Christians, Come Forth!!

(Reclaiming Art For Christ)

By Ovid Need, Jr.

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We are all familiar with I Sam. 13. Here we see that Saul had only been king for a year when he meets the first real test of his faith, (and we will meet that test also).

Israel had a small victory against the Philistines which naturally upset the Philistines. The Philistines gathered a huge army together to fight Israel, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude... The men of Israel saw this multitude and preparation of the enemy. They quickly forgot the previous victory and fled into the caves, thickets, rocks, high places and pits to get away from the enemy.

Samuel had told Saul that within seven days he would come (I Sam. 10:8), and offer burnt offerings... and show thee what thou shalt do. Saul looked around here in chp. 13, and saw the enemy's strength and his army fleeing for any place of safety and he proceeded to make the offering and intercession without waiting for Samuel.

Of course, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; Samuel asked Saul, what hast thou done? Saul said that because he saw the people fleeing in fear of the Philistines and the Philistines gathering, getting ready for an attack, he felt he needed to go ahead with the offering. He didn't really have time to obey God's word and wait upon the Lord. Things were too pressing. Because Saul did not keep the commandment of the Lord, the Lord took the kingdom away from him.

There are many points here in chp.. 13, which we will not even discuss now. But there is a point we do want to make, and this is in v. 6. Rather than the people of God finding strength from former victories and standing firm upon the promises of God in the face of the overwhelming odds of the enemy, they crawled into the caves or any place where they could hide.

This brings us to some things we see going on around us, more commonly known as the New Age Movement. Let us be quick to point out that it is not new. This revolt against God started in Isaiah 14:12-15, when Lucifer said, I will be like the most high. We can follow this revolt through in Ps. 2.

The New Age Movement is the same old rebellion against the Lord and his Christ which tempted Eve and which Adam gave in to. The new, is new clothes, colors, and methods. Sad to say, the other thing that makes it new is a new response from the people of God, hiding away from society.

The only reason that it is gaining so much strength is because the people of God are: 1.) Emphasizing the strength of the antichrist crowd; 2.) Forgetting the promises of God; 3.) Failing to emphasize the victory which is theirs if they will obey the commandments of God and wait on Him to instruct them, I Sam. 13:13. We have done foolishly by not keeping His commandments.

(We might mention here, that the most effective method of the New Agers for destroying Christianity is the government schools. Because Christians won't admit that those schools are antichrist, the New Agers are gaining even the next generation of the Christian's children. If the professed Christians would only obey God's commandments in this one area alone, the New Age movement would lose a very large percentage of its power and influence. The so called New Age Movement isn't new, nor is it any more powerful than it was in King David's day. The thing that gives it all of its power is that Christians have delivered their children [as well as many, many other areas], to those promoting this rebellion. The problem is not the strength of the New Agers, the problem is the lack of faith and Christian consistency in the body of Christ. Deut. chps. 28-32, etc., is extremely clear on this.)

Because of this, God's people are fearful and have lost their ability to fight an effective warfare. Christians have withdrawn from society with, "What's the use? The word of God says things are going to get worse, so let it go." This is ungodly to say the least.

I have before me an article by Patrick J. Buchanan, Hurrah for Helms (Human Events, 8/12/89). Helms introduced an amendment, "to ban federal funding, through the National Endowment for the Arts, for obscene or indecent materials including... depictions of sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts." The article goes on to describe some of the "art" which tax dollars go to support, including the infamous "Piss Christ". (Copy of article upon request.)

Now the meat of the article, (which should have been written by a pastor or Bible-believing Theologian). ""Art is the signature of man," said G. K. Chesterton. Sculptor and art historian H. Reed Armstrong adds: "Whether it be the religious fervor of the Middle Ages, the humanism of the Renaissance, or the romanticism of the 19th Century, the visual artist is the medium who most faithfully reflects the spirit of the age. The "art" of the 20th Century is a fearful indictment of our culture. It is the fruitless art of "liberated man", disunited from the cause of his being... The "artist" of today "fulfills himself" as does the cancerous cell, in total disregard of the life of the organism which feeds and nourishes it.""

Let's pause to note something. He correctly identified these three ages. The Middle Ages was the strength of Christianity. The Renaissance, the rebirth of humanism (this is why we hear so much positive about the Renaissance), and the 19th Century, the age of romanticism, ["The need for unfaithfulness as a principle came to focus in an organized movement, romanticism. Scott's description of the romantic fallacy" is excellent: "it identifies beauty with strangeness." The logic of this position is that, the stranger the object, person, or act, the better it is to the romantic. In Newton's words, "The romantic...can never rejoice in the normal. What interests him must be the exceptional." This means interest in "Mystery, abnormality, and conflict," a dislike of "whatever is law-abiding, whatever conforms to a pattern." The romantic "refuses to acknowledge the existence of law as applied to self- expression...." "thou shalt be exceptional and follow that which is exceptional" is his only commandment.... Abnormality is the negative of law. Its very existence depends on its refusal to conform to law-abiding behavior." This means that freedom is identified with evil, sexual expression with unfaithfulness and perversion, artistic ability with violations of standards and perversity, and character with instability. The growth of perversion and perversity in every area of life is proportionate to the decline of faith and faithfulness." The Institutes of Biblical Law, pgs. 446, 447. R.J. Rushdoony. The Craig Press.]

To further confuse the subject, let's look at Webster's definition (Forth Edition, unabridged). Under "romantic, a... 6. of, characteristic of, or supposedly characteristic of romanticism and Romantic Movement: contrasted with classical, realistic, etc."

Under "romantic, n...3. [pl.] romantic characteristics, thoughts, ways, etc.. Romantic Movement; the revolt in the 18th and early 19th centuries against the artistic, political, and religious principles that had become associated with neoclassicism: characterized in literature and in the arts by liberalism in form and subject matter, emphasis on feeling and originality, the use of imaginative suggestions, and sympathetic interest in primitive nature, medievalism, and the mystical."

Note these definitions. The Romatic in this use of the word, is contrasted with what is already established and is realistic, and by realistic we are referring to, in terms of God's word. Sad to say, much of so called art today fits within this Romanticism. Not only art but almost everything around us is an attack upon God's established order. People in all walks of life are seeing who can be the first in their attack against established reality and who can attack it the hardest. When we get down to it, Romanticism would be acting on wishful thinking.

One more point. The Romantic emphasizes feelings and originality over established reality. This describes a very large percentage of "Christianity", and organized churches.

Continuing on. "T.S. Eliot saw it coming. Culture, he wrote 50 years ago, is the "incarnation... of the religion of a people." "If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes..." "A whole paradigm shift to New Age paganism has taken over the arts," Reed Armstrong wrote recently: "Conservatives had best become interested in art if they wish to see civilization survive into the 21st Century."

This is all important: Not simply to cut out the rot, but to seek out, to find, to celebrate the good, the true, the beautiful. But, first, tell Jesse to hold the fort; help is on the way."

My goodness, what an article: what an indictment against so called Christians who have fled to their holes and pits and have turned over the Arts to the pagans. Christians even purchase that rot which is called, "Modern Art". For God's sake, we should not use the funds He has entrusted into our care to support that antichrist crowd. Christians look around and see the strength of the antichrist crowd. They run into their hole to get away from it all and say, "That area (Art, in this case), doesn't concern me. All I'm interested in is being more spiritual and winning souls." They ask, "What can I do or what kind of a conference can I attend to make me feel better?" This is Romanticism and death to Christianity.

Here is a secular writer, Pat Buchanan, calling on Christians to come out of their holes, caves and pits and reclaim the Arts for the glory of God. Bechanan points out that if they don't, many centuries of Barbarism will set in.

The followers of J.N. Darby will no doubt echo his thoughts as he said that Art (Science, Math, etc.), is a proper pursuit for a Christian only if he is a worldly person. "Let the dead bury their dead; and let the world study the things of the world... But such studies cannot be eagerly followed by the Christian, except when he yields to unbelief." (See The Puritan Hope, pg. 203. Iain H. Murray. The Banner of Truth Trust.)

When any activity of life is placed on a lower level for a Christian (such as the heresy mentioned above), that area will be taken over by the pagans. The result is the loss of a Christian culture.

What is the answer? There are several which are readily apparent. First urge your congressmen to support Helms' amendment, (by the time you get this, it will probably already have been acted on). Second, quit purchasing that so called "Modern Art". When we do purchase it we are supporting those who are in rebellion against the Lord and His Christ. Third, war against any inclination to reduce the gospel to Romanticism, a "make me feel good" message. The word of God is real, it is practical, it is instruction for right living in every area of life. Whether for the artist, the musician, the welders, the auto- mechanic, the truck driver, the soldier, the salesman, the printer, the politician, the preacher. The word of God instructs us how to do everything.

Fourth. It is time we realize that the Arts (and all the above mentioned areas as well as thousands of more areas), are as much a part of the Kingdom of God as is preaching or teaching the word of God. These things are as spiritual as is soul-winning, (although soul-winning must be the leading edge of the Kingdom work). Our people with these talents must be urged to use them for the glory of God, I Cor. 10:31.

When we ignore these areas and don't address them from the word of God, we turn them over to the antichrist crowd. When we emphasize the strength of the Philistines (New Agers), over the power and victory of God through obedience to His command-word (see Joshua 1:7, 8), God's people will flee in fear to their holes.

It's time that Christians come forth out of their hiding places. Those hiding places of: 1.) Ignoring the problem; 2.) Refusing to admit that the word of God requires action in those areas; 3.) Refusing to accept responsibility; 4.) Unwilling to make the sacrifice to reclaim them; 5.) Refusing to address these areas from God's word.

If we don't come forth out of our holes, we deserve what we get, Barbarism. Even the secular writers can see this coming.

(For a more in-depth treatment of the Arts in a Christian perspective, see, How Should We Then Live, by Francis A. Schaffer. Crossway Books. Chp. 10.)

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