An exchange over at a blog hosted by First Things...
There's been an exchange concerning Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ International and parachurch organizations over at a blog hosted by First Things. Here's my latest comment. Really, someone should write a book...>>So, blame should be laid at the feet of brother Bill Bright for not keeping Campus Crusade for Christ within his denomination or local church? And the same is true of all para-church organizations?
No. Rather, every effort should be made to return fulfillment of the Great Commission to the Church, and to that end we should right now stop supporting organizations that refuse to fulfill it while making lots of noise about reaching “billions.” Here’s how I put it at the end of the blog post:
“Mark my words: it is absolutely necessary that Scripture’s particulars again become normative among Evangelicals, and to that end, that we lead Evangelicals back to the Church, Her Sacraments, the discipline of Her officers, corporate worship, and the proclamation of the Gospel by Her Apostles, pastors, elders, and deacons. This is the record left us in the New Testament of the Apostolic fulfillment of the Great Commission.
“And if we are to return to Scripture in this way, we must show the error of those men and organizations who claim to be sharing Jesus, which is to say fulfilling the Great Commission, while studiously avoiding the very things our Lord Jesus commanded, starting with Baptism and moving on to that word ‘everything.’”
It’s a modest proposal, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s doable. Ask the Apostles.
>>What are the practical implications of trying to bring these para-church organizations back into a local denominational fold?
First, no one has said a word about denominations. We’re talking about the Church. But yes, having made the distinction between the Church and denominations, you’re pointing in the right direction; this is what we must work on. Here in Bloomington, it means starting up a campus ministry that fulfills the Great Commission by, among other things, putting the preaching of the Word of God and the Church back at the center. Each of us has a part to do to carry out this reform, and it starts with understanding that Scripture requires it.
>>It seems like even if the leaders of Cru were to agree with you…
The leaders of Cru will never agree with returning to the Great Commission and the Church of the New Testament. But really, if the officers of Christ’s Church man up for the work, it’s almost immaterial what Cru leaders think or do. Our Lord promised the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church, so why would we worry about the approval of Cru’s leaders? They’re old and in the way.
>>>different doctrinal beliefs of those in it’s organization.
Yes, this is the rubric all parachurch organizations us to justify forsaking the Great Commission and the Church, and it all begins with forsaking the Sacraments. Jesus put Baptism at the center of the Great Commission, but because of doctrinal disagreements over Baptism, we disobey His command while making a big show of reaching “billions.”
There’s an excluded middle between the know-nothingism of Evangelical parachurch organizations and the split pea soup of Roman Catholicism or my own Presbyterian churches–both of which endlessly divide over the smallest parts of our dogma. Let’s work in the middle as the Apostles did.
To paraphrase Chesterton, the problem today within Evangelical churches isn’t that churches have tried to fulfill the Great Commission and have found it difficult, but that Evangelical churches have found obedience of the Great Commission difficult and have removed it from their plate, paying Campus Crusade for Christ International to be their Shabbos Goy.
There’s much more to be discussed, but really, it’s a book.
Love in Christ,