Culture Challenge of the Week: Wrong Turns
The news coverage of Chuck Colson’s recent death betrayed our secular culture’s continuing discomfort with God’s power to transform hearts and lives. Colson, “born again” to a life of profound Christianity on the heels of his Watergate disgrace, founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, a life-changing ministry to prisoners and their families. He spent his life messaging the need for personal and cultural transformation in the face of sin, urging Christians to embrace and live by an authentic Christian worldview.
But our secular culture—which denies the reality of sin and the need for redemption—tripped all over itself trying to explain Colson’s life without affirming the truth that changed him.
Some headlines focused on Colson’s role in the Watergate scandal and reported the death of Richard Nixon’s “Hatchet Man.” Other coverage framed his life in political terms, describing how “what he called his religious awakening,” led to his leadership in the “evangelical political movement” and his attempts to push “religion-based policies in government.” Earlier coverage of his life and work often smacked of similar themes: that his ministry was a second career or that his life was “less a life redeemed than a life reframed,” now by “attacks … in the name of God.”
Second career? Political strategist fueled by a new passion? Such characterizations are tragic, because they deny the powerful truth that became the central message of Colson’s life: There is redemption and restoration in Christ for anyone who seeks Him. Anyone.