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Teaching great masters

By David Brandt Berg, written April 1978
Timothy showing Maria artwork
Timothy Concerned showing Maria some art

I can't remember my Mother ever teaching me one painter or composer! I know little or nothing about composers or artists. They're dead! It's the worship of Man. It's good to be a little familiar with some of that so you at least know what people are talking about when they're conversing with you, like what I've told the Family about Wagner.

It's good to know the difference between evil and Christian composers and their works and perhaps the general time in which they lived, as well as possibly their country of origin. Some of that music doesn't bear good fruit with me. That one tape I have is very beautiful but very sad, and it makes me very sad. You really have to judge it by the effect, the fruit. I think the light happy dance music has better fruit than that deep sad stuff that makes you lonesome and sad and almost want to end it all!

My Mother brought me up on the Bible! I'd rather see the kids familiar with Psalms and the Bible writers and characters. There is enough there to fill their heads without all that worldly knowledge and information. I never went for that stuff! It's sort of a status symbol that you know these works and art and artists and composers. It comes in handy if you are talking to the cultured rich, and I know a few names of some of them--even know a little about ballet.

Thank God for my Mother! She'd had all that and been through it all and knew all of it, but she just threw it away as chaff. I can never remember her teaching me anything but the Bible and about the Lord and spiritual values and Bible characters and truths, and my Father the same. They never wasted any time teaching me about masterpieces of literature, art and music--nothing! I can never remember them teaching me anything about them, thank God!

The rule of thumb was, if it didn't have anything to do with the Lord, just forget it! There are a few things that our children should have just a passing interest in or a smattering of familiarity with. If they never heard of the Strauss Waltzes, for example, they would be a bit ignorant. If they never heard of Bach, Brahms and Beethoven, people would really chuckle at their ignorance!

For the sake of their witness and influence so as not to be categorised as complete imbeciles, they need to know a few of those names and whether they were a musician, writer or poet! But I think they'll get enough of that in formal school if they go. In some ways I was glad I went, because it at least showed me the difference.

So it's good to know a little. At least you've heard the name and you know the difference between Beethoven and Rembrandt, who was the musician and who was the artist. But otherwise it's a worship of Man to study and exalt these people, because some of them were not of the Lord. So unless you know the difference between those inspired by the Lord and those who were inspired by the Devil, you'd better watch out!

Some wrote great Christian masterpieces, and you need to teach your children that this is the result of those people knowing the Lord. And teach them the result of people knowing the Devil, like Wagner and his stuff. But as far as I'm concerned, unless it's of the Lord, it is dead works by dead workers!

Modern education is the worship of Man and his accomplishments.--You spend half of your time studying the great accomplishments of Man, the great masters, whether they are masters of art, music or literature--the worship of Man. I took courses in music appreciation, art appreciation and English literature, but I think most of it went in one ear and out the other!

The thing that fascinated me more than anything else in that field was not painting or art, but poetry, because I could relate to that. It had a message and said something.--Of course, so does some music and some art, but most of it is the worship of Man.--And really, even as a young boy, a young man, it sort of sickened me. I thought it was sort of ridiculous and frivolous. It's a form of Man-worship, patting Man on the back. It's much more important to worship God and glorify His creations.

Man's education is made up of all that kind of dead works and worship of dead workers, dead masterpieces and the worship of dead masters. I prefer to study the living, like Bible characters and the Word, more than the study of men and the masters and their masterpieces.

Copyright © 1998 by The Family International

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James Arendt
James Arendt

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