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.
From a distance, I always saw Chuck as a man like Jesus, "full of grace and truth." His grace was perhaps most legendary in founding Prison Fellowship to evangelize and disciple those in prison, as well as serving their families with ministries such as Angel Tree. His truth was clear as he pointedly and winsomely argued for biblical truth as applied to complex and contentious cultural issues.
Then, some years ago, I heard that Chuck was coming to Seattle to speak at a luncheon. So, I drove out with perhaps a few hundred other people to meet him. His lecture was great, and afterward we met and he encouraged me greatly when he said that he was aware of Mars Hill Church and had been praying for me.
Perhaps a few years later Chuck invited Grace and me to join him at his table for a fundraising dinner. We loved getting to know him. He was thoroughly enjoyable.
Most recently, he was in Seattle perhaps a year or two ago and invited me to have lunch one-on-one with him at his hotel. We spent a few hours together. He gave me a wealth of insight about where he sees the church and culture heading and what his encouragement was to be ready for future gospel ministry.
To be honest, it was among the most encouraging and clarifying discussions I've ever had. I was deeply honored that he took that time to invest in me and will always be grateful for the deposits he has made into my life through his writing, example, and conversations.
Today, while we mourn the passing of Chuck Colson, we also rejoice that he has seen Jesus face to face! Prayer for both his family and ministry family are greatly appreciated.