Just a few weeks ago, I found myself sitting with Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, reflecting on our mutual late friend and mentor, Charles W. Colson.
Michael’s history with Chuck goes way back. In fact, he was one of Chuck’s first assistants. My wife and I were laughing hysterically as Michael told story after story of Chuck’s practical jokes. He was legendary: like the time Chuck called the airline ahead of Michael’s honeymoon flight and told them that “his son Michael must have his kosher meal.”
(And I should add my congratulations to Michael Cromartie, who was awarded the Chuck Colson Award for Outstanding Contribution in Ethics, Media, and Culture by Regent University just a few weeks ago).
Regrettably, I think, I was never the butt of any of Chuck’s schemes. But the time I spent with him was brief, intense, and very hard to describe.
As I told Warren Smith recently on an interview for his podcast Listening In, Chuck was always the smartest guy in the room and yet also so quick to listen. His faith was intensely personal, but not private. He had this incredible drive to teach and move others to action, and yet he was always willing to stop when his wife or daughter would call, or to listen to someone thank him for Angel Tree. He was just one of those fully human sorts of people.
And that pointed me to a very important realization. If we believe, as Chuck did, that the biblical story of the world can be summed up in creation, fall, redemption, and restoration, then we know that only in Christ can we be fully human again.
God created our humanity good, and we make a grave mistake whenever we think that our humanity, instead of our sin, is our problem. Sin corrupts our humanity, but Christ rescues us, redeems us, restores us, and reconciles us to Himself and to other image bearers.
And this theological vision of redemption having the final word was not just what Chuck believed to be possible about people, he believed that it was true of the entire cosmos. That when Christ says in Revelation, “Behold, I make all things new,” that He meant “all things.” Which was why Chuck would quote again and again that wonderful line from the Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper, “There’s not a single square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Jesus Christ who is Lord of all does not cry out, ‘Mine!’”
And it’s to this story we are called, Chuck thought, which is why so often, after quoting Kuyper, he’d add on, “And so, there’s not a single square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which we, as follower of Christ, do not cry out ‘His!’”
Quite often here at the Colson Center, and every day on BreakPoint, Eric Metaxas, myself, and our team ask ourselves, when reflecting on a story or an issue of the day, what would Chuck say about this? It’s always tricky, but because Chuck had such a solid and consistent theological framework, one that we also embrace, we continue to offer to the church cultural thinking grounded in a Christian worldview.
But like Chuck, we believe that real success is when the Church—shaped by truth, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and moving forward together in unity—proposes that redemptive vision to the world in both word and in deed. As he said in his very last speech, Christ’s Kingdom advances only through love, and so we propose. We never impose.
We believe as Chuck did that the Kingdom’s advance is not wishful thinking. It’s certain. The risen Christ is King and His Kingdom will not be thwarted, and so why would we do anything other than join this, the greatest of all causes?
We thank God for our founder Chuck Colson, whose faith became sight three years ago today, and we pray that, like him, we would always know our redemption as personal but never keep it private.
And if you would like to hear my conversation with Warren Smith about the life of Chuck Colson, please come to BreakPoint.org, and I’ll link you to the audio.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: April 21, 2015