*This is part one of a series of articles, underlining what it means to be an artist and a Reformer. What follows here is an adaptation of an article from Desiring God. It is critical to the ultimate mission of the Reformed artist that the foundations of our faith be firmly established and understood.*
“In an age of corruption and false teaching, the Protestant Reformers returned to the Scriptures. There they found the way of salvation. Instead of indulgences, the Mass, relics, and other superstitions, they rediscovered the ancient way of salvation: the gospel.
The five solas were their attempt to summarize biblical teaching on salvation. That God makes us alive and is completely for us: By God’s grace alone, on the basis of Christ alone, received through faith alone, to the glory of God alone, with Scripture alone as the only, final, decisive, authority on truth.
The reception of these truths — if found in the Bible — is not about what some people thought 500 years ago. It’s about how we can experience everlasting judgment or joy forever.”
Being an artist in the Reformed Church brings its own set of difficulties that other artists, writers, and musicians don’t face — we are compelled and constrained to align our creative works with the message of the Gospel of Christ. We don’t just take biblical ideas and images and incorporate them into our creative process, rather we take our creative process and thoughtfully apply it to the immutable and infallible truths of the Word of God. Furthermore, we are called to approach our arts in a humble and loving manner, seeking first the glory of God and His Kingdom.
Our job takes care and wisdom, and we don’t always get it right, but we keep pressing on for the upward call! Is this calling easy?.. No. Not always… But is it doable?.. By grace, yes…
First Thessalonians 1:9–10: “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
Romans 8:7–8: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Ephesians 2:1–5: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved . . .”
Piper, John. “What are the five solas? (pt1)”. Desiring God. https://www.desiringgod.org/labs/what-are-the-five-solas.