But Christ is a Great Savior.” This is a quote from John Newton, author of the hymn, Amazing Grace, but it is also one routinely repeated in the opening of most all of Charles Colson’s speeches. America lost one of its greatest theological minds and voices over the weekend with the homegoing of legendary figure Chuck Colson.
It was interesting to observe the media coverage of Colson’s passing. What minor coverage this major event received in the mainstream media predominantly focused on the first 40 years of Colson’s life. Typical headlines mentioned the death of a Watergate figure with stories focused on the man who had once done President Nixon’s political dirty work for what was a brief time of his 80 years of life.
Less attention was given by secular sources to the second half Colson’s extraordinary life. There was the occasional mention of his founding of Prison Fellowship ministries, but none mentioned that the ministry is working in 113 countries bringing the gospel to those behind bars and helping minister to their families. There was so much to one who has been described in Christian circles as a modern day CS Lewis and Francis Scheaffer. (On Monday, an emotional Ravi Zacharias described his friend as a mentor and modern day William Wilberforce to the Moody radio audience. A tearful Joni Eareckson Tada told listeners that it was Colson who personally helped her develop a complete Christian worldview on the issue of life.)
Coverage of Colson’s entering to his new eternal life is not all that different from his changed life on earth. When he became a Christian many said it was nothing more than a jail house ploy designed for mercy from punishment for his role in the Watergate scandal. In 1973 the Boston Globe sarcastically wrote of his new faith, “if Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there has to be hope for everyone.”
If ever there was a life that blew apart the Globe’s taunt, showing there is hope for all for reconciliation with God it was that of Colson’s. Few people from the age of 40 until their passing have accomplished more eternally and culturally than did Charles Colson. If you are not aware of him, take a look at any one of the more than 30 books he authored. Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages, How Then Shall We Live and Loving God are among my list of his best “must read” works.
You can see Colson tell his story many places. Here is just one.