Monday, April 23, 2012

The First Obits: The World Reacts to the Death of Chuck Colson

Saturday afternoon, Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, died. Almost immediately the Internet went to write their own obituaries and below are snippets of some of them. These were all posted the day of his death and I want to pass them along for your own reading.

 Colson was (and is) a huge influence on my life. I have read a number of his books and have reviewed many of them on this website. His book How Now Shall We Live? opened my eyes to apply my theology and faith to the broader culture. He taught me how to think and how to apply my faith in ways that perhaps no one else has. I have enjoyed his daily BreakPoint commentaries. His story is a fascinating one and the media will certainly cover his conversion from Nixon's "hatchet man" to "born again" believer and that is understandable. Colson personally experienced the depths of human depravity and the ever deeper grace of Jesus Christ. I hope that is what people take away most from him.

Ed Stetzer - Chuck Colson: 1931-2012. A Legacy of Gospel Proclamation and Social Concern

Chuck Colson's name has been synonymous with conservative evangelicalism for as long as I can recall. Colson brings to mind courageous moral leadership and prophetic calls to action. Yet, his reputation was not always what it is today. 

Charles Wendell "Chuck" Colson (October 16, 1931 -- April 21, 2012) was a public figure long before the Watergate scandal. Working in the Nixon administration, Colson served as Special Counsel from 1969-1973. Before he would become known as a hero of Christian ministry, he was known as one of the few in the world with direct access to the President of the United States, and something of a "hatchet man" for President Nixon.

Thinking Christian - Charles Colson, 1931-2012

Charles Colson has gone home to be with the Lord. The Prison Fellowship ministry family invites you to join in celebrating his life.

My son, Jonathan, and I bumped into him at his BreakPoint ministry office a few years ago. It was my first visit there, just dropping in on Travis McSherley, the editor who had published some of my work on BreakPoint’s website. I had no idea then how unusual it was to see Chuck there—he traveled widely and was rarely in the office. He spent several minutes with us, graciously including Jonathan in the conversation, not seeming to be in a hurry, and making for me a solid impression of being a gracious and caring person.

CNN Religion Blog - Watergate figure, Christian leader Chuck Colson dies

(CNN) -- Chuck Colson, a Watergate-era "hatchet man" for President Richard Nixon who became an influential evangelical leader after serving time in prison, died Saturday afternoon, according to his website. He was 80.

His death came just over three weeks after he "was overcome by dizziness" while speaking at a conference and rushed to a northern Virginia hospital. Surgeons operated on him for two hours for a brain hemorrhage
"At times, Chuck showed encouraging indicators of a possible recovery, but his health took a decided turn, and he went to be with the Lord," said the statement on his Website.

News of his death soon stirred tributes particularly from leaders in conservative circles and the evangelical community, with David Frum -- a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and a CNN contributor -- saying on Twitter that Colson made his "greatest impact when furthest from power."

NPR - Watergate Figure, Evangelist Chuck Colson Dies At 80 |

Charles Colson, who served time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal and later became an influential evangelical Christian, has died. Colson went from being one of the nation's most despised men to a hero of conservative Christians.

Colson passed away at a Northern Virginia hospital on Saturday afternoon following a brief illness, according to a news release from his media representatives. His wife, Patty, and family were at his bedside. Colson was 80 years old.

Colson was a 38-year-old lawyer when he found his political calling: working for President Nixon. As special counsel to the president, Colson quickly gained a reputation, says Michael Cromartie at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

"In the Nixon White House, he was a person who said he would run over his grandmother to get the president re-elected," Cromartie says. "He was known as ruthless, calculating; he knew how to play power politics and play it rough and nasty and dirty."

Cromartie, who worked for Colson in the late 1970s, says those tactics got the White House lawyer into trouble. Prosecutors charged him in several Watergate cases, including the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office. About this time, Colson later told the Christian Broadcasting Network, he visited a friend who wanted him to turn to Jesus. Colson was unpersuaded, but as he was leaving, he was overcome.

"I think about that night in the driveway, when I cried out to God and I realized for the first time what a sinner I was and I realized that Christ died on the cross for my sins," he recalled in the interview. "And I felt so free, but so grateful to God that ever since I'll do anything that God calls me to do."

World Magazine - "God's Man"

WASHINGTON—Former Watergate felon turned evangelical leader and Prison Fellowship founder Charles W. “Chuck” Colson, 80, died Saturday afternoon in Fairfax, Va. Colson had suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage in his brain March 30 and was hospitalized ever since.  

“Though we mourn the loss of a great leader, we rejoice knowing God has welcomed his humble and faithful servant home,” said Prison Fellowship CEO Jim Liske in a statement. “Please continue to pray for the entire Colson family. While we all deeply feel this loss, we take heart knowing God has welcomed Chuck into paradise with a ‘well done, good and faithful servant!’”

Colson started his career as a hard-nosed political operative in the Nixon White House, where Richard Nixon once told him to “break all the [expletive] china” to get the job as counsel to the president done. That led to a conviction in the Watergate proceedings for obstruction of justice—and a seven-month sentence served out at a federal prison in Alabama.

In the midst of the historic scandal, which led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974, Colson’s self assurance and religious apathy broke after a Christian businessman friend, Tom Phillips, prayed for him. Phillips read to him from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, a passage Colson later said led to his conversion. At the time, many doubted the sincerity of Nixon’s “hatchet man.” Wrote one columnist, “If he isn’t embarrassed by this sudden excess of piety, then surely the Lord must be.”

World Magazine - Colson's final Speech 

Chuck Colson, who died earlier today, fell ill on March 30 during his speech at the Wilberforce Weekend Conference hosted by the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview in northern Virginia. Eric Metaxas, who has written bestselling biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce, worked with Colson earlier in his career and introduced him for what would be his final speech.

The Blaze - Convicted Watergate Figure-Turned-Evangelical Leader Chuck Colson Dies at 80 

Chuck Colson, the first member of the Nixon administration to serve time in prison for charges relating to the 1972 Watergate scandal, has died of a brain hemorrhage after having surgery roughly two weeks ago.
Known by many as the “dirty tricks artist” and “hatchet man” for Nixon, Colson once reportedly said he would “walk over [his] own grandmother” to the president re-elected.

Soon after he finished his sentence, however, Colson founded the “Prison Fellowship,” which describes itself as “the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families,” with a presence in 113 countries.

His website has posted a memorial video:

Dr. Denny Burk - Nixon’s “Dirty Tricks Man” No More 

The Washington Post headlines Chuck Colson as “Nixon’s dirty tricks man,” but that is not how he died. Nor is it how he will be remembered. Nor is it how he is now in the presence of Christ. Nor is it worthy to be compared to the the glory that is to be revealed in Brother Colson in the resurrection.

We never got over your testimony, Mr. Colson. Rest in peace, brother.

Mark Driscoll - Thank You Jesus for Chuck Colson

Today, the storied evangelist Chuck Colson passed away in Virginia. He was 80.
As a newer Christian, I remember sitting down to read Chuck Colson's book, The Body. The subject matter was the church.

From that moment, I loved Chuck Colson because he loved Jesus and the church. As a young Christian trying to sort out my call to ministry and what kind of church I was to plant, I found his book timely and helpful. At that time I also started reading other articles and books by Chuck. As I came to more Reformed biblical convictions with a desire for evangelism and cultural engagement, he started to make more and more sense to me.

Trevin Wax - Chuck Colson Taught Me How to Think 

I never met the man. Never heard him speak in person. Never interviewed him on my blog or asked all the questions I had for him.

Nevertheless, his work had a profound influence on my life, especially in shaping my thinking during my teenage and college years. How Now Shall We Live?, the book he wrote with Nancy Pearcey, was a paradigm-shifting book for me. It illuminated Christianity in light of competing worldviews and helped me understand the world I live in.

Even when the critical thinking skills I learned from Colson led me to critique some of his own positions, I always felt indebted to him. Colson was the bridge back to Francis Schaeffer, who led me back to C.S. Lewis, who in turn led me back to G.K. Chesterton and other great Christian minds. In my theological journey, Colson served as the librarian who beckoned me to explore the riches of the Christian faith and see how Christianity encompasses all of life.

The Gospel Coalition - Charles W. Colson, 1931-2012 
Charles "Chuck" Colson has gone home to be with the Lord. The Prison Fellowship ministry family invites you to join in celebrating his life.

Someone once asked me, "Don't you know he's a convicted felon?" The question made me laugh. Yes, I knew that. I was a senior in high school when Watergate happened. We watched the proceedings on TV in my Government class. I read his autobiography, Born Again, not long after it was released, and I heard him speak about it at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast in Lansing, Michigan in 1976.

New  York Times - Charles W. Colson, Watergate Felon Who Became Evangelical Leader, Dies at 80

Charles W. Colson, who as a political saboteur for President Richard M. Nixon masterminded some of the dirty tricks that led to the president’s downfall, then emerged from prison to become an important evangelical leader, saying he had been “born again,” died on Saturday. He was 80. 

The cause was complications of a brain hemorrhage, according to Prison Fellowship Ministries, which Mr. Colson founded in Lansdowne, Va. He died at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., and lived in Naples, Fla., and Leesburg, Va. 

Mr. Colson had brain surgery to remove a clot after becoming ill on March 30 while speaking at a conference, according to Jim Liske, the group’s chief executive

Real Clear Politics - Chuck Colson Dies At 80 (Taken from Fox News)

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