The Apostle Paul was very concerned about relevancy. He wanted to make every effort to make the gospel clear and accessible to as many people as possible. “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible,” he said. (I Cor. 9:19 NIV) We too must be concerned about relevancy for the same reason.
The Bible says that without vision, people perish. Vision lifts the limitations we frequently put on the spread of the Gospel through lack of creativity. Some of this “lack” is in the area of the arts through music, storytelling, drama and art.
Throughout the years, religious art has been used to communicate biblical truth. Whether it was to the sophisticated upper crust of society in Rome or the illiterate villager in the backwaters of the country – art was used to convey spiritual truth. Go to any old cathedral and you will see murals, stained glass windows and carvings all depicting an aspect of Bible truth.
I challenge gifted followers of Jesus everywhere to ask God for ways to leverage their giftings to herald the truth of Jesus through art. And here are some reasons why.
1. The eye-gate is often more receptive than the ear-gate. Information received through the eye is burned in the memory, whereas through the ear, it is often a case of “in one ear and out the other.”
2. Art provides us with a universal language. It speaks to all races and cultures. Art is communication that crosses age barriers, language barriers, denominational barriers, cultural barriers, social and class barriers, educational barriers and literacy barriers to penetrate the human soul with the life-saving truth of Jesus and awesomeness of God. Art can be a direct route to truth that circumvents arguments and philosophizing.
3. Art can capture the story of Jesus often more convincingly than through the pen of some theologian or the words of some orator. Art in illiterate cultures was looked on as the people’s Bible. One artist said: “The function of art is to render visible the Divine and affect the human soul.” Look at the masterpieces of history! One of the finest examples of this is the classic art piece by Holman Hunt called “The Light of the World.” It depicts Jesus knocking at a door. It is based on Revelation 3:20. This piece of art calls to our attention an important truth that often is not noticed. The latch is on the inside! The door must be opened from within. Jesus does not barge into one’s life uninvited. He is a gift that must be received.
4. Art brings out the beauty of God’s truth. For example, Jesus the Shepherd caring for his flock. Jesus walking on the water, overcoming the laws of nature. Jesus sitting with boys and girls, welcoming little children to come to him. The empty tomb that shouts to us “He is risen!”
Michael Card in his book Scribbling in the Sand said, “Perhaps we struggle to see the connection between worship and the call to be creative precisely because they are so intimately linked. We have forgotten that the call to creativity is a call to worship.” (See Ephesians 1:11-12)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love