In a rather mind-boggling display of irony, the Christian organization responsible for producing the “JESUS” film has decided that having Christ in their name was just too much for the sensibilities of the modern world. Campus Crusade for Christ, founded by Bill and Vonette Bright in 1951, will henceforth be known as “Cru.” I couldn’t make that up if I tried.
The ostensible reason from changing this venerable and well-known para-church group to Cru was because the word “Crusade” apparently alienates a lot of people. Okay. If that is the case, then why change your name to “Cru,” which I think are the first three letters in the word CRUsade? This makes absolutely no sense, but there always seems to be a justification for these continual bows to modern, anti-Christian culture. In fact, Steve Sellers, Campus Crusade for Christ’s Vice President, in arguing for the name change, said:
“We felt like our name was getting in the way of accomplishing our mission,” . . . noting that the ministry will still be committed to “proclaiming Christ around the world.”
How do you suppose that the powers-that-be at CCC realized that their name was causing so many problems in evangelizing on college campuses throughout the world? You guessed it — an opinion poll. It seems that polling data confirmed that 9% of Christians and 20% of non-Christians found the name — Campus Crusade for Christ — offensive. Apparently less than 10% of those polled who identified as Christians (whatever their definition of Christian may have been) and only 1 in 5 non-Christians who were polled were enough to sway Campus Crusade for Christ to ditch their name.
I’m still not quite sure how their mission of “proclaiming Christ around the world” will be more effectively accomplished by taking Christ out of their name. And, when I say Christ, I really mean Jesus. There is something about the Name of Jesus Christ that will always be offensive to non-believers. After all, isn’t Jesus a stumbling block and a stone of offense? We certainly wouldn’t want to offend anybody with the Name that is above every other name, now would we? What’s next? Removing crosses from our churches and replacing them with globes. But, I digress.
Sensing that the name change might not go over well with followers of Christ,
Campus Crusade for Christ Cru brought out a big gun in defense of the seemingly indefensible — Vonette Bright, who along with her late husband, Bill, co-founded Campus Crusade for Christ. I’m not sure if Mrs. Bright said the following or it was just spun re-phrased by Vice President Sellers:
“When Bill Bright started the organization, he told his wife that someday they would have to change the name,” Sellers said. “As early as the late ’70s and ’80s he was looking at making the name change.” (article here)
Considering that Bill Bright died in 2003, a good 20 years after Mr. Sellers claims that Bright was looking at a name change, one could conclude that either Bill Bright was extremely slow in his decision-making process or that he did not think that Campus Crusade for Christ was a hindrance to proclaiming the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
But, when we become so concerned with being liked, then we begin to water down the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That may or may not be our intent, but that is where we end up. Said Sellers:
“Cru enables us to have discussions about Christ with people who might initially be turned off by a more overtly Christian name.”
What could be more overtly Christian than the Name of Jesus Christ? For Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ), being that overt is apparently just too much in a post-modern, post-Christian world where popularity has become the new standard for measuring Gospel “success.” But, if popularity is a barometer of fidelity to the Gospel, then a certain church in the Houston, Texas area would be our model for a faithful Christian witness. Alas, it is not. Or for Cru, maybe it is.