“Christians tend to dismiss abstract art” by Philip Graham Ryken

“Some Christians continue to think that certain forms of art are more godly than others. They make a sharp distinction between the sacred and the secular, not recognizing that so-called secular art is an exploration of the world that God has made, and therefore has its place in deepening our understanding of God’s person and work. Christians usually prize symbolic art, especially if its symbolism is religious. Representational art is also valued because it imitates the world that God has made.

What Christians tend to dismiss is abstract art, especially as it has come to expression in modern art. Yet abstraction has God’s blessing as much as any other art form. The example of the tabernacle proves that God loves all kinds of art, in all kinds of media and all kinds of styles– provided, that is, that they are in keeping with the perfections of his character…

As Christians we are not limited to crosses and flannel-graphs, or to praise choruses and evangelistic skits. These simple forms may have their place in the life of the church, but God wants all of the arts to flourish in all the fullness of their artistic potential, so that we may discover the inherent possibilities of creation and thereby come to a deeper knowledge of our Creator.”

–Philip Graham Ryken, Art For God’s Sake (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2006), 34-5.

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Filed under Art, Christ & Culture, Christian Theology, Quotable Quotes, Worldview

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