Originally presemted by Alex Anderson at the ARF Kgotla

“According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the Tabernacle, and the pattern of all the  furniture thereof, even so shall you make it.” (Exodus chapter 25 verse 9)

God himself showed us in Moses. “the pattern”

What place has art, particularly fine arts and sculpture, in the modern  Christian life?. Have we not lost the ” pattern”?

“As evangelical Christians we have tended to relegate art to the very fringe of life. The rest of human life is felt to be more important.”.

Man is created in the image of God. ( Genesis 1 v26 to 27) God made the whole man. This means that for the Christian, Jesus Christ has Dominion over his whole intellectual and creative capacity.

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Have we encouraged and nurtured,in this age, art as an important means for glorifying and worshipping Almighty God?

Scripture does not forbid the making of representational art. Leviticus 26v.1one clearly stipulates that to worship art, in the form of a “graven image” is wrong, making art is not.

Nevertheless in the post-reformation era much of what was executed by way of creative art and architecture under the patronage of the church has seriously declined. Art is an important  characteristic of Culture.

Are  Protestant evangelicals thus not answerable for the cultural  impoverishment of the modern era?

“All that we have produced is a very  romantic  Sunday school art. We do not seem to understand that the arts too are supposed to be under the Lordship of  Christ.” Francis A Schaeffer

Given this cultural void what is it that needs to be done to correct this continuing omission in our legacy.?

Visual art, both painting and sculpture, has produced memorable and lasting statements that have powerfully contributed to enhancing our experience and understanding of the Christian faith.

Works have reinforced and glorified the message and human experience of both the old and new Testaments. They have assisted in our understanding of the Truth. Are similar  portrayals in the modern genre not capable of furthering and exploring God’s message to mankind.

Such representations can also be used as a means of exposing challenging some of the waywardness and inadequacies that so sadly detract from the witness of the Christian Church:

  • Symbolising the divided church as a divided body.
  • Paedophilic behaviour as instanced in the experience of some of the work of the Catholic Church.
  • Inter Denominational belligerence and strife.
  • War and xenophobia
  • Pollution and disregard for God’s creation with resultant climatic consequences.
  • Christian disregard for the lost unemployed and homeless

Pictures make powerful and often denigrating impact to characterize the controversial issues of the time the church is often the victim but can also use art to its own advantage and benefit in the secular world. Example of the denigrating:

Consider indeed other aspects of our current Christian witness. What legacy will we leave for the next generation by way of Christ like accomplishment when it comes to:l

  • Theological enlightenment that finds harmony.?
  • Community building.?
  • Successful records of soteriorlogical accomplishment given the strength and extent of mass media communication.?
  • Courageous and demographicaly significant missionary endeavour?.

Our forebears have achieved much. What is our testimony?