Campus Crusade for Christ is changing their name, and the blogosphere is alive with criticism of their dropping “Christ” from their name. Even the media is taking this tack, since it provides the most and easiest controversy.
It doesn’t bother me that much. Lots of effective ministries don’t have “Christ” in their name, like Navigators. Or even most churches, like the one I go to. Countryside Bible Church doesn’t say we are about the Gospel of Christ, although we are.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of churches changing their names to soft, spongy, trendy names. I think if you are a church you ought to say so.
But I’m willing to take Campus Crusade at their word when they say their mission has not changed.
Their website says that cru, as they are now known, is “unswervingly committed to proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ. We are committed to the centrality of the cross, the truth of the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and the global scope of the Great Commission.”
I believe them.
But I’m less likely to believe them when they say there is no effort here to be politically correct. Of course there is. The word they are dumping is “crusade” and it seems a little disingenuous that they ended up with cru, which has been shorthand for Crusade for almost twenty years.
“See you at cru,” staff would say.
However their Vice President, Steve Sellers, says “It [the name change] has nothing to do with political correctness; It has everything to do with how we can be effective at what God has called us to do.”
Right. And yet he says in the same interview with Fox News: “Our name was becoming more and more of a hindrance. [The word “crusade”] reverted back to some of its meaning related to the Middle Ages – forcing Christianity on different parts of the world.”
This reflects some misunderstanding of the Crusades, but it is a widespread cultural misconception, or at least an over-simplification, and I’m not insensitive to their dilemma. But to say it has “nothing to do with political correctness” is nonsense. And somewhat perplexing, given that the new name is taken from what they claim is the most offensive part of the old one.
“See you at cru.”
“That’s where we learn about Jesus.”
“What does the name mean?”
Now the staff member is lying. Even if market surveys show no one finds cru offensive, it still stands for Crusade. And has for a very long time. It is not, as their FAQ claims, an abstract name like Google or Starbucks. It was and is an abbreviation. What some ministries won’t say (or not say) in the name of donor relations.
And seriously, who needs a name that means nothing?
Kinda makes you want to find a church. At least you know what you are getting into.