Theology 101

In Memory of Chuck Colson

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It is with both sadness and great hope in Jesus that we reflect on the April 21 passing of our friend and fellow brother in Christ, Charles “Chuck” Colson.

Members of the IFWE team have their own personal reflections and thoughts, particularly some having worked with Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship Ministries over the years.  Specifically, Dr. Art Lindsley remembers the time he spent with Colson at Ligonier Ministries, where Art worked with Dr. R.C. Sproul in the 1980s.  As a new Christian, Chuck would come and bring his staff team from the ministry he founded, Prison Fellowship Ministries, and together they would earnestly wrestle with all the major theological questions of the day. Lindsley said, “I remember entering their meeting room and not one square inch of wall was left uncovered by flip charts that had been pasted all about – each covering a different issue.”

But not just their staff, Colson also brought inmates to Ligonier from time to time, so that they too could grow in their faith.  His vision was to bring hope, healing, and transformation to prisoners through the Gospel of Christ, just as he himself had experienced.

Lindsley recalls Colson’s spirit of servanthood, “Chuck was always willing to give of his time and energy to help his friends, extending a gracious hand to help in whatever way it was appropriate.”

Colson’s many books impacted a new generation in Biblical worldview and apologetics, addressing all areas of life in an intelligent and winsome manner. His “Breakpoint” radio program influenced millions and provided a commentary on current topics and questions.  He built on the legacy of C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and G.K. Chesterton, and was perhaps the most articulate advocate of the faith in the last generation.

There have been many beautiful tributes on the web to Chuck Colson since his passing on Saturday. We’d like to share the thoughts of our friend Peter Wehner, a writer and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center:

It’s widely reported that Charles Colson once said he’d walk over his grandmother to get Richard Nixon elected to a second term. In the Nixon White House he was considered smart, effective, and ruthless—Nixon’s “hatchet man.” Then came Watergate, a prison sentence, and a conversion nearly as dramatic as St. Augustine’s or St. Paul’s.

Mr. Colson—who passed away [Saturday] at the age of 80—was among the most consequential Christians of the last 35 years. He was a prolific writer, a sought-after speaker, and a tireless advocate for unborn children. Having once been a prisoner, he started a ministry for lawbreakers. Having been touched by grace, he never felt anyone was beyond its reach. Read more.

The logo of Prison Fellowship Ministries is of a bruised, broken reed and is inspired by Isaiah 42:3: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.”  If you visit their headquarters today in Lansdowne, Virginia, you’ll see this verse engraved on the building’s “cornerstone” at the entrance.

Even though Chuck Colson was, like us, a “bruised reed”, God used him in mighty ways to leave such a rich legacy in the Kingdom of Christ.  We celebrate his life and our God of mercy and grace.

Question: Did Chuck Colson have an impact on your life? If so, how? Leave your comment here.

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  • Scott Brown

    Chuck Colson’s book How Now Shall We Live? was an influential read for me. I was a young person involved in the political arena in Washington DC when first reading it, and the illuminating thinking it contains was real inspiration for the work to which I had been called. I also loved how through Prison Fellowship he put theology and Christian philosophy into practical action to help those in need. Chuck Colson’s wisdom and insight will be missed!
    Scott Brown, VP, Christian Leadership Alliance

    • His legacy lives on…in and through your work and life! Godspeed!

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