One Final Result to Catering Ministry to the Unchurched: Removing Christ

From this article on Foxnews it seems Campus Crusade for Christ is changing its name.

It appears like Campus Crusade for Christ has gone down that road of accommodating even their name for those who are hindered by it.  According to the article the former name was getting in the way of “our mission”.  This is what happens when we trade our work (what we do) with our identity (what we believe).

I find it interesting that while removing “Christ” they went with “Cru” which is slang for crusade, a word which they also claim is offensive to some.

From the article:

“We were not trying to eliminate the word Christ from our name. We were looking for a name that would most effectively serve our mission and help us take the gospel to the world. Our mission has not changed. Cru enables us to have discussions about Christ with people who might initially be turned off by a more overtly Christian name. We believe that our interaction and our communication with the world will be what ultimately honors and glorifies Christ.”

They may have not been trying to remove it, but they did.
Deeds not creeds right?
This is what happens when mission (or what we do) replaces doctrine (what we believe) as to who we are.  This is what happens when the means of grace are no longer enough for God to work through, but we must come up with gimmick after gimmick to bait and switch the unbeliever into the “faith” which in the end is no faith at all.

In the end, this may be more honest about the work of this organization.


I am very thankful for organizations like Higher Things’ “Christ on Campus” for keeping their name as strong as it is.  As many of our fellow baptized begin to plan for arriving on campus this August, let us keep our support up for our campus ministries, both the ones with Christ on Campus and also those using Lutheran Student Fellowship as well.

As a bit of encouragement for those with Community Colleges/Technical Colleges in their area, please consider a campus ministry to those students as well (many of them are your permanent neighbors).

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.


One Final Result to Catering Ministry to the Unchurched: Removing Christ — 230 Comments

  1. @Matthew Mills #199
    please don’t read things into my statements that I haven’t written
    That’s a common problem, and it is why my posts tend to be long, because from experience, I can anticipate places in what I am writing what, that I am not writing, might be read intot it, unless I expressly foreclose that reading in. Tedium.

  2. @Joe #197

    I don’t recall the enthusiasts, sacramentarians, anabaptists or any other group besides the RCC being defined as the kingdom of the antichrist

    True, but that might be only because they weren’t in power, and did not have a papal doctrine that purported to speak for Christ in a special way beyond what we claim when the pastor is in the pulpit. Those were features, in addition to false doctrine, that Scripture included in the description of antichrist.

  3. So…..can we all agree then that they should change their name back to CCC?  Who will let them know what we decided?   🙂

  4. What?  How about LAMP, LBT, LCMS World Missions, Time of Grace, Lutheran Hour, Ongoing Ambassadors, Apple of His Eye, etc?

  5. @#4 Kitty #207

    I agree. What was the pont of this thread? We mere-Lutherans have trouble grasping the cosmic significance of something so trivial as CCC changing its name.

  6. @John Rixe #208
    The point of this thread is to warn us to the church growth practice of catering the church to the unbeliever. Yes, if Lutherans have dabbled in it, there should be repentance.

    As far as “trivial” goes, I don’t believe that there are such things. The serpent was more subtle than any other creature. Satan is at work in the small stuff, which some will discount as mere trivial things.

  7. This back and forthing does nothing to address what our churches need to be doing to ready our youth for our nation’s campuses. Whether it be Campus Crusade for Christ, CRU, or any of the other host of organizations out there that have the ability to mislead and confuse our sons and daughters, we need to do a better job as parents and congregations in preparing them for ANYTHING. Their concrete is still wet when they are sent off, and for some reason this Campus Crusade for Christ and the like have given the homefront a false comfort. School will be starting soon. How many of our students will be lost this year?

  8. @Johannes #54
    Have you spent any time with the staff of Cru? If you have, then you could not say that they do not believe in salvation by grace alone thru faith alone. Yes, their terminology about making “decisions” for Christ is a problem, even among the staff. They are a parachurch group, so many different foci and theological backgrounds do come into play. Calvinism and Arminianism are but two of the conflicts one may observe. But, ask any staff-any-and they will tell you that God saves us by grace through faith, and not works. The works are very much a Lutheran understanding of things: they are for our neighbor, not our own salvation. Sure, some get on holiness kicks–don’t think that those on this site of pure doctrine don’t do the same move. We are all sinners. I find it perplexing that the monkish withdrawal from the larger world of christendom should be laudable simply because others may not have as pure doctrine as we. Ought we not to be a virus that injects what we know to be correct into a larger organism, without being so sanctimonious and self-congratulatory?

  9. @Matthew Mills #76

    Good point. I recently discovered Lutheranism and will soon officially become Lutheran. I was impressed by reading on the LCMS website a Q and A that says What can I do to be saved? And the answer was “nothing”, because Christ has done it for us. I was a little stunned. Even though I believed in grace along through faith alone, I was used to so many evangelical/fundamentalist churches that I’ve gone to that have a list of 5, 10, 12 things you must do to be saved, while inconsistently at the same time saying you are saved through Jesus’ blood on the cross. If I’m saved by the blood, then why do I need a list of 5-12 things do on top of that? And why does every church seem to have a slightly different list of additional things to do? If church A has 5 things, and church B across the street has 12 things, am I missing out on salvation by going to church A and doing 7 less things? Much of these lazy-thinking inconsistent protestant churches nearly drove me to despair, but thankfully I’ve discovered Lutheranism and am excited about Christianity again.

  10. @Alfred #216

    Excellent point! I would prefer trying to engage in discussions with these guys and try and point out where and how they goof things up. As Jim points out through his experience, the theological mistakes made by decision based groups eventually lead many to dispair or worse, pride.

    The reality of it is, as I have found in my own experience, even if we want to have closer cooperation, many decision based groups won’t tolerate discussion about things like infant baptism or election. Sometimes we are forced to only cooperate in matters of public service. I think it is better if we let them close that door, rather than volunteering for isolation ourselves.

  11. @Joe #179 :
    @PPPadre #174
    I trying to communicate “essential” to mean necessary or required. If certain doctrines of the faith are denied then it stops being Christian faith. As you also correctly pointed out, if you deny Christ, or exchange Him for another, then the jig is up.
    I don’t think we determine what doctrines are required. Scripture does. I’m not advocating that we ignore certain portions of scripture while embracing others or stop trying to hold to the truth. I am in favor of stressing the doctrines that scripture emphasizes as required more so than the ones it doesn’t – especially when it comes to recognizing other Christians or those claiming to be Christian.

    The difficulty I have with this definition of “essential” is that it sounds a lot like Matthew 18:21f. – Lord, how much can I deny you and still get by with it? To deny Christ breathed doctrine is to deny Christ. The last time I checked “not one jot, not one tiddle will pass away” meant that all was required. If you deny Christ’s presence in the Supper, you are denying what Christ said of the Supper, you are denying Christ and His work of delivering His salvation to you. If you deny God’s work through Baptism, you are denying Christ and His work of delivering His salvation to you. You had stated earlier at Comment 190, “The primary means of grace is the Word, the two secondary means are Baptism and the Lords Supper. They are secondary because the Word gives them this role and ability.” If you are denying these so-called “secondary means of grace,” how can you not be thusly denying “the Word [which] gives them this roles and ability” to be means of grace?

    That would be utterly devastating if we were saved by the purity of our profession of doctrine, but we aren’t, for that is to be saved by the Law. We are saved by the Grace of God in Christ Jesus – the grace that tolerates error and overcomes it, covers it with the full righteousness and perfect doctrine of Christ.

    @Joe #181 :
    My whole point in this really long dialog is that legit evangelicals spread the gospel – which is foregiveness of sins by the unmerited favor of God through faith in the vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ. Evangelical theology makes some very serious mistakes, and their actions don’t always agree with their theology. This is misleading – but you can still believe everything Al Mohler or Alistair Begg teach and recieve forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. You must disagree with what Joseph Ratzinger teaches to recieve forgivensess of sins in Jesus Christ. This is no small difference, but many Lutherans blindly lump the two together as if it were non-existant.

    It is incorrect to say that you must disagree with what Joseph Ratzinger teaches to receive forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. Rome still teaches forgiveness by the unmerited favor of God through faith in the vicarious atonement of Christ, but it adds that the means of that unmerited favor are your own meritorious works. Thus you receive forgiveness through the Gospel in spite of some of the teaching. Just as you receive forgiveness through the Gospel in spite of “the very serious mistakes [of Evangelical theology]” if you “believe everything Al Mohler or Alistair Begg teach.” There is Gospel to be had in both camps, even though both camps, in their own way, do much to obscure that doctrine.

    Error is error, and all error is condemnable – as the perfect Law of God demands. Some error is more palatable to our sinful thoughts and desires, so it is easier for us to tolerate it (let the error stand, not accepting it but acknowledging it is an error until we can gently correct it). But a palatable and tolerable error is no less an error, no less condemnable, no less dangerous to salvation.

  12. Pastor Scheer,

    You said:

    The point of this thread is to warn us to the church growth practice of catering the church to the unbeliever.

    While I heartily share in your concern about the use of “church growth practice,” I’m confused about your language regarding “catering the church to the unbeliever.”

    I recognize this thread’s context of discussing the name change of an organization, and could take your language to simply mean that we should not design the appearance of our ecclesiastical organizations around the needs of unbelievers. If this is what you are shooting for, then I suppose I would understand that as far as it goes.

    But the language drags me, perhaps unwillingly, to worry that you mean the church should not be oriented towards making disciples. Can you clarify this language for me?

    Thank you!

  13. @PPPadre #220

    I thought it might be of interest to quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia some points of their teaching of justification grounded in Trent.

    Since justification as an application of the Redemption to the individual presupposes the fall of the entire human race, the Council of Trent quite logically begins with the fundamental statement that original sin has weakened and deflected, but not entirely destroyed or extinguished the freedom of the human will (Trent, sess. VI, cap. i: “Liberum arbitrium minime extinctum, viribus licet attenuatum et inclinatum”). Nevertheless, as the children of Adam were really corrupted by original sin, they could not of themselves arise from their fall nor shake off the bonds of sin, death, and Satan. Neither the natural faculties left in man, nor the observance of the Jewish Law could achieve this. Since God alone was able to free us from this great misery, He sent in His infinite love His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, Who by His bitter passion and death on the cross redeemed fallen man and thus became the Mediator between God and man. But if the grace of Redemption merited by Christ is to be appropriated by the individual, he must be “regenerated by God”, that is he must be justified. What then is meant by justification? Justification denotes that change or transformation in the soul by which man is transferred from the state of original sin, in which as a child of Adam he was born, to that of grace and Divine sonship through Jesus Christ, the second Adam, our Redeemer (l.c., cap.iv: “Justificatio impii. . . translatio ab eo statu, in quo homo nascitur filius primi Adae, in statum gratiae et adoptionis filiorum Dei per secundum Adam, Jesum Christum, Salvatorem nostrum”). In the New Law this justification cannot, according to Christ’s precept, be effected except at the fountain of regeneration, that is, by the baptism of water. While in Baptism infants are forthwith cleansed of the stain of original sin without any preparation on their part, the adult must pass through a moral preparation, which consists essentially in turning from sin and towards God. This entire process receives its first impulse from the supernatural grace of vocation (absolutely independent of man’s merits), and requires an intrinsic union of the Divine and human action, of grace and moral freedom of election, in such a manner, however, that the will can resist, and with full liberty reject the influence of grace (Trent, l.c., can.iv: “If any one should say that free will, moved and set in action by God, cannot cooperate by assenting to God’s call, nor dissent if it wish. . . let him be anathema”). By this decree the Council not only condemned the Protestant view that the will in the reception of grace remains merely passive, but also forestalled the Jansenistic heresy regarding the impossibility of resisting actual grace. With what little right heretics in defence of their doctrine appeal to St. Augustine, may be seen from the following brief extract from his writings: “He who made you without your doing does not without your action justify you. Without your knowing He made you, with your willing He justifies you, but it is He who justifies, that the justice be not your own” (Serm. clxix, c. xi, n.13). Regarding St. Augustine’s doctrine cf. J. Jausbach, “Die Ethik des hl. Augustinus”, II, Freiburg, 1909, pp. 208-58.

    We now come to the different states in the process of justification. The Council of Trent assigns the first and most important place to faith, which is styled “the beginning, foundation and root of all justification” (Trent, l.c., cap.viii). Cardinal Pallavicini* (Hist. Conc. Trid., VIII, iv, 18) tells us that all the bishops present at the council fully realized how important it was to explain St. Paul’s saying that man is justified through faith. Comparing Bible and Tradition they could not experience any serious difficulty in showing that fiduciary faith was an absolutely new invention and that the faith of justification was identical with a firm belief in the truths and promises of Divine revelation (l. c.: “illumque [Deum] tanquam omnis justitiae fontem diligere incipiunt”). The next step is a genuine sorrow for all sin with the resolution to begin a new life by receiving holy baptism and by observing the commandments of God. The process of justification is then brought to a close by the baptism of water, inasmuch as by the grace of this sacrament the catechumen is freed from sin (original and personal) and its punishments, and is made a child of God. The same process of justification is repeated in those who by mortal sin have lost their baptismal innocence; with this modification, however, that the Sacrament of Penance replaces baptism. Considering merely the psychological analysis of the conversion of sinners, as given by the council, it is at once evident that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man (Trent, l. c., can. xii: “Si quis dixerit, fidem justificantem nihil aliud esse quam fiduciam divinae misericordiae, peccata remittentis propter Christum, vel eam fiduciam solam esse, qua justificamur, a.s.”). Since our Divine adoption and friendship with God is based on perfect love of God or charity (cf. Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13; James 2:17 sqq.), dead faith devoid of charity (fides informis) cannot possess any justifying power. Only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man, and this even before the actual reception of baptism or penance, although not without a desire of the sacrament (cf. Trent, Sess. VI, cap. iv, xiv). But, not to close the gates of heaven against pagans and those non-Catholics, who without their fault do not know or do not recognize the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, Catholic theologians unanimously hold that the desire to receive these sacraments is implicitly contained in the serious resolve to do all that God has commanded, even if His holy will should not become known in every detail. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

  14. @Mark Hunsaker #221
    The Church is about baptizing and teaching, which makes disciples.

    I am critical of determining the church’s identity, it’s beliefs, it’s preaching, and it’s practices based upon those whom profess no faith in Christ. In some circles it is like the members become second class citizens because they are now “churched” instead of those ever so important “unchurched”. Sometimes I wonder how much baptistic “once saved always saved” beliefs are behind this error in our churches. Pastors are caretakers of souls, especially those souls which the Lord puts under their care (members of a congregation).

  15. @Mary #213
    Mary, you ask an important question and I believe it needs a discussion. The point you make is one concern, not to mention the fact that many of our youth are also swept away by the liberal views and even hedonistic life styles they will find on campus. I have a grand niece that was totally transformed in one semester. While not Lutheran she changed her focus on what was important.

    The question is, what can we do at the local level? First, stop treating our youth like they are totally separated from the rest of the congregation. Second, prepare them to be active young adult communicant members of your church while they are in high school. Assimilate them, don’t isolate them.

    Many years ago when I was teaching high school age Bible classes I would take a few Sundays every two years and take my class through the church’s constitution and bylaws and encourage them to become voters when they were old enough. We also encouraged our youth to be non-voting members of various boards and committees. Another good idea is to have high school aged youth as part of your Greeter and Usher groups. Can they sing, or provide special music for a service? I am sure you can think of other ideas that are specific to your church. The point is, make them part of the fabric of your church, a point of attachment if you will, and never let go.

  16. I thought the final result of catering to people’s whims and calling it ‘outreach’ was thanking God for your smokin’ hot wife over national TV. 🙂

  17. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #223
    Pastor Sheer,

    I share in your concern that an emphasis for reaching the unchurched to the detriment or neglect of the churched would be absurd.

    But at the same time, the imperative given by Jesus to make disciples (in the manner just as you described) would also keep us from holding to values which keep our focus only on those among the membership. For, had our ancestors not held to these values, neither of us (nor those among the membership) would now have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life…as we now do.

    Indeed, this is the very mystery of the Gospel (Ephesians 3:4-6): those who were formerly without hope, can be made fellow heirs through the Gospel!

    As such, I greatly appreciate your clarification and with you, I celebrate the power of the Gospel to renew and comfort those who are afflicted and to also resurrect those who are dead (Romans 1:16-17).


  18. @Mark Hunsaker #227
    We may need to make a distinction between what the Church is called to do on one hand, and the demographic to be served by the Divine Service on the other. Christ directed the Apostles to make disciples by baptizing and preaching, so outreach is part of the Apostolic Church’s charter, but the Divine Service, and especially the service of the Sacrament, is for the Church, not the unchurched. In early post-Apostolic times we know that “seekers” were allowed to watch the first half of the service (the service of the Word) but were politely asked to leave before the second half (the service of the Sacrament.) The Divine Service is for the Church, not for the world. It is the gifts of God for the people of God, and changing the Divine Service to bring into line w/ the world is absolutely backwards. The mission of the Apostolic Church is to change the worldly to bring them into line w/ the Divine Service.

  19. @Gene White #225
    Thank you for your ministry to high school youth and for taking the time to share your insight. I wish my children had been blessed with a teacher like you. I saw a lot of “dumbing down” and an all out effort to make the youth feel “comfortable”. It was not a recipe for Christian maturity. I have two daughters and one son. Could I please ask you to include them in your prayers? God Bless.

  20. I have not rEAD the entire thread but read elsewhere that donations are dropping rapidly because of this nAME change. Maybe this has been stated, if so sorry.

    We must nevvere forget that witholding money is sometimes the only way to get someones attention

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