1. Galadriel says:

    When I was in London, our tour guide stopped by several cathedrals, including Westminster. My first response was “God is great and we are tiny,”–one thing that I think is communicated better by massive artwork than statistics. But I hadn’t considered the differing emphasizes–God’s presence versus transcendence.

  2. Hergot says:

    Thanks for your insightful article. It is strange to me that we, though hundreds of years removed, continue to use terms like “reformed.” I suppose it is helpful as a heuristic. But I also wonder what word we will use for the Christians who ultimately decide to depart from the modern reformed church?

    • “Reformed” today tends to be a more educated-sounding word for “Calvinist.” Modern Calvinists, of which I am one (though I have some Lutheran theology too) take Calvin himself, and the other Reformers of 450 years ago, very seriously, and read and study them more than they do modern theologians–since everything since the Protestant Reformation is more or less dirivative, or, in the case of critical theologians (who don’t accept the Bible as divinely inspired) destructive, of biblical faith. The Protestant Reformation is seen as a major hinge point in Christian history–hence a thorough understanding of its progenitors is seen as very important…even though it is hundreds of years ago.

      Lest you think we are incredibly anachronistic, just as any modern philosopher who doesn’t grasp the major contributions of Plato or Aristotle (who lived thousands of years ago)…is considered 2nd rate at best, so too amidst scholars who hold a high view of scripture–knowlege of our roots in the Reformation 450 years ago–is considered vital.

  3. My first time in continental Europe was in Bern Switzerland. The medieval cathedral there was–in Zwingli’s day–converted to a Reformed Protestant Church, and has beautiful architecture, but, inside and outside is more blank and sad than a tomb. The main museum in Bern has the original pre-reformation images in it (unearthed, literally, in the 1980s), and admittedly they are ridiculously gaudy (and poorly executed art too–Bern was kind of backwoods in 1520). I understand the Reformers’ reaction to the corruption of Renaissance Roman Catholicism, which with images sometimes did ammount to idolatry, but the wholesale iconoclasm–particularly by the Reformed Calvinists, was tragic.

    The Luthern approach, though not perfect, I believe was MUCH more balanced and biblical, when it came to the arts. I think it is no coincidence, that the great 18th Century Classical composers came out of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic world, NOT that of the Reformed/Calvinists. Even though music in worship was not sanctioned by Calvinism like the visual arts–still, disparagement of one area of human creativity effects the whole.

What do you think?