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Art for God's Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts
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Art for God's Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  328 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Encourages Christian artists in the pursuit of their calling and provides artists and non-artists alike a short introduction to thinking Christianly about the arts.
Paperback, 64 pages
Published April 2nd 2006 by P & R Publishing
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Jan 20, 2008 Melanie rated it liked it
Recommended to Melanie by: C. Vaughan (Winthrop)
A favorite quote:

"The problem with some modern and postmodern art is that it seeks to offer truth at the expense of beauty. It tells the truth only about ugliness and alienation, leaving out the beauty of creation and redemption. A good deal of so-called Christian art tends to have the opposite problem. It tries to show beauty without admitting the truth about sin, and to that extent it is false--dishonest about the tragic implications of our depravity...Such a world may be nice to imagine, but
Mar 02, 2015 Hope rated it really liked it
Art for God's Sake is a manifesto for artists of all types to do what they do for the glory of God, basically debunking the addage that art needs no reason for being, i.e, It's just "Art for art's sake." Not only is the book meant to encourage artists in their calling, it is also meant to give non-artists a short introduction to thinking Christianly about the arts.

Some reviewers said it was too simplistic, but for someone like me (with no art background), the simplicity was a huge plus. I underl
Becky Pliego
May 01, 2012 Becky Pliego rated it liked it
Good, but not quite substantial.

My favorite quote:

"Christian Art is redemptive, and this is its highest purpose. art is always an interpretation of reality, and the Christian should interpret reality in its total aspect, including the hope that has come into the world through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rather than giving in to meaningless and despair, Christian artists know that there is a way out."
Apr 26, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it
Starts out sounding like a very simplistic concept with obvious points and narrow scripture references but as the chapters move along the focus becomes deeper and more enduring. The author's opinion is voiced in a couple places that feel unnecessary and caught me up for a second. Luckily they did not detract from the overall message of the book. A good, quick read that is prompting me to read about the references he makes to other authors. This is my life's goal: To make art for God's sake.
vittore paleni
May 25, 2013 vittore paleni rated it liked it
Good and solid but rather light. In my opinion Rookmaaker's shot booklet is much better on the subject.
Robbie Pruitt
Aug 29, 2012 Robbie Pruitt rated it it was amazing
Art for God's Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts, by Philip Graham Ryken is a solid resource, which aids in nurturing a deeper understanding of the arts and assists in cultivating a Biblical worldview and theology of the arts.

Art for God’s Sake is an unassuming, simple, and easy to read book about recovering the arts and restoring them to their right place in God’s kingdom for God’s kingdom purposes, and to God’s own Glory. Ryken summarizes his work, “This is the Christian view of art: the artist
A short little book about God's plan for the arts, covering these four principles: 1) the artist's gift and call come from God; 2) God loves all kinds of art; 3) God maintains high standards for truth, beauty, and goodness; and 4) art is for the glory of God. Since it appears that our daughter will be going to art school, following in one of her brother's footsteps, I appreciated this reminder about God's perspective. These are good words: "What kind of art would be worthy of such a God? Only ...more
Cortney Joy
Mar 06, 2016 Cortney Joy rated it really liked it
"As Christians, we should lead the way in reclaiming the arts and restoring them to their true purpose."
Ryken is a talented author, never afraid to take on loose or difficult topics. In this book, he responds to two incorrect positions on art and the Church. First, he responds to those within the church who hesitate to welcome various arts into the realm of worship. We are often ready to welcome music but no other form of art. Ryken aptly addresses this timidity with scriptural backing. Second,
Brian Sooy
Apr 17, 2016 Brian Sooy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
While "Art For God's Sake" doesn't explore new ground, it is a quick and refreshing read to those familiar with Schaeffer, Rookmaker, and Gaebelein. It reminds the reader that art is intended for the glory of God, and calls readers to re-examine the perspective they hold on the arts, particularly the visual arts. In a world where the modern church holds a pragmatic and narrow view of the richness and power of the arts, this book is a simple and approachable essay for every believer.
Jun 11, 2016 Leesgoodfood rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this from our church library, seeing it set out on display. It's a slim volume, 64 pages total, and I did read this in a day, a chapter at a time, between chores. He presents several basic points about art & artists in the Christian world, using scriptural references. Primarily, that the artist is called and gifted by God, the Creator, for His glory, whether is is visual art, music, or any kind of craftwork.
I highly recommend this.
Jan 18, 2010 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
In this short but very profound book Ryken explores the how art can encompass truth, beauty and goodness. I believe his most profound insight is how he relates the death and resurrection of Christ to aesthetics. Ryken says, "God's design was to turn ugliness into beauty. He did this first with the body of His Son, raising Jesus from the dead and giving him a glorious resurrection body...Those ugly wounds have been transformed into glory (page 56)." How wonderful!
Scott Hayden
Oct 28, 2012 Scott Hayden rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity, bible, art
Ryken lays it out so well. In a short, easy read, he expounds four principles from Exodus 31.

1) The artist's call and gift come from God.
2) God loves all kinds of art.
3) God maintains high standards for goodness, truth, and beauty.
4) Art is for the glory of God.

Then in a surprisingly moving finale, Ryken unfolds the "artistry in the plan of salvation."
Ryan Boomershine
Dec 12, 2012 Ryan Boomershine rated it it was amazing
Fantastic and very short read. Very, very helpful in encapsulating what I was hoping would be true about goodness, truth and beauty.

As a non-creative, non-artist this is an essential read in helping me better appreciate those people gifted in that way, and even helps me better hope that my one or more of my five children will lean that direction [which has never been a hope of mine].

Davina W.
Jan 19, 2015 Davina W. rated it liked it
Good, short book about how to serve God as an artist. At first I was a little frustrated with it, because the author writes very vaguely and unpractically about what to do and not to do. On the last ten pages however he redeems himself and focuses ones heart on offering our art to God, who is the greatest artist.
Jun 14, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
One of the only redeeming things about this book is that the cover work was done by Makoto Fujimura, and Ryken mentions Fujimura in the book.

Other than that, I found it to be, in the words of Liz Lemon, "BLERGH!"
It was awfully repetitive, and because the book is a mere 64 pages, the repetitiveness is far more noticeable. I wanted to like this book, but I just didn't.
Autumn Meier
Jan 05, 2016 Autumn Meier rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
It was never said outright, but I picked up on a hint that the author believes that only Christian art can be "truly" beautiful. I disagree. Truth isn't a requirement for beauty, and beauty is not limited to one religion, system, etc. However, the idea presented in this book that art is valid, not only as expression but as purpose, was great.
Sep 04, 2009 Janice rated it it was amazing
This is a good book about the Christian's view of the arts. It is along the same vein as Schaeffer's Art and the Bible. I plan on using the principles he outlined with my 11th grade Omnibus class: Building a Christian Worldview.
Oct 06, 2009 Kelli rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
A simple and clear perspective on the importance of reclaiming the arts and restoring them to the beauty and importance God intended for them (with an emphasis on doing our best in our creative efforts). A sixty-four page booklet.
Courtney Deberry
May 24, 2013 Courtney Deberry rated it really liked it
This book was a wonderful starting place for the christian artist. It details the foundation of art and sets important biblical principles in perspective. I believe that this is a wonderful prerequisite for deeper study on the topic but can be read again and again throughout any artists' career.
Oct 06, 2008 Meaghan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any Christian pursuing the arts
Recommended to Meaghan by: Kenny B.
Shelves: worship
Very good little book. Easy to read in one sitting. My only complaint is that it doesn't go in depth - but that's to be expected with a book this small. Gives a very basic biblical defense for God's call to artists and just scratches the surface of what that call does and doesn't mean.
Feb 07, 2012 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
Great primer on distinctively Christian art. It's not groundbreaking, but it's a good summary of what has been said, and he points to deeper resources. You could say that the book whets the appetite, but it doesn't slake it.
Gregory Byerline
Concise presentation of art from a biblical context and Christian worldview. Excellent read for an introductory look at art and its origins before proceeding into other books that are more specific and explorative (i.e. "Art and the Bible" by Francis Schaeffer).
Jul 21, 2014 Allyboardman rated it really liked it
a quick 58-page read full of pure gold. The author so wonderfully communicates the importance of art [and the artist] being true, good and beautiful to and for the Lord. a must-read for those who vocationally exercise their creativity.
Job Dalomba
Nov 20, 2014 Job Dalomba rated it really liked it
Ryken is a favorite author, thinker and pastor for me, so this book was a good short read over a cup of coffee. Lots of good thoughts and a good starting point for Christians to understand art for Gods sake.
Joseph Pearman
Jun 11, 2015 Joseph Pearman rated it really liked it
Having seemingly neglected it, by God's grace the Church is relearning the profound value and necessity of genuinely excellent art. May God help us to see creative art as an avenue for His glory.
May 09, 2013 Angela rated it it was amazing
I read this little book in order to give it to my niece and her husband who are actors in Toronto. It's excellent and a great introduction to a Christian view of the arts.
Matt Chapman
Jul 07, 2012 Matt Chapman rated it really liked it

Brief but inspiring introduction to the role art plays in bringing glory to God. Good bibliography included at end to direct further study.
Ben Titsworth
Jan 25, 2011 Ben Titsworth rated it it was ok
I bought this back when I was thinking about being in music and graphic design. It's ok. It didn't exactly grab my attention. The writing was very eloquent, it just didn't have enough "omph!".
Annie Pliego
Oct 10, 2012 Annie Pliego rated it liked it
Shelves: aesthetics
A good and concise introduction to recovering the arts and bringing them to their highest purpose in the fallen world we live in.
Amy Edwards
Apr 30, 2016 Amy Edwards rated it really liked it
This is more of a booklet or pamphlet than a book, but it is nevertheless an excellent summary of a Christian theology of the arts. Recommended.
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Philip Graham Ryken is Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where he has preached since 1995. He is Bible Teacher for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, speaking nationally on the radio program Every Last Word. Dr. Ryken was educated at Wheaton College (IL), Westminster Theological Seminary (PA) and the University of Oxford (UK), from which he received his doctorate ...more
More about Philip Graham Ryken...

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“If the opening chapters of Genesis portray God as a creative artist, then it only stands to reason that the people he made in his image will also be artists. Art is an imaginative activity, and in the act of creating, we reflect the mind of our Maker.” 0 likes
“God has high standard for art, and obviously he does not and cannot endorse the content of work that is pornographic or propagandistic, or that violates his character in some other way.” 0 likes
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