From Hatchet Man to Holy Man: the Life and Death of Chuck Colson

From a young age, I was a fan of Mr. Colson.  His life and work intersected two of my loves:  my faith in Jesus and interest in politics.  I was exposed to Chuck Colson’s  Born Again as a teenager and at Philadelphia College of Bible, I read, Kingdoms in Conflict.  Colson’s life story was a redemption story like few others that you hear. 

Being just six years old in 1973, I was too young to remember Watergate but its story always captivated me.  A Republican president, Richard Nixon, abused power in a cover-up without which someone said the Watergate incident would have been dismissed as a “second-rate burglary.”  It all started with a break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. in June of 1972.  Before it was all over, Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 9, 1974 and 
forty-three others were tried and convicted, including top officials of the Nixon administration like Chuck Colson. 

Serving as Special Counsel to the President, Chuck Colson had real access to power.  Who are we kidding, he had real power.  He became known as the “Hatchet Man.”  He was feared and for good reason.  

However, it was during the time that the Watergate investigation and certain arrest hung over Colson that a friend gave him a copy of Mere Christianity  a book by C.S. Lewis.  Reportedly, Colson gave his heart to Jesus then and subsequently admitted to his role in Watergate. 

Born Again, Colson’s memoir that I mentioned earlier, was published in 1975.   That was two years after his conversion.  A film by the same title came out in 1978.    

After experiencing prison firsthand, Colson developed a passion for prisoners and for their families.  Out of that, came the ministry of Prison Fellowship International in 1976.  On its website, Prison Fellowship states, “Prison Fellowship was founded to bring together men and women from various Christian churches to share the love of God with prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families.”   Colson was convinced that real change didn’t happen to prisoners outside of a relationship with Jesus.  His purpose was to bring this kind of change, what he had experienced first-hand, to as many others as possible. 

Charles Wendell Colson (October 16, 1931 - April 21, 2012), a man who embodied the truth found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV):  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.  

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