Reflections on Chuck Colson & his last speech



April 25, 2012

Mark Penninga (April 25, 2012): Chuck Colson’s promotion to eternity on Saturday leaves a void that will be hard to fill on this earth. Not many others have so faithfully given their lives to upholding Christ in the secular West. His leadership has inspired many, including myself, to make our political lives consistent with our faith.

It was Colson’s book “Loving God” that has been, apart from the Bible, the most influential book in my life. One paragraph gripped me like few other things ever have. I remember even making it the text on my computer screensaver back in my second year of university:

“I discovered in those few moments in the prison chapel that my world was turned upside down. I understood with a jolt that I had been looking at life backward. But now I could see: only when I lost everything I thought made Chuck Colson a great guy had I found the true self God intended me to be and the true purpose of my life. It is not what we do that matters, but what a soverign God chooses to do through us. God doesn’t want our success. He wants us. He doesn’t demand our achievements; He demands our obedience. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of paradox, where through the ugly defeat of a cross a holy God is utterly glorified. Victory comes through defeat; healing through brokenness; finding self through losing self.”

Below is an excerpt from his last speech that is well worth reflecting on. Like so much of what he has written and said, it addresses the challenges and opportunities facing the West like few others have been able to.

“Everybody looks to the elections and thinks, well the elections are going to settle this problem or settle that problem. Elections are important. Whoever serves in office, it makes a difference what kind of person that is and what that person believes. But elections can’t solve the problem we’ve got. The problem we’ve got is that our culture has been decaying from inside for 30 or 40 years. And politics is nothing but an expression of culture.

“So how do you fix the culture? Culture is actually formed by the belief system of the people, by the ‘cult,’ which is us, the church, has been historically. So if things are bad, don’t think it’s going to be solved by an election. It’s going to be solved by us. You have a healthy cult, you have a healthy culture. You have a healthy culture, you have a healthy politics.

“So it comes right back to us. Look in the mirror, that’s where the problem is. And if we can, through the church, renew the church to really bring a healthy cultural influence, then there’s some hope that we can be changed.”

You can find more of that speech here.

Sadly, many Protestant churches in the West are throwing away God’s Word and replacing it with various forms of secularism. I pray that God will raise up many leaders to call us to repentance. And I thank God for the gift that He gave us through Chuck Colson.

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