The best eulogy to the late and great Charles Colson that I have read has come from Michael Gerson, a former speech writer for President George W. Bush and currently a columnist for the Washington Post. He got his first job out of college in the 1980s with Chuck Colson, and his years of friendship with the kind mentor caused him to write that Colson was “the most thoroughly converted person I’ve ever known.” Although Colson first became known as one who served time in prison for his actions with the Nixon Administration during the Watergate scandal, his enduring legacy will be how he was transformed by Christ’s love who had forgiven his sins, and changed many lives and social institutions for the better through his work with Prison Fellowship and Breakpoint. All of that started with Colson’s radical salvation. Gerson writes:
Many wondered at Chuck’s sudden conversion to Christianity. He seemed to wonder at it himself. He spent each day that followed, for nearly 40 years, dazzled by his own implausible redemption. It is the reason he never hedged or hesitated in describing his relationship with Jesus Christ. Chuck was possessed, not by some cause, but by someone.
Over my almost three decades working in Washington, D.C., I crossed Chuck Colson’s path many times. I can attest to his utterly transformed nature, a man at joy with God whose genuine compassion overflowed to everyone he met.
Colson showed that he embraced the full spectrum of Christian belief and social reform. Colson challenged many with his unrelenting work for prison reform and to reach out to the least of those among us, criminal convicts.
But Colson also fully embraced unpopular views that are thoroughly Biblical but opposed by the worldview lords of our day. He was the driving force behind the Manhattan Declaration, urging Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians to support religious liberty, the prolife ethic and the proper definition of the institution of marriage, and stand strong against those forces seeking to eliminate or distort them. My last time I spoke with Chuck Colson was about 1 1/2 years ago at a rally for marriage, where he pulled me aside to express his great regard for Alan Sears and the work of ADF to protect marriage.
Colson enthusiastically embraced all aspects of the Christian life. Like Zaccheus in Luke 19, Colson heard the Gospel of Christ’s redemption, plunged into it fully and was completed changed by it. He understood that the only appropriate response a person can have to Christ’s love toward us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8) was total transformation. Chuck Colson’s challenges us with his example that we show the full glory of God’s grace to each one of us by being thoroughly converted by Christ and His word in all areas of our life.
This post originally appeared here.