andy crouchCan we boil down the idea of “common good” to just 7 words? Andy Crouch is willing to try. As executive editor of Christianity Today, and author of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, Crouch is all about culture, human flourishing and humanity’s common good. Crouch told Acton’s Manager of Programs Mike Cook a bit of what he plans to discuss at this year’s ActonU:

‘The common good’ provides a basis for personal choices, shared effort, and social policy deeply rooted in fundamental Christian convictions. It also defies easy partisan categories. We’ll explore a seven-word summary that helps make the common-good tradition widely accessible and concretely practical: ‘the flourishing of the vulnerable in community.’”


In a 2012 Christianity Today article, Crouch focused on the common good – what he called a “historically rich phrase.” He wrote:

Seeking the common good in its deepest sense means continually insisting that persons are of infinite worth—worth more than any system, any institution, or any cause. Societies are graded on a curve, with the fate of the most vulnerable given the most weight, because the fate of the most vulnerable tells us whether a society truly values persons as ends or just as means to an end.

And the common good continually reminds us that persons flourish in the small societies that best recognize them as persons—in family and the face-to-face associations of healthy workplaces, schools, teams, and of course churches. Though it is a big phrase, “the common good” reminds us that the right scale for human flourishing is small and specific, and that the larger institutions of culture make their greatest contribution to flourishing when they resist absorbing all smaller allegiances.

In addition to offering the Thursday evening plenary address at Acton University 2014, Crouch will also be giving a “lunch-n-learn” lecture on Friday of Acton University. This will be a bonus lecture, apart from the scheduled sessions, and allowing for Q & A time. It is during this time Crouch will focus on “The Common Good in Seven Words.”

Crouch is a classically trained musician and former campus minister. He moved into editorial work in 1998, and currently serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. He is a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission’s IJM Institute. He received his M.Div. at Boston University School of Theology.

The lunch-n-learn lectures are just one of several new features for the Acton University attendee. Acton University 2014 is June 17-20. For more information and registration details, click here.


  • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

    I understand the desire for “human flourishing and humanity’s common good,” but to some degree it’s unscriptural. In general, God causes suffering as judgment against rebellious mankind. That’s Paul’s message in Romans 1. God doesn’t necessarily directly judge people. The judgment is built in. Ungodliness causes what North and the New Institutionalists call “natural states,” where a small elite oppresses the masses and steals from them.

    Envy permeates society and creates bad institutions that prevent economic development, as Schoeck reminds us.

    Solomon details the many ways ungodliness causes personal poverty.

    God wants and causes Christians to prosper if they follow his principles, but ungodly people will generally not flourish. The best we can do is alleviate some of their suffering.

  • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

    Do you have a point?