CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST, INTERNATIONAL
and its relationship to
THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
( circa 1975, updated 1980 )
Today, nearly all fundamental Christians are in some measure acquainted with Campus Crusade for Christ, International. Its early activities were confined to the college campuses of southern California, but during the decades of the 60's and 70's it expanded throughout the United States and into several foreign countries. Public relations material and a recently published documentary of the organization are available through most Christian bookstores.
Shortly after the Lord graciously saved me (1969), I came in contact with the ministry of Campus Crusade -- also referred to as CCC. During the next year, I attended various meetings and conferences and became familiar with their doctrine, methods, and literature. I also was given the opportunity to go to CCC headquarters located in the foothills outside San Bernardino, California, and be involved in a work/study program. The following five months were spent observing, listening, and talking with key individuals and leaders at their corporate offices. After many hours of study there, I became aware of some crucial aberrations within the organization. Together with the knowledge of my Savior's love and the desire to be obedient to His will as revealed in Scripture, these problems led to my eventual withdrawal.
During that time, the Lord gave me an interest to research the early years and pertinent events which led to the formation of Campus Crusade by a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, William "Bill' Bright. I discovered that Bill and his wife, Vonette, his Great Commission "visions," and much of CCC's teaching literature, were deeply rooted in the Wesleyan / Holiness theological tradition; revivalism, as best seen in the nineteenth-century, errant Charles G. Finney; and the ecumenical Methodist, John R. Mott. [See J. Edwin Orr's CAMPUS AFLAME - Dynamics of Student Religious Revolution, Regal Books, 1971; Bill Bright's COME HELP CHANGE THE WORLD, Revell, 1970; and Richard Quebedeaux's I FOUND IT!, Harper & Row, 1979.
The teachings of the aforementioned are in part found in Scripture. However, the subtle yet devastating error of these men and movements lies in their misconception of the Bible's teaching concerning sin! The doctrines of sin and redemption can only be fully understood in the biblical context of each other. Sin necessitates redemption, and redemption is the only cure for sin. Any distortion of God's revelation regarding man's sinful condition leads directly to distortions of God's plan of redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. The eternal outcome of this error is "wood, hay, stubble" for many and for a far of greater number, the Lake of Fire.
Campus Crusade's evangelistic tools and literature reflect the soteriological (salvation) errors spoken of above and are reminiscent of John Wesley, C. G. Finney, R.A. Torrey and others. For example, concerning sanctification, CCC espouses an instant spirituality to be entered into simply "by faith." It lays the foundation for this by teaching that "the Bible tells us that there are three kinds of people." It extends the separate distinction made in Scripture between the lost (natural man) and the saved, to the distinction made between the adjectives "carnal" and "spiritual" in I Corinthians chapters 2 and 3. For them, there are no shades of degree between their "Carnal Man" and "Spiritual Man." For Campus Crusade, the Christian is either one or the other.
In order for the believer who is carnal to become spiritual, CCC offers a "by faith filling and fullness of the Holy Spirit." The central premise is that Christians are baptized by and indwelt with the Holy Spirit at conversion, but never filled. Consequently, they erroneously posit the initial filling as a post-conversion event. For either the new or old convert, this "filling" can be appropriated "right now" by complying with the following conditions: 1) Have a desire to be filled. 2) Confess your sins. 3) Present every area of your life to God. 4) Claim "by faith" the filling and fullness of the Holy Spirit according to Ephesians 5:18 and 1 John 5:14,15. [See encapsulated teaching in the booklet, Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-filled Life? It should be noted that this booklet has gone through revision since it was first published. Through the years, staff criticism of the booklet brought pressure to have some emphasis placed on spiritual growth -- e.g. page 5. Now, page 5 contradicts page 2.]
Thus, Campus Crusade's post-conversion "by faith filling and fullness of the Holy Spirit" functionally mirrors the Pentecostal and charismatic doctrine of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." Both teachings create the illusion that the carnality and immaturity normally connected with the early "babe" stage of the Christian life can be avoided through some type of "second blessing." No waiting, no spiritual growth process. For a more in-depth presentation, see THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT -- Is It the Biblical Basis for Christian Maturity? Arthur F. Temmesfeld, Th.M.
Because of the emphasis on being Spirit-filled "right now," the Christian fails to see the need for time in his spiritual growth toward 'Christ-likeness' via the indispensable scriptural truths of Romans chapters 6 through 8. This can cause tragic results. Gross expressions of the sin nature are rationalized away. Then, as with all forms of 'instant' spirituality, believers typically are blind to their own immaturity and lack of discernment, and may even become proud as to their so-called "spirituality". Perhaps it is this type of blindness that has allowed both CCC leaders and followers to enter into many questionable associations and methods. For a biblically sound exposition regarding spiritual growth, sin and our redemption in Christ, see Miles J. Stanford's THE GREEN LETTERS and THE GROUND OF GROWTH, Zondervan, 1976.
Crusade's lack of safe and sound teaching regarding spiritual growth has taken its toll through the years, making many susceptible to the siren claims of the charismatic movement. As far as I know (1975), CCC has always required its staff members to sign a policy statement pledging that they will refrain from exercising the so-called "gift of tongues" while associated with the organization. But at the time I left, a number of the organization's members were becoming personally involved with the charismatic experience in spite of their written agreement. All this was being done very quietly. You might ask, "How could those individuals justify their involvement, having signed CCC's pledge?" There are two possible answers. 1) Many are simply confused. They were caught between Campus Crusade's impressive show and the charismatic's claim to God's unique and special blessing. 2) Others have been indoctrinated to view any opposition to their involvement as a Satanic ploy to rob both them and other Christians of God's best. Their mandate is to remain in the organization, moving about covertly for the purpose of winning others to the charismatic persuasion.
At the time I became involved with the organization, the generally accepted policy of CCC's leadership was to ignore the charismatic phenomenon. But a pivotal event occurred midway through the 70's. Similar to Billy Graham's 1966 acceptance of Oral Roberts and his ministry, Bill Bright agreed to speak to a charismatic gathering at Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, California. It became apparent that a policy change was in the making -- the Pentecostals and charismatics would no longer be ignored as that position was now considered "unloving". In the spring of 1980, Bill Bright was a featured speaker for 'JESUS 80", a charismatic conference held in Orlando, Florida. Sad to say, his shifting attitudes have set a far-reaching precedent for CCC constituency and supporters.
Campus Crusade's faulty doctrinal foundation has directly affected the organization's policies, decisions, and associations. Having also failed to see and escape the fallacies of neo-evangelicalism, CCC has become more and more ecumenical in its actions. Throughout the organization's history, leaders have taught that the end of this age would be marked by world-wide, mass evangelism and a great Holy Spirit revival. Similarly, the charismatics have held an interpretation of Joel chapter 2 in which an outpouring of the Holy Ghost, "Latter Rain," would occur during the "last days" of the Church (2 Timothy 3:1). Both of these groups are convinced that the world and themselves are in the midst of such an outpouring of the Spirit. This error has allowed them to accept the fallacy that liberal Protestant denominations as well as the Roman Catholic Church are open and interested in a more fundamental Christianity.
Bill Bright has fallen prey to the Catholics' use of evangelical rhetoric, an old Counter Reformation stratagem. He has even made statements such as, "We believe that God is doing a mighty work in it [Roman Catholic Church] and will no doubt use millions of Roman Catholics to help evangelize the world." This is naive and wishful thinking; opportunism at its worst. Bible-believing Christians should not be misled to believe that the Roman Catholic Church is involved in any fundamental change when they see minor adjustments, such as the Mass in English rather than Latin, lay involvement, or contemporary dress for their religious orders. Leaders have repeatedly declared that the Roman Church will remain "faithful to her historic doctrinal position."
This growing spirit of 'détente' and 'opportunism,' as seen in CCC's policies, stand in direct contrast to the Bible's teaching on separation. For a concise insight into the history and present status of neo-evangelicalism, see the article, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse and Neo-Evangelicalism.
TRENDS FOR THE 1980'S
On the horizon for the 80's, are important trends that bear watching. Campus Crusade, enamored with an inclusivist and infiltration mentality, imagines that large segments of Roman Catholics can be incorporated into their program without serious loss of doctrinal integrity. At the same time, the Roman Catholic Church has embarked on a major, yet quiet, evangelization effort. They hope to gain new members and win back the large number of prodigals who have left their fold in recent years. Many were probably not aware that a recent television special featured Josh McDowell, a long-standing associate of Crusade, with Catholic Roger Staubach, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys football team. Overseas missionaries, connected with sound, fundamental mission boards, have expressed remorse regarding the confusion that is being created by the joint associations and growing solidarity between CCC, charismatics, and Roman Catholics abroad. We should not be too surprised if we hear of Campus Crusade holding their training conferences in local Catholic parishes in the near future.
UNDERSTANDING RELIGIOUS 'ROOTS'
By turning to the history of various denominations (Church History), we can find added insight for understanding the unfolding relationship of CCC to the charismatic movement and the Roman Catholic Church. Leading Pentecostal scholar and historian Vinson Synan, in his book The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States, Eerdmans, 1971, summarized by saying. "As a product of Methodism, the Holiness-Pentecostal movement traces its lineage through the Wesleys to Anglicanism and from thence to Roman Catholicism." The relevance of his statement can best be seen by means of the following diagram:
As shown above, beginning with Roman Catholicism, each subsequent denomination or movement has shared in unscriptural concepts regarding man's fallen and sinful condition. Over the past 1600 years, these descendants have come full circle forming a loose-knit 'family'. Doctrinally, Campus Crusade for Christ falls within this sphere. Consequently, this provides the basis for the present growing fellowship and cooperation amongst these groups and CCC.
Finally, it must be said that CCC leadership has weathered criticism through the years without major alteration in their theology or goals. In part, this is due to the fact that they view all criticism as confirmation of their Christian life teaching, a mark of the "Carnal Man," and therefore not to be taken seriously. This dynamic forms an effective psychological, defensive shield. Accordingly, it is required that staff abide by a policy of "non-criticism," toward any denomination, religious movement, or organization that carries the label "Christian." In one of CCC's policy handbooks it is stated, "A critical attitude of fellow staff, of the Campus Crusade ministry or of other individuals or groups shall be considered as evidence of disloyalty to Christ, and shall be accepted as an act of resignation." Swift and sure, this policy creates a seemingly tranquil atmosphere within the organization, but it separates members from the spiritual realities of the Word of God...e.g. 2 Corinthians 11:3-15 or Galatians 1:6-9. Understandably then, Campus Crusade has proven itself to be solidly ecumenical and inclusivist in spirit.
I hope your response to this brief article will be to study the findings presented here for yourself, and having done that, you will: 1) Decline offers for Campus Crusade for Christ to hold any conferences in your local church. 2) Avoid cooperation with any of their programs, since participation is always interpreted as approval of their ministry. 3) Discourage the use of any CCC literature. 4) Lovingly admonish and warn those who are not aware of the issues involved to study and test the organization in the light of the Word of God. 5) Stand firm in God's plan for evangelism established on sound doctrine and centered in the local church.
Also see: Dr. William ("Bill") R. Bright - an exposé by Miles J. Stanford.
Of late, Campus Crusade for Christ has become involved with the contemplative spirituality and prayer movement.
This article was the forerunner to another piece written in the mid '80's entitled: THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE.
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