April 23, 2012 Print

Colson Tributes Pour In

by Karla Dial

Editor’s Note: The world lost a lion of the Christian faith on Saturday with the passing of Prison Fellowship Ministries Founder Chuck Colson. Since then, evangelical leaders have been commemorating the impact of his life and work. CitizenLink shared Focus on the Family President Jim Daly’s comments in the obituary sent out on Saturday; today we thought it would be only appropriate to share thoughts from a few others with our readers.

“For more than 35 years, Chuck Colson, a former prisoner himself, has had a tremendous ministry reaching into prisons and jails with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I get to Heaven and see Chuck again, I believe I will also see many, many people there whose lives have been transformed because of the message he shared with them.

“He will be greatly missed by many, including me. I count it a privilege to have called him friend.”

Billy Graham, founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“The world has lost one of the most brilliant Christian leaders and articulators of the faith, Chuck Colson. He was a scholar, a constitutional lawyer, and a compassionate humanitarian who befriended lost and lonely prisoners for nearly 40 years. He wrote and sold millions of copies of his much-loved books, while giving most of the royalties to support Prison Fellowship. Instead of basking in wealth, he and his precious wife Patty chose to live humbly and frugally. He defended principles of righteousness in the culture without compromise or equivocation.

“Chuck Colson was a Marine captain (there are no former Marines) and a man’s man. He was like a brother to me and I grieve his loss. His influence on my life has been profound. I look forward to seeing this godly soldier in heaven someday. I am certain he has now heard these words of welcome from his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ ”

Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk

“Chuck Colson was that rare man who had a kind of intuitive grace and lasting purpose which flowed so naturally from his love of Jesus Christ. His fluency was unforced; it ennobled him to everyone he met and touched so deeply. The writer of Born Again, who shared his conversion with astonishingly vivid insight, was a man uplifted by God’s mercy, and the result was joy.

“I was with him the afternoon before his collapse. To an assembled group of friends, he told us with such easy conviction, ‘I am entirely sold out to Jesus Christ.’ For many of us, those were the last words we heard him speak this side of eternity. They ring in the ears.

“I am deeply grieving his loss; I am giving thanks and praise, at exactly the same time, that Chuck is with Jesus Christ in glory for the ages. We have lost a great man — one whose tenderness was uncommon and whose verve for the Gospel, indeed for life, was unparalleled.”

Tim Goeglein, Focus on the Family vice president for external relations

“Chuck Colson was a dear friend and I will miss him greatly. He was living proof of the transformative power of Jesus Christ. Chuck went from the highest of levels of government power in the Nixon White House to the tragedy of a jail cell. There he gave himself fully to Christ, found his true calling and emerged a new man.

“After his release, he became an advocate for prison reform and sought to break the vicious cycle of recidivism through the power of faith. He also became one of the greatest Christian apologists of our time. He was an intellectual giant dedicated to the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty. His commitment to God and Country was second to none.”

—Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, president of American Values

“My personal relationship with Chuck Colson began several months after his release from federal prison. A friend and fellow Iowan, former U.S. Senator Harold Hughes, asked if they could see me. During the meeting, Chuck described his vision of developing faith-based programs to bring hope and support into correctional institutions across the country. The vision Chuck talked about that day went on to become Prison Fellowship, a program that continues to touch the lives of countless offenders and their families throughout the U.S. and around the world.

“Chuck was a truly brilliant visionary, a man who understood human frailties and wanted to bring Christ’s love and compassion into the lives of the downtrodden. His life exemplified the admonition for all of us contained in Micah 6: ‘to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.’ ”

Norman A. Carlson, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Ret.)

“It is hard to imagine the Christian landscape without Chuck Colson. About the time I began my walk with Christ, Born Again was published. He will be sorely missed. But let us rejoice at the power of a redeemed life. May God bring healing to the hearts of his family and friends and glory to His name.”

Max Lucado, best-selling author and pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas

“At the heart of the pro-life movement is the certainty that one life can make a difference, and Chuck Colson is proof of that. While he became well-known through his political career in Washington, D.C., it was through his ministry, Prison Fellowship, that he lived out his faith and demonstrated transformative spiritual and cultural leadership. Chuck Colson launched a visionary movement with his quiet dignity and concern for others. He also provided thoughtful analysis of the society in which we live, eloquently defending his belief that all life is valuable, from conception to natural death. At Americans United for Life, we send our condolences to his family and our encouragement to the people at Prison Fellowship who make such a significant contribution to people in need of love and support.”

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life