Should You Support Campus Crusade Staff Now That the Name Is Changing?
By John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church & Desiring GodAUGUST 2, 2011
Since Campus Crusade for Christ announced (and explained) that it will change its name to Cru, some donors have withdrawn support from Crusade staff. I am writing to say: That's not a good reason to withdraw your support.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Glenn Beck ridiculed the change as he wadded up the report and threw it away. His entire focus was to attack the wimpy people who avoid using the name Christ for fear of giving offense. The problem with Beck is that he cared nothing about dealing with the real problems created by the name "Campus Crusade for Christ."
The problem was not "Christ". The problem was the limiting word "campus" (when CCC ministers to millions that have nothing to do with any "campus") and "crusade" (which for millions of people has one main connotation: Medieval crusades against Muslims). Beck's approach is not responsible journalism but careless hype for the religious right.
- Bill Bright was moving toward a name change much earlier, and Vonette Bright approves of the change that is being made.
- The fact that one of the earliest names for the Christian Movement in the New Testament was the fairly innocuous "The Way" (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22) did not imply that these radical followers of Jesus were ashamed of the Name (Acts 5:41).
- The fact that "in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians" (Acts 11:26), does not signify that the disciples were ashamed of "Christ" in the years before the Antioch mission.
- The fact that the church I serve is called Bethlehem Baptist Church does not mean that I value being a Baptist more than being a Christian. Nor should the Christ-exalting faithfulness of any church be judged by the absence of "Jesus" or "Christ" or "Christian" in the name.
- There is no parachurch movement or denomination where all the leaders are equally theologically astute or articulate or solid. Therefore, our alignment with, and support for, missionaries and churches should be discriminating. No one should be assumed as doctrinally sound because of being a part of any organization. Neither should we assume they are unsound. The individual is key to what the individual believes. In our support of missionaries at Bethlehem we are far more concerned with their personal beliefs and commitments and practices than we are with the organization they are connected to.
- In my judgment Campus Crusade seems to be more doctrinally awake and sound today than in decades gone by. But in the end that is not decisive when it comes to whether I would support any particular Crusade staff. What the staff believes is decisive in the end.
- Therefore, I encourage you: Don't drop your support from Crusade staff simply because the organization made a decision you disagree with. That would be like saying to a fellow-soldier on the frontlines: I'm not giving you any fire-cover because I don't like the new name the Colonel gave to your unit. Is the soldier faithful and fruitful? That is the decisive issue.
This article was originally written by John Piper for his Desiring God blog and is reprinted in its entirety with permission. You can view the article in its original form or read other articles by John Piper at DesiringGod.org.