Colin Harbinson /TD>


Back to Articles

Article: REDEEMING THE ARTS (Continued)

Page 1 , 2

Redeeming Creator
Confusion over God's redemptive purposes, is to a large extent the result of an unbiblical "sacred-secular" dichotomy of reality. When this dual worldview is embraced, there is a failure to line up our thinking with the Psalmist when he declares; "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."17 There is, however, the correct Biblical truth of the Holy and profane. The Hebrew words for Holy, speak of a clean place morally and ceremonially. Words used for profane suggest woundedness, stain and defilement. This points to the fact that the object, person, place or area of life to which the word profane refers, has at some point been whole, unstained and undefiled.

The Hebraic term JHVH-Elohim, Redeeming Creator, beautifully articulates the meaning of Calvary. God is in the process of redeeming all aspects of His creation. We are to work with Him in the ministry of reconciliation He has given us.18

The arts are God's good gifts to us. They are not to be feared and avoided because they have become "wounded and stained." We are to be involved with God in the reclamation process, so that the arts will again reflect His
original creational purpose for them, of glory and beauty.

In his book, Eternity In Their Hearts,19 Missiologist Don Richardson develops this theme of cultural redemption, within the context of tribal peoples. He sees in every culture, what he calls the Melchizedek factor. That is, the God given redemptive aspects of His original creational intent. Richardson also identifies what he calls the Sodom factor, the sinful perversion of certain aspects of culture formation. The redemptive process involves the calling forth and affirmation of the Melchizedek factors within a culture, and the recognition of, and repentance from the Sodom or distorted issues.

Artistic Reconciliation
The hallmark of truth is its universal application. When we talk of the redemption, reconciliation and reclamation of the arts, the same principles apply. Sadly, the only thing many Christians see is the Sodom or distortion factor in the arts. Because of this, the arts are relegated to Satan's domain, and abandoned to their own woundedness. Many aspects of the arts have become sin-stained and distorted. God wants the Church to be involved with Him in reversing this situation. This can begin, when it is acknowledged that God is the creator and source of the arts. Only then can we seek to discern the difference between the holy and profane manifestation of the gift. Calling forth and affirmation are appropriate responses to the former,as are discernment and repentance to the latter. Biblical reconciliation, means to 'bring into harmony' with God's original creational intent. When an individual, culture or area of life is reconciled to God, it is brought into harmony with the principles of His word. It should still, however, continue to own its individual and unique reflection, mirroring the creative diversity of God, the original artist.

The Opposite Spirit
Cultural redemption and reconciliation involves the pulling down of sinful strongholds that have influenced the arts. The spiritual principle of coming in the opposite spirit, illustrated by the scripture "a gentle answer turns
away wrath,"20 is a key weapon of our warfare. We are not talking here about a reactionary approach to sin. When such an attitude is taken, we allow legalism to inform our faith. Christianity is subsequently defined in terms of what we 'don't' do. Coming in the opposite spirit is the Jesus style. Satan's strategies are then counteracted, as appropriate spiritual responses render him powerless. In this way, gentleness defeats anger and humility overcomes pride.As we apply this truth, the power of sin is neutralized. This can be shown as we consider the distortion of idolatry in the arts. The opposite of idolatry, isworship of God. If we are engaged in a lifestyle of worshiping the Creator, we will not easily be tempted to idolatrous worship of the created.

Instruments Of Worship

Corporate worship, or any creative expression of worship, must emanate from the overflow of the secret place. David's dancing before the ark, was surely the outworking of his demonstrative worship, recorded in the Psalms. Creative expressions of worship do not readily emerge in a group context; they are first developed as a lifestyle before the throne. A group of trained dancers wanted to use their gift of movement in the service of proclamation and worship. Before being released by the Lord to do this, they learned to use their bodies as instruments of worship. For one year, they practiced dance technique in the mornings. In the afternoons they worshiped God individually and as a group, with an emphasis on movement expression. This became such a natural attitude, that when they eventually performed in public, they did so as an act of worship. As a result, audiences were drawn into the presence of God.

God's Pleasure
A young man with an outstanding international ministry in music and worship leading, confessed recently to a major breakthrough in his life. For years he struggled with the need for affirmation following a worship service, or a concert performance. God showed him the root of this need. He had never known approval from his father. More importantly, he had never really sensed the approval of God, as he exercised his musical gift. From that moment on, he began each day by playing for his Heavenly Father. His keyboard became a natural part of his worship. It wasn't long before he could identify with Eric Liddell, the athlete in the film Chariots of Fire, who said that when he ran, he could 'feel God's pleasure.' It is only as worship, that our creative expression of the Imago Dei is freed to find ultimate release and meaning before our Redeeming Creator, the source of all glory and beauty.


1 Genesis 1.1
2 Genesis 1.31
3 Genesis 1.27
4 Abraham Kuyper, Calvinism, (Grand Rapid:W.B.Eerdmans, 1943), p. 142
5 Genesis 2.15 (NAS)
6 Walsh and Middleton, The Transforming Vision, (Downers Grove, Illinois:
InterVarsity Press, 1984), p. 55
7 Genesis 2.9
8 Exodus 31.4
9 Exodus 28.40, 41 (NAS)
10 Leyland Ryken, The Liberated Imagination, (Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw
Publishers, 1989), p. 61
11 Daniel J.Boorstin, The Creators, (New York: Random House, 1992), p. 5
12 Exodus 32.1-10
13 C.S.Lewis, The Great Divorce, (New York: Macmillan, 1946), p. 81
14 Numbers 21.4-9
15 2 Kings 18.4
16 Gospel of John 3.14
17 Psalms 24.1
18 II Corinthians 6.17,18
19 Don Richardson, Eternity In Their Hearts, (Ventura, California: Regal
Books, 1984)
20 Proverbs 15.1

© 1993 Colin Harbinson
Not to be copied, in part or whole, without written permission. Quotations

Back to Articles

Page 1 , 2

Home | Top





© 2021 Colin Harbinson Email Colin: