Good taste is every Christian’s responsibility.

The Christian, the Arts, and Truth: Regaining the Vision of Greatness, by Frank E. Gaebelein; edited and with an introduction by D. Bruce Lockerbie (Multnomah Press, 1985, $12.95). Reviewed by James Vanden Bosch, associate professor of English, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Frank E. Gaebelein thought that Dorothy Sayers’s phrase “the snobbery of the banal” applied only too well to many evangelicals. “They are the kind of people,” he wrote, “who look down upon good music as highbrow, who confuse worship with entertainment, who deplore serious drama as worldly yet are contentedly devoted to third-rate television shows, whose tastes in reading run to the piously sentimental, and who cannot distinguish a kind of religious calendar art from honest art. For them better aesthetic standards are ‘egghead’ and spiritually suspect.”

Frank Gaebelein earned his right to speak so directly about evangelicals and taste. In the 1920s, he helped to plan and begin an experimental Christian prep school. Stony Brook School quickly became known for academic excellence and thoroughgoing commitment to the formation of Christian character. He was also an accomplished pianist, mountain climber, Bible scholar, and editor. After a satisfying 41-year career at Stony Brook School, Gaebelein took on another task—from 1963 through 1966, he was coeditor with Carl Henry of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

But Gaebelein left one large task unfinished when he died in 1983. Since the 1960s, he had been aware of the need for a study of aesthetics from a Christian point of view. By 1980, he had done enough work on the subject (in lectures and essays) to ...

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