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Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ
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Founded as a local college ministry in 1951, Campus Crusade for Christ has become one of the world's largest evangelical organizations, today boasting an annual budget of more than $500 million. Nondenominational organizations like Campus Crusade account for much of modern evangelicalism's dynamism and adaptation to mainstream American culture. Despite the importance of these "parachurch" organizations, says John Turner, historians have largely ignored them. Turner offers an accessible and colorful history of Campus Crusade and its founder, Bill Bright, whose marketing and fund-raising acumen transformed the organization into an international evangelical empire. Drawing on archival materials and more than one hundred interviews, Turner challenges the dominant narrative of the secularization of higher education, demonstrating how Campus Crusade helped reestablish evangelical Christianity as a visible subculture on American campuses. Beyond the campus, Bright expanded evangelicalism's influence in the worlds of business and politics. As Turner demonstrates, the story of Campus Crusade reflects the halting movement of evangelicalism into mainstream American society: its awkward marriage with conservative politics, its hesitancy over gender roles and sexuality, and its growing affluence. Founded in 1951 by Bill Bright (1921-2003), Campus Crusade for Christ is now the largest non-philanthropic evangelical "parachurch" organization in the United States, with more than 30,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $500 million. Unlike church denominations, which are often slow to change as a result of bureaucratic hierarchies, Turner explains that parachurches like Crusade account for much of the dynamism and adaptation to mainstream American culture that evangelicalism has demonstrated in the post-WWII period. In this history of Crusade and the charismatic founder and leader who brought business sense and salesmanship to the organization, Turner challenges the dominant narrative of the university's secularization, showing how Crusade helped reestablish evangelical Christianity as a viable and visible subculture at American colleges and universities and beyond. Turner relates how Crusade quietly but effectively enlarged evangelicalism's influence on American boardrooms, politics, and universities. He also examines how Crusade reflected the halting movement of evangelicalism into mainstream American society through its tumultuous marriage with conservative politics, its hesitancy over gender roles and sexuality, and its growing affluence. According to the intro, the author situates himself as an outsider to Crusade specifically, but a participant in parachurch evangelicalism in his student years. He says he "occup[ies] a religious space between mainline and evangelical Protestantism, appreciating the piety of evangelicalism while lamenting its politicization and obessions with numbers and 'success.'" He notes that readers' opinions of the book "will likely hinge on their own relationship to [Crusade's] theology and mission." Founded as a local college ministry in 1951, Campus Crusade for Christ has become one of the world's largest evangelical organizations, today boasting an annual budget of more than $500 million. Turner offers an accessible and colorful history of Campus Crusade and its founder, Bill Bright, whose marketing and fund-raising acumen transformed the organization into an international evangelical empire. Turner challenges the dominant narrative of the secularization of higher education, demonstrating how Campus Crusade helped reestablish evangelical Christianity as a visible subculture on American campuses. Founded as a local college ministry in 1951, Campus Crusade for Christ has become one of the world's largest evangelical organizations, today boasting an annual budget of more than $500 million. Nondenominational organizations like Campus Crusade account for much of modern evangelicalism's dynamism and adaptation to mainstream American culture. Despite the importance of these "parachurch" organizations, says John Turner, historians have largely ignored them. Turner offers an accessible and colorful history of Campus Crusade and its founder, Bill Bright, whose marketing and fund-raising acumen transformed the organization into an international evangelical empire. Drawing on archival materials and more than one hundred interviews, Turner challenges the dominant narrative of the secularization of higher education, demonstrating how Campus Crusade helped reestablish evangelical Christianity as a visible subculture on American campuses. Beyond the campus, Bright expanded evangelicalism's influence in the worlds of business and politics. As Turner demonstrates, the story of Campus Crusade reflects the halting movement of evangelicalism into mainstream American society: its awkward marriage with conservative politics, its hesitancy over gender roles and sexuality, and its growing affluence.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. 1. God May Choose a Country Boy
  2. pp. 13-40
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  1. 2. Campus Ministry at America’s “Trojan Horse”
  2. pp. 41-68
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  1. 3. Sibling Rivalries
  2. pp. 69-92
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  1. 4. The Conservative Impulses of the Early 1960s
  2. pp. 93-118
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  1. 5. The Jesus Revolution from Berkeley to Dallas
  2. pp. 119-146
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  1. 6. The Evangelical Bicentennial
  2. pp. 147-172
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  1. 7. America and the World for Jesus
  2. pp. 173-198
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  1. 8. Kingdoms at War
  2. pp. 199-226
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 227-236
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 237-262
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 263-278
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 279-288
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