News Articles

FIRST-PERSON: Bill Bright – a true giant of the faith

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–All who are born-again in the Lord Jesus Christ should mourn the home-going of Bill Bright, a true giant of the faith.

Perhaps the greatest Great Commission warrior in Christian history, Dr. Bright’s burning zeal to accomplish his God-given vision to share the love of Christ with “every living person on the earth” had a remarkable impact.

As a direct result of Dr. Bright’s ministry, his “Four Spiritual Laws” tract has been disseminated to more than 4.5 billion people and an estimated 5.1 billion people have viewed his “JESUS” film.

I know of no organization that has had more spiritual impact on America’s college and university campuses over the last half-century than Dr. Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people who have come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior through the ministry of Campus Crusade. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of others, like myself, who had their already-existent faith deepened and strengthened through Campus Crusade ministries in their lives.

While a college student at Princeton, I helped bring Campus Crusade speakers to campus and was privileged to go through both Crusade’s Leadership Training Institute and their Advanced Leadership Training Institute.

The experience revolutionized my spiritual life and did much to determine the future direction of my ministry. Although I had already surrendered to fulltime Christian service at the time I encountered Campus Crusade’s ministries, my exposure to their thematic study of Christian doctrine enabled me to learn more about my faith in a month of extensive study at the Leadership Institute than I had learned in the previous 19 years of daily Bible reading and near-perfect attendance in my Southern Baptist church.

I asked myself, Why? The answer is that they didn’t give me a uniform lesson text unconnected to the uniform lesson text from the previous week or topical sermons that were often unrelated to the previous week’s topical sermon. Instead, they taught all that the Bible said about itself, God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit, salvation, sanctification, sin, the church, last things, etc., in a thematic and systematic way.

It is revealing that the first study in Campus Crusade’s “Ten Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity” is the uniqueness of Jesus and the last studies are highlights of the Old and New Testaments.

From then on I was committed to preaching, teaching and discipling others in the same systematic manner in which I had been discipled. Those studies are why I majored in theology for my doctorate. They have impacted every sermon, every lecture and every devotional I have delivered since my 19th year.

“I mourn Dr. Bright’s home-going for the tremendous sense of loss Christendom will feel by his absence. But I rejoice in the certain knowledge that he is now with Jesus in the realms of glory and that he has already heard one of the most resounding renditions of ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant’ that will ever be uttered in heaven.
Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright died July 19 at age 81 at his home in Orlando, Fla.

    About the Author

  • Richard Land

    Richard Land, D. Phil, is the Executive Editor of the Christian Post, having previously served as president of the ERLC (1988-2013) and president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (2013-2021). He also serves as the chairman of the advisory board at the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Read All by Richard Land ›