enjoy and take part in the creation that He has made very good. It shows us our intended design: fellowship with God and each other and the correct enjoyment and creative oversight of creation.

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How should Christian art be informed by the Christian worldview? (part 1)

Introduction: How should we think about art? Why has art had such a varied history? What explains why we can relate to both “sad reflective art” as well as “joyous exuberant art”? How does art in its various forms sometimes make us yearn for something that seems out of reach?

I believe as we look to God’s Word as our guide we will be able to make some significant observations that will better position us to answer some of those questions.[1] In the coming posts, we’ll consider seven ways the Christian worldview informs how we think about art…

First, Consider the Creator

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen. 1:1). He made atoms and oceans, sunsets and frogs, butterflies and hogs. He made matter and motion, the stars in space and every trace of sand. He made my hands and yours too. God made flowers and bees. God thought up nectar and the neurons that make emotion.

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The Missional Mandate for Christians

As followers of Jesus, Christians have a missional[1] mandate (Matt. 28:18-20). Christians are pupils and apprentices. We follow Jesus and we do as He did. We give our lives away in love and we tell people about the good news of Jesus. To be a disciple is to be missional. We are not true disciples if we are not missional.

We lovingly engage with the people around us. We do not shut ourselves off in “God ghettos,” we do not create Christian castles. Jesus said that we are to be lights in a dark world (Matt. 5:15). Paul said we are not to leave the world (1 Cor. 5:9-11) but be messengers of the King in the world (2 Cor. 5:20).

So, we as followers of Jesus…

Leave (the “bubble”)

We remove excess emphasis on Christian bubble activities and programs and instead spend time relationally engaging together with peers, neighbors, and coworkers. We are intentionally in the world. Jesus intentionally went to the world, He left heaven. He incarnated Himself (Matt. 1:22-23; Jn. 1:14; Phil. 2:7).

We follow our King and we enter the world in love (Matt. 5:13-16; Eph. 5:8; Phil. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:12 cf. 1 Cor. 5:9-10).

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As the church we are…

This is not an ecclesiology. But it does tell you a lot about the church. As the church we are…

Welcomed and Welcoming

We remember that Jesus Himself was criticized by religious leaders because of the type of people that He hung out with and helped (cf. Matt. 9:9-13; 11:19; 21:31-32; Mk. 2:15-17; Lk. 3:12-14; 5:29-32; 7:36-50; 15; 19:1-10). So, we’re not like the hypocritical religious leaders. Instead, we’re like our Leader, the One who reaches out to heal our brokenness. 

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Our Idolatry…

We could basically be the stars of any western, we have individualism, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency in our bones. The truth is, I know some pretty capable people. But with that capability can come idolatry. Self-idolatry. We, moderns in the west, don’t form gods out of gold, we are the gods. We have feet, mouths, and hands. We can deliver ourselves. At least, that’s what we think. 

Our idolatry is often self-idolatry, we trust ourselves over against God. The New City Catechism says, “Idolatry is trusting in created things rather than the Creator for our hope and happiness, significance and security.” Often, we trust in ourselves. That, however, is not our only form of idolatry. 

Our idols can be anything we…

  • trust and look to more than God 
  • make more important than God
  • give our attention to more than God
  • expect to give us something that only God can give 
  • make so central and essential to life that if we lose it, life will no longer feel worth living

When something in our life is an absolute requirement for our happiness and self-worth, it is an idol. When that thing is threatened, whatever it is, we will act out. we will become anxious or angry when that thing is in possible danger.[1]

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“To God be the Glory!” Sermon on Psalm 115

Discussion Questions

  1. When you think of God’s glory, what are some of the things that first come to mind?
  2. God deserves glory for so many reasons. What are some reasons you think of that weren’t talked about in the sermon?
  3. Can you relate to C.S. Lewis’ struggle? Is it hard to understand why God cares so much about His own glory? What has been helpful for you as you think about this?
  4. What are some of the results of idolatry in our lives?
  5. What is an idol? Give some examples of good things in life that can become idols.
  6. What idols do you currently struggle with?
  7. How can personal success and achievement lead to a sense that we ourselves are god?
  8. What are possible signs in an individual’s life that point to the fact that success is an idol?

Practice Unproductivity (part 3)

Commanded to Rest

The concept of Sabbath is almost entirely gone.[1] It is one thing to enforce sabbatarian “blue laws” on a whole country,[2] it is another thing to think we are self-sufficient and have no need for any type of Sabbath.

This is not the place to have a big argument on the Sabbath so I don’t intend to do that here. But, I think it should be clear that we must honor the Sabbath in some way. We must at least set aside time to intentionally rest and reflect…

The Bible says we are commanded to rest.[3] It says, “Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.” The Sabbath was primarily a day of rest. So, we could paraphrase, “Honor the day of rest, set it apart, keep it.” So, “We do not rest because our work is done; we rest because God commanded it and created us to have a need for it.”[4]

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