A Skeptic's Guide to Arts in the Church: Ruminations on Twenty Reservations
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Evangelical discourse on the role of arts in the church can be radioactive, and the twenty-one contributors to this book walk right into the “hot zone” to pick up on twenty contentious questions. The volume is a series of written dialogues, each one keyed to a cranky question, one that a skeptic might raise (hence the title). Herein, the gainsayers are taken seriously and given their voice. They even find support in some of the contributors’ comments. But apologists for greater use of arts and artists in the church have their say, and things can get edgy.
Topics range from the biblically august (the Second Commandment; the regulative principle; Great Commission priorities) to the prudential (expense; “bohemian” influence; weaker brothers) to the programmatic (Christmas festivities; committee makeup). Some of the parties to the discussion are church staffers (pastors and ministers of music); some are professors; several are doctoral students; one is a college student; another, a gallery owner; yet another, a denominational ethicist; and there’s a Canadian and a Korean in the mix. The collection of speakers and opinions is illuminating and bracing, and the fruit of their thinking makes for great reading and discussion.
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