Speaking of Campus Crusade for Christ International/Cru...
A blog calling itself "Thinking Christian" with a commendation by Josh McDowell featured prominently doesn't bode well for the state of critical thinking in the church today. Josh has done fine work but he's far from state of the art in the discipline Harry Blamires outlines in his little classic, The Christian Mind (which if you haven't read, you certainly should).
So my hopes weren't high when I started reading the post by blog-owner Tom Gilson titled "Is Campus Crusade Falling Away from Christ?" Gilson works as a "strategic planner" for Campus Crusade for Christ International, so this is an institutional voice speaking, here.
The piece demonstrates the depth of thought and BIblical discernment that, in my observation, has always characterized Cru. Their men seem incapable of receiving substantive criticism or instruction without responding superficially, always telling us their intentions are perfect and God is blessing them with trillions of souls "trusting Jesus."
The superficiality makes sense, though, if you consider that, over the course of years, a man comes to resemble his dog...We can expect that over the course of fifty years the minds of Cru men will have difficulty developing beyond their doctrine-eschewing nondenominational parachurch keep things very simple "evangelistic" ministry.
Fault me for saying it, but it's what I've observed working personally with men low and high within the ministry. And for me, at least, it's getting late in the day and I want the next generation of Church officers to lead the church in reforming the parachurchification of the Church and Her mission that is flooding the Western world.
Gilson's defense of the name change illustrates the pure-as-the-driven-snow motives and claims of extraordinary blessing ("billions" reached) and mishandling of Scripture that one would expect from a longtime Cru employee. Here's an excerpt, but read the whole post. Evangelical parachurch religious workers have a way of thinking that the simple declaration of pure passions and transporting worship experiences and lilly-white intentions and huge numbers of fruit--ALWAYS those HUGE numbers with Cru--will surely carry the day.
The Apostles’ Example
There was no named ministry organization in the early church. There were only men and women who followed Christ and ministered in his name. Wherever they went they carried the Name of Christ with them, but not on business cards—and not always at the start of every conversation.
At the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:13ff), Paul started on common ground with his Jewish listeners, reviewing their common history and scriptures together. He took some time preparing to introduce the Name of Christ. The Phllippian jailer experienced an encounter with Christ’s power and was ready to be saved before he heard the Name (Acts 16:25-31). Although it’s possible he heard Paul and Silas singing hymns to Christ, more likely he was out of earshot until Paul called out “with a loud voice.”
On the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-34), Paul doesn’t even mention the Name. He starts from common ground with the Greeks, and moves on to preach of One God and of the Resurrection.
Forming a Biblical Principle
Of course it’s true that on many occasions the apostles began their messages by naming Christ openly. It’s just that they didn’t do it every time. They were flexible according to the audience’s needs, which in every case was to hear of Christ in the most accurate and winsome way.
...our leaders judged correctly that there is nothing unbiblical in not having the Name of Christ in the name of our mission. It can actually free us up to become more effective and (in the sense I’ve outlined above) more biblical in our witness.
For sixty years, Campus Crusade for Christ has led in taking Christ’s Name to billions of people around the world. Cru is committed to doing the same for as long as the Lord allows.
Honestly, where does one start? Speaking only of the first and next-to-last sentences of this excerpt, this is the Campus Crusade for Christ I've listened to all my life. "Taking Christ's Name to billions" while pathetic men and women stuck in those moribund "named organizations" commonly called "churches" waste their time making disciples, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.
Of course, Mr. Gilson would point out he said no such thing and that he has a passion for his church; but churches get in the way of Campus Crusade for Christ International's leadership taking Christ's Name to billions.
We can have our potlucks and more power to us, but Cru is out there saving souls and getting those souls to share Jesus so even more souls can be saved.
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."