Hart Reviews Crouch on Culture Making


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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. What a great and worthwhile review to read. I have not read a lot of Hart but what I have read makes me want to read more. I did deeply imbibe on his “Seeking a Better Country” and am much the better for it. Hart always leaves you hanging as he does at the end of this review.

    Evangelicals always seem to miss the point that Reformation Christianity is antithetical and diametrically opposed to its methodology- especially in regards to its soteriology and ecclesiology. Now, according to Hart, its methodology of cultural engagement also seems to be lacking too- even though he does give Crouch some high marks in some of his insights in the book he is reviewing. Some of these which he notes are as follows: 1) “Crouch writes, culture, you could say is the activity of making meaning.”; “2) “the beginning of culture and the beginning of humanity are one and the same because culture is what we were made to do.”; 3) “For good reasons Crouch wants to go beyond simply analyzing culture for the sake of what it does to children or for whether it is appropriate for Christian consumption. He prefers the postures of cultivating and creating culture to critiquing, copying or consuming.”; 4) “Crouch even ups the ante for his fellow evangelicals when he turns from culture-making as basic to human identity to culture- making as a biblical duty.”

    Hart does posit the following problems in Crouch’s understanding of Christianity and culture: 1) “Confusion about the relationship between creation and salvation haunts Crouch’s argument. The muddle might have been avoided had Crouch interacted carefully with Christian teaching (whether Protestant or Roman Catholic but especially Augustinian) on the relationship between nature and grace.” Have I not heard someone argue in this vein also?- now I know where Zrim gets a lot of his ideas from.; 2) “Crouch’s book does signal a hopeful development, which is that the evangelical pursuit of culture warfare was and is a dead-end. Less encouraging is the motive behind Crouch’s apparent fatigue with the culture war. He does not simply find the warrior mindset defective but seems to be mainly comfortable with the cultural goods available to the middle-class, urban friendly, suburban Americans. Evangelicals like Crouch have found a home in the modern world, they are no longer a passing through.” Amen to that- what happens when the aggressive new atheists or the government starts condemning and trying to put a stop to their culture making activities because they perceive (and rightly so) that they stem from a biblical view of reality? The evangelicals will quickly find out that this world which is passing away is not user friendly to our activities. There is always a caveat to the delusion that we will not run into resistance with about anything worthwhile which we set our minds and wills to do. The kingdom of God is antithetical to the kingdom of man and never the twain shall meet. We have to be wise as serpents but innocent as doves in order to wade our way through the seeming confusion. And we somehow have to do it without taking a Christ against culture posture. Is not Paul, Calvin, Luther and Augustine our great examples in this regard?

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