Public Square

Chuck Colson Posthumously Awarded 2016 Wilberforce Award

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This weekend at the Renaissance Capital View hotel in Arlington, VA, Charles “Chuck” Colson was posthumously awarded the Wilberforce Award by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

The Wilberforce Award is given each year to “a current hero living out his or her Christian faith with bold and thoughtful action, and thereby honoring the unparalleled example set by William Wilberforce.” Past winners of the award have included the vicar of Bagdad, Rev. Canon Andrew White, professor Robert George of Princeton, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

As a former employee of the Colson Center and a longtime reader of Colson’s work, it was a pleasure to see his children – Emily, Wendell, and Chris – accept the award on behalf of their father. Unable to attend for medical reasons, Patty Colson, his wife, wrote a letter that was read in her place by John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center.

Both Colson’s family and all of the speakers at the dinner agreed that he would have been honored to receive an award named after one of his personal heroes, William Wilberforce.

The event was a true celebration of Colson. Eric Metaxas hosted the event with his characteristic mirth, joking about the long-windedness of the speakers and taking playful, verbal jabs at his BreakPoint co-host John Stonestreet.

I, along with the team at IFWE, would like to honor Colson for the tremendous effect he had on our country and the example he set for cultural engagement.

Who was Chuck Colson?

Chuck Colson (1931-2012) was a beloved evangelical leader and founder of Prison Fellowship and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

From 1969 to 1973, Colson was special counsel to President Richard Nixon. The New York Times described him as “the mastermind behind some of the dirty tricks that led to Nixon’s downfall.” In 1974, he pleaded guilty to charges related to Watergate and served seven months in a federal prison.

The year before going to prison, Colson converted to Christianity. Speaking of Colson’s dramatic change after his conversion, Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, said, “The most important takeaway is that he was a specimen of God’s amazing grace, one of the most remarkable in modern times.”

After his release from prison, Colson founded Prison Fellowship, which has since become the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families.

Colson also founded the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, a separately branded but integrated program of Prison Fellowship Ministries. The Colson Center for Christian Worldview seeks to build and resource a movement of Christian committed to living and defending the Christian worldview through the proclamation of truth, leadership training, and collaboration with like-minded organizations. In 2015, they became an independent organization and are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Colson’s BreakPoint broadcast this year.

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