William R. Bright

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Dr. William R. ("Bill") Bright is a Christian evangelist and founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ.


He "was born in Coweta, Oklahoma, on Oct. 19, 1921. He graduated from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and a minor in sociology. While a student, Dr. Bright served as editor of the university yearbook, was student body president, was chosen as a member of Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, and was selected by students and faculty as the year's outstanding graduate. After graduation, he joined the extension faculty of Oklahoma State University. He later moved to Los Angeles where he launched a successful business career.

"While in California, Dr. Bright attended the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood. Largely through the influence of his mother's prayers and that church, he became a Christian in 1945 and then began an intensive study of the Bible. His studies led him to almost five years of graduate work at Princeton and Fuller theological seminaries, while still continuing his business interests. It was while a seminary student at Fuller that the young Bright felt the call of God to help fulfill Christ's Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). He began by sharing Christ with students on campus at UCLA, an activity that soon became a full-time calling, and which gave birth to the present worldwide ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International...

"Each ministry is designed to help fulfill the Great Commission, Christ's command to carry the gospel to the entire world. The film, JESUS, which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely viewed film ever produced. It has been translated into more than 730 languages and viewed by more than 4.5 billion people in 234 countries, with 300 additional languages currently being translated. More than 148 million people have indicated making salvation decisions for Christ after viewing it live. Additional tens of millions are believed to have made similar decisions through television and radio versions of the JESUS Film...

"In 1973, Dr. Bright received a special award from Religious Heritage of America for his work with youth, and in 1982, received the Golden Angel Award as International Churchman of the Year.

"Together with Mrs. Bright, he received the Jubilate Christian Achievement Award, 1982-1983, for outstanding leadership and dedication in furthering the gospel through the work of Campus Crusade and the Great Commission Prayer Crusade. In addition to many other responsibilities, Bright serves as chairman of the Year of the Bible Foundation, and he also chaired the National Committee for the National Year of the Bible in 1983, with President Ronald Reagan serving as honorary chairman. More recently, Bright has been named the 1996 recipient of the $1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He dedicated all of the proceeds of the award toward training Christians internationally in the spiritual benefits of fasting and prayer, and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Bright was also inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November 1996.

"In the last two years, Bright has also received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from his alma mater, Northeastern State University, as well as a co-recipient with his wife of the Lifetime Inspiration Award from Religious Heritage of America Foundation. In addition, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from both the National Association of Evangelicals and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, which also bestowed on him the Chairman's Award. He was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2002.

"Dr. Bright has authored more than 100 books and booklets as well as thousands of articles and pamphlets that have been distributed by the millions in most major languages. His books include: Come Help Change the World, The Secret, The Holy Spirit, A Man Without Equal, A Life Without Equal, The Coming Revival, The Transforming Power of Fasting & Prayer, Red Sky in the Morning (co-author), God: Discover His Character, Living Supernaturally in Christ, Written by the Hand of God, Blessed Child (co-author), and more recently Beyond All Limits: The Synergistic Church For A Planet In Crises (co-author), and First Love. He and Mrs. Bright co-authored Building a Home in a Pull-Apart World, and he is the editor of The Greatest Lesson I've Ever Learned, a compilation of input from 38 prominent Christian men. His booklet, Have you Heard of The Four Spiritual Laws?, has a distribution of more than 2.5 billion, and has been translated into more than 200 languages. Currently, he hosts the "Lighthouse Report", a daily radio program, and "Supernatural Living," on television.

"In 2000, Bright was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, an ailment afflicting the lungs, for which there is no known cure. Because of his desire to do a series of additional books and video training materials, he passed the torch of leadership, after 50 years as founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ, to his long time associate, Dr. Steve Douglass.

"Dr. Bright’s wife, Vonette, cofounder of Campus Crusade for Christ, lives in Orlando, Florida. They have two grown sons: Zachary, who is pastor of Divine Savior Presbyterian Church in California, and Brad, a staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ and director of Pinnacle Forum, a ministry to world leaders." [1]

He was married to Vonette Z. Bright.

Tobacco document information

Bill Bright appears on a list of religious leaders who "respect the views" of the tobacco industry, according to a document found in the Philip Morris collection of corporate documents. Bill Bright's name appears with those of James Dobson and Phyllis Schlafly. The document was found in the area of Howard Liebengood of Philip Morris. [2]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Remembering a Supernatural Life Lived as a Slave of Jesus, Bright Media Foundation, accessed December 15, 2008.
  2. h[ttp://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/lpj35c00 Partial Listing of Those Who Respect Our Views] February 1996. Bates No. 2046953072/3080