The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Brad Bright

Joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1989

Board member of the Bill Bright Leadership Center and the Bright Media Foundation

Director of new movement called "Discover God"

Former aide to U.S. Senator William Armstrong of Colorado

Former Deputy Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee

Former Director of a foundation to promote volunteerism as an alternative to federal government programs

Graduate of Wheaton college

Married with two children

Campus Crusade for Christ
100 Lake Hart Drive
Orlando, FL 32832

Web Site

God is the Issue
God is the Issue
(New Life Publications, 2003)


Brad Bright: Making God the Issue

By The 700 Club Winning the Culture War

Brad Bright believes the real issue in changing the American moral culture isn't dealing with the political issues of abortion, pornography, and homosexuality, but having a correct, biblical view of God. If we don't win the God issue, we don't win the rest of the issues. Through his experiences working with Campus Crusade for Christ and the political arena, Brad has a vast perspective on how Americans view God.

Brad wants to help believers and non-believers change, or reframe, their thinking to the paradigm found in the book of Acts. In order to be able to challenge the culture war, we must become skilled at distinguishing cause and effect – we must become more focused in our efforts to cure the disease rather than just treat the symptoms. If we fail, it will be a detriment to ourselves as individuals, as well as the nation.

Brad says that when we are confronted with an issue, we have three choices. We can rollover, react, or reframe. Rollover is to ignore a problem and hope it goes away. React is usually a defensive mechanism and is the default or natural response for most people. Unfortunately, if people react, they are not focused on the message and they lose control of the dialogue. The optimum choice is to reframe. This third choice requires focus, discipline, and courage to stay on the matter at hand. This also implies that we have a message we want to get across. Brad says with reframing, people should never feel obligated to answer a question, unless it allows them to go where they want to go in the dialogue.

The Reframing Game

According to Brad, Jesus used reframing. For example, in Matthew 22, where the Pharisees were questioning whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus knew they were trying to set Him up. If Jesus said, “Yes,” the masses, which didn’t like the Roman establishment, might turn against Him. If He said, “No,” He would risk the anger of the Roman ruling establishment. Jesus knew that the real issue was not paying taxes. Jesus accused his opponents of being “hypocrites,” attacking their credibility in an area in which they were vulnerable and putting them on the defensive. Jesus then reframed the question: Since the money the Jews used bore the image of Caesar, was it not his? If so, was it right to withhold from Caesar what was rightfully his? But Jesus did not leave the discussion there. His real goal was not to settle an issue about money, but to point people to God. Therefore, immediately after telling them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” He added, “and to God what is God’s.” He did not just address the issue at hand, man’s obligation to the state, but He also dealt with the greater issue of man’s obilgation to God. In the process, He also exposed the Pharisees’ hypocrisy. The goal of the Pharisees was to maintain their own power by discrediting someone they viewed as a threat. But when Jesus took the initiative and changed the terms of the debate, “They left and went away.”

Campus Crisis

In 1994 Brad and Campus Crusade for Christ had to draw on this example in real life when they encountered Todd, a student at the University of Washington in Seattle. Todd came up to a Campus Crusade for Christ information table and wanted to join a Bible study. The female college student attending the table said he could. Todd also shared he was gay and asked if he would still be able to join. She gave him the unexpected answer of "yes." His next question gave him the answer he was looking for all along. He asked, "Is there anything I would not be allowed to do because of being gay?" She said that as long as he engaged in homosexual behavior he could not hold a position of leadership. Todd parted, saying he was offended.

The next day the student newspaper had a front page story that featured the incident. It read, "Christian group won't allow gay students to be leaders." The following day, the newspaper had an editorial entitled "Why is CCC's discrimination condoned by UW?" There was a call to revoke Campus Crusade's charter as an officially recognized student organization.

Campus Crusade's response was to confront them, but they refused to do it on their opponents' terms. The following week, Campus Crusade for Christ handed out 10,000 flyers at the foot of the major traffic points leading to the University of Washington in Seattle campus. The purpose of the flyer was to reframe the issue as "censorship" rather than intolerance. They used the words "small, vocal minority" instead of "homosexual" or "homosexuality" because the latter words would water down the issue. Then, Campus Crusade accused the "small, vocal minority" of being hypocritical, of undermining true diversity, of seeking to ban free speech, and of practicing censorship -- these were all done to put the opponent in a defensive posture. The flyer ended with the question, "What are they afraid you might hear?" which allowed Campus Crusade to segue into their real issue: the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ.

For the next three months Campus Crusade for Christ's opponents attacked. Campus Crusade "strategically ignored their issue," kept putting them in the defensive posture, and focused on their issue, talking about God. Campus Crusade wanted to debate the cause, not the effect. After a few months Campus Crusade's opponents lost ground in the debate.

Brad uses this encounter at the University of Washington to show how to reframe the issue. Just as Jesus was not afraid to call the Pharisees' bluff on the subject of taxes, Campus Crusade did not back down with Todd. Legitimate questions were answered, but hypocricy was exposed. The message was framed, or focused, and made understandable to the audience.

Brad says in doing this we are going to get a strong reaction. Christians have won the intellectual argument but have lost the emotional debate, and that emotion is the truth of this age. He also says that we miss opportunities every day in using today's issues, like abortion, as an evangelistic tool, to use God issues to reframe thinking. We must co-opt every issue just as the homosexuals have hijacked the civil rights issue.

A Godly Heritage

Brad's greatest influence is the legacy of his father, the late Bill Bright, because of how he lived his life. Although Bill never raised his voice at Brad, Bill was always in control. Though he had a wonderful family and Christian upbringing, Brad questioned truth during his high school days. That's when Brad became interested in politics. Watergate was going on, and he studied the life of William Wilberforce, one of the best-known abolitionists from the late 18th century.

Then, Brad went to Wheaton College. Brad says that he got carnal at Wheaton and his Christianity became academic and intellectual. It wasn't until after college, when Brad went with his father to minister with Campus Crusade, that his faith in God was restored and his passion for Christ was reignited.

Following college, Brad learned that a Christian magazine was going to be interviewing his father. In the interview, the reporter asked if Bill Bright had any problems. Bill said no. Unbelieving, the reporter kept asking Bill the same question. Finally, Bill said he had no problems because he was a slave of Jesus and that slaves have no worries because they are only concerned about what the Master wants -- to walk closely to God and not worry about success. The statement really impacted Brad because he could see that his father really meant it. This was an "a-ha" moment for Brad.

Brad worked in the political arena for awhile. Then in 1989 he joined the staff at Campus Crusade for Christ. At first, it was hard for Brad to make that transition, especially after his experience and education in politics. Then Brad realized that he could use the political realm to teach about Jesus Christ. He found that the heart needed to be addressed and not the head.

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