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Chuck Colson the Prison Fellowship founder dies

Charles ‘Chuck’ Colson, the Nixon aide who became one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005, has died at the age of 80.


 Chuck Colson 1931 - 2012
chuck colsonCharles ‘Chuck’ Colson, who was involved in the infamous Watergate affair under former US President Richard Nixon, and who later went on to become one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005, has died at the age of 80 following complications from a brain haemorrhage.

He was known as the "hatchet man" for Nixon and served seven months in jail for his role in discrediting a political opponent.

He had a reputation as a hard-nosed political operator and was once described by the then US President Nixon as the son he never had. He helped the Republican candidate to a landslide victory in 1972, saying he would "walk over his own grandmother" to ensure Richard Nixon's re-election.

Colson's mid-life conversion to Christianity sparked a radical life change that lasted the remainder of his life. He began anew with a dual focus on both the non-profit ministry he founded after his time behind bars, Prison Fellowship, and to Christian worldview teaching and training.

He was named as one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America" in 2005, having written over 200 books in his lifetime.

Following the death of its founder, the Prison Fellowship website carries the following report:

Evangelical Christianity lost one of its most eloquent and influential voices today with the death of Charles W. “Chuck” Colson. The Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview founder died at 3:12 p.m. on Saturday from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage. Colson was 80.

A Watergate figure who emerged from the country’s worst political scandal, a vocal Christian leader and a champion for prison ministry, Colson spent the last years of his life in the dual role of leading Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, and the Colson Center, a teaching and training center focused on Christian worldview thought and application.

Chuck’s life is a testimony to God’s power to forgive, redeem, and transform.

Colson was speaking at a Colson Center conference when he was overcome by dizziness. Quickly surrounded by friends and staff, Colson was sent to the Fairfax Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. On March 31, he underwent two hours of surgery to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain. At times, Chuck showed encouraging indicators of a possible recovery, but his health took a decided turn, and he went to be with the Lord. His wife, Patty, and the family were with him in the last moments before he entered eternity.

Revered by his friends and supporters, Colson won the respect of those who disagreed with his religious and political views thanks to his tireless work on behalf of prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. Colson maintained that the greatest joy in life for him was to see those “living monuments” to God’s grace: Prisoners transformed by the love of Jesus Christ. And thanks to the work of Colson and Prison Fellowship volunteers across the country, there are thousands of those living monuments among us today.

While living in Naples, Florida, in 2000 the state Governor Jeb Bush restored his civil rights, including the right to vote, which he lost after he was convicted.

He received 15 honorary doctorates, and in 1993 was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the world's largest annual award (over US$1 million) in the field of religion, given to a person who "has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension".

Chuck Colson 1931 - 2012

Christians Together, 22/04/2012

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