When Christian Artists Learn Apologetics
Apologetics gives artists confidence to speak into the darkness
by Alex Aili
During the first class of the morning at the small Christian college, our professor stopped the lecture and used his walking stick, curiously similar to a wizard’s staff, to step from behind the podium to the front of the class. He did this when he really wanted us to listen.
He leaned on the staff as if he was Pastor Gandalf and scanned the class before muttering a kernel of weathered wisdom. It was a heartfelt opinion, but it resonated with the force of a command: “Christians ought to be at the forefront of every discipline.”
Are we at the forefront of the Art that’s shaping our culture?
No. We’re lagging, relying on tropes and stereotypes to preach simplistic sermons when people want to experience compelling stories (although The Case for Christ is a recent example of success).
So yes, we must learn how to make better art, but what good is that if we aren’t speaking the same language as the culture around us?
In Apologetics and The Christian Imagination, Holly Ordway insists that the lost meaning of Christian terminology is what prevents many believers from being intelligible to unbelievers. For example, our world doesn’t hear “Jesus,” “faith” or “sin” as defined by Christians. She argues that an effective, and underused, way to reclaim lost meaning is to create art with sound doctrine (her specific focus in the book, however, is apologetical literature).
In a word, Christian artists need to learn apologetics in addition to their craft. If you have the creative drive and you believe Jesus is the Son of God, then learn apologetics. Know what you believe and why. Your art will be better because you’ll be confident enough to tackle tough issues.
Christian artists don’t have to hide in the realm of “self-expression.” If we study apologetics, the more we’ll naturally see how we can demonstrate Christianity’s implications in our work.
For a start, here are 4 habits to ignite artistic apologetics…
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