A have just started reading a book by Calvin Serveeld called Bearing Fresh Olive Leaves and subtitled Alternative Steps in Understanding Art. It has this to say which I thought was very insightful:

“What has made ‘christian art’ often seem a dubious label is not so much the bad name that ‘christian’ has got through religious wars or through christian mission getting mixed up with economic exploitation, bad though these things were. What really has given ‘christian art’ its bad name has been the cheap way that stock motifs such as conversions, happy endings or Bible phrases are popped in like vitamin pills to pep up one-dimensional, outdated material which is then sold as ‘christian novels’, ‘christian plays’ or ‘christian songs’. Using Christ in that way is, in my judgement, taking his Name in vain. You do not get the rare pearl of christian art by dubbing in a few crosses or chalices, or by draping a good-old-days kind of atmosphere around a trite plot. Christian art in our day, I believe, will take suffering to produce.”