The Theological Influences on Chuck Colson

In a previous post I told you about a forthcoming book by Chuck Colson, My Final Word (Zondervan). Coming later this summer is another book about Colson. It is called The Colson Way (Nelson Books) and it is by Owen Strachan. I’ve been browsing through an advance reader’s copy and found it interesting to read about the formative theological influences Colson had. While there were many Strachan notes five in particular.

Abraham Kuyper – “Kuyper offered Colson the ultimate incentive to action, for here was a man who didn’t simply publish a grand strategy but lived it. He was—like Colson—as good in the backrooms where decisions were made as he was out front, promoting the strategy to thousands of startled onlookers. In Kuyper’s vision of unimpeded cultural influence and his tireless work to invest in his country, Colson found inspiration for his own work. A believer could not only preach the gospel but also reform a society. This was the fuel Colson was looking for.” (p. 70)

William Wilberforce – “Wilberforce was for Colson an example of public courage, of faith unleashed in the public square. The cosmopolitan evangelical took on the single most noxious element of British society, the slave trade, and during the course of his five-decade career vanquished it. Wilberforce was an activist driven by principle.” (p. 70)

R.C. Sproul – After viewing Sproul’s video lectures of The Holiness of God, he “emerged from his encounter with Sproul’s God-centered teaching with a desire to love God. He found himself deeply grateful to the Lord for ‘God’s love for humanity and how He showed that love by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.’” (pp. 77-78)

Carl F.H. Henry – Of Henry Colson said, “I personally am forever in Carl’s debt because he mentored me so lovingly. Not once in out close relationship over twenty years did he ever tell me anything; he was always very patient to explain that what I had said was very good, but then he asked if I had thought about another perspective.’ Colson, no intellectual slouch himself, concluded the point: ‘He was one of the great minds teaching a fledgling, and he did it with understanding, patience, love, humility.’” (pp. 80-81)

Francis Schaeffer – “It was Schaeffer’s model—blended with Wilberforce’s—that Colson most emulated in his later career. He became a movement leader, an apologist, and a specialist in Christian worldview thinking.” (p. 83)

Strachan concludes: “Colson showed a remarkable willingness to learn and grow from his evangelical peers. Though he was much better known than any of them, he sat at their feet—or, in Schaeffer’s case, ascended to their chalet.” (p. 83)

Watch for The Colson Way this July. It will be a hardcover with 224 pages and sell for $22.99.

Owen Strachan is assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College. He is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement at SBTS.

Colson Way

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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