Charles Colson, once an advisor to President Richard Nixon and a member of the Washington in-crowd, warmed himself too close to the flames of Watergate and got burned. When Colson gave his life to Christ, heaven’s holy fire drove him from politics toward a new purpose – preaching Christ in pulpits and prisons.
He once said that he would have “walked over his own grandmother if necessary” to get Nixon re-elected. When the whole Watergate scandal erupted, Colson went to prison for his part in the illegal acts that eventually got Nixon ousted from the presidency.
While under investigation for breaking into the offices of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist (he was the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times), Colson became a born-again Christian through reading C. S. Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity. He was accused of making a phony confession of his sins to garner sympathy from the justice system and the press. But Colson pleaded ‘no contest’ to the charges and went to prison for 7 months in 1974. He came out a changed man.
Colson founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, an organization that has influenced other inmates to follow Jesus. He wrote numerous books. It wasn’t Colson’s politics that drew me to his books. It was his testimony of a transformed life. His first book, Born Again, was published about the time I returned to the Lord after approximately 5 years of doing my own thing. I ate up his story of redemption because I too had been redeemed, changed forever by a loving Savior.
Colson’s testimony of a transformed life remained vibrant from the day of his conversion until his death on Saturday, April 21. The best thing that happened to him was getting caught. When he lost his life of political influence, he started to consider who Jesus was and that led him to real life.