Lately, truly groundbreaking research has been done by Bruce Wilson in conjunction with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Chris Rodda (author of Liars for Jesus, a damning expose of a form of historical revisionism popular in dominionist circles--particularly by the org Wallbuilders) in regards to a very scary subject: namely, the first well-documented evidence of a systematic attempt to "steeplejack" the Armed Forces by "Joel's Army" neopente dominionists in much the same way that the GOP was originally targeted. The info that's come out so far (much is still embargoed) points to strong involvement of one neopente parachurch group in particular--namely, Campus Crusade for Christ.
In this light, I've summarised info on CCC activities other than military steeplejacking so that people can understand just why this is an incredibly grave concern.
Campus Crusade--a short history
Campus Crusade for Christ is probably one of the earliest of what are now known as "parachurch" groups--groups that are not clearly linked with a particular religious denomination, but which promote particular theological movements. Depending on whether or not Campus Crusade is considered a true parachurch, it could also be considered among the earliest attempts at an Assemblies frontgroup (more on this in a bit--yes, this does get complicated to sort out in the case of Campus Crusade).
The group's origins date back to at least 1951, when Bill Bright--who is claimed to be a Presbyterian but whom, as we shall see, tends to hold sympathies far closer to neopente groups--founded the first Campus Crusade branch at the University of California-Los Angeles. Since then, the group has expanded dramatically--not just in college campuses (it can be said they have a worldwide focus, though some campuses have cracked down--more on that in a bit) but also expanding to non-collegiate focuses (including, among other things, the military infiltration noted by MRFF).
Campus Crusade's founder is also known to have been very, very heavily involved in the inner workings of dominionism. Among other things, Bill Bright is a co-founder of the Alliance Defense Fund, a dominionist "parallel economy" alternative to the ACLU that often files lawsuits in promotion of dominionist causes; he is also known to have been not only a member of the Council for National Policy but actually a member of its directors board. Bill Bright also founded possibly one of the first explicitly political-dominionist publications (Third Century Publishers, a front of Christian Freedom Foundation, which is in turn a front of Campus Crusade--yes, Campus Crusade has a lot of frontgroups; we'll get into that more later) that was instrumental in the original efforts to steeplejack the GOP:
In April 1976, Sojourners, a progressive evangelical magazine, published a report on a series of secret meetings convened by key Christian Right leaders in 1974 and 1975. Sojourners traced the rise of the New Christian Right to the 1974 formation of Third Century Publishers, established for the purpose of promoting books and study guides designed to link a comprehensive conservative political agenda with born-again Christianity." A meeting in 1974 convened to solidify the financial base for Third Century Publishers, was convened by Arizona Congressman John Conlan and Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ, with attendees including 20-25. The initial publications "were directed at manipulating Christians to accept political action as part of Christian thought." In 1975 a meeting was convened by Bright and Conlan to "train regional director in Third Century's strategy to gradually take positions of leadership with the government." Conlan told regional directors that Bill Bright would be working behind the scenes with his Christian business contacts to secure financing. They realized they needed a tax-exempt foundation that could receive donations for the work of the "for-profit" Third Century. "They approached and eventually took over the Christian Freedom Foundation, started in the 1950s to promote conservative economics," which was in financial trouble in the 1970's.
(Source: Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare, pp. 49-50; the segment details the later takeover of the publisher by Ed McAteer, instrumental in the later steeplejacking of the Southern Baptist Convention.)
Of particular note to military steeplejacking, Bill Bright is also a known co-signer of the Land Letter--a document between leaders of multiple dominionist groups that issued a theological justification for the invasion of Iraq which was sent to George W. Bush:
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20502
Dear Mr. President,
In this decisive hour of our nation’s history we are writing to express our deep appreciation for your bold, courageous, and visionary leadership. Americans everywhere have been inspired by your eloquent and clear articulation of our nation’s highest ideals of freedom and of our resolve to defend that freedom both here and across the globe.
We believe that your policies concerning the ongoing international terrorist campaign against America are both right and just. Specifically, we believe that your stated policies concerning Saddam Hussein and his headlong pursuit and development of biochemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction are prudent and fall well within the time-honored criteria of just war theory as developed by Christian theologians in the late fourth and early fifth centuries A.D....
Of note, Bill Bright signed the document as an official representative of Campus Crusade:
Richard D. Land, D.Phil.
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention
Dr. Chuck Colson
Prison Fellowship Ministries
Dr. Bill Bright
Founder and Chairman
Campus Crusade for Christ International
D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.
Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc.
Dr. Carl D. Herbster
American Association of Christian Schools
I am not the only one by far to have written on Bill Bright being surprisingly influential in regards to modern dominionism--"Mainstream Baptist" on Talk to Action has also written rather extensively on this matter as well.
As we shall see, much of the theological basis for hard dominionism and some controversial practices of Campus Crusade come ultimately from both the general theology and the coercive tactics of a surprisingly influential--and a surprisingly little-known--"parent".
Sorting out the tangled web of Campus Crusade's denominational parentage
As I have noted, determining whether Campus Crusade is a true parachurch or a front-group is in fact problematic--especially if one does not rely on sources that have the possibility of being whitewashed. Among other things, Campus Crusade has very close links to the Assemblies--enough that it becomes difficult at times to tell if Campus Crusade was "borged" by the Assemblies, is in a "co-recruitment" partnership with the Assemblies (similar to the Dexter Yager upline in AmWay), or is in fact a front-group similar to the FGBMFI.
Surprisingly, even Campus Crusade admits this relationship after the death of Bill Bright:
ORLANDO, Fla., March 4, 2003—Bill Bright, founder, and chairman emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ and co-founder of Global Pastors Network (GPN), has selected John C. Maxwell, founder and chairman of the INJOY Group and EQUIP, Atlanta, Ga., to succeed him as chairman of GPN following his death. Bright has been battling pulmonary fibrosis for more than a year.
Global Pastors Network is a worldwide Internet portal and gateway for distributing training content and materials from the Christian community to pastors around the world. Launched in 2002 in a partnership with James O. Davis, founder and president of Cutting Edge International, GPN is a growing coalition of Christian ministries working together to train, equip, and assist pastors everywhere.
Already, GPN is accessible in 237 nations, provinces, and territories, and is preparing to introduce a core curriculum of training materials in all the major languages of the world. Bright has called GPN "the most important project I have ever been part of in my life." A new headquarters facility for GPN, The Bill Bright Leadership Center, is being planned near the Campus Crusade for Christ World headquarters in Orlando.
. . .
GPN’s 40-member board of directors includes:
* Larry Burkett, Crown Ministries
* Michael Coleman, Integrity Music
* Steve Douglass, Campus Crusade for Christ
* Paul Eshleman, The JESUS Film Project
* Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse
* Jack Graham, Southern Baptist Convention
* Michael Little, Christian Broadcasting Network
* Jesse Middendorf, Nazarene Church
* Roy Peterson, Wycliffe Bible Translators
* Robert Reccord, North American Mission Board, SBC
* Adrian Rogers, Bellevue Baptist Church
* Thomas Trask, Assemblies of God
* Kenneth Ulmer, Faithful Central Bible Church
OK, let's note--the guy who now runs Campus Crusade is a member of an org that has strong links to "Joel's Army" stuff (they also run EQUIP Ministries, among others), has links to the Assemblies as well as a major denomination that was in part steeplejacked with the help of Assemblies men, and the Assemblies-man in question just happens to be the head of the entire United States Assemblies leadership.
More links between Campus Crusade and the Assemblies are happily promoted by the other partner--it seems the Assemblies of God practically claim Campus Crusade and Bill Bright as one of their own. Assemblies churches seem to fall over themselves to promote Campus Crusade (even, in many cases, to the exclusion of the Assemblies' own "official" Campus Crusade-like group Chi Alpha); Bright himself seems to have been mutually friendly to Assemblies churches as noted in eulogies from Assemblies congregations.
Much harder to deny are official denomination-wide Assemblies papers promoting Campus Crusade as an explicit recruitment front for the Assemblies of God; this has in fact been noted by multiple persons who are walkaways from Campus Crusade.
In addition, it seems Bill Bright himself explicitly endorsed some of the most bizarre bits of Assemblies theology. The Assemblies happily promotes Bill Bright in writing about marathon fasts--a practice in Assemblies and "Assemblies daughter" churches where people go without food for 40 days at a stretch for "atomic power with God". (I have written about the subject of "marathon fasting" in the Assemblies before, specifically in writing about the "Fire Bible" which is now the official Assemblies study bible; I am in fact very familiar with this practice, in part, because the particular group I am an escapee of was a particular promoter of 40-day and 21-day marathon fasting.)
In fact, Bill Bright was apparently fond enough of the practice that he set up a website at www.fastingprayer.com to promote the practice (the domain has since been purchased by domain squatters, but archives of the material are available via the Wayback Machine archives)--at least one archived copy indicates the website was in fact a joint affair of Campus Crusade and Mission America (the latter being an explicitly "Joel's Army" political dominionist group).
It appears that Bill Bright may have even explicitly partnered with Assemblies-men at these times:
In 1994, Bright fasted 40 days during which he claims to have received a "prophecy from God" that a mighty revival is coming. He then issued a call for hundreds of liberals, charismatics, and new-evangelicals to gather in Orlando December 5-7 to fast and pray for revival. An ecumenical Invitation Committee included such individuals as CNP's Rev. E.V. Hill, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Larry Burkett, and others like Robert Schuller, Charles Colson, Jack Hayford, W.A. Criswell, Charles Stanley, Paul Crouch, Luis Palau, and Bill Gothard.
(Quite a number of the people in the "others" category are from the Assemblies or "Assemblies daughter". Chuck Colson has very close connections with the neopente movement in general; Paul Crouch is a founder of TBN (yes, the "name it and claim it" dominionist network) and an Assemblies pastor; Luis Palau is an Assemblies televangelist; Bill Gothard has extremely close connections to the Assemblies and is a major promoter of not only extreme forms of religiously motivated child abuse but spiritual abuse in general; and Jack Hayford has connections with International Foursquare (in fact, he's the president of the denomination), the "Assemblies daughter" Aimee Semple McPherson founded. The other two are SBC members, but Charles Stanley is a pastor of a heavily steeplejacked SBC megachurch which has promoted Joel's Army theology.)
One other bit of Assemblies practice that Campus Crusade has adopted--and which it has become wildly successful for, as well as very controversial--is the use of the "cell church" model.
Campus Crusade and spiritual abuse
Unfortunately, it appears Campus Crusade has also picked up a lot of bad habits from the Assemblies--including the use of not only an abusive model of "discipling and shepherding", but also the use of a plethora of front-groups.
Campus Crusade--like many parachurch groups with close links to neopentecostalism--have embraced the "cell church" method of "discipling and shepherding" that was originally developed in the Assemblies as their primary structure--generally, Campus Crusade recruits using cells, and eventually refers the recruit to a "parent" church (frequently, an Assemblies of God or similar neopente congregation). This is a very dangerous thing indeed, as the "cell church" model--and the "discipling and shepherding" promoted therein--are among those methods of spiritual abuse most firmly documented to cause longterm psychological harm.
The book The Discipling Dilemma--which, among other things, published the study showing longterm personality changes in people involved in coercive religious groups--has expressed specific concern about the practices in Campus Crusade:
Another parachurch organization that influenced the discipling movement is a group known as "Campus Crusade." Bill and Vonette Bright are its leaders. They are as cheerful and sunny as their last name suggests. Bill has been in campus work for almost four decades. Campus Crusade has led the way among evangelical fundamentalists in several areas.
Historian Richard Quebedeaux observed that Bright is an authoritarian leader with a chain of command placing himself clearly at the top as leader of Campus Crusade. Further, he says, there is a lack of any effective self-criticism within the organization. Concerning Bright, Quebedaux adds,". . . it has been very difficult for him to divorce himself from the pietistic tendencies toward legalism and super-spirituality, despite his words to the contrary. "  It should be noted that this criticism comes in a work about Bright and Campus Crusade that is highly favorable. Similar criticisms have been made concerning the leaders of the discipling movement among churches of Christ.
( Richard Quebedeaux, I Found It (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), p. 176 ff.)
In fact, exit counselors have noted potential religious abuse related to the use of "cell churches" by Campus Crusade. Rick Ross has in fact noted his concerns in a conference with campus directors on both the coercion in "cell church" groups and on other practices--namely, deceptive recruiting--by Campus Crusade:
Ross, who spoke Feb. 21 at ASU on the topic "Cults and Crusades: Conversion through Coercion," comes down the hardest on such religious organizations as Hare Krishna, Rajneesh and the Unification agendas and the recruiting practices of certain organizations targeted towards college campuses, specifically Maranatha Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade For Christ and Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship.
Between 65 and 85 people attend the weekly meeting of Campus Crusade For Christ even though there is no actual "membership," according to staffer John Burks. There are, however, smaller Bible study groups which have about 50 dedicated students who attend regularly. Burks said Campus Crusade is an "evangelical arm of the Church," and its members actively attempt to recruit interested students. "The distinction of our ministry is that you take the initiative to share your faith. If I just sit in my room all day, no one will know what is most important in my life."
Campus Crusade was founded by Bill Bright about 33 years ago. One of several booklets which Bright authored and is used by followers is titled :Jesus and the Intellectual." One passage states: "Commitment to Christ involves the surrender of the intellect, the emotions and the will - the total person."
Ross says, "this urging to give up your autonomy, give up your individuality, is very similar to what we're seeing in cult groups."
Burks says that is exactly what Campus Crusade is based upon. "We have just chosen to put our life in the hands of God."
Among the biggest offenders of non-disclosure of the group's identity by recruiters is Campus Crusade, Ross says. "They train their professional proselytizers in methods of deception. They are urged to approach potential converts without identifying themselves or their concerns clearly."
Burks explained the process by which the Campus Crusade informs students of the organization begins with a questionnaire. "I tell them I'm with an organization on campus and see if they are willing to fill out the questionnaire." The questions stimulate the student to think about various topics, including God and death, he said. "Through the questionnaire, it is very easy to get into a discussion."
Ross said he once exit-counseled a person who had left the Campus Crusade and said it was a "very tough case." He said the person's pupils were dilated and that he had trouble focusing attention. These are symptoms of mind control similar to those used in cults, Ross said.
"Either his view of a cult is different than mine or he is misrepresenting us," Burks said. "I will try to take a stand when it comes to cults. They are very deceptive and I don't want to be like that at all. We don't believe, as an organization, that you can force a person to believe in something."
The use of questionnaires for recruitment is in fact very interesting to me, as it is known that Scientology has a very similar method of recruitment (namely, through use of "personality tests" indicating one needs Scientology "auditing").
However, it's not just abusive "cell groups" and Scientology-esque "questionnaires" that are of concern. Rick Ross also mentions something else that Campus Crusade has become well nigh infamous for--deceptive recruiting, both in snaring people in, and in a rather extensive network of frontgroups.
Campus Crusade--in what has been regarded as a potential danger sign in and of itself in various metrics of "coerciveness" such as the BITE Model--tends to engage in quite a bit of recruitment under false pretences. Remarkably, a fair amount of the help for this comes from the two major corporate sponsors of dominionism most closely linked to the Assemblies and the SBC--the same two dominionist denominations Campus Crusade has close links with--the same two linked to the present scandal regarding dominionist steeplejacking.
Specifically, AmWay (and particularly the DeVos Foundations) are major funders of Campus Crusade, and Chick-Fil-A has been known to host events on Saturday mornings that are operated via a Campus Crusade frontgroup targeting dads and kids. (Chick-Fil-A is also known for promoting Focus on the Family material in kid's meals, and the Dexter Yager upline of AmWay has such connections to the Assemblies that it can literally be considered a co-recruitment relationship.)
One of Campus Crusade's favourite methods of recruitment are setting up multiple organisations to target specific audiences--in particular, captive audiences. The Wikipedia article on Campus Crusade has a very small list of frontgroups, but this is by far not complete; to my knowledge there has not yet been compiled a complete list of known Campus Crusade fronts.
Sara Diamond's Spiritual Warfare again notes the very early use of frontgroups by Campus Crusade as a major recruitment strategy:
In 1967, Bright launched a campaign called "Revolution Now" on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Hardly a God-inspired program, it was geared specifically toward thwarting the efforst of the movement against the Vietnam War and supporting Bright's friend Governor Ronald Reagan in his attempt to contain massive campus disruption. Bright sponsored a week-long blitz of evangelism on campus, culminating with a faculty meeting at which both Bright and Billy Graham spoke.
With their short hair and straight-laced mannerisms, Bright's Campus Crusaders were woefully out of place on the Berkeley campus. In order to have an impact, Bright instructed several of his staffers to adopt the appearance of hippies and form a front for Campus Crusade, called the Christian World Liberation Front (CWLF), so christened to mimic the campus Third World Liberation Front. Bright explained the plan to evangelical writer Richard Quebedeaux:
Christian World Liberation Front was, in the beginning, a frontorganization for Campus Crusade. We asked three of our choicest men to launch it, and most of our staff didn't even know about the plan. Only about a half dozen of us were aware of what was happening and it was a test. There was a powerful radical movement among the students then, and we were trying to figure out which route to take, whether we as a movement should adopt a radical countercultural approach on campus in order to be all things to all people that we might win them for Christ.
(Pg. 52. Pp. 53-54 go on to discuss possible inroads to military steeplejacking by Campus Crusade dating from the early 80s.)
At least one group that practices this sort of recruitment by deception--Fellowship of Christian Athletes (which is one of those undocumented Campus Crusade frontgroups)--has a number of additional links between Campus Crusade and the Assemblies; one of Hobby Lobby's subsidiaries, Bearing Fruit Productions (which specialises in producing "Converted Injun Exploitation" films for the likes of Ron Luce's Teen Mania get-togethers), has a senior VP for FCA on its board of directors (T. Ray Grandstaff). Hobby Lobby essentially operates as a de facto funding front for the Assemblies of God's international missionary and publishing wings; FCA also has rather explicitly partnered with Assemblies "youth missions" frontgroups in past.
FCA, of particular interest to the military steeplejacking scandal, has apparently promoted very similar methods of infiltration with sports teams (per walkaway Reggie White); in addition, FCA has been heavily connected with the USAFA "forced dominionism" scandal. In cases of coercion in schools (which, much like the military scandal, have resulted in lawsuits), remarkably similar patterns of "mandatory dominionism" being enforced as a condition of participation have been noted. In fact, no less than two ACLU court cases have been noted in regards to this--a suit which literally led to the creation of the ACLU of Alabama in the early 50s due to FCA coercion on football teams, and a more recent case by ACLU Maryland.
Another Campus Crusade frontgroup, Athletes in Action, has become particularly infamous for a particular method of recruiting they have specialised in--getting sports professionals to come to public schools for "anti-drug" talks that are marketed to the schools, and (once the kids are in the mandatory assembly) springing hardsell "altar calls" to the kids.
Of note, both Athletes in Action and FCA have been explicitly banned in some school systems due to a recurring pattern of deceptive advertisement.
Unfortunately, this sort of deceptive recruiting seems to be the rule with Campus Crusade. Among other things, they have set up entire "parallel economy" pharmacy organisations as recruitment fronts.
Another potential sign of religious abuse is the practice of "love-bombing"--showering a new "mark" with affection even as the world outside is condemned. A support forum operated by an exit counseling group has in fact noted that love-bombing occurs by Campus Crusade.
Yet more signs of bad behaviour show up in the apparent promotion of Scientology-esque "deliverance ministry"--including the concept of literally hexing people in the name of Christ. Sara Diamond's Spiritual Warfare again demonstrates such an example:
Under the influence of Sunday school teacher Henrietta Mears who in 1949 had helped launch Billy Graham's career by sending 5,000 people from her Hollywood Presbyterian Church to Graham's Los Angeles Crusade -- [Bill] Bright developed the concept of "spiritual multiplication" using "Christian cells." The idea was based on the symbol of a triangle: two Christian students write their names on two sides of a triangle and on the third side they write the name of an unsaved friend for whom they pray and witness.
Once the new person joins the triangle, the "cell" splits into two more triangles in search of a third side. It was an organizational strategy intended to mimic (and defeat) Bright's conception of how communists organize.
This sort of thing--literally writing the name down of someone to pray they convert despite themselves--is a classic form of neopente "name magick", and has been used to not only target people but explicitly curse them to be miserable. Walkaways are similarly targeted.
At least one walkaway from Campus Crusade on the Dark Christianity LJ community has noted how Campus Crusade tends to put pressure on people--among other things, if you choose to go to a non-neopente church, you will be encouraged to "pray about it"--and subtly (and occasionally not-so-subtly) encouraged to pick a more acceptable congregation. The same person has described recruitment tactics--including, notably, a Campus Crusade publication called How to Make Your Mark: A Manual for Evangelism and Discipleship which is particularly telling on tactics:
For example:* It tells leaders to evangelize to all people, but to select one's first and later target groups based on things like who the "opinion-setters" are on campus, which group might be "easy to reach," or what group might best further CCC's agenda quickly. * When people convert, the book recommends a specific follow-up appointments scheduled at particular times after the initial conversion (i.e. the first one is 24 to 48 hours after conversion). * "Filter" converts to see who would make a good "disciple" (person to become more involved with leadership, or to make more converts). Criteria include: "Does the person demonstrate availability?" "Does the person demonstrate faithfulness?" "Does the person demonstrate teachability?"... * In their favor, the book does stipulate that when selecting disciples, "Do not pressure anyone." * When hosting a well-known evangelical speaker, the book directs leaders to "disperse Christian students throughout the crowd for spontaneous and casual interaction during the meeting, and 'divide and conquer' evangelism afterward." It suggests preparing a program of meetings for new converts to attend, too, based on the recommendations for follow-up appointments. * It also provides directions on how to recruit people to go to conferences and work on summer projects (basicly a kind of soft-sell approach).
...with that, and knowing that Campus Crusade is essentially a subsidiary of "Joel's Army"...now you know why folks like me and Bruce Wilson are very, very worried.