Tom Short

Tom Short

Infobox Writer
name = Tom Short

imagesize = 250px
caption =
pseudonym =
birthdate = birth date and age|1957|03|23cite web |url= |title=GCBOOTCAMP
birthplace = United States
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = campus evangelist
nationality =American
period =
genre =
subject =Christian apologetics
movement =
influences =
influenced =

website =

Tom Short (born March 23 1957) is an American traveling campus evangelistcite web
title=Great Commission Churches - Ministries in GCC
] cite web
title=about tom and his ministry
] cite paper
author=Nicolai Brown
title=COLUMN: When Tom Short comes to town (Goal of changing minds is lost in over heated argument and rhetoric)
publisher=The Iowa State University Daily
date=April 25, 2005
] cite web
title=Outreach Judaism
] affiliated with Great Commission Churchescite paper
author=Tony Gutierrez
title=Traveling preacher shares experiences (Short continues campus evangelism after 26 years)
publisher=The University of North Texas Daily
date=September 27, 2006
] who has generated debate and controversy at a number of universitiescite paper
author=Ashley Wombie
title=Evangelist stirs debate on politics, religion
publisher=The University of North Texas Daily
date=November 6, 2001
] cite paper
author=Adam Kemp
title=Get Shorty (evangelist contradicts Christian efforts)
publisher=The Texas A&M Battalion
date=November 11, 2005
] cite paper
author=William Hatfield
title=Travelling pastor shouts scriptures about sin to crowd
publisher=The Southern Illinois at Carbondale "Daily Egyptian"
date=October 4, 1996
] but is influential and celebrated within his movement.cite web
title=Great Commission Churches - About GCC
] His beliefs are largely Evangelical, based on the Bible, including salvation from sin through faith in Jesus Christ, and that all Christians should publicly profess their faith, be baptized, and make other disciples. As of 2007, Short claims to have visited over 100 campuses nationwide.. Short's stated goal is to see everyone he speaks to on campus turn to Christ. [ ] Though he often travels, he resides near the headquarters of the national movement in Columbus, Ohio, a husband and the father of five children.

Partisan and pastor

Tom Short was ordained without a formal seminary education in the late 1970s by elders of The "Blitz" Movement at Solid Rock Church (now Linworth Road Church) in Columbus, Ohio.cite paper
author=Pierrette J. Shields
title=Students debate with pastor
date=October 24th, 1997
publisher=The Missouri State University Maneater
] Missionaries of the movement at the time operated by filling buses with people, musical instruments and tracts in order to execute a 2- or 3-day campus blitz. They used singing, intensive tract distribution and organized sidewalk canvassing to draw impromptu crowds and to achieve saturation of the intellectual marketplace. cite speech
title = Church planting and the 'ordinary' Christian
author = John Hopler (Herschel Martindale, guest speaker)
date = 2006-12-30
location = central Missouri
url =
accessdate = 2007-03-21
] By 1980, Short himself began preaching on campuses while stationed at a church in College Park, Maryland, becoming a fixture outside the Hornbake Library on the University of Maryland campus.cite paper
author=Scott Rank
title=COLUMN: You can't be neutral when it comes to Tom Short
publisher=The Iowa State Daily
date=September 20, 2004
accessdate = 2007-03-21
] The movement which was The Blitz finally established itself as "Great Commission International".

Throughout the 1980s, Tom Short preached on college campuses, while also helping to establish New Life Christian Students, a campus ministry run by members of Great Commission International.

In 1984, according to the Youngstown State University Jambar, Short told students that rock and roll music was "evil" and that listening to it was a "serious sin." He also stated that "If they (homosexuals) have donated any blood, the Red Cross should give it back. ... Homosexuals carry deadly diseases. They are common carriers of hepatitis and gonorrhea." A Red Cross official responded to his comments, saying that accusing all homosexuals of being responsible for AIDS was misleading. The official Red Cross website says "You are at risk for getting infected [with HIV/Aids] if you are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977." and that anyone who has done so is considered ineligible to give blood, [,1082,0_557_,00.html] but heterosexual sex can lead to infection as well. Short responded to outrage over several of his comments, replying that he didn't think he insulted students, but rather, "Most of these people are wrong, and they need to be told so." He also said, "I’m not shocked when someone yells something filthy at me. They do it because they hate God." [ cite news
publisher = The (Youngstown State University) Jambar
location = Youngstown, Ohio
date = 1984-05-25
title = Pastor gets criticism at YSU
url =

In 1985, Short's ministry was criticized when campus religious leaders at the Towson State University became concerned over reports of GCI's 'mind control' techniques and fundamentalist ties. Short's ministry in particular was criticized by Father Bob Albright, Towson University's Catholic Campus minister, who stated:

"All religious groups are set up to minister to humanity and not the other way around. Yet from our observations about New Life, they came to this campus seeking people to fill their ranks. … He [Tom Short] was referring to girls as sluts and whores and he presumed every guy to be drinking and sleeping around … We've invited New Life to meet with the campus ministry staff and they've never accepted. If someone is Christian and they don't want to be involved, that leaves a question in your mind."
According to the Towerlight, Short had established New Life in 1982. [ cite news
publisher = The Towson State University Towerlight
date = 1985-05-09
title = New Life policies scrutinized
url =
quote = Campus religious leaders and former members of Towson State's New Life Christians recently have questioned some of New Life's practices in recruiting and maintaining members. Their concerns are related to the group's use of behavior modification and “mind control” techniques and to ties to authoritative fundamentalist leaders not connected with Towson State.

In 1986, Short became involved in a "shouting match", where Republicans, Democrats, and the local chapter of the (pre-Scientology) Cult Awareness Network united against an apparent attempt by Great Commission International to strategically enter the political arena. At a Montgomery County bi-partisan press conference, Tom Short responded by saying he believed his church had been unfairly "labeled as a cult by innuendo..." cite news
title = Parties Warn of 'Fringe Candidates': Montgomery News Conference Breaks Into a Shouting Match
publisher = The Washington Post
url =
date = 1986-08-30
] CAN had classified GCI as a shepherding cult based on criteria including procedures, use of mind control and thought-stopping techniques, and the degree of member consent; they said that "Great Commission discouraged its members from listening to outside criticism... [and members were] being manipulated into a deepening commitment to the church and of turning control of their lives over to church leaders ..."cite news
title = Cult label follows new church: Cult watcher calls GCI 'shepherding cult'
publisher = The Sunday Journal (Wheaton, IL edition)
location = Wheaton, IL
date = 1988-11-06
url =

GCC official history tells that at Short's initial urging they drafted the 1991 Apology, a response by a newly organized Great Commission Association to concerns about abuse within GCI. In a thirteen-page letter written by GCA Secretary David Bovenmyer, the movement admitted "authoritarian and insensitive leadership," "improper response to criticism," "lack of emphasis on formal education," "excessive and unbiblical church discipline" and "treating dating as a sin." In this letter GCC addresses each of the issues and presents what it considers solutions for the admitted errors.cite paper
url =
accessdate = 2007-02-09
publisher = Great Commission Association of Churches
date = July 1991
title = A Statement Recognizing Early Errors And Weaknesses In The Development Of The Great Commission Association Of Churches
author = Great Commission Association of Churches
year = 1991
month = 7
] Great Commission continued for a short time to be scrutinized by CAN, the Council on Mind Abuse (COMA) in Toronto and the American Family Foundation; however the CAN and COMA shut down in the 1990s. cite news
title = Bible club evicted from U of Guelph campus: Group accused of authoritarianism, cult-like control over members
publisher = Toronto Globe and Mail
url =
date = 1989-09-27
] [cite paper
publisher = The Touchstone
date = April 1992
author = Kaade Roberts
title = Divine Deception
url =
] Short briefly served as pastor of Woodstock Community Church in Roswell, Georgia in 1990 while conducting services in the Roswell Holiday Inn,cite web
url= - Our History
] and then moved to San Diego to pastor MountainView Community Church.

Returns to campus

In 1996, he resigned as a full-time pastor and dedicated himself to the traveling ministry. Short's approach to preaching has continued to be a source of controversy. Rick Whitney, an ardent supporter of Short, and Regional Director within Great Commission said, "It's a public forum; it's a free speech issue, some people don't like the way Short presents his ideas."cite paper
author=AJ Vicens
title=Traveling preacher visits Auraria
date=March 30th,2005
publisher=The University of Colorado at Denver Advocate
] Observers note that Short makes no purposeful effort to cause offense, though that is often the result of his controversial views.cite web
title=Preacher visits U, communes with students about Christianity
] Short himself says, "I realize when I come on campuses that I am presenting truths that are unpopular and do challenge commonly held beliefs in the university, so I realize some people will react to that, it is not my goal to upset people, but if a person hears God's truth and won't turn to it, it will be upsetting. We see that throughout the entire Bible where people are being persecuted for standing up for God and for truth."

Speaking loudly to gather the crowd, he points out that morality and issues of sexuality generally get the most attention. "You've eaten of the same tree Eve ate of, the same tree Hitler ate of," Short said at the University of North Texas. "And that's got us on the highway to hell."cite paper
author=Kasey Crill
title=Evangelist shares message publicly
date=October 27, 2005
publisher=The North Texas Daily

One outreach effort in 1996 at Texas A&M resulted in accusations of anti-semitism, stemming from a report in The Texas A&M "Battalion" that Short had told Jewish students that "Hitler didn't go far enough".cite journal
quote=...He told Jewish student Lisa Foox that "Hitler did not go far enough" and that Jews were condemned to "burn in hell." The incident led to A&M being listed as a major center of hate by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a civil rights organization for Jews. Rabbi Peter Tarlow of the said Short is an anti-Semite. "He's done A&M a lot of harm," Tarlow said. "This reconfirms the stereotype that A&M only cares about white Christians."
author=Micahel Schaub
title=Preacher Brings Anti-Semitism to A&M -- University Listed as National Center of Hate.
journal=The Texas A&M Touchstone
format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [ Scholar search]
] Short denies the events took place as reported by "The Battalion". In a tract he distributed the following year he wrote, "I was grossly misrepresented." According to "The Touchstone", the incident resulted in Texas A&M's inclusion on a hate center list by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

One hot topic of debate that recurs in most of Short's messages: homosexuality. "I love homosexuals," Short declared in 2005, claiming that he and his wife Rosalyn have counseled 15 homosexuals to a successful heterosexual lifestyles with their love and prayer. He stated to the UCM "Maneater" in 1997, "Over the years I have led many homosexuals to Christ. Often, I am the first one who's told them there is a way out of homosexuality and that is through Christ." At that time he had claimed to have led at least 20 people away from homosexuality. "I think God loves everybody, but he doesn't condone what they do," he said.

Short's website, " [ The Short Report] ," has been on the web since at least late 1999 with news relevant to Christian issues and a FAQ demonstrating his biblical views; it details upcoming dates and other ministry information.cite web
title=The Short Report
] cite web
title=Internet Archive Wayback Machine
] In 2001, Premier Publishing Company printed Short's "5 Crucial Questions About Christianity".cite web
url= 5 Crucial questions about Christianity (5 Crucial Questions about Christianity)

In 2004, Tom Short spoke in a non-debate forum aside Jamal Badawi, a renowned Islamic scholar at Iowa State University. The two featured speakers presented their religions' view of Jesus and answered questions in the forum, co-sponsored by Islam on Campus and the local Great Commission Churches student group. []

Here is a [ video] of his campus ministry.

In 2008, when visiting Texas A&M University, Short criticized the religious act of meditation, imitating it physically and then saying "I see. I'm enlightened. I'm one with the cosmos," while discussing the practice with dedicated proponents who call it a "complex process." []

Great Commission Bootcamp

Today, Short continues his campus evangelism efforts. He also runs a summertime retreat in Columbus, Ohio for college students and graduating high school seniors "designed to ... prepare you for your next step in life as a college student and a Great Commission Christian" through intensive training in "Christian theology and thought, disciplines for spiritual growth, how to share the love of God with others, how to discover God's calling in your life, and apologetics." Schedules include full days and weekends, lasting for a month and a half for seniors and over two months for college students. In addition, students are invited to attend the Great Commission Churches National Pastor's Conference in central Missouri.

Here is the [ video promo] for GC Bootcamp.


External links

* [] - The church where Short currently attends
* [] - Short's website and blog.

ee also

* List of Campus Preachers
* Bible believer
* Christian apologetics - a defense of Christianity
* Christian left
* Christian right
* Conservative Christianity
* Evangelism
* Mission
* Stephen H. Webb
* Fundamentalism
* Confessing Movement
* Evangelical left
* Neo-evangelicalism
* Paleo-Orthodoxy
* List of evangelical Christians

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