Article: CALVIN, THE ARTS & WORSHIP
by Colin Harbinson
The arts, then, can bring something of value to public worship, can be exercised in obedience to the Word of God and can be a genuine offering to Him. Public worship can use the fiction of drama, the expressive gestures of dance and mime, the created story, the poetic form, the visual arts and music and song to bring a congregation nearer to God and reveal facets of the truth He has given to human beings. Art can speak to the heart with power and conviction; it can fire the imagination and bring its own response that can be worked out in a life of service and praise. But it must be true art, the highest form of craftsmanship, finding its meaning in Christ and its service to God.
The late John Wilson was a self-educated, Scottish Presbyterian. He worked in a steel plant in Motherwell, and devoted much of his spare time to study and sharing his learning with others. This chapter from his book, One of the Richest Gifts, was edited and adapted by Colin Harbinson with permission from The Handsel Press, Edinburgh, Scotland, who published the book in 1981.
1 Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism (Gainesville, FL: Associated Publishers
2 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeil (Philadelphia:
3 Quoted in H. R. Van Til, The Calvinist Concept of Culture (Phillipsburg, NJ:
4 Van Til, 110.
5 John Calvin, The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life (Faverdale, NC:
6 John Davison, “Reformation in the Meeting House,” Reformation Today,