Reshaping the Church

How modern Christian art inspires believers

Posted May 06, 2024

by Shelby LaPorte

Photo by Caleb Minear for Unsplash

God gives everyone special gifts that we can use to honor him and spread his Word. The ability to create art is one of those gifts.

Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust for Unsplash

History Christian Art

Christian art, which incorporates subjects, themes and imagery from Christianity, is not a new development — it has existed since the late 2nd century, according to Britannica. While there were some spiritual and emotional restraints on Christian art, by the early 4th century, it could be found in homes, churches and public spaces, according to Britannica.

However, this style of art began to become less popular and didn’t have the same impact it once did, according to Apollo Magazine.

“By 1914 most traditional religious art had gone emotionally and spiritually dead on people,” according to Apollo Magazine.

Modern Christian art began in the early 20th century, and this was a time where artists began to express their faith through new techniques and styles, according to Modern Christian Art.

“This form of art serves as a bridge between the ancient traditions of Christianity and the modern world, allowing believers to connect with their faith on a deeper level,” according to Modern Christian Art.

Modern Christian art takes attributes of classical art and combines them with more modern faith expressions, according to Modern Christian Art. Over time, new mediums have been incorporated into this form of art.

These mediums can include digital art with multimedia elements and this allows artists to spread the essence of faith in a lively and captivating way, according to Modern Christian Art.

Sculptures are also a way for artists to depict biblical stories and their messages. They can act as striking visual prompts of the lasting strength of Christian faith and the elegance of expressing spirituality, according to Modern Christian Art.

Photo by Daian Gan for Pexels

The Impact

“Through vibrant colors, intricate details, and thought-provoking imagery, modern Christian art invites believers to reflect on their own spirituality and deepen their connection with God,” according to Modern Christian Art.

When engaging with a work of art, a believer has the opportunity to have an encounter that can bring them closer to God, according to Loyola University Chicago.

“By immersing themselves in the beauty and symbolism of these artworks, believers can experience a sense of awe, reverence, and spiritual renewal,” according to Modern Christian Art.

Experiencing awe, reverence and spiritual renewal is, in turn, a way for believers to strengthen their faith. By encountering biblical stories and messages represented through modern Christian art, believers can better understand their own faith.

Art and Discipleship

Modern Christian art depicts different stories of the Bible and their messages, and Christians can use this craft as a way to disciple, Bill Mowry wrote in an article for Navigators Church Ministries.

“At its most basic level, good art does three things: it grabs our souls, it captures our imaginations, and it reflects a disciplined craft,” Mowry wrote.

Art captures the hearts of people and changes them, and this transformation is what happens through the Holy Spirit when we disciple, said Mowry. In addition, creating art requires imagination therefore artful discipleship requires imagination. Being able to tap into one’s imagination to create art is a God-given craft and that craft can be used to disciple.

“Disciplemaking needs an artist’s touch,” Mowry wrote.

A Look at Modern Christian Artists

There are several modern artists that have had an impact on Christianity through their work. Lance Brown, Thomas Kinkade, Daniel Jimick, Michael Hanson and Carlos Cazares are only a handful of these artists.

Lance Brown is a Christian speed painter — an artist that paints live — who has developed a ministry called Painted Christ, according to his website. Brown hopes through his speed paintings, God will speak individually to all those watching him paint.

“Lance’s desire is that his ministry, Painted Christ, will open the door for God to speak personally and individually to everyone in the audience through artistic expression,” according to his website.

Thomas Kinkade is one of the most collected living artists, and he credits God for the gift that he has been able to share with the world, according to God Reports. Kinkade identifies light as a fundamental characteristic of God and has worked to have light emerge in his works.

God touched many people after seeing this light in his paintings, according to God Reports.

Daniel Jimick, similarly to Kinkade, credits God for his work. “He hopes his art will evoke an awareness of a beautiful reality above and beyond the physical and point them towards a joyful relationship with Jesus Christ,” according to Jimick Art.

Michael Hanson has created paintings, drawings and sculptures through which he emphasizes the importance of the Gospel in today’s world and the journey from struggle to redemption, according to MHansonArt.

Carlos Cazares is a Mexican visual artist who specializes in paintings, sculptures and graphics.

“Through his art, Cázares seeks to expose his heart to the light of the Creator and constantly seeks a way to impress the life of God on his canvases,” as written on Carlos Cazares’ website.

Each of these modern Christian artists use their God-given talent to spread the message of the Gospel. We should all strive to use our gifts to fulfill God’s command to reach the nations so that each day, more people will find their home in Christ.

Shelby grew up in the Bay Area in California. She is currently a sophomore college student studying Journalism and Integrated Media with a Concentration in Writing and Publishing at Biola University. She hopes to pursue a career as a writer or editor.