Water 3664318 1920

Francis Schaeffer’s writings have had a substantial impact on my philosophy of composing. I believe the first book of his that I read was Art and the Bible. Here is a sampling of quotations from that short but impactful essay:

“The Lordship of Christ over the whole of life means that there are no platonic areas in Christianity, no dichotomy or hierarchy between the body and the soul. God made the body as well as the soul and redemption is for the whole man. . . . It is within this framework that we are to understand the place of art in the Christian life.”

“God is interested in beauty. God made people to be beautiful. And beauty has a place in the worship of God.”

“To worship art is wrong, but to make art is not.”

“Come with me to the Alps and look at the snow-covered mountains. There can be no question. God is interested in beauty. God made people to be beautiful. And beauty has a place in the worship of God.”

“Art can of course be put into the temple. But it doesn’t have to be put into the temple in order to be to the praise of God.”

“Christ is the Lord of our whole life and the Christian life should produce not only truth – flaming truth – but also beauty.”

“. . . while creativity is a good thing in itself, it does not mean that everything that comes out of man’s creativity is good. For while man was made in the image of God, he is fallen.”

“Good prose as an art form has something bad prose does not. Further, poetry has something good prose does not. . . . Even in the Bible the poetry adds a dimension lacking in the prose. In fact. the effect of any proposition, whether true or false, can be heightened if it is expressed in poetry or in artistic prose [me: or music] rather than in bald, formulaic statement.”

“As Christians, we must see that just becuse an artist – even a great artist – portrays a world view in writing or on canvas, it does not mean that we should automatically accept that world view. Art may heighten the impact of the world view . . . but it does not make something true. The truth of a world view presented by an artist must be judged on separate grounds than artistic greatness.”

“. . . the greater the artistic expression, the more important it is to consciously bring it and its world view under the judgment of Christ and the Bible.”

“. . . while we must use twentieth-century styles, we must not use them in such a way as to be dominated by the world views out of which they have arisen. . . . When you have finished playing, you must ask whether the people who have heard you play have understood what you have been doing. Have they heard your message clearly because you have used their modern idiom, or have they simply heard again what they have always heard . . . because you used their form?”

“. . . often we will use twentieth-century art forms, but we must be careful to keep them from distorting the world view which is distinctly ours as Christians.”

“If, therefore, Christianity has so much to say about the arts and to the artist, why is it that recently we have produced so little Christian art? . . . We have not produced Christian art because we have forgotten most of what Christianity says about the arts.”

“The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”

Art and the Bible is a short, east, and thought-provoking read. Available from Amazon: Art and the Bible

Leave a Reply