- (Photo: Facebook/Chuck Colson)
Christian leaders from various organizations and churches have offered their prayers for Chuck Colson and praised the legacy he leaves behind as word came Wednesday that the ailing 80-year-old founder of Prison Fellowship may "soon be with the Lord."
"For nearly four decades, Chuck Colson has been used greatly by God to advance the Gospel, comfort prisoners and show compassion to their families, and stand for truth in the public arena," Rob Schwarzwalder, Senior Vice President for the Family Research Council, told The Christian Post Wednesday. "Few Christian leaders have built a ministry with the reach and effectiveness of Prison Fellowship, Breakpoint, the Centurion program and many other initiatives."
"May the Lord strengthen his wonderful family during this difficult time," Schwarzwalder added.
"We sincerely hope that God blesses us with more years of Chuck Colson's service to people. He has built a legacy that will continue to grow and we need him on the scene in today's troubled age more than ever," said Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President of Focus on the Family, in a phone interview with CP.
Colson was hospitalized after speaking at the Breaking the Spiral of Silence conference on March 30 in Lansdowne, Va. The Prison Fellowship founder suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage and underwent surgery the following morning to remove a pool of clotted blood on his brain. His condition worsened on Tuesday, however, and Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship, revealed today that he may soon "be with the Lord."
Doctors revealed that during his hospital stay, Colson has been able to talk, hear, and process information as well as execute demands.
Colson served as an aide to President Richard Nixon and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the Watergate scandal in 1974. He converted to Christianity soon after, and has been known for his defense of the sanctity of life, his traditional stance on marriage and support of religious freedom.
In recent years, Colson has pushed for Christian political leaders to sign the "Manhattan Declaration," a testament proposed in 2009 that identifies and pledges to support the three most foundational issues in society – the sanctity of life, the historic understanding of marriage, and religious liberty.
Colson helped draft the declaration, and explained that although these three issues do not comprise the whole scope of Christian moral concern, they can be viewed as the most foundational.
"We're not segregating issues," Colson expressed. "We're saying all these issues are important but they flow out of three foundations."
Twitter was full of messages from various Christian pastors and figures across the nation offering their support for Colson and his family Wednesday.
"Great leader, great thinker, great Christian, great friend. Well done, faithful servant," wrote apologist author Lee Strobel, who has published over 20 books. "Would love to eavesdrop on conversation between Chuck Colson & Jesus if Chuck passes," he added.
Bobb Wann, pastor and worship leader at the American Missionary Fellowship in Portland, Ore., tweeted: "Prayers for the family of Chuck Colson. Thankful for his God-honoring life & legacy."
"Pray for Chuck Colson's family, and thank God for the man's faithful witness," tweeted Travis Gilbert, associate pastor of Rodgers Baptist Church in Garland, Texas.
"My friend Chuck Colson will soon be home with the Lord, taking a turn for the worse yesterday w/doctors advising family to gather," said James Emery White, senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, N.C.
Other acknowledged mistakes Colson had made in life, as all do, but praised him for turning his life around through the help of Christ.
"Chuck Colson is near death. A sinner saved by grace who became a great man of God. Christianity will miss his faith and work," wrote Pastor Mark Decker from CrossWalk Worship Center in Enon, Ohio.
A famous quote by Colson was retweeted by many: "Remain at your posts and do your duty – for the glory of God and His kingdom."