I was disappointed to hear that Campus Crusade for Christ International has decided to no longer use “Christ” in its official name. This organization was founded by Bill Bright in 1951. Bright died in 2003.
According to sources, the leadership of the organization felt that the name was getting in the way of achieving its goals. The name change will take place in the US in early 2012. The new organization will be called “Cru”.
Other than trying to achieve some “politically correct status” on college campuses, do they expect us to believe that by operating in some kind of “stealth-mode” they are going to be able to better spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, they have fooled no one but themselves. Usually, this kind of ministry move signals the beginning of offering a “Christless” gospel. They may increase participation but true conversions have historically declined in any ministry that has emphasized membership more than the Word of Jesus Christ.
So, what’s the big deal over this particular name change? Does dropping Christ’s name from the organization title of a sixty year old ministry signify something major is happening? I think it is important to consider the context in which the New Testament speaks of the name of Jesus:
“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12) “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 10:48) “Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’” (Acts 21:13) “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him [Jesus] the name that is above every name. . . .” (Phillipians 2:9) “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name [than Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
In Old and New Testament times the use of someone’s name as used in the Scriptures above meant far more than it usually does in the modern sense. A person’s name stood for what that person stood for. A person’s name represented his character and authority. To do something in someone’s name was to do it with their authority; in witness to their character; and acknowledging their blessings. It is one’s personal witness to that other person. The name of Jesus Christ incorporates all these meanings about who He is.
By this I am not saying that every church or ministry must use the name of Jesus Christ in its organizational title. What I am asking you to think about is the significance of deciding to remove “Christ” from the name of a long established ministry. Are they now changing the character of the ministry? Will it really continue to be a witness to Jesus Christ? Will they continue to act under the authority of Jesus Christ? All this remains to be seen.
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