Monday, June 11, 2012

An Aesthetically-Burdened Theology

Man, as made in the image of God, is a connoisseur of beauty. Every eminent feature of the created order is reflective of the perfections of God; hence, it is but fitting for man to appreciate His various creaturely analogies. However, when the comeliness of natural revelation begins to impose upon one's apprehension of special revelation, problems arise.

Somehow, the recent anomalies of "conversions" to Rome by prominent names in Reformed circles are instances of a specific kind of swimming goggles already worn years in advance, even before the Tiber was actually swum. A certain predisposition to beauty, commingled with religious convictions, lends these people weak to the transcendent, and what is it that Roman pomp and pageantry offer but the transcendent mediated through architecture and ritual. Given the almost irresistible tug of these sense-pleasers, the mind, and the theology it once held dear and defended, give in and conform (mutate), in accommodation to the aesthetic presupposition.

But are we promised grace from the both-immanent-and-transcendent God through such means? No. The presumptuously immanentistic trajectory of the low-church modern evangelical is no better countered by the awe-inspiring transcendentalism of the high-church Romanist.

But how is grace from God mediated to His worshippers? Through the Word of God.

The Word of God is communicated to God's people as grace through its faithful preaching and its proper administration as the Sacraments (the tangible/material Word).

I think it is in keeping with the humility of God that present age grace is delivered in a package of meekness, i.e., weak and faltering human ministers and the mundaneness of water, bread, and wine. However, thrill-seekers will not be disappointed at the glory and grandeur that will accompany Christ's second coming—something that will reduce today's incredible cathedrals to yesterday's crumbled bastions of idolatry.

But that is for a future day. Today, those faithful to the Gospel must content themselves with the beauty of holiness as it is presented in a run-down church.


  1. We have this treasure in an earthen vessel.

  2. Which was actually the dishonorable clay pot used to contain human refuse.

  3. Just as fallen man is prone to temptation and sin, we need that sovereign grace packaged in meekness. Thank you for writing this. God bless you.

  4. You're welcome, Gio. I'm blessed that you were blessed.

  5. Absolutely! Grace indeed delivered in a package of meekness is absolutely the picture how amazing grace is!


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