Crossroads and Total Commitment
Crossroads' initial concept of "Total Commitment" is most commendable. How she seeks that "Total Commitment" is another matter, and this I do not endorse! Our Lord did indeed "make it abundantly clear that following him involved an absolute decision, a complete surrender a total commitment" (Chuck Lucus, At The Crossroads, May 6, 1979). I will show that in spite of the fact that Crossroads has never "advocated in any way neglecting one's wife or children in order to be involved in evangelism, or any other activity of the church" (Chuck Lucas, Gospel Advocate, May 24, 1979), her program has resulted in just that! The proponents of the "Crossroads Total Commitment Philosophy" have in the past made an overt demand of one's time. Activity has been misdirected, witnessing and sharing have been overly stressed, and psychological pressures with spiritual overtures have repeatedly been applied. Rigid schedules have been set up for new converts which have resulted in frustration, agonizing conflicts and failures. In short, they are isolated from everything that might disrupt this rigidness. Herein lies the cultic aspect!
Brother Lucas admitted to me, as I sat across from him in his office several months ago, that "such was rumored," but went on to state that he knew of no specific instances of such. My reply was, "I will be happy to supply you with a specific instance." He did not ask for it. The evidence is too great to deny. These brethren failed to understand that sensitive people can be destroyed by overplaying the guilt syndrome. This is a far cry from "exhorting with many other words" (Acts 2:40). You simply do not use grace as a club to drive home guilt.
In my own words, I will describe a typical situation as personally related to me and confirmed by various articles, etc.: "Sue, you missed `quiet time', last night. Do you think you did the right thing?" "No, but I have been going to church every night this week, and Timmy has been crying for me. Too, my husband is quarreling about my being gone so much. He is accusing me of being a "religious freak." "Sue, do you love the Lord?" "Yes." "Do you think you are doing the best you can do?" "No." "Who should come first, the Lord, or your family?" "The Lord." "Can you be a better Christian?" "Yes." "Can you do it by staying at home with your family and failing to witness?" "Well, no. But . . . ." And on it goes. This writer would like to suggest that this Crossroads' concept of spirituality, based on this display of achieving total commitment, is contrary to the Biblical concept. The true Biblical motivation for total commitment is that "we have died with Christ" and "our life is hid in Him" (Col. 3:3; Rom. 6:10). Our teaching (or, "witnessing," whatever that means) is a fruit that glorifies God; it is not the gospel. The whole life of the Christian glorifies God (1 Cor. 6:20). Glorifying God is not confined to one area. When our fictional "Sue" proportions her obligations with priorities, stays home in order to fulfill her duty to her family, she is glorifying God! It would be a sin if she did not. Crossroaders must understand that our lives are not the gospel, but rather the fruit of the gospel.
The tactics that are used to motivate those who are attracted to Crossroads cause most of them to feel guilty about just about everything in life. This guilt feeling comes when it is discovered that one cannot live up to the expectations required of them. Why cannot those who are involved in this movement see that spirituality is not confined to a program of work measured by standards that are human? Crossroads people do indeed "measure themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (2 Cor. 10:12). One would think that brother Lucus thinks that the "tie that binds" is time, i.e., no time to doubt! The narrow concept of Christianity on the part of Crossroads is seen in that her people practically live at the building.
What has happened at Crossroads was bound to happen. The institutional brethren have been taking water from "broken cisterns" for a long time (Jer. 2:13). They are dying of spiritual thirst. The denominational ring of much of the uncertainty of convictions on the part of so many demonstrates this factor. Oh, yes, there are some strong voices among them (the number is growing) crying in the wilderness of liberalism. But they are trying to destroy fruit when they should be dealing with the root! The new vocabulary of Crossroads ("soul talks," "prayer Partners," "quiet time," etc.) is sectarian to the core as far as appeal goes. Is the new language of the liberals in general any better? What about their, "crusades for Christ," "Fellowship halls," "revivals," etc.? I wish brethren could learn that one cannot rise higher than the standard he follows. Once you depart from objective truth (the Bible) into subjective reasonings ("what's wrong with it?" or "I don't see anything wrong with it"), you wander in a maze. When you yield to denominational techniques to get your message across and others go further than you envisioned, it is time to look back and see where it is all coming from. I am sickened when I recall the "don't tell them who you are, it might scare them" philosophy displayed first on the Fifth and Highland Herald of Truth several years back and now all around us.
The eliminate the negative emphasis of recent years has even spilled over into the minds of conservatives. Now many of them do not even accentuate the positive, but certainly mess with "Mr. In-Between." It is no wonder that Crossroads' Campus Advance (winning souls for Christ) reverses the process of conversion, i.e., they do not convince young people on many Scriptures for this is an uphill battle. They stress surrender of wills and then what the Lord's will is (their Total Commitment Concept). We had better stop the mellowing down of our preaching (even us conservatives) and cease the uncertain sound that rings forth from our pulpits. "A rose is still a rose" no matter what you call it. Campaigns for Christ, Crossroads Philosophy, they are all the same, except in degree and expression. They come from the same muddy waters. "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them our cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13).
Truth Magazine XXIV: 40, pp. 645-647