Bill Bright: The gospel for "every living person"

One of the outstanding evangelists of the 20th century lost his battle with pulmonary fibrosis on July 19. Campus Crusade for Christ founder William R. "Bill" Bright, 81, died at his home in Orlando, Florida.

Bright, diagnosed in 2000 with the progressive lung disease, said in a letter just before his death that the past two years had been among his most productive. They included writing, editing, producing teaching videos, and cofounding a global network aimed at starting 5 million house churches.

"It is a win-win situation for me," Bright wrote of his impending death. "If I go, I will be with my wonderful Lord, whom I have served for almost 60 years. If I stay, I will be able to joyously serve him even more."

Bright's survivors include his wife, two sons, one sister, one brother, and four grandchildren.

Bill and Vonette Bright founded Campus Crusade in 1951 as an outreach to the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles. Today Campus Crusade works in 191 nations, with 26,000 employees and 225,000 trained volunteers in 60 ministries.

Bright's booklet, "The Four Spiritual Laws," has been printed in 200 languages and distributed to an estimated 2.5 billion people. He also commissioned the Jesus film, which has been translated into more than 800 languages and seen by more people than any other feature-length film.

Steve Douglass assumed leadership of Orlando-based Campus Crusade in 2001. Bright's emphasis on training revolutionized evangelism and gave laypeople the tools to spread the gospel, Douglass said.

Formerly a hard-driving entrepreneur, Bright turned his attention to presenting the love and claims of Jesus Christ to "every living person on earth." In 1996 Bright ...

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