I had heard his name quite a bit for his work in prison ministry, and he had spoken at my previous church, Grace Chapel, while I worked in the High School ministry there. He had a big impact, and people were buzzed even after he left. I’ve noticed that some of the folks I follow on twitter (like Eric Metaxas @EricMetaxas, writer of “Amazing Grace”, the story of William Wilberforce), were very close to him and were setting the record straight concerning the order of his conversion. I was not alive during Watergate, so I had to rely on reporting, and it seems like the news has focused on the political, and left out the spiritual aspect of this man’s life.
According to reports, Chuck Colson, Nixon’s mean man, went to jail, then converted to Evangelical Christianity, and started a prison ministry. In a Freudian kind of way, the media would usually be right. You would expect that to be the case.
Those close to him, and in his own words, and recorded on video (some of it below), you see that the reports are not completely correct. In actuality, Chuck Colson, Nixon’s mean man, in the midst of scandal, experienced a conversion and convicted of his sin, became an Evangelical Christian, plead guilty to his charges, and went to prison rather than fight the charges. While in prison, he realized that he was not any different than the folks there, and in response to God’s grace to him, began a life of ministry to prisoners. That’s powerful!
I don’t know a whole lot about Mr. Colson. It is easy to mark off a guy who went to prison, and he had some big enemies, but Winston Churchill is quoted, “So you have enemies? Good. So you stood up for something in your life.” Seems like this was that kind of guy.
I hope you take some time to watch the video below. It was originally on this blog by Walt Meuller, who has some more eloquent and understanding words of Mr. Colson’s impact on his generation. Read Walt’s blog if you have time, and watch this rememberance: