Something of a renaissance of evangelical interest in literature and the arts is under way. In the wake of growing scholarly productiveness and renewed concern for the social outcomes of the Gospel, there are signs that evangelicals are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities in aesthetics. Annual Writers Conferences on the Wheaton College campus, meetings on Christianity and the arts at such colleges as Houghton, use of religious drama at Gordon College and elsewhere, the openness of many a department of music and of fine arts to contemporary modes of expression, and the appearance of groups like the Fellowship of Christians in the Arts, Media, and Entertainment—these are signs of what is going on.
At the root of evangelical Christianity is its biblical heritage. The great company of Christians who hold the basic doctrines of the Gospel are pre-eminently people of the Book. For them, the written Word is the inspired source of knowledge of their divine Saviour and Lord; in its pages they find what they are to believe about God and what duty he requires of them. They are obligated to see every aspect of life in relation to the incarnate Word and to the written Word that bears witness to him.
“But,” thoughtful Christians are asking, “what about the relation of our biblical heritage to literature and the arts?” What about it indeed, in these days when none of us is exempt from the influence of the mass media and other powerful aesthetic forces?
Some think commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the inspired Word of God and the rule for all of life is a hindrance to aesthetic expression and appreciation. Complete fidelity to Scripture, they say, leaves little place for anything but religious use of the arts; they consider ...1
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