I was so pleased to come across some of the web pages of the ministry called the Chuck Colson Center, founded by the same man who started the Prison Fellowship ministry and who was a key Watergate figure before he came to the Lord. Mr. Colson, as you may recall, passed away in April.
It was encouraging to note that several of our AiG resources are now available for purchase on his center’s website.
Mr. Colson, who was famous for working in the Nixon Whitehouse in the early 1970s, was saved just before going to prison for crimes related to the Watergate break-in. For the last 35–40 years of his life, he used his considerable intellect to share his new-found faith and proclaim the biblical worldview. Even though Mr. Colson and AiG would disagree on some matters, two of my closest confidants indicated that they found Mr. Colson to be a very gracious and warm man—nothing like the “hatchet man” reputation he had in the White House. About ten years ago, there was a disagreement between our ministries involving one of his writers, and when Mr. Colson was in the Cincinnati area a few months later, he personally shared with one of our ministry leaders how sorry he was for the misunderstanding. He was very sincere in his comments. It certainly was sad to learn a few weeks ago that at the age of 80, Mr. Colson passed away.
I recall a few years ago when the head of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State (and AiG opponent), Rev. Barry Lynn, was involved in a debate at a convention of the National Religious Broadcasters. Lynn almost took glee in the fact that the work of Prison Fellowship, which has had a wonderful track record of seeing prisoners converted and having their lives turned around (thus reducing recidivism, saving tax-payers’ money, and producing better citizens for society), had been thwarted in some aspects of its prison outreach. I remember Barry Lynn referring to a particular prison and how his group was able to stop the prison ministry from reaching the prisoners with the gospel. I can't imagine being in Lynn's shoes when he will stand before God one day and give an account of his anti-God actions.
Mr. Colson was all about seeing lives transformed for Christ. But because of the so-called separation of church and state, much of Prison Fellowship’s work in prisons was being undermined. A “Reverend” (Barry Lynn) was apparently happy that some of PF’s efforts—after seeing so many lives changed—were being stopped!
Because of the work of Chuck Colson and others at Prison Fellowship, we determined several years ago that AiG would provide its own outreach to jails and prisons, and we started supplying chaplains with a wide range of AiG books and DVDs (at no charge, of course) that could help prisoners understand the gospel, and then disciple them when they became Christians. Chaplains have been telling us, for example, that inmates just love the new Begin book.
By the way, I wrote about one of Mr. Colson’s excellent BreakPoint commentaries in 2005.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,