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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Famous Ministry Drops “Christ” From Its Name

Bill Bright

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.

The Need For Real Christian Men

Charles H. Spurgeon

Men are always trying to improve the Gospel of Jesus Christ by adding a little here or ignoring a little there. The church has often suffered from the fallacy that it must seek the approval of the world. In trying to remove the offense of the Gospel, they broaden the road to a false cultural salvation that neither saves nor preaches the true Christ. Charles Haddon Spurgeon had to confront these problems in his time as well:

“Yet now be strong, O Zerubabbel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.” (Haggai 2:4-5)

Haggai was sent to speak to Zerubabbel, the governor, and to Joshua, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people. The great man may become discouraged: he that leads the van has his fainting fits; even Elijah cries, “Let me die!” The consecrated servant of God whose life is a priesthood is apt to grow discouraged, too: standing at God’s altar, he sometimes trembles for the ark of the Lord. The multitude of the people are all too apt to suffer from panic, and to flee at the sight of the enemy. How many are they who say, “The old truth cannot exceed: the cause of orthodoxy is desperate; we had better yield to the modern spirit”! This faint-heartedness is so common that it has been the plague of Israel from her first day until now. . . . This is as common among Christians as consumption among the inhabitants of this foggy island. Oh that God would save us all from distrust, and cause us to quit ourselves like men!

Wherever discouragement comes in it is dreadfully weakening. I am sure it is weakening, because the prophet was bidden to say three times to the governor, high priest, and people, “Be strong.” This proves that they had become weak. Being discouraged, their hands hung down, and their knees were feeble. Faith girds us with omnipotence, but unbelief makes everything hang loose and limp about us. Distrust and thou wilt fail in everything; believe, and according to thy faith so shall it be unto thee. . . . A church that needs constant exhorting and compelling accomplishes nothing. . . . We want Christian men . . . who have faith in their principles, faith in the doctrines of grace, faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and who therefore contend earnestly for the faith in these days when piety is mocked at from the pulpit, and the gospel is sneered at by professional preachers. We need men who love the truth, to whom it is dear as their lives; men into whose hearts the old doctrine is burned by the hand of God’s Spirit through a deep experience of its necessity and of its power. We need no more of those who will parrot what they are taught, but we want men who will speak what they know. Oh, for a troop of men like John Knox, heroes of the martyr and covenanter stock! Then would Jehovah of hosts have a people to serve Him who would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

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