What is Christian Art?

From Relevant by Zachary Perkins:

I was recently having a conversation on Facebook with a friend who was quite frustrated. His frustration stemmed from how Christians seem to stifle certain forms of art or put certain art into categories, calling them either “Christian” or “Secular.”

This has been an ongoing conversation among Christians. Prominent Christian artists such as Jon Foreman have spoken into the debate about “Christian songs.” Foreman said, “What is more Christ-like: feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds.”

It seems Foreman only touched the tip of the iceberg. There is a deep rift that has been slowly growing for decades, possibly even centuries, in Christian thought, and it’s bled into the modern creative Christian culture. Because of this divide, this “Christian” label we slap on art, we often think art made by Christians has to look or sound a certain way.

To those of us trying to live out our beliefs, art can seem dangerous because the art of our culture preaches the beliefs of the culture, and many of these beliefs run counter to the Christian values we hold. But our goal should not be to avoid “secular” art and media, or merely take art as it’s given to us and try to fix it, but to create our own art that is unique, meaningful and paradigm-shifting.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.


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