The Beauty of Truth

I sometimes feel that some people believe an argument from scripture is more likely to be true if the result is, well, ugly. Within the reformed tradition, this approach seems to find particular resonance in discussions of worship. We know that God desires true worshippers, those who will worship him in spirit and in truth. But I feel some are biased toward reading spirit and truth as antithetical to beauty.

Psalm 33
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. [emphasis mine]

Did you catch that? Play skillfully, sing new songs… make beautiful music. Why? “For the word of the LORD is right and true.” Our aesthetic in worship (and it is to be a pleasant one) is in response to God’s truth. When we worship in spirit and truth, it will not result in a poverty of beauty, but a wealth of it.

6 Comments

  1. Mark
    Nov 13, 2001

    hmmmm…

    the intro sounds familiar…

  2. Mom/Ruth
    Nov 13, 2001

    Sort of on this topic (I think), are either of you or anyone else out there familiar with *Angels in the Architecture* by Dougs Jones & Wilson? A friend loaned it to me for my feedback.

  3. Jay
    Nov 13, 2001

    I’ve not heard of it.

  4. Travis Larson
    Nov 13, 2001

    I have read it and found it to be quite challenging for a recovering gnostic baptist. It seemed to advocate adopting a more medieval mindset, seeing beauty as a virtue as well as something to be sought after in all of life. This is in opposition to a modernist/post-modernist view of the world and approach to understanding.

    Some aspects I remember:

    Pursuing laughter and humor.

    Raising children with a sense of wonder about the creation.

    Joyful delight and feasting as proper responses to our blessings from God.

    Being more poetic and less propositional.

    Pursuing a “third way” ;) to the City of God between agrarians and modern secular technologists.

    I am reading Peter Leithart’s The Power and the Kingdom and want to revisit Angels in the Architecture when I finish to evaluate the relationship between culture and the church.

    I would welcome any comments as I am struggling to get my hands around theonomy, the dominion mandate, the church and the Great Commission.

    Maybe I should start thread in Media on Theologia.

  5. Mark
    Nov 14, 2001

    Travis, are you any relation to Wayne?

    You mean _Kingdom & the Power_ right? Odd, I just took it off the shelf to re-read for the third time…

    I would be careful of the theonomists. I’m not so much concerned about whether they are right in their beliefs about ethics and post-milism (on the latter I still accept and defend that label). I’m more concerned about the “movement mentality” which John Frame described so well in his book on Cornelius Van Til. You don’t want to be known as someone who is frustrated with everyone and who can only talk about political theory. My all too personal experience is that recons tend to promote such behavior. It is sort of like Ayn Rand for Christians (If you’re familiar with Rothbard’s _The Sociology of the Rand Cult_).

    But if you’re reading Leithart, you may be getting immunized to some of the problems of theonomy. You might also go to http://www.hornes.org/biblicalhorizons and put “theonomy” or reconstructionist” or “reconstructionism” in the search engine, for some helpful criticism.

  6. Travis Larson
    Nov 14, 2001

    Mark,

    I don’t believe that Wayne and I are related.

    I did mean _The Kingdom and the Power_. Thank you.

    For the 3rd time? I guess that means it must be good. It has struck a chord and I am only through the second chapter. I had seen it on Theologia’s Books page and yesterday it caught my eye in the books to be shelved rack at the library.

    I can understand the comparison. I will search through Biblical Horizons. Do you recommend any other resources? I have read Lee Iron’s article and a few others on the web.

    Would you consider Wilson and Jones to be Theonomists? I see that Leithart teaches at New St. Andrews in Moscow, ID and I thought I saw that James Jordan was going to be presenting at a conference there, but I can’t find it now so maybe not.

    By the way, you, Garver, and Leithart have been significant influences in my coming over to a reformed view of scripture and the sacraments. Thank you.