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Campus Crusade for Christ was founded at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1951 as the result of a vision of businessman Bill Bright. With his wife, Vonette Zachary Bright, he subsequently built a widespread ministry which included a staff of sixty-five hundred in 1959, operating in ninety-seven countries of the world.
William Rohl Bright was born October 19, 1921, in Coweta, Oklahoma, to Forrest Dale and Mary Lee Rohl Bright. His boyhood on a ranch with four brothers and two sisters was characterized by a deeply-felt influence of his mother, who dedicated him to God and whose spiritual life was an example to all of the family. Bright graduated from Northeastern State College, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1943, and he moved to Los Angeles to set up a business of his own, Bright's California Confections. His consuming ambition at this time in his life was to become wealthy and successful in the business world. On his way into Los Angeles, he picked up a hitchhiker who was a member of the Navigators, a Christian laymen's organization. He was invited to spend the night at the home of Dawson Trotman and his family, founder of the Navigators. From these contacts, Bright was drawn into the Hollywood Presbyterian Church, pastored at that time by Louis Evans. On the staff also was Henrietta Mears, who was responsible for the Christian education program, and his conversion to total commitment came gradually through the influence of the church and Dr. Mears. In 1946, Bright entered Princeton Theological Seminary and returned to California a year later to become one of the first students of Fuller Theological Seminary, just being founded in Pasadena, California. He stayed there until 1951, but made the decision not to accept ordination in order to minister more effectively to laymen as a layman himself.
On December 30, 1948, Bill and Vonnette Zachary Bright were married after a courtship while Bright was president of his company and still a student at Fuller. Vonette Bright had graduated with a degree in home economics from a Texas women's university and was co-founder of Campus Crusade. Early in 1951, the Brights dedicated all their previous ambitions and desires to God to use as He wished. The scope and commission to begin campus work came to Bright a short while later after a brief and vivid vision and conviction from God that Bright's life should be dedicated to evangelization. The name Campus Crusade for Christ was suggested by Wilbur Smith, one of Bright's professors at Fuller.
In October of that year, after renting a house near the campus of UCLA, together with Henrietta Mears, the Brights purchased a Bel Air mansion which was used as Campus Crusade headquarters until 1956. In 1957, Campus Crusade was given five acres on Lake Minnetonka, Mound, Minnesota, making it possible to train up to 150 people at one time in this location. By 1960, CCC staff numbered 109 and was active on forty campuses in fifteen states. A weekly radio program was part of the mission and work began to open up in South Korea and Pakistan. By 1961, the movement had outgrown its facilities once again. When a former resort, Arrowhead Springs in southern California's San Bernadino mountains, came on the market, the Campus Crusade staff recognized its ideal facilities. The price was met by pledges and one thousand to fifteen hundred people a week were subsequently hosted at this headquarters.
Campus upheavals in the 1960s led to the formation of Christian World Liberation Front as a conservative Christian counterpart of radical political liberation fronts. International Christian Graduate University was launched in 1978 with a School of Theology in Arrowhead Springs, offering standard graduate degrees. It included training couples for a dual ministry and required at least half-time as interns on a church staff.
Staff training involved a discipleship program and field experience. All prospective staff attended a four-week Institute of Biblical Studies. Applicants began with a two-year minimum commitment but were encouraged to make it a life-time career. Each staff person was required to raise his or her own support, and advancement did not mean increased financial support. A working board headed by the Brights provided guidance for CCC as a parachurch organization, with staff members free to choose a church of their own choice.
Aggressive evangelism used the mass media for a wide variety of approaches. Over two hundred fifty million copies of Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? had been distributed by 1979; by 1965 it had been translated into all the major languages. Other types of literature included a set of booklets for new converts, Ten Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity. CCC also used advertising, public relations campaigns, films, television specials, and radio segments. Tapes were utilized for training, management, apologetics, prayer, and Bible study.
In addition to the primary thrust of CCC on college and university campuses, a variety of other ministries was added. International Student Ministry was set up to assist and support collegians from other countries, a lay ministry was formed to aid pastors and congregations, and in 1965 CCC expanded into a ministry in the military services. Athletes in Action was initiated by Dave Hound on the UCLA campus in 1966 and staffed by Don Shinnick, Bob Davenport, Donn Moomaw, and Rafer Johnson. The athletic ministry included wrestling teams, gymnastics, basketball, weight-lifting, track and field. A prison ministry, P.S., was also formed to make the gospel available to inmates and to provide a follow-up service to those who were released. In 1973, Agape was begun as a socio-economic ministry for Third World countries. "Here's Life, America" was a campaign launched in 1976 with a target goal of training five million Christians in intensive evangelism methods to be applied in major metropolitan areas of the country; "I Found It!" was the slogan used extensively in this campaign. Also in 1976, a Christian Embassy was opened in Washington, D.C. CCC international ministries developed in at least ninety-seven countries, with indigenous staff numbering over nineteen hundred in 1979.
Campus Crusade and Bill Bright frequently came under criticism, both in and out of the Evangelical community, for what was sometimes regarded as oversimplification of gospel truths, as well as for applying advertising methods to the preaching of the gospel. Bright defended these techniques as proper use of mind and abilities for Christian purposes in a contemporary setting. Another criticism was conformity of the CCC to Bright's concept of life-style and theology, with little right of challenge by staff members. High staff turn-over had many causes, and Bright viewed much of it as providing effective preparation for a number of subsequent careers for former staff, though all had been encouraged to long-term commitment to CCC.
Scope and Content
Contents of this collection consist of one audio tape and ten phonograph records used for various aspects of CCC ministry. The tape has on one side a report by Ray Netherey (?) of CCC staff on the Tokyo Crusade sponsored by World Vision. Comments and plans for the Crusade are also made by Bob Pierce, director of World Vision. Side two is part of a series on the New Testament titled "What Christians Believe," and it consists of a talk by Dr. Everett F. Harrison of Fuller Theological Seminary.
The ten phonograph records are approximately twenty minutes on each side and consist of talks on selected topics delivered by Bill Bright, members of the CCC Board, and other outstanding individuals, authors, professors, and missionaries. The entire listing of subjects and speakers will be found in the Location Record for Phonograph Records.
Materials in this collection were given to the Center in July 1981 by Mrs. Evan Welsh.
Accession 81-73January 24, 1983
T1 - Reel-to-reel, 7-1/2 rpm, audio tape. Side 1: Report by Ray Netherey (?), Campus Crusade for Christ, on Tokyo Crusade sponsored by World Vision, ca. 12 minutes. Comments on Tokyo and plans for the Crusade by Bob Pierce, director of World Vision, ca. 5 minutes; n.d.
Side 2: "The New Testament," part of series for Campus Crusade for Christ, "What Christians Believe"; talk by Dr. Everett F. Harrison, Fuller Theological Seminary, ca. 25 minutes, n.d.
P1 - Message by William R. Bright, Director, Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, entitled "The Uniqueness of Christ"; n.d.; Side 1 and 2, ca. 20 minutes each side, 16 rpm.
P2 - Side 1: message by Dr. J. Edwin Orr, writer, lecturer, Christian teacher, member of CCC Board, entitled "Does Faith Make Sense?"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Dr. Billy Graham, worldwide evangelist, member of CCC Board, entitled "The Challenge of the Cross"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P3 - Side 1: message by Dr. J. Edwin Orr, writer, lecturer, Christian teacher, member of CCC Board, entitled "Chance and the Cosmos"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Eugenia Price, writer, lecturer, entitled "The Good News; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P4 - Side 1: message by Dr. Wilbur M. Smith, Fuller Theological Seminary professor, Moody Bible Institute professor, member of CCC Board, entitled "Have You Considered Him?"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Dr. Billy Graham, worldwide evangelist, member of CCC Board, entitled "The Mystery of Conversion"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P5 - Side 1: message by Dr. Bernard L. Ramm, author, professor at California Baptist Theological Seminary, entitled "The Virgin Birth of Christ"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Dr. Wilbur M. Smith, Fuller Theological Seminary professor, Moody Bible Institute professor, member of CCC Board, entitled "The Resurrection"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P6 - Side 1: message by Dr. J. Edwin Orr, writer, lecturer, Christian teacher, member of CCC Board, entitled "The Christian's Authority"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Col. Robert Thieme, pastor, radio minister, entitled "Rebound"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P7 - Side 1: message by Dr. Everett Harrison, Fuller Theological Seminary professor, missionary, pastor, entitled "A Survey of the New Testament"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Col. Robert Thieme, pastor, radio minister, entitled "Mental Attitude"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P8 - Side 1: message by Major Ian Thomas, missionary to youth, lecturer, entitled "Complete in Christ"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Dr. F. J. Huegal, chaplain, missionary, entitled "Laws of Prayer"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P9 - Side 1: message by Dr. Richard C. Halverson, pastor, lecturer, author, member of CCC Board, entitled "Christian Maturity"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Major Ian Thomas, missionary to youth, lecturer, entitled "Christ, Our Life"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.
P10 - Side 1: message by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, evangelist, pastor, author, and missionary statesman, entitled "The Calling of God"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm. Side 2: message by Rev. George M. Cowan, missionary, teacher, entitled "The World's Greatest Need"; n.d.; ca. 20 minutes, 16 rpm.