Cru Winter Conference Review 2016-2017: David Platt, Matt Smethurst, Jackson Crum and J.D. Greear are Some of the Main Speakers

The Wondering Eagle reviews the Cru Winter and Christmas Conferences for 2016 and 2017.  This is a review of all the speakers and agendas. This blog recommends Greensboro, Dallas, Portland and Los Angeles. This blog does not recommend Denver, Baltimore and Indianapolis. As of December 18, Minneapolis is supported, if Paul Tripp is still scheduled to speak then The Wondering Eagle will pull support for TCX. I am growing deeply concerned about a fundamentalist Neo-Calvinist agenda growing in Cru which gives this writer deep pause about this organization.

“I’ve seen many friends makes bad choices in their 20’s. For some, regular partying quickly turned into alcoholism; for others, prescription drugs led them into dark places. For me it was religion.”

Mike Anderson formerly of the Resurgence at Mars Hill Seattle

“To experience true life, we must continue the Christian journey the same way we began it – by faith.”

Bill Bright

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.

Luke 1:68-70 NLT

Cru Encounter in  Greensboro, North Carolina

In 2009 Wanda Martin’s daughter was involved in Campus Crusade at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. UNC Chapel Hill is the flagship university of the UNC system. In 2009 Crusade brought in Mark Driscoll to speak. Wanda knew next to nothing about Mark Driscoll and was excited, because she had heard good things about what Mark Driscoll was doing in Seattle. Though she wanted to hear Driscoll preach she didn’t attend the Crusade talk with Mark Driscoll per her daughter’s request. But afterward Wanda’s daughter didn’t tell her about Driscoll’s talk, though she was interested in hearing about it. A week later she was puzzled at her daughter’s silence and she took her daughter out to lunch and asked, “Well what did Mark Driscoll speak about?” Her daughter mentioned not much was memorable, and that he was questioned about anal or oral sex.  It stunned Wanda, and when the “sermon” was uploaded it horrified her. That event in Crusade was written about in this Wartburg Watch post. That experience in Campus Crusade, combined with Dee Parson being a Sunday School Teacher in David Horner’s Providence Baptist in Raleigh, North Carolina and being embroiled in a child sex abuse cover up and the church going after her and her husband Bill is what led to the rise and direction of The Wartburg Watch.

But there is more, much more as many parts of Cru struggle with discernment. In 2013 Cru at North Carolina State University brought in C.J. Mahaney to speak. C.J. Mahaney the man who led Sovereign Grace and is allegedly responsible for covering up child sex abuse. C.J. Mahaney the man who also allegedly practiced blackmail against Larry Tomczak, and fled church discipline to hide behind Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Why do parts of Cru feature and promote a man who doesn’t even meet the basic qualifications for Elder? He is no longer above reproach and should someone who has engaged in blackmail be featured and given a platform before students? Is blackmail “Gospel Centered?” Why would parts of Cru promote someone who has engaged in alleged criminal activity? What about the persistent allegations of Mahaney covering up child sex abuse? What about Mahnaey’s blatant lie? And those hurt who call him out on his lie as this family has done?  Then there is another shocker that happened in my backyard in the Washington, D,C. area. Cru at George Mason University, which by the way has a hardline Neo-Calvinist agenda,  is recommending and promoting to its students one of the ground zeros in the largest lawsuit in evangelical history – Sovereign Grace Fairfax. That experience led me to write this post, and afterward I was attacked by one of the Cru leaders at George Mason,  Brett Miller. Brett’s behavior led to this post on the Wartburg Watch. If Brett Miller is going to imitate the “I can beat you up” dude bro style of Mark Driscoll, I wonder if Brett is going to give an expository talk about the Biblical basis of oral sex at George Mason Cru, just like Mark Driscoll. If you don’t believe me you can read Mark’s sermon on oral sex here.

Due to the problems of corruption, decadence and abuse of Neo-Calvinism and the struggle by some in Cru to be able to practice discernment and exhibit critical thinking skills;  I have decided that every year, I will do a review of each Christmas and winter conference in Cru. I will review the agendas, and speakers to see what is being promoted.  If someone like John Piper or C.J. Mahaney is going to be given a platform then I will offer strong pushback. People who are allegedly involved in covering up child sex abuse or who have taught that a woman should submit to her domestic abuser as John Piper has done (watch the video here)  should not be given a platform in Cru. In addition Cru should not be promoting the patriarchal agenda of the Neo-Calvinists. When they give a platform to someone questionable in Denver, Washington, D.C. or Minneapolis or elsewhere…it legitimizes it. This is written by someone who loves Cru, helped plant the Marquette University chapter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was involved for several years. As as you will read there are some conferences that I whole heartedly endorse. In my past I went to one Conference in San Diego (now LA) and then to TCX twice. With that said I am going to review each conference and analyze the speakers the agenda. Please note in this analysis I don’t pay attention to the featured worship artists or musicians performing at the individual conferences. Here is the review of last years Cru conferences here. So with that out of the way…let’s dive in!


Winter Conference  – Baltimore, MD

The speakers for this conference are John Onwuchekwa, Curt Allen, Margaret Yu, Sam Allberry, Matt Smethurst, Rick James, Shelby Abbott, and the band is The Bridge Band. This is the background on the speakers as well look at this conference. John Onwuchekwa is from Houston, Texas who attended Baylor and then attended seminary at Dallas Theological Seminary. John moved to Atlanta in 2015 and planted Cornerstone Church.  Also speaking at the Baltimore Winter Conference is former Sovereign Grace Pastor Curt Allen who is the Senior Pastor at Solid Rock Church in the D.C. metro area. Curtis is known as the rapping pastor, and a former gang member. You can read about his interaction with Brent Detwiler in this post here. He is known for calling Brent Detwiler a “division homeboy.” He has performed at many Sovereign Grace conferences which you can read about here. Solid Rock Church has left the Sovereign Grace denomination which you can read about at Todd Wilhelm’s post hereIt appears that Curt Allen speaks regularly for Cru in he D.C. area.  Margaret Yu is the National Executive Director of the Epic Movement, which is the Asian American ministry of Cru. Margret  has worked with Cru for over 30 years and currently resides in Los Angeles. Her interest includes mentorship and leadership discussions. Plus she is also a caregiver for her special needs nephew.

The next person is Sam Allberry. Sam is a pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, United Kingdom. He is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and works for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Sam also deals with same sex attraction and speaks and talks about it. He has published “Is God Anti-Gay” in 2013. Matt Smethurst is also in the line up. Matt Smethurst was involved in Cru at James Madison University and eventually did a mission in Asia before interning at Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church and graduating in 2008. He studied at Southern Baptist Theological seminary in Louisville, edits for The Gospel Coalition and today is  an Elder at Third Avenue Baptist in Louisville, Kentucky. Rick James serves as the publisher for Cru press and has published multiple books. The last speaker for the Baltimore Conference is Shelby Abbott who is the communications director for Mid Atlantic Cru. Shelby has an active blog which you can read right here.  I am an alumnus of Cru as I have written up top, and this is the second year in a row that I cannot recommend the Baltimore Winter Conference. I will explain below why that is the case.  


Encounter – Greensboro, NC

Encounter is the Winter Conference for Cru students in the states of North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. In looking at the Cru website I do not know what the theme is for this year. The speaking line up for this year consists of the following: Jackson Crum, Heather Holleman, Shane Sebastian, Darryl Smith and Matt Papa. Jackson Crum is the Lead Pastor of Park Community Church which is in Chicago, Illinois. He spent twenty years in Philadelphia doing ministry, and he graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary. On a quick side note I wonder if Jackson had Steve Estes as a professor at Westminster?  In case those in Cru did not know, Steve Estes who is Joni Erickson Tada’s biographer practiced church discipline on an alleged rape victim who was almost killed. It has become an issue in the Evangelical Free Church of America and this blog is driving this issue in that denomination in trying to get resolution. Jackson’s  Park Community Church is a Gospel Coalition affiliated church with several locations in Chicago. In poking around I also noticed that Jackson is not prolific in writing for The Gospel Coalition or Desiring God, which in this author’s opinion is a good thing. Heather Holleman is next on the agenda and she teaches English at Penn State University and she also works for Cru with her husband Ashley. She has written books both about faith as well as how to write better. She has an active blog which you can access here. Shane Sebastion is the Executive Director of Global Missions with Cru. He has lived and worked around the world for 23 years. Shane has a BA from the University of California – Irvine, MA from Hope International University and a Doctorate from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Daryl Smith is the National Director of Cru’s high school ministry. Previously he served as the Cru Director in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Southeast Regional Director. He has served on staff with Cru since 1996. Matt Papa is both a recording artist and speaker. In this conference I am unsure if he is teaching or leading worship.

Having looked at Encounter 2016 I recommend this conference, even with the connections to The Gospel Coalition. Here is why, The Gospel Coalition which is deeply corrupt I don’t see as having much influence over this one. Most of the connections come through Jackson Crum and Park Community Church. In this situation I do not see this church rushing to defend C.J. Mahaney in the criminal allegations that continue to dog him like other parts of The Gospel Coalition do.


Southeast Winter Conference – Atlanta, GA

Older Cru Southeast Winter Conference Promo for 2014

As of December 17, 2017 Cru has not posted the details on the Southeast Winter Conference preventing me from reviewing it. It appears this conference may have been canceled this year.


Indy CC – Indianapolis, IN

The them for the Indianapolis conference isIts About Time.” It appears to mean as if now is the time to go to Indianapolis.  The speakers for this conference are Trip Lee, Beth Guckenberger, Mike Erre, Darryl Smith, Vivian Mabuni, David Platt, and J.D. Greer. Playing in the worship band on stage is Chuck Dennie, Chris McClarney, Rochelle Burlock, Tara Rios, and Natalie LaRue. Lets look at each speaker.

Trip Lee is a pastor in Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been doing rapping since the age of 12. He helped found a Christian hip-hop collective 116 Clique in 2005. He has also published tow books “The Good Life” and “Rise.” Beth Guckenberger is one of the co-executive directors for Back2Back Ministries. Back2Back Ministries deals with global orphan care. Beth has published several books including “Start with Amen: Cultivating Spiritual Maturity by Keeping the End in Mind“,”Reckless Faith: Let Go and Be Led“,”Relentless Hope: Extracting the Precious from the Worthless” and “Tales of the Defended Ones.” Becky worked as a missionary in Monterrey, Mexico. She speaks at conferences and draws from her past experience I the field. Mike Erre graduated from the Talbot School of Theology with an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics in 2004. At one time he was a adjunct professor at Biola University. He helps led OC United a nonprofit in California and he heads VOX Podcast. Mike has published a couple of books including “Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe and Mystery of Life with God“,”The Jesus of Suburbia: Have We Tamed the Son of God to Fit Our Lifetsyle?“,”Death by Church: Rescuing Jesus from His Followers, Recapturing God’s Hope for His People” and “Why Guys Need God: The Spiritual Side of Money, Sex and Relationships.” There are two controversies with Mike Erre. The first is that he ran afoul for comments he made to the gay community which you can read in this post. The second is the abrupt resignation he did from First Evangelical Free of Fullerton. There seemed to be no planning of it, nor was it done in a way to lesson the transition. It makes me wonder…what happened? This blog The Wondering Eagle has been writing about the Evangelical Free Church of America and if there is a story here I would love to find out more about the situation.

Daryl Smith is the National Director of Cru’s high school ministry. Previously he served as the Cru Director in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Southeast Regional Director. This year he is also speaking at Encounter in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has served on staff with Cru since 1996. Vivian Mabuni has served with Cru for 27 years and currently serves with the Epic National Executive Team. Epic is the Asian-American ministry of Cru. David Platt is the next speaker. David Platt is the darling of the Neo-Calvinist movement and for many their idol. For many David Platt is God. He is the President of the IMB which is experiencing massive financial problems. That being said, I think it would be unfair to place the responsibility on David Platt since he was not in the position for long. That said, I don’t believe he has the knowledge or expertise to lead the IMB. I look at David Platt as being an ideological appointment in the SBC. Plus David Platt has also been silent on the C.J. Mahaney controversy especially with T4G, of which I believe he speaks. David Platt has published several books including “Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age“,”Radical:Taking Back your Faith in the American Dream“, “Follow Me: A Call to Die, A Call to Live“,”Because We Are Called“,”What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me” and “Risk is Right: Better to Lose Your Life then to Waste It  David Platt served at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, plus he served as the Staff Evangelist at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans. Plus he was the Senior Pastor for eight years at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. The final speaker is J.D. Greear who is the Senior Pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He has worked with the IMB, and graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He has written several books here are but a couple. “Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary“,”Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart” and “Jesus….Continued…”  He also ran for president of the SBC, is a fierce defender of C.J. Mahaney which means he has no problems with the allegations of covering up child sex abuse, or Mahaney’s alleged blackmail. Plus his behavior triggered the creation of The Wartburg Watch based off how he responded to Dee Parsons. Due to the strong Neo-Calvinist slant to Indy CC this writer cannot endorse this conference for 2016.


Twin Cities Experience (TCX)  – Minneapolis, MN

TCX is the conference I used to attend. It is for college students in Iowa, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The speakers for this year are Adam Go, Charlie Schaller, Kempton Turner and  Natasha Sistrunk Robinson. As of December 18, 2017 I am unsure if Paul Tripp is still speaking at TCX. There is more to say about that in a second. Lets first review the speakers that I know about. Adam Go came to the Lord while a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He graduated in 2001. Adam Go is currently the Executive Director of Ethnic Field Ministries for the campus ministry of Cru. In reading his bio, I would be willing to bet he went to TCX at the same time I did. Charlie Schaller likes to speak about the Lord through the arts. While a college student he was accepted into the professional acting programs at the American Musical and Dramatics Academy in New York City. He has released a couple of albums and is now writing his first book. Charlie and his wife are on staff with Cru in Iowa City, Iowa. Apparently at TCX he is doing a skit that is written by Pete Briscoe down in Texas about the Bema. Kempton Turner is the Lead Pastor of City of Joy Fellowship, which is a church plant in East St. Louis, Illinois. He and his wife have been married since 1999 and they have 5 children. Natasha Sistrunk Robinson has written “Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose through Intentional Discipleship.” She is the founder of Leadership LINKS and is a graduate of Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and a former Marine Corps Officer. She teaches about the Bible, has contributed articles for Missio Alliance, and Christianity Today, and is a champion of education and concerned with human trafficking. I have no qualms with those speakers and if TCX is just those speakers then The Wondering Eagle warmly endorses TCX. However there is an unknown variable.

Earlier this year Paul Tripp was on the schedule to speak at TCX. If he is still on the schedule then I will pan TCX for the second year in a row. There are deep concerns with Paul Tripp. First of all he was on the Board of Accountability and Advisors at Mars Hill Seattle. He knew as to how toxic and spiritually abusive Mark Driscoll’s church was. He stated that, “This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.” That was an internal Mars Hill document that was not meant to be published. Fortunately it was leaked I believe to Warren Throckmorton who chronicled the demise of Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Seattle. What happened is that Paul Tripp resigned without publically blowing the whistle on issues with Mark Driscoll. He left many people in a difficult situation and fled.  His first responsibility should have been to the people being wounded and abused at Mars Hill Seattle. There are many questions that I believe he still has to answer about Mars Hill Seattle. I actually drafted a letter about many of those questions and corresponded it with Rob Smith who stood up to Mark Driscoll and took him on. It was sent twice to Paul Tripp,  and his ministry never even acknowledged or responded to my follow up. In addition there is Paul Tripp enabling Tullian Tchividjian as well. When he finally did issue a statement there is a lot of debate about the legitimacy of it.  Those are the issues with Paul Tripp…this blog will monitor the situation in TCX and if Paul Tripp does speak without working out his issues in Mars Hill Seattle then The Wondering Eagle will write about it and pursue it with TCX and Cru Upper Midwest Leadership. If Paul Tripp speaks then I have deep concerns about the leadership of Cru in the Upper Midwest being about to practice critical thinking skills and discernment. 

However as it stands right now without Paul Tripp speaking The Wondering Eagle supports TCX.


Denver Christmas Conference – Denver, CO

I looked at the webpage for the Denver Christmas Conference and as of this writing I found huge gaps in information. I do not know what the theme is and there is much about the conference that is lacking. The Cru winter conference is attended by students in Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri New Mexico and Colorado. The speaking line up is Scott Nickell, Brandon Washington, and Trillia Newbell.  Scott Nickell who is a teaching pastor at Flatirons Church in Boulder, Colorado. In looking over the church it appears to be leaning Neo-Calvinist. After all when the recommended reading list includes Doug Wilson, John Piper and Wayne Grudem that is always a red flag. The next speaker is Brandon Washington. Brandon is the Pastor of Preaching and Vision at The Embassy Church. The Embassy Church is affiliated with Fellowship Associates and Acts 29. Another speaker is Trillia Newbell. Trillia likes to speak about topics such as  the value of the church, femininity, the fear of the Lord, womanhood, theology, fitness, gifts and diversity. Trillia has published “Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves“,”Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts“,”United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity” and “Women on Life: A Call to Love the Unborn, Unloved, & Neglected.” Trillia also has published at least 24 articles at Desiring God and 37 articles for The Gospel Coalition.  Due to the information at this time and the speakers in the Denver Christmas Conference I have to express deep reservations and concern about this conference. The Denver Christmas Conference is not an event I can recommend or support. I will explain why in detail below in doing over all analysis.  This is the second year I have panned the Denver Christmas Conference.


Winter Conference – Dallas, TX

The Winter Conference in Dallas, Texas goes from January 1 until January 5, 2017. These are the speakers for the Winter Conference. You have Adam Saenz, Rasool Berry, Afshin Ziafat, Wendy Chen, Matt Mikalatos, Ben Bennett, and Jessica Harris. Lets review each person from the line up. Adam Saenz speaks about education today. He earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from Texas A & M University. He completed his predictor clinical training under a fellowship appointment to Harvard Medical School. Dr. Saenz also earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from the Graduate Theological Foundation with a residency at Christ Church college of Oxford University. Dr. Saenz is known for his book, “The Power of a Teacher.” He writes an education blog that is in the Huffington Post. Today he also serves as the clinical director of Oakwood Collaborative. Rasool Berry serves with Cru in New York City, and he is the campus pastor for The Bridge Church in Brooklyn, New York. Rasool has been on staff with Cru since 2000. He is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Africana Studies and a minor in Sociology.

The next speaker is Afshin Ziafat who is the lead pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas. Providence is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. Afshin went to the University of Texas – Austin, and he earned a Masters of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.  Afshin helped launch Vertical Bible Study at Baylor University and he partners with Elam Ministries and has traveled to the Middle East to train pastors in Iran. Wendy Chen was born and raised in South Korea where she eventually immigrated to he United States. She along with her husband direct Cr in Portland, Oregon. She has been on staff form 10 years with 4 in the Epic movement in Austin, Texas.  Matt Mikalatos is the next person speaking. Matt has been on staff with Cru for 15 years and lives near Portland, Oregon. Matt wrote several books to include “My Imaginary Jesus“,”Night of the Living Dead Christian” and “Sky Lantern.” Ben Bennett is up next. Ben is from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ben went to George Mason University (GMU) which is here in the Washington, D.C. area and was involved with Cru at GMU. He was on staff at GMU and he works with Cru in the Mid-Atlantic speaking about pornography issues. Today he is located in the Richmond, Virginia area. Its important to note that this blog butted heads with Cru staff over Brett Miller and other Cru staff promoting Sovereign Grace Fairfax here in the D.C. area. Why a Cru program would recommend a church that has been notorious for allegations of child sex abuse cover up and criminal activity is beyond me. The Cru staff at GMU should protect the sheep…not point them to wolves.  I wrote about this issue in “Why Does Cru at George Mason University Recommend Sovereign Grace Fairfax? Is that Wise?” The final speaker is Jessica Harris. Jessica writes about women addicted to pornography, abstinence, singleness and like minded topics. Overall I have no reservations about this conference and The Wondering Eagle support it.


Northwest Cru Conference – Portland, OR

Cru’s Northwest Conference is for students in Montana, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. According to the website as of this writing there are only three speakers. Those individuals are Vivian Mabuni, Richard Dahlstrom, and Rasool Berry. Vivian Mabuni has served with Cru for 27 years and currently serves with the Epic National Executive Team. Epic is the Asian-American ministry of Cru. Vivian is also speaking at the Indianapolis Christmas Conference. Richard Dahlstrom has been the Senior Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle since 1996. Bethany today has six locations. Richard has also authored “Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice and Love” and “O2: Breathing New Life into Faith.” The last speaker is Rasool Berry. Rasool Berry serves with Cru in New York City, and he is the campus pastor for The Bridge Church in Brooklyn, New York. Rasool has been on staff with Cru since 2000. He is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Africana Studies and a minor in Sociology. Its important to note that this is Rasool’s second conference as he will be speaking in Dallas after Portland. In reviewing the Northwest Cru Conference I have no qualms or reservations and The Wondering Eagle supports it.


Radiate Los Angeles – Anaheim, CA

Radiate is taking place in Orange County from January 13 through 16, 2017. The speakers for this conference are as following. D.A. Horton, Nick Hall, Candice Siewert, Anne Beiler and Propaganda who is doing the music. D.A. Horton is the pastor of Reach Fellowship,  works with the Southern Baptist Convention. Reach Fellowship is in North Long Beach, California. D.A. Horton obtained his B.S. in Biblical Studies from Calvary Bible College, his Masters Degree in Christian Studies from Calvary Theological Seminary and is currently working on his Ph.D. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary which is located in Wake Forest, California. In addition D.A. Horton has written three books which are “G.O.S.P.E.L.” , “Bound to be Free” and “DNA: The Foundations of Faith.” The next speaker is Nick Hall who created and led Together 2016 here in the Washington, D.C. area. I wrote about Together 2016 in “1968 vs. 2016 and Against Conflict and Uncertainty Together 2016 is Held in Washington, D.C.” Nick is the chief communicator for PULSE and he and his wife today live in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.  Candiece Siewert as I recall used to speak to TCX when I attended. Please correct me if I am mistaken. Candice earned her BST from Minnesota State Mankato where she got her Physical Education and Coaching. She also obtained a Masters of Arts in Christian Education from Bethel Theological Seminary. The last speaker is “Auntie” Anne Beiler who is a female entrepreneur who is successful in the business world. Originating from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania she and her husband lost their 19 month-old daughter in an accident and after counseling wanted to help other families who experienced profound loss. As a result she and her husband started a community counseling center. By selling pretzels at local farmers markets she helped support the center. She is also the founder of Auntie Anne Pretzels which you will find in shopping malls.  She has been awarded with the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the past.  In reviewing Radiate which I attended when it was based in San Diego, The Wondering Eagle supports this conference.


Is the Southeast Winter Conference Canceled?

I am intrigued as to why Cru is not holding the Southeast Winter Conference this year. Is it held every other year? Is it canceled due to speaker cancelations? Did Cru have problems getting a space reserved in Atlanta? Or is there some other reason as to why this event was canceled? If anyone knows why this happened I would love to know why Southeast was canceled this year.


My Concerns with Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Denver

This is my deep and growing concern with Cru today. I am concerned about an organization going hard core Neo-Calvinist. I am puzzled why parts of it would support organizations like Mark Dever’s 9 Marks. After all organizations like 9 Marks don’t believe that organizations like Cru which don’t submit in entirety to a church even have the right to exist. I explore that issue in this post earlier this year. Because of Cru going in a hard core Neo-Calvinist direction I find myself having more reservations about the organization.  This is the second year in a row I have panned the Denver and Baltimore/D.C. conferences. It is the first time I have panned Indianapolis. Denver I am concerned about the push of Fellowship Associates and Acts 29. After all Scott Nickell’s church has been promoting Douglas Wilson’s material. Douglas Wilson believes that Slavery in the American South prior to the Civil War is Biblical. He also married a pedophile off to a female falsely believing that marriage would cure his pedophilia. When they had a child and the pedophile was allegedly sexually attracted to an infant the state of Idaho intervened . If you want to read more abut Douglas Wilson and that situation I would recommend this post right here. Indianapolis  I am opposed to because to the headlining by David Platt and J.D. Greer. As a part of the Reformed Industrial Complex I am concerned about the Neo-Calvinist agenda that  they are promoting. J.D. Greer has promoted C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace despite the criminal allegations that continue to dog that “ministry.” That is profoundly disturbing that Cru would headline a person who has no qualms with a minster who allegedly covered up criminal activity and practiced blackmail.  Baltimore/D.C. I am realizing it is going to be hard core Neo-Calvinist event yearly I fear. This is the second year I have panned Baltimore, and if this trend keeps up I will probably do the same thing next year when the conference comes around again. Having Matt Smethurst speak shows that Cru in the D.C. area struggles with discernment and critical thinking skills. This Neo-Calvinist agenda is why as a Cru alumnus I do not support Cru in the D.C. area despite living here and my history with the organization. That is the review for Cru conferences this year, next year The Wondering Eagle will do it again. I hope Cru gets the message that they need to resolve these issues. Please take care Cru staff and Cru leadership who read this and know that I love you guys.


2 thoughts on “Cru Winter Conference Review 2016-2017: David Platt, Matt Smethurst, Jackson Crum and J.D. Greear are Some of the Main Speakers

  1. This post is one of the hardest to write for this blog. The time and effort that goes into researching it is intense. I researched all the speakers, when I saw a church mentioned I ran it through The Gospel Coalition church directory. Plus I also checked Amazon quite a bit to see who published what. I spent the last three weeks working on this while writing other posts. And I was waiting for Cru to release their agendas as well.


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