Days after apologizing for controversial comments regarding race, best-selling author and apologist Josh McDowell has announced that he is stepping back from his ministry responsibilities and speaking engagements “to enter a season of listening and addressing the growth areas” he has discovered through the controversy.
In the statement, McDowell explained that CEO Dane Zook will be leading daily operations of Josh McDowell Ministry.
On September 18, McDowell made several comments against the implementation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) teaching during a speech at a meeting of the American Association of Christian Counselors. CRT has become a point of controversy in evangelical circles in recent years, but the criticism McDowell drew came from specific comments suggesting that racial inequality could be attributed to the Black community’s lack of emphasis on education.
The next day, McDowell stated that these comments in his speech “do not reflect [his] own beliefs.”
McDowell’s ministry has long been affiliated with Cru (previously known as Campus Crusade for Christ), an interdenominational Christian parachurch organization which was originally founded as an evangelistic college ministry. Cru has recently experienced pushback from a number of long-time staff who disagree with the organization’s evolving views and practices regarding race and diversity.
As some among Cru’s leadership have become vocal about the need for racial sensitivity and reconciliation, many within Cru’s ranks have becoming increasingly concerned about the influence CRT might be having on the ministry. In November of 2020, a group of 60 Cru staff members submitted a 179-page open document to Cru President Steve Sellers, explaining their belief that Cru has embraced a secular system of ideas that divides humanity into victims and oppressors.