Category Archives: Articles on Aesthetics

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The idea of beauty is present in the first chapters of the Bible, as God creates and then makes the evaluative judgement that it was “good”. God was not judging the morality of the world, but praising the the beauty of creation. The Bible opens with God creating a cosmos which was aesthetically pleasing to… Continue Reading

Beauty in Scripture’s Words and Forms

Beauty in Scripture’s Words and Forms

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

C. S. Lewis once wrote that the modern dilemma is either to taste and not to know or to know and not to taste—or, more strictly, to lack one kind of knowledge because we are in an experience or to lack another kind because we are outside it. As thinkers we are cut off from… Continue Reading

Beauty in the Hebrew Bible

Beauty in the Hebrew Bible

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Few Christians would say that beauty is unbiblical. After all, they vaguely remember references to “the beauty of holiness” or the desire “to behold the beauty of the LORD”. But many might think of beauty as extra-biblical: mostly an aesthetic and philosophical concept, more at home in art galleries and philosophy lecture-halls than in churches… Continue Reading

In Pursuit of a Doxology

In Pursuit of a Doxology

This entry is part of 4 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In 1962, A. W. Tozer warned that the evangelical church was missing a jewel. “Now, worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism. We’re organized; we work; we have our agendas. We have almost everything, but there’s one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have: that is the ability to worship.… Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Sons

A Tale of Two Sons

A great king had two sons, who were come to the age where one should be named as the crown prince. The custom of that country was that the king would choose his heir directly, without weight given to birth-order. He was hard-pressed at the choice, for they both loved him and had noble and… Continue Reading

Two Views on Christ’s Invitation

Two Views on Christ’s Invitation

Below are two works of Christian imagination. Both attempt to depict what it means for Christ to invite sinners to Himself, and how sinners should understand themselves. On closer examination, however, they are nearly opposite in meaning. We do not see the same Christ, the same Gospel and the same dilemma of the sinner in… Continue Reading

On Baby Grands and Expensive Hymnals

On Baby Grands and Expensive Hymnals

“Why this waste?”, said the greediest member of the Twelve. Judas’ supposed concern with helping the poor and for efficient use of ministry finances was really a facade for his unvarnished envy. Judas wanted money, and like every jealous soul, disliked money being spent lavishly on someone else. The sentiment that it is frivolous waste… Continue Reading

Christians and Critical Judgments

Christians and Critical Judgments

This entry is part 16 of 38 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Most Christians are happy to accept the authority of expert opinion. What is instructive to note is which domains of knowledge they are comfortable to refer to experts, as opposed to those in which they actively oppose expert opinion. To paraphrase what I wrote to one commenter, Christians are happy to listen to experts when… Continue Reading

Adoring With Caravaggio

Adoring With Caravaggio

Take some time to consider Caravaggio’s Adoration of the Shepherds. Don’t scan and speed-read, but if you have the time, stop and stare. First, where is the focal point of this painting? Where does our gaze go first, and where does it seem to land? Is there more than one focal point? Are we above,… Continue Reading

Worship forms regulated by Scripture

Worship forms regulated by Scripture

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This is the final post in a series I’ve been writing over the past couple months in order to more thoroughly develop an idea I presented in By the Waters of Babylon, namely, that the aesthetic forms in our corporate worship should be regulated by the aesthetic forms of Scripture. In this series, I have argued… Continue Reading

Fittingness

Fittingness

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I argued that if we believe in verbal-plenary inspiration, then the meaning of the aesthetic forms we employ in our contemporary worship must accurately correspond to the meaning Scripture’s aesthetic forms had in their original context. What we need to concern ourselves with is what both Kevin Vanhoozer and Nicholas Wolterstorff call “fittingness.”1 Wolterstorff defines fittingness… Continue Reading

Aesthetic Correspondence

Aesthetic Correspondence

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In this series of essays, I have argued that Scripture presents God’s truth to us, not merely in didactic propositions, but also (in fact, mostly!) through various aesthetic forms. Therefore, when we attempt to translate the truth of Scripture into contemporary forms of communication, we must be certain that the meaning of the original text is accurately… Continue Reading

Translating the Aesthetic Forms of Scripture

Translating the Aesthetic Forms of Scripture

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In By the Waters of Babylon, I make a brief statement about how the aesthetic forms of Scripture should guide and regulate worship forms today. In this series, I am attempting to flesh out that argument a bit more. Up to this point, I have argued that truth expressed in Scripture is not merely scientific fact… Continue Reading

Verbal, Plenary Inspiration and the Aesthetics of Scripture

Verbal, Plenary Inspiration and the Aesthetics of Scripture

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A couple of friends asked for clarification and explanation of a claim I make in By the Waters of Babylon, in which I argue that the aesthetic forms of Scripture should regulate our worship forms today. I am attempting to answer that request in a series of posts. The basis for my argument of extending biblical… Continue Reading

Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture

Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I’d like to take a few posts over the next several weeks to respond to one criticism of something I wrote, but did not develop, in a very brief section in By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, published last year by Kregel. In that book, I suggest that instead of our worship… Continue Reading

Why Tolkien Wrote About Middle-Earth

Why Tolkien Wrote About Middle-Earth

Some Evangelicals’ credo might be: “There is only one Tolkien, and Peter Jackson is his Prophet.” While there is no denying that the art of John Howe and Alan Lee made the films a visual feast, or that Howard Shore’s scores were moving and memorable, let us set aside the movies for a moment and return to… Continue Reading

Why Christians Should Care About Meaning in Art

Why Christians Should Care About Meaning in Art

Christians claim to be concerned with meaning. They debate over the meaning of texts of Scripture, and urge particular hermeneutics, so as to arrive at the correct meaning of Scripture. Many claim to be concerned with the meaning of cultural trends, explaining their ethical significance. Some are fascinated with current events, and are hungry to… Continue Reading

Chestless Churches

Chestless Churches

What would ‘Churches Without Chests” look like? To use a strictly Lewisian definition, it would be groups of professing believers without ‘the spirited element’. In plain language, that would be believers who have profoundly under-developed parts of their souls. Chestless churches would be: Churches Without Beauty. The music, the poetry, the rhetoric in the sermons,… Continue Reading

Sweetly Destructive

Sweetly Destructive

Sentimentalism would not be high on pastors’ lists of threats to the church, were they to be polled for such a thing. False doctrine, lack of commitment, entertainment culture, the homosexual lobby, Youtube attention spans, radical Islam, the prosperity gospel, declining missions, pornography, moral failure in leaders, pragmatism and a host of others might be… Continue Reading

What Churches Take For Granted (But No Longer Should)

What Churches Take For Granted (But No Longer Should)

A first-grade teacher does not require, but typically expects the five and six-year-olds that arrive in class to be able to: * understand enough language to communicate with other humans * eat their own food without assistance * sit in a chair (or on the floor) without rolling on the stomach and flailing helplessly *… Continue Reading