Posted by: judy | January 10, 2009

Scrambling God’s Word: “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch

omletsCulture Making
Recovering Our Creative Calling

by Andy Crouch

The author, Andy Crouch, mishandles the Word of God by overlaying his sociological-based  philosophy onto the pages of Scripture — By hyper-extending Genesis 1: 1-26 as the lens to interpret Scripture and discern one’s calling.

Andy boldly proclaims his purpose:

“This book is an attempt to point my fellow Christians toward new, and also very old, directions for understanding our calling in culture. I hope to offer us a new vocabulary, a new story, and new set of questions . . . more precisely, a new way of reading a very old story” pg. 10-11

It is important to note, based on the above quote; Andy is addressing a Christian audience.

Divided into 3 parts the author unfolds his philosophy based on Hegel’s dialectical thinking process. This process provides a stronghold on our thoughts ‘which manipulates us into a frenzied circular pattern of thinking and action.’

God is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe
Man is created in the image of God
Therefore Man is a creator and ruler of the Universe.

So in a way the Creator’s greatest gift to his creation is the gift of structure …  And those who are made in his image will also be both creators and rulers. They will have a unique capacity to create — perhaps not to call something out of nothing in quite the way that God does in Genesis 1:1, but to reshape what exists into something genuinely new. And they will have a responsiblity to care for what God has made . . . They will sort out the cultivated from the wild . . . pg. 22 [emphasis mine]

This process, when applied to Christianity, de-constructs orthodox doctrine, creates a false gospel, and replaces God’s Sovereignty with Humanism.

This is the original insight of the writer of Genesis when he says that human beings were made in God’s image: just like the original Creator, we are creators. God, of course, began with nothing, whereas we begin with something. But the difference is not as great as you might think. pg. 23

This truth is imbedded in the Genesis story of beginnings. Not only does God himself function as both Creator and Ruler, breather of possiblities and setter of limits, he intends the same for those who are made in his image. pg. 35


One of several of Crouch’s conclusions:

Thus, then, is the picture of humanity we find in Genesis: creative cultivators. pg. 22

From this point the reader is thrust into Andy’s circular, philosophical world of examining culture with the hopes of making some sort of divine conclusion about our ‘creative calling’.

 . . . We make culture, We don’t make Culture, We make culture, We don’t make Culture, We make culture . . .

Yet no one . . . makes Culture. Rather, Culture, in the abstract, always and only comes from particular human acts of cultivation and creativity.  We don’t make culture, we make omelets. pg. 28 {Warning the omelet theme runs through a large portion of the book}

And then Crouch states . . .

The beginning of culture and the beginning of humanity are one and the same because culture is what we were made to do. pg. 36

Feeling a little dizzy? Stay tuned for more scrambling of God’s Word as we continue to review Culture Making.




  1. I’ve never heard of Andy Crouch until I started reading your blog. I don’t know how I’ve missed this heretic. Is he a son of arch-heretics Paul & Jan Crouch by any chance?

  2. Hey Glenn! Happy New Year! He is friends with lots of emergents. It is agonizing to get through this book — but I have been a part of college ministry — he and others really target this group with their heresy — and it breaks my heart. They are young and passionate and want to live for the Lord — desperate to make a difference. Eager to hear any new spiritual philosophy.

    Thanks so much for validating our review. Just wait there’s more . . .

  3. […] Scrambling God’s Word: “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Andy Crouch Culture Making, Post […]

  4. I will keep reading. I always like to be aware of what’s going on in the world of heresy! Before long you may have to join the International Order Of Heresy Hunters like I did!

  5. […] more posts on Culture Making here , here, and here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)fanaticismThe Middle East Blog […]

  6. […] can read them here, here, and […]

  7. […] Part 1: Scrambling God’s Word […]

  8. I will read the rest of your review of Andy’s book, but I must say that so far, your review was pretty unpersuasive. That is, you asserted things and implied things, but didn’t really give any evidence of wrong thinking.

    You asserted, rather oddly, I’d say, that he is influenced by Hegel, but no where showed that to be so. How do you know he is influenced by Hegel? What gave you that idea? If you feel called to this important ministry of exposing error, expose away, but please DO it. You can’t just go off just saying something as if your asserting it makes it so. Otherwise it is just hot air, rumoring, empty chatter. I don’t know who your readers are, but I hope they are more demanding of you than what you’ve offered there, just blasting somebody saying something without showing that it is even true.

    So I ask you, as one case in point: if you are called to truthful critique, why do you say this about Andy, and why do you not prove that it is so? (And why haven’t your fans asked you this? Do they not know who Hegel is? Do they just think because you say he is influenced by Hegel, he must be?) What danger this is, you accusing him this way, verging on slander. And your fans not holding you accountable to be honest, fair, truthful, to build a case and show it to be so.

    So, as far as I can tell, at least, I do not know if you have some reason to say this, since you just assert it. But you have failed to show that he is influenced by Hegel.

    You also say that this Hegelian approach “manipulates us” even into a frenzied bit of circular logic. Funny, I know some folks who have read the book, including one serious brother who found great, great fault with it. He went to Andy and spent a day talking it over and then published a gracious but critical review. I haven’t heard of anybody who felt manipulated or found it frenzied. Those sure seem like odd words to describe it.

    You assert another very powerful claim that I didn’t quite follow. He did a fairly routine comment on Genesis one and our human calling to “rule” the creation, making decisions and such. You bolded a line or two, lines that didn’t strike me as anything at all heretical or out of the ordinary—nearly any good Bible commentary from Calvin to modern evangelicals say as much.

    Then you say

    “this process” when applied… WHAT process? I don’t even know what you mean, a “process.” That seemed like a non-sequitar, Judy. Andy said that the Bible teaches that we are made in God’s image and given as task (re-stated in Psalm 8, too.) We are to “tend and keep the garden.” I doubt if any of your orthodox Christian readers think this is heresy (even though your first fan who posted and “validated you” wanted to start up a heresy hunters club, this is pretty slim pickin’s for heresy, isn’t it?)

    Again, you say this can be heresy, but you don’t explain what is wrong with this bolded stuff that you emphasized. If you feel that God is leading you to defend classic truth and expose error, why not give us something here, instead of just implying that something is way off, but not really showing anything odd.

    You then say this deconstructs traditional faith and turns us into humanists, eroding God’s sovereignty and leading to a false gospel. Serious words!

    Now this at least says what could happen. You seem to be saying that by teaching what God explicitly says–that we are to be responsible in developing the creation, etc— could lead to humanism. I believe that could be so, although it doesn’t usually happen. Most serious theologians call upon us to be responsible and make wise choices, and don’t suggest this leads to humanism. You certainly imply that this is what happens with Andy—that he calls us to be creative, imaging the creative God who gives us the gift of creation (again, a fairly routine truth, glorious, but commonly accepted) and therefore believes something false about the gospel.

    You just cannot go on saying this without showing it, “exposing” and making these allegations, over stuff that on the face of it are fine, and saying that they are heresy.

    Perhaps you will show something truly wrong in the next posts, but as far as this goes thus far, it is in my view a less than honorable bit of expose. You call him out, but don’t quite show what is wrong. You accuse him of being influenced by Hegel and then say it all leads to this awful false gospel. But you no where show what is false or wrong about his view. You cite no verses he mishandles, you show no classic doctrines he denies.

    By the way, in your response to this guy who wonders how he missed “this heretic” (how demeaning) you said that Andy is friends with lots of emergents. This sure seems like an inappropriate “guilt by association” jab since you imply that he is stained by that peculiar movement. I don’t think he is emergent, and he has gone on record more than once arguing against some of their ideas. I have no idea if he is friends with Tony Jones or Doug Pagitt or others who are in the “emergent village” (perhaps you do) but your patter with your fan seems pretty much like gossip, implying things about him that may or may not be so.

    I’ll read on through your next post, and hope you give some documentation, some evidence, and describe where he goes wrong.


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