A few months ago, Charles “Chuck” Colson, passed away. Though many in this country might not have heard of him, they will likely be more familiar with Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal with which Colson was intimately and infamously involved.
“Tough, wily, nasty and tenaciously loyal to Richard Nixon” was Time magazine's assessment of him and in the early 1970s he was widely known as Nixon’s “hatchet man”. But doing the President’s dirty work is not how Chuck Colson will be remembered, because between leaving his post at the White House and being imprisoned for the Watergate cover-up, he became a Christian.
The way in which Jesus miraculously transformed his life is laid out in his autobiography, simply entitled, “Born Again”. It became an international bestseller when it was published back in 1976, and on hearing the news that he had died, I decided to give it a read.
Colson writes candidly about his time in the Oval office. He was one of the President’s closest confidantes, advising him on international and domestic affairs and gaining notoriety for his no-nonsense attitude and fierce commitment to getting the job done, whatever the cost.
The drama of the White House is not the focus of Colson's story, however. Instead it is the simple conversion of a proud man who found himself wiped out after years of tireless service to one master, and wondering where it had all got him. It was when he came to the end of himself that the true Master began calling Him to something even greater.
Going to prison was the end of Colson's political career, but merely the beginning of His service to God. Though only finding his feet in his Christian walk, he began to gather inmates together to pray. It was when God started miraculously answering those prayers that his eyes were opened to how God wanted to use him to humbly serve those on the lowest rung of society.
Colson eventually served seven months of his sentence but spent the rest of his life largely devoted to those behind bars, establishing what was to become the Prison Fellowship which is today the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families.
Born Again is a phenomenal conversion story, honestly and thoughtfully written and proclaims loudly and clearly the power of the Gospel. It's an amazing testimony of how God humbles the proud and lifts up the broken and that no-one is too far from being saved by God and changed by His Gospel. An excellent, absorbing and God-glorifying book.