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Contributions of the Inter-Varsity Team

Cultic Studies Journal, 1985, Volume 2, Number 2, pages 299-300

Contributions of the Inter-Varsity Team

Dietrich Gruen

It all began innocently enough with a personal visit to the American Family Foundation office and a modest “letter to the editor,” Michael Langone. Two years of monthly correspondence later, Michael and I are still stimulating one another to read and react to various issues relating to cults and evangelicals.

In this special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal, we go public with our common concern and quest: Why are cults and evangelicals so often confused?  And what can be done to differentiate the two groups, especially in the way they do evangelism?

When I proposed to my supervisor that Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship contribute to this special study he recommended a cooperative approach in which we would coordinate the effort of a number of individuals and organizations. It was my privilege to work with more than 70 other Christian organizations and evangelical leaders on this project A smaller team of writers and editors were brought together as a task force to work on the specific content and form of what is proposed as “A Code of Ethics for the Christian Evangelist.” This code and related articles constitute our joint contribution to this study of “Cults, Evangelicals and the Ethics of Social Influence.” This code of ethics is put forth for discussion and does not represent the official policy of any of the contributing organizations.

The larger team collaborating with Inter-Varsity on “ difficult task proved to be quite diverse. The task force of writers, editors and consultants mirrored the diversity of the larger team:

John W. Alexander, President Emeritus of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship USA, Interim Director of Fellowship of Christian Universities and Schools, Interim President of Trinity Episcopal Seminary in Pittsburgh;

Steve Board, Executive Editor of Adult Ministries with David C. Cook Publishing Company;

Harold Bussell, Dean of the Chapel at Gordon College;

Susan Cotten, Assistant to the Director of Evangelism for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship;

Em Griffin, Professor of Speech Communication at Wheaton College;

Dietrich Gruen, Evangelism Specialist and Research Assistant in Inter-Varsity’s evangelism department;

Pete Hammond, Director of Inter-Varsity’s evangelism department;

David Hesselgrave, Professor of Mission with Trinity Evangelical Divinity School of World Mission and Evangelism;

Richard L. Johannesen, Professor of Communication Studies at Northern Illinois University;

Gordon Lewis, Professor of neology and Philosophy at Denver Seminary and Founder of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions;

Mark McCloskey, Area Director with Campus Crusade for Christ;

Harold Myra, President of Christianity Today.