It's the "after" that convinced Colson how vital it is for Christians to make an impact in the public sphere. And although he died nearly eight years ago, his life's focus is all the more important, says Jeff Rogers, director of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Rogers is based in the Grand Rapids area.
Colson is perhaps best known for serving as Special Council to President Richard Nixon, and was once known as the 37th President's "hatchet man." Colson, who served seven months in a federal prison for obstruction of justice in the Watergate scandal, was not the same man when he became a Christian in 1973, according to Rogers.
Outward view is vital
Colson, who died in 2012, believed it was vital that Christians have an outward view of the world. That's an essential reason why he founded Prison Fellowship, Prison Fellowship International and The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, all the while giving daily radio commentary on his program "BreakPoint."
In other words, know truth, engage culture. It's the catchphrase for The Colson Center For Christian Worldview of which Rogers has been a part of since 2011 and prior to that year, Prison Fellowship.
"Chuck would say we need to re-evangelize the church," says Rogers. "In many cases, the church had grown an inward focused. But he'd be the first to say salvation will never arrive in Air Force One. That doesn't mean you shouldn't vote, you should vote, but by the same token, don't go to the extreme and say politics are the savior. We try to bridge the gap. With some organizations if you're not all pro-politics, the world is going to end or the other extreme is politics are not important, just mind your own business and stay quiet. It's that middle ground where you don't give them all the credit but you don't become a hermit either."
Kinship with Abraham Kuyper
Colson's Christianity is akin to ecumenically minded Dutch politician, journalist and theologian Abraham Kuyper who wrote his persuasive three-volume treatise, "Common Grace" before his death in 1920. Kuyper dedicated much of his life to fanning a theology that Christians must weave their Christ-like faith in business, education and government.
"So there's not one part of our lives that isn't under the lordship of Christ," adds Rogers. "So whether it's your work, family life, everything is under Christ. So that's the kind of Colson, Kuyperian philosophy that comes through. It's still true to Scripture."
One reason why organizations like Prison Fellowship, The Colson Center and now-defunct Morality Majority were founded in the 1970s and '80s was the church at-large became too insular, says Rogers.
Christians need to be engaged in the marketplace of ideas. The Colson Center helps shepherd believers in reaching that goal through its BreakPoint podcasts/radio broadcasts/email blasts, as well as its short courses, annual conferences, and The Colson Fellows Program.
"Nothing else explains how the world works like the Bible," says Rogers. "The Bible reflects reality. If you don't take advantage of that Owner's Manual, your guide for life as a Christian, you may still be a Christian but you're not taking advantage of the resource God has given us."