My Friend Chuck Colson

“First, we must be diligent in the matter of growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.” ~Charles Colson

Many things have been said about Charles Colson. Watergate villain. Nixon’s loyal “fixer.” Maybe the most famous convert to Christianity in this century. For certain, Chuck was one of the brightest minds I’ve ever known.

I met Chuck in the early ‘90s when I signed him to write for the publishing company I worked for. His first book with us, The Body, was the first-ever ECPA Book of the Year. Over the years we collaborated on several other titles, including his only novel. Coming full circle, this past year Worthy Publishing had the honor of publishing his last book, The Sky Is Not Falling.

As I think about Chuck, I remember an occasion years ago that struck me. After a video shoot in Fort Worth for a curriculum project, he spontaneously volunteered to field random questions from the studio audience of about 150 people. The questions were wildly diverse—politics, theology, church history, even scientific issues. Chuck responded effortlessly with direct quotes from classic books and historical dates and facts, in each case adding some form of personal application. I was speechless.

The ease with which he accessed a lifetime of learning and then so freely gave to this group of people—late into the evening—was clearly something he enjoyed. In an article in 2005, Colson wrote of the importance of Christian classical learning as a tool to engage culture. In 2009, he established the Colson Center, which he described as the “LexisNexis of resources on the Christian worldview.” He exhorted Christians to begin each day “with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.”

It was his love of knowledge and how it can transform culture that, for me, defined my friend Chuck Colson.

As I pray for Chuck’s family and celebrate the fact that he is now with Jesus, I find comfort in knowing his impact on this world has been far greater than he ever imagined. The Colson Center, Prison Fellowship, the many books he wrote, and the thousands of organizations and leaders he advised, counseled, and encouraged, will spread his love of Christ and love of knowledge for years to come.