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Campus Crusade For Christ To Change Name

Campus Crusade for Christ will henceforth be known as “Cru”, its leaders have announced.  “Crusade” and “jihad” are very similar words.  Both can mean a holy war against the infidel; both can mean a struggle against social evil.  But whenever Christians talk about crusades, and whenever Muslims bring up jihad, hackles rise.

Campus Crusade for Christ, an evangelical group that works primarily with young people, picked the name at a time when few Americans thought about Islam.  (The Orthodox also don’t like the name; a crusade gone even more awry than usual sacked Constantinople in 1204.)  Evangelical Protestant theology has generally frowned on the concept of crusade as one of the papal innovations that took the church away from its true teaching.   Protestant aversion to crusade theology deepened when Popes began calling for holy wars to stamp out Protestantism in the sixteenth century.

Congratulations, Cru, on the name change.  This was baggage that nobody needed.  Christians of all people should do what we can to avoid giving unnecessary offense.

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  • Ken Strumpf

    I vividly remember my encounter with this organization. I was a freshman at Cornell in the Fall of 1973 and was sitting in the student union halfheartedly reading my biology text when two students came up to me asking if I’d take a survey from a religion course. I said sure and started answering questions. It was pretty straightforward at first but after a while they stopped asking questions and we were just talking about religion and such. They were very friendly and easy to talk to and this went on for a time. We never finished the survey, but after a while they gave me a flyer about a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting.

    This was when I realized that I had been a gullible fool. There was no survey and no religion course. The survey was a ruse to get me talking and make me comfortable with the two guys. And they were very good, clearly well trained. Plus, they knew to go to places frequented by first semester freshmen, people likely away from home for the first time, lonely and with few friends. In other words, vulnerable to recruitment. I angrily told them to keep their flyer and went back to my book. These were people using a lie, the phony survey, to bring me to the Truth as they saw it. I was very upset.

    A couple of weeks later a different pair approached me in the same place, again to take the “survey”. This time I told them to just go away.

    So they can call themselves anything they want, it won’t change my opinion of this bunch.

  • Ken Strumpf

    Sorry to vent like that professor. I’ve been a regular reader of yours and have learned a lot. This was just the first time I’ve been moved to comment. My encounter with Campus Crusade for Christ clearly had an impact on me, although not the impact they wished it to have.

  • Eric Rasmusen

    I’ve heard other complaints about Campus Crusade’s lack of honesty, in connection with false claims of numbers of people who have become Christian and with the number of people who have seen the Jesus movie. This name change is consistent with that lack of honesty and the story reported above. Christians must not think that God needs us to cut corners to help Him out.

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