Schaeffer’s four key criteria for approaching art and media

In his ground-breaking essay Art & the Bible (1973), influental 20th century evangelical author Francis A. Schaeffer (1913-1984) proposed four key criteria for enjoying and evaluating art and media messages.

This is still a highly relevant and signficant resource for practicing appropriate media awareness and media critique – even in today’s «postmodern» media world.

Schaeffer’s four criteria are technical excellence (how well the elements of a specific medium are employed), validity (“whether an artist is honest to himself and his world view or whether he makes his art only for money and for the sake of being accepted”), content (the worldview or ideological perspective expressed in the art object or the media message) and the integration of content and medium (how well a communicator has matched her medium to the ideas that she wishes to express).

These four criteria proposed by Schaeffer are certainly worth reflecting on. And applying in practice when engaging media messages.

(This blog post is also published here.)


Norsk: Den kjente evangelikale forfatteren Francis A. Schaeffer (1913-1084) foreslo fire grunnleggende kriterier for vurdering av kunst og medier: tekniske ferdigheter, ærlighet og redelighet, livssynsmessig budskap, samt integrering av form og innhold. Disse kriteriene er fortsatt aktuelle, ikke minst som sentrale retningslinjer for mediebevisstgjøring og mediekritikk.