Campus Crusade for Christ believes it has come up with not only a legitimate but a unique way of presenting the biblical truth of the gospel. Continually and everywhere crusaders are raising the question, “Have you heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?” Law One says in part, “God loves you . . .” Law Two states that sinful and separated from God, no one can know and experience His love. Law Three: Anyone can know God’s love through Christ, God’s only provision for man’s sin. Law Four: “We must receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord by personal invitation.” A remark or two on each of these four “laws” will be in order. First, they are not laws. What is intended by a biblical law is a biblical principle, that is, a settled and determined doctrine of Scripture which becomes formulated and recognized as a general truth, providing the rule and ground for straight thinking, valid reasoning and right action. But all we have in these so called spiritual “laws” are mere assertions made, statements advanced, opinions held, assumptions favored. To illustrate the idea of a principle, Albert Barnes wrote in Notes on Romans iii, 4, “It is to be held as a fixed, unwavering principle, that God is right and true, whatever consequences it may involve.” But certainly it is no fixed and unwavering principle that “God loves you,” meaning that “God loves all men.” For God did not love Pharaoh. God in His sovereignty said He would raise up Pharaoh “that I may smite thee and thy people . . . from the earth” (Rom. 9:17 with Ex. 9:15f). Nor did God love the people of Amalek, for He swore He would have war with Amalek from generation to generation, to stamp “out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Ex. 17:14-16). Nowhere do we read that God loved Esau, but that He hated him (Rom. 9:13). Nor can it be said “God loves all men living.” Does He love the workers of iniquity (Ps. 5:5)? Does He love the vessels of wrath (Rom. 9:22)? Does He love those “who were before of old ordained to condemnation” (Jude 1:4)?
Law Two seems acceptable enough, but a note appended reveals that it is understood to mean that although man separated from God cannot know God, he is nevertheless “continually trying to reach God . . .” This flies in the face of the fact of man’s fall, which killed him, leaving him “dead in trespasses and sins,” so that “there is none that seeketh after God.” But further, “sinful and separated from God” is not explained in terms of the Fall. What happened to man was that he pulled out the plug of the lamp of his spirit from its wall socket, causing the divine current source to be broken and the light of holiness to go out. The truth is man was electrocuted by a thunderbolt of divine wrath. He is dead. It is absurd to suppose that all a man need do is put the plug back in the wall socket of his soul, so that the separation is removed and contact restored!
In Law Three the Cross is presented not as a real atonement which actually saves certain ones and takes away their sin, but as merely a provision for atonement offered to anyone who will have it. The Cross is not like a magnet with power to draw men to Christ (John 12:32), but like a bridge which “makes it possible for man to come to Him.” It is up to man to cross over. Law Four refers to Christ’s “invitation” to open the heart and life to Him (Rev. 3:20). This text is supposed to teach that Christ stands and knocks at the hearts of unregenerate sinners through the instrumentality of “invitational preaching;” that natural men have a “common grace” and natural ability to open their hearts to Him, and that this is implied in the standing there and knocking, as He who is all-wise would not do so if none were able to open to Him. It is also supposed that the opening of the heart does not occur by an irresistible power, but by the consent and concurrence of the will of man. This is contrary to Ps. 110:3 and Rom. 9:16. Not an “offer” or an “invitation” is this text; nor a divine call or command, but a promise, the “if’ expressing not a condition awaiting fulfillment, but stating a fact, as in “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God” (Matt. 12:28).
The presentation of Campus Crusade material is about as stereotyped as anything one could find. Whether it comes packaged in a 16 2/3 rpm record, in a pocket-size leaflet, in a letter-size pamphlet, a study sheet, a booklet or a magazine form, it is all the same old stereotypy. This is evident even in the “testimonies” given by crusade members from all walks of life and variant backgrounds. They all use crusade jargon. Testimonials contain such hackneyed expressions as, “God loves you,” “I accepted Jesus,” “an egocentric life,” “exciting life,” “life characterized by doubt, frustration and lack of purpose,” “invite Jesus into your life” and “shared . . . Christ.” Most testimonies are rather egocentric, especially one like this: “Allowing Jesus Christ to live His life through mine is the key to life for me.” Egotism abounds as the result of modern “evangelism” because it appeals to man’s natural ego. Men are informed that it is in their power to come to Christ, and that if they but make this response, it will become a means to peace, happiness, fulfillment and the solution or the rising above life’s problems. Natural men are attracted to natural advantages. Man is flattered in the opinion that he can take the first step to God. The ministry flattering to the natural man, though drawing forth a large response, cannot be expected to produce a spiritual man. To make things the most attractive to the natural man, he is informed that the promises of God are to the effect that “we (that is, anybody, any unregenerate men) can cast all our cares on Jesus Christ because He cares for us. How? Easy!” Now note how easy this is. Just “drop everything and follow Him.” Faith is made an easy thing. “Faith is represented as something to be done in order to salvation; and pains are taken to show that it is an easy thing. Better far than this would it be to see to it that those with whom they deal are truly convinced of sin, and to labour to set forth Christ before them in His glorious completeness as a Saviour. To explain faith to them that they may do it, is to set them still to work, though setting an easier task before them.” (John Kennedy, 1875, quoted inThe Invitation System, by Iain Murray, p. 30). Campus Crusade puts it this way, “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen.” But this, so far from being saving faith, is nothing more than a “faith of miracles.” Judas had that (Matt. 10:1). Faith is also mere assent to or acceptance of the truth, as is evident in constant urgings to “accept Christ,” “count on God’s promises,” or “Christ waits for you to invite Him to the throne of your life. You must step down and relinquish it to Him.” This is too much like the “faith” of the stony-ground hearer (Mt. 13:5, 6). James says that many who have it, have it in common with the devil’s household (James 2:19). Herod and Agrippa also had it (Mark 6:20; Acts 26:27). It is not persevering faith (Luke 8:13; Heb. 6:4-6, 9).
The danger of this superficial, almost vacuous method is that many think they have savingly believed in Christ. With joy they profess to have found Him! (In fact, in giving their “testimonies,” they are advised, “Smile often! Ask the Lord to give you a happy radiant face.”—something only a joyful heart can produce—genuinely!) Christianity must be advertised as an “easy faith.” There is then the danger that many of the recruits be mere wayside hearers, stony-ground hearers or thorny-ground hearers, since those in command declare the “message” and its results to be a gracious work of God. Souls are indeed seeking something, but to inform them that what they are seeking is God is misleading (Rom. 3:11). To point to the results of many conversions in the movement as evidenced by such things as faith, exceeding joy and changed lives is dangerous when no consideration is given to the two opposite kinds of faith in James 2:19, 20, to the two kinds of joy in Luke 8:13 and Matt. 13:44, and the two kinds of changed lives in Matt. 5:20; Matt. 7:21-27. A true ministry of the Word will prove out well under the searchlight of such contrasts, and will also examine and prove itself in the light of John 6:37, 39, 44, 60-71; John 8:30ff and John 12:36-43. Let every recruit and recruiting officer go to the Law and to the Testimony and prove whether the “true light” is in them (Isa. 8:20).
It ought also to be pointed out that the texts of Scripture so far indicated reveal that many may be deceived into believing what is in them to be a work of saving grace (when it is nothing more than the enameling of a rotted post), not because of the work of false prophets or the deceits of the devil, but by the temporary influence of the gospel, and by many spiritual attainments which attend the preaching of the gospel, but do not accompany salvation. But when any come under a ministry where The Gospel is not presented, but only some frothy, thin, watered-down imitation, it is even more likely there be deceived souls. These sad counterfeits are widely found, even aside from those the devil himself produces. Nevertheless, he does come as “an angel of light” and blinds the minds of many who judge only on the basis of so called results. Every promoter and subordinate of a work can be assured it is of God only when they adapt themselves to the test of truth (I John 3:19-21; I John 4:1). That must not be credited as a work of God which is bankrupt of the proof of truth. No one is a Christian because he thought he was ten years ago. They are not converts to Christ merely because a movement acclaims them as such, or because the world is attracted to their youthful enthusiasm, or because Christendom has accepted them. Many are thrilled with the novelty of new religious impressions, but it would be tragic to tell them that these are evidences of their having been born again. No gain is it to the church when her fields are sown with tares or traitors. Vain to advertise that to be a work of God which none can know to bear His approval. No credit to the church is it if out of the unbelieving world Mr. Obstinacy gets converted into Mr. Carnal-security. Such ecclesiastical accumulations cheat the church with chaff and dishonor God with attributions of that which is not His.