If you’re looking for the butt of a joke, Christian art is an easy target. The phrase alone conjures up sentimental paintings of pastel angels, novels where the godly girl gets the guy, and films in which every character learns his lesson and the team who prays wins. Yet for much of the past two millennia, Christians were the ones making the best, most enduring art. What happened?

Brett McCracken, Ryan Lister, and Thomas Terry sat down to discuss why Christian art—particularly Protestant art—is so often bad. They pose some plausible hypotheses—such as an overly utilitarian view of art driven by an urgency to get the Christian message out, or a tendency for Christians to put more emphasis on placing boundaries than exploring beauty. In spite of this, all three men are hopeful about the future of Christian art and the ability for the church to produce works that stirs our hearts’ affections toward our Maker.

Listen to this episode of The Gospel Coalition Podcast or watch a video.