Bright Unto the End

In the face of retirement and death, the founder of Campus Crusade says his spirit still soars

Bill Bright knows he is dying. But this knowledge doesn't discourage him. The founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) still has work to do. On Easter morning, he appeared with Robert Schuller in the Crystal Cathedral. He stood erect, smiling his familiar Pillsbury Doughboy smile, while Schuller introduced him as "the man of the century for Christ." Campus Crusade has converted and discipled millions of souls since its launch in 1951; over 4 billion people across the world have seen the CCC-produced Jesus film (which has been translated into 656 languages, at last count). "No person has been responsible for introducing more people to Christ in greater numbers than Bill Bright," said Schuller.

Gratified but not self-impressed, Bright took to the pulpit and said: "The number one tragedy of the century is that a large number of believers are not really excited about the Resurrection." Bill Bright is especially excited about the Resurrection these days, because his days in the "earthly tent" are fading as he combats pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung condition that gradually erodes one's ability to breathe. In July, the 79-year-old leader passed the mantle of CCC's leadership to his successor, Steve Douglass.

Senior writer Wendy Murray Zoba, who wrote CT's 1997 cover story on Bill and Vonette Bright, recently was invited to meet with him again in his Orlando home to talk about the release of what is likely his final book. Blessed Child (cowritten with Ted Dekker) is a novel about a 10-year-old boy with the power to perform miracles. The boy's life is touched by a dying evangelist—a character not unlike Bright. "I have come to the conclusion that a good novel on biblical themes can reach many more people than most theological ...

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