Bill Bright

From Academic Kids

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Bill and Vonette Bright, 1951

Dr. William R. "Bill" Bright (October 19, 1921 - July 19, 2003) was an American evangelist. Bill Bright was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. He wrote The Four Spiritual Laws in 1956 and produced the Jesus Film in 1979.

Born into an Oklahoma family, Bright described himself as being a "happy pagan" in his youth. He graduated from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma with an Economics degree. While in his early 20s he moved to Los Angeles, California and founded a company called Bright's California Confections.

In 1944, while attending the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, Bright became a Christian. He immediately delved into intensive Biblical studies which led him to graduate studies at Princeton and Fuller Theological Seminaries. It was while he was a student at Fuller that he felt the call of God to help fulfill Christ's Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) by sharing with students at UCLA. This gave birth to the Campus Crusade for Christ movement.

During the decades to follow, Bill and his wife, Vonette, remained faithful to God's calling on their lives, and the ministry expanded greatly. Campus Crusade now has more than 26,000 full-time staff and over 225,000 trained volunteer staff in over 191 countries.

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Bill Bright receives the Templeton Prize, 1996

Bill Bright held five honorary doctorate degrees: a Doctor of Laws from the Jeonbug National University of Korea, a Doctor of Divinity from John Brown University, a Doctor of Letters from Houghton Seminary, a Doctor of Divinity from the Los Angeles Bible College and Seminary, and a Doctor of Laws from Pepperdine University.

In 1983, he chaired the National Committee for the National Year of the Bible. He was named the 1996 recipient of the $1.1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He donated the prize money to causes promoting the spiritual benefits of fasting and prayer.

He authored more than 100 books and booklets, and thousands of articles and pamphlets that have been distributed in most major languages by the millions.

Bill Bright is survived by his wife Vonette, sons Zachary and Brad, and four grandchildren.

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Bill Bright, 1921-2003

The Rev. Billy Graham released a statement on the passing of Dr. Bright: "He has carried a burden on his heart as few men that I've ever known - a burden for the evangelization of the world. He is a man whose sincerity and integrity and devotion to our Lord have been an inspiration and a blessing to me ever since the early days of my ministry."

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