Chuck Colson dies at 80

chuck colson death

“Evangelical Christianity lost one of its most eloquent and influential voices today with the death of Charles W. ‘Chuck’ Colson. The Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview founder died Saturday afternoon from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage,” said Prison Fellowship ministry in a statement.

While many descriptors apply to Colson – evangelical leader, cultural commentator, prolific author, and Prison Fellowship founder – he was once fearfully known as President Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man,” or “evil genius” as Slate magazine writer David Plotz once described him.

But while Colson was facing arrest for his involvement in the Watergate scandal in 1973, a friend gave him a copy of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, which led to his dramatic conversion. He published the memoir Born Again in 1975 – two years after becoming a born-again Christian. The memoir was made into a film in 1978 carrying the same title.

Since his faith conversion, Colson has dedicated his life to helping prisoners experience the radical transformation possible in Christ through his non-profit Prison Fellowship. For over 30 years, Colson kept the tradition of ministering to prisoners in jail every Easter Sunday. This year was the first time in 34 years that Colson did not spend Easter Sunday ministering in prison due to his hospitalization for the blood clot.

“Whatever good I may have done is because God saw fit to reach into the depths of Watergate and convert a broken sinner,” said Colson in a statement in 2008 in response to receiving the Presidential Citizens Medal. “Everything that has been accomplished these past 35 years has been by God’s grace and sovereign design.”

On a personal note, I could still remember the first Christian biography book I’ve read was Chuck Colson’s Born Again, I think one of the most impactful lesson I’ve learned from his life is that God can use your failures for His glory.