For the building and decoration of the tabernacle, the Old Testament tells us God supernaturally blessed a man named Bezalel “with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft” (Ex. 35:31-33 ESV).
Artistic talent originates in God and for this reason the church has esteemed artistic expression throughout the centuries. French Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) wrote, “all the arts emanate from God, and therefore ought to be accounted divine inventions.” 
But this appreciation for art and its divine source does not contradict the church’s need to evaluate the value and limitations of art.
A century ago, Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) wrote the following concern.
Art cannot close the gap between the ideal and reality. Indeed, for a moment it lifts us above reality and induces us to live in the realm of ideals. But this happens only in the imagination. Reality itself does not change on account of it. Though art gives us distant glimpses of the realm of glory, it does not induct us into that realm and make us citizens of it. Art does not atone for our guilt, or wipe away our tears, or comfort us in life and death. …Granted, the two are connected. From the very beginning religion and art went hand in hand. 
Appreciating the arts and evaluating of the value of the arts is a balance the church must preserve in every generation. And this brings me to one of the many personal highlights from this most recent New Attitude conference in Louisville.
One Sunday session was reserved for an open question-and-answer session with Dr. Al Mohler where he fielded questions covering a wide variety of issues on the topic of Scripture. Particularly helpful to me were his answers to the final question on art. How do we as twenty-first century Christians evaluate and critique the value of the arts? What relationship do the gospel and the arts share? What role and service do the arts play in the church?
I recommend listening to the entire session (listen/download here) but what follows is a transcript of Dr. Mohler's comments on art and his challenge to a young generation of Christians to “learn to make art the servant of the gospel.”
Question: My question is this: For the Christian, what role should the Word of God play in our artistic and creative endeavors? And for the Christian, what role should our artistic and creative endeavors have within the culture at large?
Dr. Albert Mohler: Alright, let’s step back for a moment and talk about the arts. Where does art come from?
God has made us as the only being in his image. We are the only being who fabricates with design and intention and with aesthetic sense. Beavers build dams. Ants build anthills. But they don’t hire architects and so far as we know there is no aesthetic appreciation for them whatsoever. You’ve never met a dog that is a painter. There is something about being made in the image of God that produces what we call “cultural product.” …
The arts are very important and it seems that in this generation the arts are newly important. Now, when that happens it is promise and opportunity. For instance, if you look back at the history of Western civilization the Renaissance, in particular the High Renaissance, was an opportunity in which cultural production became a huge issue.
When I was a high school student there was a huge BBC presentation of humanity at its highest, Kenneth Clark’s Civilization. He went back particularly to the classical age and to the High Renaissance and said, “This is when human beings were at their very best because of this cultural production. Look at this: you have Bernini, and Rembrandt, and Rafael.” And you could just go through all of these and the cultural production in the art became the defining issue. The art reflected the Christian culture from which it had come, but the art became very quickly an issue of idolatry as well. And it was not true that where you found the highest art you always found the purest theology. To the contrary it was often very much otherwise.
So what we should learn from that is that ideally Christians should be involved in the arts. Absolutely! But we’ve got to learn to make art the servant of the gospel. And that is a tough challenge in every generation. If the artists of the Renaissance had been concerned that their art would be in the service of the gospel, it would be a very different art than it is. It would have all the same ability. You’d still look at, for instance, Rembrandt—you’d look at the lace collars and he would still have that ability to make you feel like you could touch it. But it would be telling a different story then in many cases what gets told.
And when you ask about the Scripture, well the Scripture is the food for our living on this earth. It is the light for our path as the Psalmist says. It is the authority by which we live. It is the sole sufficient guide for understanding all that we are and all that we hope for and all we trust in, in Christ. That had better be the substance of our art. That doesn’t mean that we only draw representations of Bible stories. It does mean that we test everything we do, not just by the cannons of art—which are truly culturally constructed and constantly negotiated and changed, an evidence of both human greatness in terms of ability and human depravity in terms of the morality and the rebellion against God that so quickly comes in and the idolatry that is our reflex.
And we use Scripture to ask, “How do we judge the good, the beautiful and the true—always to be necessary and necessarily linked? That which is good is beautiful—that which is true is good—that which is good is true. They’re all the same thing.
Modern art is in many ways a rebellion against the unity of the good, the beautiful, and the true. And one testimony you can give to the Word of God is saying that for the Christian the good, the beautiful, and the true are always one thing because in Scripture they are always one thing. And that is where you find our authority and our meaning.
For more on this topic, please read Philip Graham Ryken’s excellent book, Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts (P&R, 2006).
 From Calvin’s commentary, Harmony of the Law, vol. 3.
 Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics (Baker Academic, 2003) 1:267.