Archives for 4.7.09

on the influence of bill bright and cc4c

Christian Century magazine (yes, that CC, the liberal magazine to which Christianity Today was supposed to be the conservative counterpoint) publishes a review of Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America by John G. Turner.

The review is well done, and offers insight concerning Bill Bright and his ministry. I’ll highlight two quotes that illuminate the impact Bright had on the shape of modern Christianity. Unfortunately, these impacts plague us today, rather than help us.

On Bill Bright’s theology, or lack of same:

By the time of his death in 2003, Bright was a doctrinal nonpartisan, calling himself not an evangelical but instead a classical or New Testament Christian, and he was on friendly terms with Roman Catholics, Pentecostals and diverse other Christians with whom he had partnered around the world.

On Bill Bright’s attitude toward the church, perhaps the most devastating aspect of his ministry:

As early as the late 1800s, pastors warned that parachurch campus ministries would hinder students’ participation in existing congregations. Turner writes that early in Bright’s career he had little faith in the ability of established churches to effectively disciple their converts. Despite the merits of helping irreligious students to become intentional followers of Christ, Crusade’s way of doing campus-based church altered young adults’ understandings in such a way that the older denominational congregations now appeared backward and culturally in accessible.

Part of the problems we face in trying to build churches in this environment stems from the influence of Campus Crusade and its new-evangelical cohorts.