Stop Calling It Christian Art

Stop Calling It “Christian Art”

What do we even mean when we call something “Christian Art?” It is a term that is most often confusing, and rarely helpful. This is why we need to stop calling any art, “Christian Art.”



Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Copyright © 2023 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

27 comments on “Stop Calling It Christian Art”

  1. Graham Voller Reply

    Hi Joel, This is such an important perspective. Thank you for sharing! I am an abstract painter. The concepts of faith, hope and love are an instinctive inspiration to me and I use the simplicity of a close walk with Christ. To know he loves us and therefore loves the identity of each of his children makes me aware that only one thing is needful, and that all authenticity of expression comes from that and so does the passion! I am very aware that conviction carries its own message as is well illustrated by Picasso’s painting you illustrated. Most Christians would not see much value in a Franz Kline painting, but his language is the direct evidence of a deeply felt existence far removed from the tame lion of formality. God bless you in your insights and encouragement.

    • Joel Pelsue Reply


      Indeed, abstract and modernist artists have been a sort of stumbling block for Christians that think we must require Christians in the arts to be explicit in their faith. But how explicit was the column of fire, or pillar of smoke in Exodus? It spoke volumes, but was much more visceral…like Franz Kline, maybe?

      and yes… our Lion is not tame, but He is good!!! Never get tired of that distinction.

    • Wendy tate Reply

      I think I’ve felt quite isolated as a ‘Christian artist’ and have wanted to hook up with others (england) I thought using that term in hash tags would help people find me. I don’t know really if it did. I’m not comfortable using it for the same reasons that you have said but it does beg the question of how to connect. Facebook groups etc tend to be of the less ‘professional’ christian artist, if I can use that term.

      • Joel Pelsue Reply


        I hear you. We actually may use the hashtag #Christianartist in our videos and blog posts just in case people search for that term. It is tricky to find other artists of faith. On a side note – Instagram seems to be better than Facebook for finding other artists of faith. Follow us and check out other artists who follow us on IG.

  2. Leonardo Ramirez Reply

    It’s like a Rorschach test. The first word that pops into my head is “cheese”. And I don’t mean queso.
    Love the facepalm image on the video card. It’s like you’re saying, “Mama mia! Stop it, please!” LOL

    • Joel Pelsue Reply


      THANK YOU! The facepalm was my wife’s idea! Glad it communicated what we wanted it to convey.
      Queso, fromage, whatever language you want my dear friend.

  3. Maryann Leake Reply

    I find most “Christian art” to be trite and lacking excellence. Lacking knowledge of subject…Visual and worship are dummied down in some church’s or they are just afraid of art.
    Beauty attracts like Christ attracts. Christ is not abstract. He is revealed. His work is redemptive. He tells a story.
    And so I try to be that in my art. It is not all a spiritual whirlwind of mystery.
    I’m a representational impressionist painter. My art has an undertow of Christianity. Love of beauty, love of truth (and laughter. ) I love practically all art.
    When I work on a piece I am aware someone will meet its story in the middle where the Spirt dwells.
    Folks have told me my work is not spiritual enough.. or a Bible verse under the painting would signal the viewer…
    Haha .. I guess I have to trust my gut to run… I’ve curated a gallery or two in churches. It has been a beautiful experience to elevate the artist and trust your audience.

    • Joel Pelsue Reply


      Thank you so much for sharing. “Not spiritual enough?” That’s a good one – They need to read Psalm 19 and ask if God’s art is “spiritual enough”!!

      We had an art show in a church here in West L.A. for years. Thankfully, the pastor actually understood art, and encouraged us showing art that most churches would probably objected to. Great to hear your stories.

      • Larry Brunmeier Reply

        Great to here Joel
        What church in W LA was it? I’m here in Anaheim, CA. I’m always looking for places to display my work.
        And thank you for the Christian art reminder. I’m working on that

        • Joel Pelsue Reply


          It was the Westside Vineyard. Brad Bailey and his wife were super encouraging of our ministry at the very beginning!
          We don’t do that art show now, but they do have a coffee house.

  4. Denise Weyhrich Reply

    /Users/romans8/Desktop/Screen Shot 2023-03-08 at 3.24.33 PM.png

    /Users/romans8/Desktop/Screen Shot 2023-03-08 at 3.25.49 PM.png


    the classics & today : simply artworks by the hands of those who worship God the Father, Son & HS!
    simple folk like me! 😀

    • Joel Pelsue Reply

      Sadly, I don’t think those images worked in the comment space.
      I’m sure it was genius!!! Hope you are doing well Denise!

  5. Denise Weyhrich Reply

    oh and the artworks by others that speak truth…great artworks speak!
    oh so much to chat about. in complete agreement and go to hear again.

  6. ruth fielder Reply

    Thank you Joel, for your reasoned discussion, interesting to discern the difference between missional and propaganda and much food for thought. I am a freelance creative who is Christian, and I’ve been challenged on how to express my faith through my art. After listening to you, I feel it’s okay to not be explicit about my faith. I’m part of a network of creatives who are Christian and considering putting on our first exhibition in a public space, so I’m hoping to share this video with them.

    • Joel Pelsue Reply


      You made my day! Any day we can help an artist to find confidence in a biblical view of art instead of feeling pressure or guilt from cultural hangups, is a great day! By all means, share the video with them, and let me know any questions they have. I hope your exhibition is a success.

  7. Chris Lovie-Tyler Reply

    Interestingly, God has often spoken to me through so-called “secular” works.

    Two examples come to mind from music:

    The Clash’s “I Fought the Law and the Law Won.” Hopefully, I don’t have to explain that one.

    The Police’s “Roxanne”. I remember, one day, being in tears in the car as I heard that as God speaking to his people (in the Old Testament) about their infidelity: “You don’t have to put on the red light. Those days are over… I won’t share you with another boy”.

    The only way I can describe it is, God seems to, sometimes, hijack artists’ work—without them even knowing it!

  8. Jun Gueco Cruz Reply

    Agree,and that title bothers me as well and need not to be branded as christian artists it just limits your audience,not helpful. Some artists,I would say that includes me ,their creative process is their connection with God,product of their devotion,prompted to share it through visual arts.Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Bakis Reply

    This Christian art term was in my head, and I was thinking of dealing with it at some point, and you came with a video about it, so I was very excited to see what you had to say about.

    I personally thought about ways to introduced myself with the emphasis of Christian artist, because like you said, in the art world, many are not Christian and as soon as you mentioned Christian art, they box you in, judge you and seem to be less interested to what you have in your words and hands.

    Personally too, I don’t really like it, because it gives that feeling of, like you have said, back in the days, there could not be any song with the word Jesus, and it kind of reduced the artist creativity, while Jesus is known but many names. There’s definitely power in the name of Jesus, and its nice to include his name in arts, but in every piece of art, could be very redundant.

    But you gave some good advice, on how to introduce yourself. I like to tell people who wants to know about my art, that my art is very influenced by my faith in Christ. And when I introduce myself like that, people really seemed intrigue by that rather than call myself a Christian artist.

  10. Wendy Widell Wolff Reply

    The term Christian Art severely limits our audience and in turn limits a gentle introduction into a community who may
    benefit from our eventual friendship and consequent presence as a believer.

  11. Michelle Dillard Reply

    Thank you for sharing this perspective. I’ve heard the term and pretty much assumed that the works was created by an artist of faith for people of faith. In essence, a particular group may feel excluded. Anyway I am an actor and I try my best to simply allow my light to shine by my conversation and actions.

  12. Betsy Blatchley Reply

    This resonated a lot with me. I lead Nine Elms Arts Ministry- an arts ministry in London, UK – being a Christian presence through arts and creativity in one of the biggest redevelopment areas in Europe around the new US Embassy and the iconic Battersea Power Station. I either in theatre for 20 years before ordination. I avoid the terms Christian art and Christian artists and we try to create creative events for the whole community that celebrate artistic excellence alongside the power of creativity to nurture well-being. We having a small praying community – mostly but not exclusively made up of creatives – but we have a wide network of artists of all faiths and none.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *