Campus Crusade for Christ now CRU

This article tells us that the classic Evangelical campus ministry Campus Crusade for Christ has removed the words ‘Crusade’ and ‘Christ’ from it’s name. It is now called CRU. You can read about the name change here. Funnily enough this comes just at the time that I am commenting on the ‘re-branding’ that is going on within many Evangelical churches. In the comment box on that post one person said how difficult it was for him to find out just what ‘Intervarsity’ was when he went to college. I think this is the new name for what was Intervarsity Christian Fellowship–a Campus Crusade for Christ type ministry.

It does seem a pity that these groups drop out the ‘Christian’ or ‘Christ’ from their name. Is everything else being watered down too? The commenter said that the description of a mission trip to Egypt was, “we went there to help the people and talk with them.” What? When I was growing up as an Evangelical the mission trips were all about ‘Going out to the mission field to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who were dying in their trespasses and sins and therefore on their way to eternity in hell.” That sort of language was clear and had some, well…bite. This current wishy washy stuff from the Evangelicals reminds me of old fashioned liberalism.

Which–of course it is. Essentially, whatever you see the radical Protestants like Episcopalians and Lutherans and Church of Christ people doing the rest of the Protestants will slowly drift into about ten or twenty years later. They will do so without the radical edge. It will simply become the default setting without anyone really noticing. So, for example, the Anglicans opened the door to artificial contraception in the 1930s. By the 1960s all Protestants had caved. The Episcopalians and other mainstream liberal Protestants ‘adjusted their teaching’ about divorce and remarriage and abortion and homosexuality and so forth. The rest of the Protestants are now spongy on remarriage and abortion and like to ‘remain silent’ about same sex issues.

So Campus Crusade for Christ have dropped ‘Crusdae’ and ‘Christ’ from their title. We should look on the bright side. If they had adopted CCC it would have been confused with ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ which we definitely wouldn’t want. Also, it frees up the word ‘Crusade’ so that it might be used by a more radical American fundamentalist Christian group in the future when they want to pick up their guns and begin a genuine crusade against radical Islam.

Seriously now (…and lest I get lots of comments telling me that I shouldn’t foment violence against Muslims…I was just kidding) I understand the need to ‘re-brand’ sometimes, but I don’t think you should take Christ out of your name. Christians should be clear about who they are and what their mission is. It makes things much easier for everyone.

I wear my clericals and tell people, “I’m Father Longenecker. I’m a Catholic priest.” If they don’t like it, well, that’s what the gospel does. It sorts things out.


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01306017321460701751 Paul Rodden

    When I was involved in Evangelicalism in the early to mid 1980s, what is now called 'emergent' was called 'liberalism' back then, and it was seen as the work of Satan in the Church.Those same Evangelicals who condemned it back then, think it is where the church should be at now…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11740482509910163332 Gail F

    An old college friend who is now a UU wrote a post of facebook about going to the denomination's general meeting and being so happy to understand their solidarity better. I asked how they could have any denominational solidarity when — to use her as an example — a pagan married to an atheist could both be "active in their UU church." She said that when the UUs believed in an afterlife, doctrine was more important. But now that many of their members don't, they are all about living life the best way they can and making sure everyone else on earth did too. I asked what she meant by that, as it was rather vague, and she said at her general meeting she heard about the UU's sending comic books about Martin Luther King, Jr., to somewhere in the mideast that was having riots, and they helped keep things peaceful. Yeah, that's what the missionaries of old did, send comic books to other people's riots. Really, what can you say to people who think that is being admirable?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05496819581817926605 JFM

    Intervarsity is still Intervarsity Christian Fellowship last I checked. While I agree with your overall post, I can't say American Catholics do any better in being firm on teachings. Rome holds the line, but over here… I have found you have to insist to get anyone to be clear on teachings. Otherwise they will waffle till the cows come home. Try asking questions on sex, gender, the Bible… American priests will sound more emergent than CRU staff, I promise you! And Catholics have outstripped all the mainline Protestant lib denominations in embracing faith-killing Bible scholarship. So not at all sure the Church can be held up as a much better example of firmness right now.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    JFM, you're right of course, and I usually, when writing such posts as this add that the Catholics aren't much better.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00659833542780220795 Russ Rentler, M.D.

    " Catholics have outstripped all the mainline Protestant lib denominations in embracing faith-killing Bible scholarship." I don't agree. There is still a contingent of liberal theologians and priests/nuns in the Catholic Church and they have been influential over the past 40 years in trying to water down moral theology. However, the difference here is that regardless of what they espouse, it can't/won't change the Church's doctrine to fit the culture dejour. At the end of the day, the average Catholic can still discover what is correct Catholic doctrine. Two clicks on google will get you the Catechism. Father "Wink at Contraception" would eventually get shut down if his bishop caught wind that he was trying to "change" Catholic moral teaching or tell parishioners to use contraception.Sister "I Wanna Be A Priest" will get shut down if she keeps promoting her ideas. Maybe not as quick as we would like, but they are under authority and eventually the hammer will fall. When CRU or IVF or any other protestant organization desires to change their name, or God forbid change their morality, there is no one to "shut them down." I am not suggesting they should be rebuked for their name change, but if they decide that promoting marriage between a man or woman is offensive as well, who will have the authority to “bring them back in alignment.”They have only the Bible to use to sort things out. We can see that ELCA and PCA both recently used the principles of sola scriptura to vote to change the Traditional moral stance that says same sex partnering is wrong. Maybe CRU doesn't signal a change in CCC's theology and morals, but as Fr. L has said above, 10-20 years from now, we will have to see…..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05127202199834183627 Liz

    Back in the 1980's I read some article in Christianity Today that convinced me that the evangelical movement as a whole was moving in the direction that the mainline churches had moved decades before. I concluded that my grandchildren would have to be Catholic because every other Christian group was caving on some pretty essential things. I wasn't happy about that because I still believed the anti-Catholic hogwash I'd been taught in my Assembly of God Sunday school class in jr. high school. Fast forward a decade and I was in RCIA. I'm now thrilled that my grandchild is being raised Catholic. I'm absolutely delighted to see her do a little two year old's version of a genuflection. And you know what, while the evangelicals haven't gone quite as far down the path as I'd suspected they might have by now (and there are still some pretty staunch people in evangelicalism on many issues), I have to say that my conclusions were far more sadly right, and have come to pass far more quickly in many respects than I expected. The people in the pew aren't always aware of it, they're too busy being entertained at their mega churches. But when you look at where evangelicals are on divorce and remarriage, for example, you can see the drift. Of course, the whole emergent church thing is out there. Some of that was what I was beginning to see in that CT article back then. I'm just really glad that reading the early Church fathers circa 1994 cleared up some of the misconceptions from my Sunday School days.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02598404623048927550 Tom S.

    Excuse my limited recall of the Gospels, but didn't our Lord say something about denying me and I will deny you in heaven?