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November 9, 2011

Profiles In The Faith: Bill Bright

When you think of the great men of faith from the past centuries, you hear names such as Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, E.M. Bounds, and  Billy Graham. If there were one man whose influence spanned further than any of these, it would be that of Dr. Bill Bright.  In 1944, Bright walked into a local church in Hollywood, California, as a businessman and a self-proclaimed happy-pagan, and left as a man saved by the grace of God.  Immediately, Bright gave himself to the study of Scripture to gain an understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

In 1951, God gave Bright and his wife Vonette a vision with an immense burden. It was a vision to fulfill the Great Commission on college campuses around the world. Starting on the campus of UCLA, Bright established what is now called CRU (Campus Crusade).  God’s hand would do a mighty work in Campus Crusade as their ministry expanded to 190 countries and 27,000 missionaries working on their staff.  It is estimated that hundreds of millions of people have responded to the gospel since 1951 as a result of CRU’s ministry.

Establishing the most effective global campus ministry was just one of the things God used Bright for.  In 1979, Bright and a Hollywood producer worked together to construct the Jesus Film, a tool used in over 1,000 languages to spread the story of the gospel around the globe.  It is thought that over 6 billion people have seen the film around the world.

With over 100 books in print, Bright’s life was given to the spread of the gospel.  His influence on politics, society, religion, and the church are immeasurable.  Bright wanted to give all that he had, all that he was, and all God created him to be for an eternal impact.

In 2002, Bright would advise former President George W. Bush on the invasion of Iraq. Weeks before his death, when a friend asked Bright to recall his last conversation with the President, he gave his intrigued friend a brief response- that a conversation with the President of United States falls incredibly short of the King he was about to see face to face. There is no doubt, Bright’s life was consumed by the grace of God.

Bright’s biography, Amazing Faith is an incredible journey through more than fifty years of preaching the gospel and a life that has left us a legacy.  Through each decade of ministry one reads how faith in God alone was more than enough for Bill and Vonette Bright. As their ministry spans across the globe, their heart was set on pleasing their Savior.

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