A Creative Church by Todd Smith A critical book review

A Creative Church: The Arts and Century of Renewal began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to the present days which shows the relationship between the connection of faith and art. This book was written by Todd Smith who has been teaching and creating works of art in various media by contract and commission for more than 20 years. These days the creative arts have impacted the world around us and even in the Christianity. While we see the contents of the book, it explains how people developed the arts and the people who built the renewal in each century.

The beginning of the first chapter was about the late nineteenth century developments. In 1874, John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miler created a summer camp in Chautauqua, New York and sprang up in various places. John Heyl Vincent was a Methodist Episcopal minister. He said “The interest in the study of art in its different branches being one that is growing, and extending to every town and hamlet in the country” (Todd 1) His challenges of changing the way people saw the art and brought the next challenges through others.

On stage three, the author wrote about the theater with the way which the arts begin to be used in Christianity. Martha Candler said, “It is coming to be recognized that the first practical step towards the church becoming the center of the art life of the Christian people, is in the proper use of drama as an art form for religious service” (Todd 2). During late nineteenth to the early twentieth-century people, some churches were not allowed to attend the theater shows. However, after people realize and understand the use of theater, people now prefer to use movies to show the principle of God.

Ralph Carmichael said “What is important is the fact music must communicate the gospel. God has never promised to bless any particular musical form, only to bless his word” (Todd 3). I learn evils never fall us apart with God by their force; they use many different small attractions to lead us into evil side. And music is one of the ways that evil uses as bad ways, but throughout this book, the author clearly explains the way Christian could use music to glorify God. As I read the story of Ralph Carmichael, I found he truly seek the God’s hand, and God has opened several doors of opportunity for him to share his song about the love of God.

On chapter five the author has explained how the arts become growth within churches was that by the visual arts. We found the purposes of church architecture serves as a visual symbol and communicate the principles of the Christian community. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the visual art not only affected the public, but it also affects the religious education in many ways that still uses in present days. Denominations, Catholic and Protestant churches have visual arts in Sunday school. Those visual arts involve biblical paintings, illustrations, photographs, and filmstrips to use as lessons. And according to Terry Lindvall churches said “to achieve their mission of attracting new audiences, of instructing and entertaining their congregations, and of exploiting nontheatrical films to serve the Kingdom of God and their parishes” (Todd 4)

Lastly, the churches use of the arts was through the dance. Dancing was an act that was not allowed by many groups of Christian churches. But now it changes during the twentieth century that this happened by two different movements. Both Charismatic and Jesus movement has changed into the glorifying God through dances. And God had given each one of us with different talents and gifts that dance are the one people could glorify God through dance. David as an example, he danced before the Lord with all his might. No one dance with depression, people dance to express of joy and happiness. And now we find many Christian dance fellowships that grown the churches with creativity.

Until the early twentieth century, Theatre, Music, Visual Arts and Dance were not truly allowed to use as the ministry of Christianity. Some Christian colleges still don’t allow their student to listen to Christian song with drums, electric guitar or such as loud songs. However, now people start to understand of these different sections as the church’s creativity. I believe this book would be an excellent description of the topic of Christianity arts that contains the essence of an impact that art of Christian religion. According to the Bible said, “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tumbrel and harp” (Psalm 149:4, BibleGateway). God wants us to praise him through all his creation, and I believe this book, A Creative Church, has involved the understanding of the arts in Christianity. I really enjoyed reading this book that brought me new thought of all the parts that God has used to glorify him.


"BibleGateway." BibleGateway - : pslam 149. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.

Smith, Anthony Todd. A Creative Church: The Arts and a Century of Renewal. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt, 2014. Print

Is listening to secular music a sin? N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.

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