Tom Gilson

Is Campus Crusade Falling Away From Christ?

Cru Logo

Update: See also It’s Not About Us

I am a long-term staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ who has believed that it was time for a change in our movement’s name. Last Monday the announcement was made that our U.S. ministries would become “Cru.” In this article I am speaking for myself and not for Campus Crusade’s senior leaders.

For me the change was welcome. Not all are so convinced it’s a good thing. Some observers in the blogosphere have taken a cautious stance—Touchstone, for example—but a few members of the press and some bloggers have been sharply critical of Campus Crusade’s dropping “Christ” from our movement’s name. I’ve seen headlines like, “The Beginning of the End.” I’ve seen dire warnings that we are falling away from Christ. I’ve seen pastors writing that their churches could no longer support us in our apparent apostasy.

No Place for Pride
We recognize that anything is possible: there is no guarantee that God will keep his hand of blessing on our ministry, and those who think they stand must take heed lest they fall. When Bill Bright left Campus Crusade’s presidency, I wrote up a study for leaders on how prior movements had come and gone, and I learned there were more than a few that had slipped away from their founding vision in Christ. Possibly the greatest missions sending movement of all time is one that’s all but lost to memory today: the Student Volunteer Movement. For decades around the turn of the 20th century it had been vibrant, world-changing, sending thousands around the globe;, but theological liberalism led to its downfall around 1920. The Y (its official name now) was originally the Young Men’s Christian Association. Its Christian roots are all but invisible now.

We’re Holding Close to Christ
Still, as I wrote yesterday, I wish everyone could have experienced what we staff members did on the days this name change was announced. It was above all a time of worship, repentance from sin, exalting the name of Christ, re-affirming our commitment to our mission, and learning new ways to advance the glory and knowledge of Christ. We spent hours on that. Included in that mix there was also about 60 or so minutes on the new name, but even that was positioned in context of our continuing mission to reach the world for Christ. For that reason, even though I know anything is possible, I remain convinced Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) will stay focused on knowing Jesus Christ and making him known, for at least as long as the current generation of leaders is with us. And because of their leadership, and because of the biblical reverence and worship expressed among our staff members, I believe we’ll continue on track with Christ for years beyond that.

A Biblical Perspective
What does the Bible say about our name, though? Much of the debate I’ve seen centers around one question: should we bring the Name of Christ with us as a banner everywhere we go, or can it stay in the background for a while sometimes? As “Campus Crusade for Christ,” we see the banner effect all the time: people see our written material or signs, and they form impressions of us right from the start, based on whatever impression they might have of Christ or of other Christians. The same thing happens to us when someone asks us who we work for.

Is there a problem with that? Some bloggers think we’re “backing away” from the Name of Christ because of shame. Not by any means! It’s no accident that one of our leaders focused on Romans 1:16 at our staff conference this week. And there was nothing extraordinary about him doing so: it’s engraved on all of our hearts. Still the question remains, is it necessary or even helpful, though, to present the name of Christ at the beginning of a conversation with a non-believer? Let’s look at the New Testament witness.

Jesus’ Example
John chapter 9 is devoted to the story of Jesus healing the man born blind. It begins with Jesus and the disciples having a short theological discussion with this man in the background. There is no indication that the blind man knows who Jesus is. Then He heals him. A spat with the Jewish leaders ensues: who was this man who did this, and why did he do it on the Sabbath? This newly-sighted man knew very little: “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25, ESV).

When Jesus meets him again at the end of the chapter, the conversation goes like this:

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus ministers first and reveals His identity later. All of His ministry, in fact, could be seen as a gradual unfolding of his identity. The disciples finally caught on to it at His resurrection; but even then we have instances of Jesus ministering first and revealing later who He was (Luke 24:13-35, for example).

When He was in dialogue with the Pharisees toward the end of His ministry on earth, He often withheld from answering their full questions. He seemed to follow a rule of revealing as much as they were ready to receive, but no more than that.

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.

We 21st century believers ought to follow their example of flexibility. Ephesians 4:29 tells us to tailor our words according to the need of the moment, to give grace to those who hear. It is not the case— it cannot be—that we must always—inflexibly—bring up the name of Christ at the start of every conversation. To do so would be to adopt a strategy that is not only ineffective, but contrary to the biblical example.

Now, do we always move toward the Name of Christ? Of course, and as quickly as possible. There is no Good News without Jesus. Cru has no mission apart from Jesus. No mission or church does. We have no life apart from Him. But it is not always necessary or wise to begin with the Name. Consider for example the rough unbeliever whose only experience with the Name of Christ is as a cuss word, along with an impression of holier-than-thou sanctimony and conservative politics. When he hears Christ brought up in conversation with no context or preparation, he’s likely to run away. If instead he receives some ministry first, or maybe hears the message told in story form building toward Christ (as the Bible does it, in fact), there’s a much greater chance he’ll be open to listening.

So the principle in summary is: Talk about Christ, share his good news in the power of the Holy Spirit, urge others to follow Him; but do so wisely; be flexible to do it in a manner that is least likely to raise needless barriers and most likely to win them over.

“Stealth” Witness?
One blogger said this was sneaky and underhanded: “stealth” ministry, he (or she) called it. If so, then Jesus and the apostles are guilty of the same. But that’s not what it is at all. Cru will not hide our devotion to Christ any more than Campus Crusade for Christ has done, which is not at all. It is not deceitful to use wisdom in how one brings forth Christ’s Name in conversation; rather it is (by definition) the wise thing to do.

Campus Crusade for Christ staff members have known this for a long time. When a seat-mate on an airplane asks, “What do you do?” I usually answer, “I’m a writer and a strategist.” I know that’s likely to open the door for a longer talk: “Oh, really? What do you write about?” From there the conversation flows, and there’s plenty of opportunity to introduce Jesus.

Applying the Principle
There are times when the first thing I want to talk about with someone is Jesus Christ. There are other times when I know that beginning there would shut down all conversation from the start. For the sake of being biblical and for effectiveness in my mission, I need to be able to be flexible in my approach. That’s not easy when the first thing the person knows about me is that I work with Campus Crusade for Christ. It takes that conversational option away from me.

The same thing that happens to me individually also happens in larger contexts. If the poster for a meeting includes, “Sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ,” some people will run away as far as they can get—because of the Name of Christ there. They’ll continue to believe whatever false view of Jesus they might have, and they’ll miss the opportunity to hear the truth about Him.

Does this mean we absolutely had to drop the name “Christ” from our organization? No; the real problem with our name (as I saw it, at least) was “Campus,” which overlooks a large proportion of what we do, and “Crusade,” which has gained serious negative associations as awareness of Islam has increased. Those two terms were the reason we needed to change. Once the door opened for a change, though, 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 partnered with thousands of churches and mission agencies in taking the name of Christ to billions of people around the world. Cru is committed to doing the same for as long as the Lord allows.

(Cross-posted at, where I have included a link for CCC/Cru staff members to borrow this material if they wish, and at First Things: Evangel)

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32 thoughts on “Is Campus Crusade Falling Away From Christ?

  1. Eliminating the horribly offensive “crusade” from the title — which was an unnecessary stumbling block for participation to Christians and non-Christians alike — is so much more significant than the elimination of the word “Christ” that I’m not sure I could even begin to offer as thoughtful a response as the one above.

    Cru makes all sorts of sense for all sorts of reasons. I’m glad there’s someone who can approach the criticism more patiently than I ever could. Nice work, Tom.

  2. I agree with Br Gulker’s assessment regarding the ‘crusade’ word, but “Cru” does seem overly faddish to me.

    I’m now awaiting various pop culture references and bad puns for meetings: J (as in Jesus) Cru, Motley Cru, Cru’s Control.

    I’ll be here all week, folks.

  3. This has definitely been a very interesting subject. Much has been said about the reasons or reasoning of the name change. Some express their feelings due to not liking change and others due to the name change and what possible reasons for it. Much accusation has been directed toward Campus Crusade for Christ. On the one hand I can see the idea for an easier way to state who you are. Ease of saying what your title is. On the other hand I can also see how such a change can reflect a possible small departing from what you are about. I don’t stand to judge but just say what could be. So much that is happening in this whole world is due to change, both good and bad. As a believers we have to be careful in spite of “bathing a change in prayer.” So much can happen in spite of good intentions. But when I read, “We felt like our name was getting in the way of accomplishing our mission” or “Our name was becoming more and more of a hindrance,particulary the word “crusade,” which offended overseas sensiblities. It’s reverted back to some of its meaning related to the middle ages – forcing Christianity on different parts of the world.” Comments like these trouble me. Is the name Campus Crusade for Christ getting in the way or is it words like Crusade, or Christ?

    When its said that researchers cited said that 9% of Christians and 20% of Non -Christians were alienated by the name of Campus Crusade for Christ. I question what alienated mean’t in this statement. Usually alienated means to feel outside of. Now were they feeling outside of the organization? Statements like these and changes “in the name of Christ” are increasing becoming the norm as a way of fitting in for churches and ministries today. The trouble is once it starts where will it end. My only fear is that your organization may lose its way. The Bible tells us that in the last days the hearts of many will grow cold. I think of so many who call the name of Christ are living like the world. I just hope and pray that this is not the case with the name change. Really though its not the name change so much as what name is being left out.

    Finally, In the Huffington post there was an article…..As Jim Wallis said on MSNBC’S Morning Joe this morning, how we balance the budget is a moral issue. There are choices we need to make.
    So, in the final moments of both of my interviews, I asked Christensen and Sellers: “Do you see a day coming when Campus Crusade might send a representative to join the Circle of Protection for the Poor?” Both answered seperately: “We have a long way to go, but we’re moving in that direction. The name change is only one part of that.”
    to go, but we’re moving in that direction. But it is part of it.

    Again this too troubles me. I really have hope that this organization does not fall into compromise.

  4. Forrest,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. As I wrote here (almost the final paragraph), the difficulty with the old name was in the words “Campus” and “Crusade.” The “alienation” research has to do with the proportion of people who react negatively to a name, if they have no experience with the organization it represents. Any percentage higher than about 3 is considered to be an undesirable barrier. It’s easy to see how “Crusade” could elicit that response in today’s world; it was time to change it.

    I think it’s healthy (in one sense) to fear that we will lose our way—not just our organization, but every one of us. I hate the thought that it could happen, even though (as I mentioned above) I know it could. I don’t see the current generation of leaders and staff backing down one whit on our love and commitment to Christ, though, which encourages me.

    I do not know what the Circle of Protection for the Poor is, so I can’t respond to that. I do know that Isaiah 58, Isaiah 61, Luke 4, and many, many other passages teach us of God’s heart for the poor. To follow him in that is not to back away from Christ. I know some churches and theologians have substituted it for the gospel, but in God’s eyes it is part of the Good News lived out by his people. Being his people, by faith in Christ alone, and calling others to enter into relationship with Him, remains the priority, though.

  5. As someone who just left Campus Crusade after 8 years as an employee I can assure those here of one thing. If you knew the people I know, if you knew their commitment to the organization, the word of God and the mission of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all, you would have no worries about something like a change in name.

  6. Tom,

    I’m not surprised at the reaction both positive and negative. In my opinion, the cultural reason is the strongest for the name change; I doubt if there’s much evidence to suggest that Athletes in Action, the Jesus Film, Priority Associates, etc. were hampered in their mission by the name of the umbrella organization.

    I’m curious about the regression analysis and methodology re: the name (and/or its pieces) and the disposition of those approached. The statement that’s being passed around is something like “20% of those who might have been willing to hear about the gospel decided against it because of the name of the organization.” (Forgive me if my imprecision muddles the true message; please correct me if it does).

    I am not surprised that people are overspiritualizing their objections to the name change, and others will overspiritualize the defense of the name change as well.

    As one who has heard rumblings/discussions about the name change for at least a decade (I think since the 90s, at least), the bottom line for the change seemed/seems to be this: Some are offended by the name “Crusade,” as it hearkens back to a rather unpleasant time in the history of Christianity, so CCC decided to remove that barrier to spreading the gospel. Whether it was truly a barrier, or one that some used as an excuse to be offended/reject engaging in a discussion of the Gospel, I’m not sure.

    The other stuff? Not as much an issue. Marketing examples abound- e.g., who has a problem buying Minute Maid orange juice because it’s owned by Coke? How many even know this fact?

  7. Tom,

    I read your reply to Forrest more carefully, and that answered a little of my question re: methodology (alienation research.) Sorry I missed that.

    As a stats/marketing/decision sciences geek, I still crave the raw data. 😉

  8. Tom,

    I was approached in college by CCC, and more out of not wanting to be seen as uncool, dismissed them in a rather off handed way as soon as I heard the name. It’s not something I’m proud of now, but at the time being 18 and very immature, it’s the way I reacted to their representatives at the door.

    Honestly, I doubt that I’m alone in that reaction, and the so-called “stealth” ministry technique would have been preferable to me, and might have been just the group to have kept me in college.

    I like the change.

  9. For a long time I have been giving to CCC most of my donations on a monthly basis but now that they are dropping the name of Christ I will no longer support them. This is another sign we are living the end times. The apostasy, the falling away. They are going the way of TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network ), now they call themselves Touching Billions Now, besides that they censored Hal Lindsey and Jack Van Impe for speaking the truth.

  10. It apears that most of the comments are from people who are connected to CCC. I think you have to accept the fact that this can cause you to suport this name change and to underestimate the problems it could cause. I am not a CCC insider but I am a 12 year supporter and I have to tell you I have some serious concerns for both the logic of this change and the potential consequences.

    I can see the reason to drop the word “campus” as it could cause people to assume it is the only focus of the ministry. All of the CCC spokespersons have also stressed the need to drop the word crusade. Then they choose “Cru” which most would assume to be short for crusade. What is the logic in that? Then of course there is the decision to drop Christ from the name because there are some who don’t respond positively to that name/word.

    I attend a large Baptist church. I suggest that, using this same logic, we should drop the name Baptist because that obviously would offend someone. We whoud then have to drop the word “Church” because that will surely offend others. Next we would obviously need to get rid of that Cross. Ir might cause an even stronger negative reaction. We should take down all the signs and call ourselves “Klu”.

    As a supporter, I don’t support CCC because it’s CCC but because my support is the best thing I can do to help spread the gospel. So, if this name change creates the reaction I fear it will, I, and other contributors, will have to decide if our support whould have more impact elsewhere.

  11. George and Howard,

    I could answer you here, and assure you that whoever you have been supporting, their commitment to Christ and His cause has not decreased in the slightest. This change really is about the mission, and about reaching the lost. But you probably have a personal relationship with the ones you support. I urge you to have a talk with them on the phone and hear them express their heart before you settle in on any decision to change your support for them. Thank you.

  12. Tom: I have had a strong relationship with the couple we support and we would hate to change our support. However, they have to work within the framework of “Cru”, whatever that is. And, they will have little ability to affect the overall reaction to this change.

    We also support The Salvaion Army. I’m not aware that they are thinking of dropping the word “Salvation” because some might not like it. They are very open about who they are and what they are about.

    I assume the decision to change your name is final so I don’t suppose there is a lot more to say.

  13. Tom:

    I’m the last person that should be butting my two cents into the business of CCC–mainly due to my ignorance on how hard you guys worked and prayed over the name change, but also because I have no affiliation.

    I get the market surveys, and I get their importance. I get the fact that your management likely foresaw that, within the ranks of CCC itself, some would be hurt and would be taking that pain “to the e-streets.” I get the fact that there are lots of good Christian organizations out there without “Christ” in their name. I reject the vitriol directed against “crusade”… and that’s not just a Catholic thing. I don’t buy any of what George has shared, but I do lean toward Howard’s concern… which is my concern.

    For what it’s worth, dropping Christ from a long-established name is not just a perception thing, it seems to me. That “commitment to Christ and His cause has not decreased in the slightest” I’m not doubting… but, sometimes, when it’s really important… when it comes to “every knee shall bend and every tongue confess,” it bothers me at a fairly deep level that the Name above all names is dropped. Removing something so important does send a signal–even if it is a signal unfairly attributed to the organization. The organization currently has His name on it, in other words, it clearly projects an image that, at the end of the day, it is HIS organization, and that the organization follows HIM. (Maybe the image of the stylized Cross tries to project Christ per the longing of the management… but I plead ignorance.)

    My issue is not with the commitment of the current folks who make up your organization. My concern is for those who will follow in their footsteps: they will no little or nothing about the struggle and rationale for the name change. They will be coming into an organization that has removed Christ from its name. The risk, it seems to me, is now greater that the organization could eventually (I’m NOT saying it will… just wondering… and maybe I’m paranoid) become their organization instead of His.

    Please don’t take this as an imposition or request or whatever. I’m just stream-of-consciousness sharing my feelings… feelings that are likely very uninformed.

  14. I can see/ hear great logic in a name change; but the chosen name leaves me wondering? What does it mean? How do you even pronounce it? Does it have a message? Is it an accronymn? It leaves me scratching my head and wondering.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

  15. Tom, George, Howard, Holo, Cherie,

    FWIW, here’s a post from pastor Tim Bayly in response to a letter he received from Stephen Douglass, President of Campus Crusade for Christ, about the name change to CRU:


  16. I have no ax to grind in his matter but reading through the comments and thinking through the issue its beginning to leave a sour taste in my mouth and at first I was thinking perhaps much ado about nothing. I guess first I figured Cru was acronym – Christ Reach Unlimited or something like that- and I still don’t get why it isn’t or couldn’t have been handled this way with no removing the name of christ and then a more troubling idea began to form.

    If the name Christ turns off people and Cru is willing to change its name and drop the name of who it pledges allegiance too at what point does that desire not to turn off allow for the name to be mentioned? It hardly seems sensible to change the name to remove any offense and then hand out brochures with the name Jesus or Christ. I suspect I might be wrong but even the name “Bible” might set off the same response.

    So to be logically consistent it seems to me that Cru must now remove the name off of anything that is to make its first impression of the organization. How long does that go on? First meeting, second meeting what events can have the name of Christ mentioned predominantly for sake of the same research and which can’t. When is the offensive or turning off name and terms allowed to be used? I’ve seen this approach before and soon all that was left was a nice social club.

    then I read this in the FAQ and it just doesn’t wash given the present discussions –

    “Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) is unswervingly committed to proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ. ”

    If that is unswervingly I no longer know what the word means. To be honest If Tom was not associated with this (as I am gathering ) then I would yes now begin to draw the conclusion that this is the first step toward what has happened to many organizations. Still on the fence but have to say leaning over it and away from this being a good name change.

    I don’t know how I would look in my child’s face and tell them I was unswerving in my declaring the name of Christ while taking it down so as to widen my reach. CRU could have had the Name of Christ abbreviated in the very first letter and had none of these potentially damaging implications. Why wasn’t that considered?

  17. Mike, the point at which the desire turns off to allow Christ to be mentioned in our ministry is not when we change our name, but when thousands upon thousands of staff members around the globe who love Christ and hold the Bible as their highest authority fall away from that. That’s not going to happen under the current generation of leaders, I can assure you. If you knew them as I do I am confident you would agree.

    We are not backing down on proclaiming Jesus Christ. Please see here for further perspective. Thank you for approaching this with a willingness to believe the best.

  18. Tom,

    I’m probably telling you what you already know, but I think part of the worry here stems from having seen other Christian organizations and movements become co-opted. Or rather, they shift priorities and suddenly the real concern is making friends or appealing to the right people more than anything else. Look at Biologos, which (and I say this as more or less a TE myself) gives off the rank stench of caring more about appealing to academics and cultural elite than, you know. God.

    (And yes, Biologos has bright spots now and then, but by and large it’s useless.)

    That said, I don’t think that every Christian movement, much less Christian influence, has to do the equivalent of screaming Christ’s name from a bullhorn. My own concern with a name like Cru is that the name doesn’t mean anything at all in and of itself. But then again, you can make it mean something, eh?

  19. Crude,

    Those are very genuine concerns. That was why CCC’s leaders asked me to study how it has happened in the past—see the third paragraph of the original post. Concerning your last paragraph see #5 here.

  20. Whatever you think about the name change, it has, in my experience, already been tested successfully. I was in Campus Crusade for Christ as an undergrad at Rice University from 02 – 06. At Rice, everyone had been calling it “Cru” since long before I arrived. When I moved up to Boston, I met some undergrads in Campus Crusade for Christ at MIT who referred to the organization as “CCC” (when I talked about “Cru”, they assumed I meant the rowing team! It’s a popular sport up here… not so much in Houston.) The point is this: the word “Christ” has essentially already been removed from the name that students use when referring to the organization, even in conversations with non-members and unbelievers. I can tell you that both groups — Cru at Rice, and CCC at MIT — were clearly committed to Christ, and were intensely concerned with telling their fellow students about him. Anyone who came to one of our praise meetings, prayer meetings, or Bible studies would know that calling ourselves “Cru” had nothing to do with falling away from Christ. And anyone who saw the fliers for our apologetics talks, or read our letters to the campus newspaper on, for example, the evidence for the Resurrection would know that omitting the word “Christ” from our name did not dampen our efforts to make Him known to our unbelieving colleagues.

    I’m not in a position to judge whether the changing the official name was necessary or wise, but based on what I’ve seen, I don’t believe it will change anything substantial about the campus aspect of the ministry. As was the case when I was there, those in Cru will continue (by God’s grace) to love Jesus and grow in their faith; those outside will still be invited to come and know Christ through Cru; and the enemies of Christ on campus will still oppose whatever Cru does.

  21. Tom I don’t see anyone claiming in this thread that a falling away has taken place because of a name change. Rarely does a christian organization make the transition in a single bound so it is not an indictment on present leadership either. I don’t think there is anyone here either that questions your assessment of the love the present leaders have for Christ. What leaves a bad taste for me is the potential effect and actually its not just potential anymore.

    We can look at this two ways. All those who are concerned have taken it wrong and there are no real issues involved or we can say that they too have the spirit of God and that there might be some issues they raise that yes as hard as it might be to explore may come from God also.

    I don’t know how anyone can claim the name change as a success in light of what I am seeing around the Net and in the media and frankly even some comments from the unsaved. Frankly It would make me humbly reconsider or adjust.

    At the end of the day the name of Christ was dropped from a major Christian organization because they believe it turned off people (and it can hardly be denied that at least in part that does have something to do with political correctness in our culture). Logically it also means that the name of Christ and other words will be left off other material too for the same reason (since there is no rationality to removing the name merely in one space). Is there no negative that can be taken away from this that is legitimate?

    This reaction frankly should have been easy to predict with discernment . Every where in our culture we see people shying away from openly declaring their faith and standing for Christ. Our young people often want to hide they are Christians. The fact that one of the largest Ministries is dropping the name couldn’t possibly not have had this reaction.

    I guess we have our first disagreement Tom. I still cannot figure out why with those concerns so evident the name CRU would not have been used as an acronym without ever having to go through with removing the name entirely from the ministry.

  22. Mike,

    Logically it also means that the name of Christ and other words will be left off other material too for the same reason (since there is no rationality to removing the name merely in one space). Is there no negative that can be taken away from this that is legitimate?

    I think you will see over the next twelve months that this is not true. The “Jesus” film, produced by Campus Crusade for Christ and now seen by more than 6 billion in 1100 languages (yes we know some of them were counted twice) will not become the Cru film. Our booklet on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit will not become a teaching on how to be filled with Cru. The Four Spiritual Laws, which God has used to draw millions into life with him, including me, never did mention Jesus on the cover, but he was at the heart of the booklet and will remain that way. Our related booklet, “Knowing God Personally,” will not become Knowing Cru Personally. My blog will not become the Thinking Crouton.

    There is rationality in changing the name this way. Our organization’s name is the one place where persons are most like to draw an immediate impression without relationship and without knowledge. Our other materials convey a lot more knowledge than a name can, and typically they are given in the context of relationship—relationship with someone who is firmly devoted to Jesus Christ.

    Some of the reaction was predicted. What was not predicted was the prominent news outlets’ grossly distorted reports that we did it because we were ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ. We never said that. But that false information got out into the culture and escalated the whole thing beyond what we expected.

    I don’t know why the name Cru wasn’t used as an acronym, because I wasn’t privy to the whole process by which suggestions (some 1600 of them) were evaluated. I do know that reactions were generally positive until certain news outlets broke a distorted version of it, the third day after it was announced.

  23. Tom that is good to hear but those were not the kind of extremes I was referring to. Surely you do see the logical problem of not thinking that it will affect other first contact flyers, brochures, banners etc. it just doesn’t make sense that it wouldn’t with the strategy of why the name Christ was removed to begin with (and if that was already the case it doesn’t affect the issue). Somewhere on someone making decisions at a local level its going to have an effect. every action does.

    Anyway I wish you the best and the same for Cru. I take another view on the media outcry. I don’t see them as having a responsibility to see the issue through one explanation of it or even needing to accept an explanation given. Thats not their job. I am gratified that at least at this point in our culture there are some news outlets that still consider it news that the name of Christ is taken out of a ministry and that some even are stating how offensive that can be. Thats an EXTREMELY good thing for the body of Christ even if it isn’t for Cru on a personal level. It seems to me to be in bit of denial to think that this was merely caused by a distortion of the media. it took three days just to sink in out side of Cru is all.

    Reading in this thread the names of other posters who have stood with you on all kinds of issues expressing some of the same concerns expressed in the media makes me think that its a bit unfair to charge the media with gross distortion. The issues are real and so are the concerns. Might I suggest that its being taken waaay too personally. Its a wider issue given the size and reach of CCC that affects our culture and the whole Body of Christ. Plus on a practical level I don’t see being offended as a practical way of dealing with the issue.

    It is an extraordinary step for a christian organization to claim that God has directed them to remove his name from his work. It would require a very high level of communication with him to be certain of it.

    With respect good discernment should have seen this reaction even at the media level coming and the lack of that discernment (given the surprise that several people in the organization has expressed) MAY speak to whether Cru might have been hearing from God on that extraordinary level more than it was hearing from marketing research. I know that might offend you but it is something the wider body of Christ has to consider.

  24. Thank you for a thoughtful comment, Mike. We’ll have to agree to disagree on some things, and perhaps agree to see what happens on others.

    I do want to clarify one thing: I did not “charge the media with gross distortion.” Or at least I did not intend to. In my previous comment I said,

    What was not predicted was the prominent news outlets’ grossly distorted reports that we did it because we were ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ. We never said that. But that false information got out into the culture and escalated the whole thing beyond what we expected.

    Later in the comment I wrote,

    I do know that reactions were generally positive until certain news outlets broke a distorted version of it, the third day after it was announced.

    In case I was not clear about it, this is what I meant to say. It was not that the media in general and in all cases grossly distorted it. There were certain news outlets that broke a distorted version of our announcement.

    You say,

    I don’t see them as having a responsibility to see the issue through one explanation of it or even needing to accept an explanation given.

    Perhaps not. But there were one or two prominent and widely viewed outlets that actually misrepresented what we said. They said, “Campus Crusade explained their reasons for the name change as x,” when in fact we never did that. If they had some reason to conclude that we really meant x even though we never said x, then they can say what they want to about it, but they should not have said that we said x.

    (x being that we changed the name because of shame over the name of Christ.)

    Anyway, these are details in a larger story.

    We know that not everyone is going to agree with or like our name change, and that’s as it will be. Time will tell whether it was a good idea.

  25. Yes I will agree the ashamed of has a slightly different connotation and isn’t entirely accurate. I think how that comes about is that if someone is turned off by the name and part of the cultural response is rooted in political correctness then it can be seen by some as an acceptance of that cultural response.

    I’m not going to kick this around any more except two points. First I don’t see why it has to be final. Theres room to adapt and listen to what other members of the body of Christ have to say if there isn’t too much pride. They can be part of the multitude of counsel scripture tells us to listen to and they also have the Spirit of God.

    Second the name isn’t really even the only concern people have. I realize now its not even what primarily bothers me. Its the claim that removing the name makes you more effective. Something is gnawing about that to me biblically. We tell the world and our people – that we do all things by his power, not by might but by my Spirit says the Lord, we can do nothing without him, he draws all men unto himself, its the spirit that quickeneth, and countless other well drawn biblical passages that make it obvious its not our wisdom but his spirit that pulls people to himself.

    How is the spiritual strength we claim to rely on increased by the removal of his name?
    On what spiritual or biblical principle is removing the name of Christ more effective since we claim our entire effectiveness is predicated on Him. Theres a dissonance there which we might be able to dodge around a bit butI don’t think can entirely avoid.

    It smacks of just good old human reasoning and the extended discussions about branding and other men based companies in some circles within Cru doesn’t make the incongruity go away – makes it worse. Certainly we can’t be claiming God will now bless more because his name was in the way not in the same way we could say of it of the meaningless to the gospel word “crusade” which is retained more by the new name.

    There are all kinds of strategies that don’t remove the name and in this case one that I suggested that leaves it right there in the very first letter so this isn’t about being narrow in strategy its about the biblical justification for that kind of reasoning.

    Anyway if its final then its final but if so that may end up being true on both sides. m

  26. Thank you again for a thoughtful response, Mike.

    I had thought I had closed comments, by the way, but apparently that switch didn’t trip when I thought it did. This is a good one to close on here.

    We do rely on Christ’s power, and it is the Holy Spirit who draws persons to himself. We have learned from experience and from Scripture, though, that this is not the whole story. The same believers, praying the same way and relying on the Spirit in the same way, may see different results from two different approaches to ministry. (This is not news, is it?) If one approach draws more people to Christ than another, even though the same believers are praying, trusting, and relying on the Spirit the same way; and if all other things are equal (such as the quality of discipleship that flows from it, the population of people we are reaching, etc.), doesn’t it make strategic sense to use the more effective outreach? Has the Lord forbid us from using our minds to think about these things?

    You ask, how is the spiritual strength we rely on increased by the removal of his name? It’s not. The name was not changed for that purpose.

    I appreciate your concern, and I really hope you will pray with us for the fulfillment of our Lord’s Great Commission.

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