Skip to main content

Argument from Beauty: Evangelical Christians have Neglected a Favorable Catalyst for the Gospel

It seems to me that some Evangelical Christians have taken a biblical passage in the wrong direction. Perhaps I, considering myself to be an Evangelical Christian, am guilty of such as well.

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” 

Verse 2 is where we get the phrase, be in the world, but don’t be of the world. What this means is that we should know our place. Our place is in heaven. The Bible says that we are citizens of heaven, and that we should think and act as if we are. Philippians 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” We should think and act as if we are citizens of heaven. We find in Colossians 3:1-2, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

So, we should think and act as if our citizenship is in heaven because that is the ultimate reality. We should be not conformed to this world because our citizenship is in heaven. We should be in the world, but not be of the world, because our citizenship is in heaven. But the problem is, I think many of us have taken this in the wrong direction. 

Christians in medieval times believed that everything beautiful pointed to God, and believed everything was sacred. Anyone who visits the Vatican and its Museums can see the truth of this. This is why there are so many things from medieval times that point to such beauty. Think about all the statues created and all the paintings painted in the name of Christianity. I would be willing to bet that many of those reading have never heard of Debbie Clark, she is a modern Christian artist who paints pictures of Jesus, and other paintings that are inspired by her Christian faith. I feel like the question arises how so many Christians have not heard of such an artist. I would bet that the reason you likely have not heard of her is because this type of art is unfortunately not what Christian’s value today. This is such a rare thing today because through history, we have begun to view the world as boring and ordinary. It seems to me that this perhaps has its origins in the protestant distancing from Catholicism, which if this is true, then it boils down to the genetic fallacy. What I mean by that is that when the 95 theses were nailed to the door, it seems that some protestants when they stepped away from Catholicism thought that the art and architecture of the cathedrals were either worldly on some level, or even worse, that it was idolatrous. I would argue that if this is the case, it is wrong. It would be committing the genetic fallacy because not everything that Catholics say and do is wrong. I think that in considering 1 Timothy 3:15, that the church is the “pillar and foundation of the truth,” that we should be on the forefront for art. If there are things that are objectively beautiful, then this objective beauty points to God. If a human being is capable of producing art that is objectively beautiful, then this person’s art points to God. 

From the Top of the Copula at the Vatican Facing East.

Art is a way for us to point to the beauty of God to those who view the world in a similar fashion. I think that when we are in the world but not of the world, this discussion is not part of that, even though we have often made it such. Objective beauty is “out of this world” so to speak, and so as Christians, we should be involved with it. In other words, we are not supposed to dismiss the beautiful things that we find in the world, but we are instead to embrace them for God’s honor and glory. Look at what the Lord says to Moses in Exodus 31:2-5, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.” 

The School of Athens by Raphael.

I find it interesting that both the Temple of God and the Tabernacle of God in the Old Testament were to be so profoundly beautiful and exact. Not only does this show us that God expects the body of Christ to strive for excellence, but I would also argue that it is totally appropriate for our buildings to be beautiful. Not only does this set apart a building from the rest of the community, but when a person finds themselves in it, the beauty therein can be comforting, peaceful, and awe-inspiring itself. Isn’t this what we want for our people? Some may argue that we should instead be concerned with helping the poor and doing other things (which we should), but isn’t this good as well? In a dark and dreary world, we can recognize the beauty that God inserted into His creation, and let everyone be a part of it by highlighting objective beauty in our churches. I think as Christians, we should be the leaders, the authority, and the pillars of all things art. Yet, we have in a large way, neglected such a favorable catalyst for the gospel. 

God gave some people the ability to create beautiful works of art, just like He did with music: 


Vatican Museum Hallway

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;

    praise him in his mighty heavens!

Praise him for his mighty deeds;

    praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;

    praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

    praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals;

    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord![1]


All of the musical instruments mentioned require skill. When a person is learning to play the guitar for instance, the songs are small and easy: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Whole Wide World” (Wreckless Eric), blues riffs, etc. But, when a person continues to play, the skill escalates to playing songs that sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin, not only impressing the artist himself, but also giving others enjoyment by listening to him.            

Paul Gould writes in his book, Cultural Apologetics, “The ideas and beliefs that fill our hearts with wonder are largely the same things that fill the nonbeliever’s heart with wonder: romantic comedies, political scandals, dystopian thrillers, sports, visits to the mall, a day at the amusement park, a trip to the beach.”[2]

This is what "the pillar and foundation of the truth" has lowered itself to.[3] We need to get back to
valuing art above all others as Christians. We need to be on the forefront of praising, handling, promoting, admiring, and creating beauty. Beauty transcends all people because true beauty is objective. 

If even one thing is objectively beautiful, then God exists. If this one thing transcends all people by its beauty, then it is because its beauty is found in the object, not the subject.


1. If objective beauty exists, then God exists.

2. Objective beauty exists.

3. Therefore God exists. 


Augustine asks regarding things of beauty, “My first question will be whether these things are beautiful because they delight, or delight because they are beautiful. Here he will undoubtedly answer that they delight because they are beautiful.”[4] This is an interesting thing to ponder. He is asking if the thing is beautiful because it is objectively beautiful itself, or if the thing is beautiful because some subject thinks that the thing is beautiful. There is an infinite difference. This is why it is important that the church today, including evangelicals, should be on the front lines for art. As Paul Gould argues in his book mentioned above, this is one way we can bring people out of the mundane, boring world, into a belief in things that transcend us. Art can spark curiosity, it can revive imagination, and it can point to God. As Christians, we should not distance ourselves from such, but we should not only embrace it, but we should be the leaders of it. 

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of our Lord Jesus

 © Nace Howell, 2023 

[1] ESV, Psalm 150.

[2] Paul Gould, Cultural Apologetics: Renewing the Christian Voice, Conscience, and Imagination in a Disenchanted World(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019), 177.

[3] See 1 Timothy 3:15.

[4] Augustine, De Veritate Religione (translated by Edmund Hill New City Press: Hyde Park, NY, 2005) 69.


Popular posts from this blog

Joseph Smith had the same Demon that influenced Muhammad

What does Islam have in common with Mormonism? Seriously, the similarities are uncanny. Like human beings, demons are creatures of habit . The Bible does not tell us much about them, but from what it does tell us, we can learn a lot. Jesus reveals to us some things about their behavior: When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first… [1]   Jesus clearly knows that demons have typical behaviors. He has seen it many times before. He lets us know that a typical behavior for a demon is that home is where the heart is . When your house crumbles to the ground, you move to a new one. Likewise, when a person dies, the demon is f

How to Show a Mormon the Difference Between the Mormon Jesus and the Biblical Jesus

I find that Mormons frequently claim they are Christians, and that they want to be referred to as Christians, and they have even recently sought to distance themselves from the word “Mormon.” The problem is, they worship another Jesus, and here is how to show them the difference between the Mormon Jesus and the Biblical Jesus. Before we get to that, some clarifications are necessary.   The Mormon President Russell Nelson said,    “What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname? When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the “LDS Church,” the “Mormon Church,” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement.” [1]   So, according to Nelson, to call Mormons,  Mormons , is a victory for Satan. So, this also means that to call

All Bark and No Bite: A Book Critique of Dan Barkers, "godless"

As I read through Dan Barker’s book, “ godless ,” I became more and more heartbroken as the pages turned. Barker explains that he was, at the early age of fifteen, on fire for God. In chapter one, he recalls that he came from a Pentecostal background and admits that at a revival meeting he attended was “spirit-filled… intense, bursting with rousing music and emotional sermons.” [1]  It seems that right off the bat, that his experience was only based on emotion. This is the opposite of what the Bible teaches. Jesus said,  Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and be

What is a Cult?

There are many ways to answer this question, because there are many facets to the question itself. Often when we hear the word,  cult , we think of something bad, or downright evil, based on our own experiences which possibly came about through watching the Children of the Corn [1]  or something to that nature.  Sociologically speaking, a cult is “a religious or semi-religious sect or group whose members are often controlled or dominated almost entirely by a single individual or organization.” [2]  This lens of understanding is different than a theological perspective, or even an anthropological perspective.  Anthropologically speaking, a cult is any religious belief system that has its origins in another established religious belief system. If you picture an upside-down tree, for instance, the trunk of the tree is the lineage of a religion through time, and the branches that stem off of that trunk are the cults of such a religion. From this perspective,  Mormonism  is a  Christian cul

Tibetan Buddhism and the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

In the Flathead Indian Reservation located in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, in the middle of a considerable amount of farm land, lies a Buddhist sanctuary, known as The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. The Buddha Garden represents the three vehicles of Buddhism: Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The Garden is Tibetan in culture, and is owned by Ewam International: Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, which is basically a franchise of Buddhist Dharma centers scattered throughout the world, but are primarily found in the United States and Asia. The Garden takes around either twenty minutes or forty minutes to walk around the entire Garden, depending on which path through the Garden one desires to take. Buddhism, across the board, holds to what is known as the four noble truths, which are: first, the idea that suffering exists; second, that we suffer because we are attached; third, the way to stop suffering is to release the attachment to things; and finally, we release the attachment by f

What is Classical Apologetics?

You may have heard of the phrase,   Classical Apologetics , from studying under people such as, William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Norman Geisler, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, B.B. Warfield, and others, and perhaps you wondered what it means.   Classical Apologetics is one method of doing apologetics… I personally like to think that it is classical for a reason. Some other methods of doing apologetics are first,  Presuppositionalism , which is that a person presupposes that God exists, and that the reason that a person does not believe in God is because he does not believe the Bible is the word of God. The issue is that from an unbeliever’s perspective, this is circular reasoning. It emphasizes revelation as opposed to reason.  Another method of apologetics is  Evidentialism , which is essentially to follow the evidence where it leads and using this evidence to support Christian claims. Sometimes people refer to it as being a subtype as Classical Apologetics, essentially being the second s

Defending Christianity against Mormonism

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect ” (NIV 1 Peter 3:15). In other words, LOVE THEM . Mormons                                                             Biblical Truths Mormons are monolaters, meaning, they believe in many gods, yet worship only one. LDS believe that “As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.” LDS do not believe in Hell. LDS believe God is flesh and bones. LDS believe in baptism for the dead. LDS believe Jesus and Satan are created brothers. LDS do not believe in the Trinity. LDS believe that “it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do” (Nephi 25:23). Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (See also Isaiah 43:11; Acts 5:4; 1 Timothy 2:5; Exodus 20:3; et. al.). God kn

Does Baptism Save People from Sin?

There is a lot of confusion, and I would go as far to say that there is a perversion, of baptism in the world today. Some people, such as those in the Church of Christ, teach that baptism is a requirement for salvation. Others say that baptism is something we can do for the dead . But what does the Bible teach about baptism?   Those who say that baptism is a requirement for salvation use verses like 1 Peter 3:21 which says,  baptism which corresponds to this now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Christ Jesus…  This is not talking about soul salvation but being saved from one’s own bad conscience. In other words, by obeying Jesus in getting baptized, we have a good conscience in doing so. Other times some  people  may use Acts 2:37-38 to show that baptism is a requirement for salvation.  Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers,

“I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship.”

Many people make this claim, but why do so many run from the label of religion? To define religious and religion is not an easy task, because there isn’t really a consensus on what precisely, a religion is. Why is there something rather than nothing? Because something transcends us. A practical understanding of when one is called “religious,” is that it means that this person is devoted to their beliefs about that which transcends them . [1] So also, a religion is a system of practices that reflect belief and understanding of one’s worldview; specifically, this system focuses on the relationship between the human element and the spiritual element. It seems that the word religion is being understood as an insult in today’s language. This probably comes from newer generations coming up through the works and seeing the problems that religions of the world create and do not want to have any association with something that places their relationship with Jesus in the sa

The Two Systems: A Confused Definition of Love

A couple years ago I wrote an article called  the Jehovah’s Witness training videos . The article was meant to be humorous in a sense, because there are likely not any actual training videos, but it seems that they have all watched them. We can suspect this because they all often have the same points of conversation. When you talk about the Trinity, they will use the Bible like a machine gun and shoot you with verses. The verses are always the same: Colossians 1:15, Mark 10:18… So, there is an implication that they all have the same information. There is one source from where they gather their patterns and behaviors. Similarly, I think we can see the power behind the system of the world as well. We can see what this power is like by the tracks he leaves behind. The contrast of the two systems is really seen in Revelation 14:8. “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.” John is using the word  Babylon  here for