Reading an English history book, I was disturbed by the account of Puritans smashing statues in the churches and whitewashing paintings of Bible scenes. The book is by Roy Strong, a Catholic, and so he has his bias, but it sounds to me like a terrible thing to do.
It made me wonder if it is why evangelicalism has traditionally had such a low view of art. It is also makes sense of J.I. Packer – puritan to the bone – and his chapter in Knowing God which claims that any attempts to picture Christ in art is idolatry. (I can’t agree; it seems to misconstrue the nature of language. Are we meant not to picture the stories we read of Christ either?)
In fact, reading English history has made me feel that a lot of bugbears of conservative evangelicalism have historical roots more than anything – another one being the anitpathy toward Catholicism, even when today Catholics don’t resemble the Catholics Calvin reacted against.