Evangelicals lost a respected influential voice today.  Chuck Colson, an author, evangelist, and apologist, died at 3:12p (EST) this afternoon.  He was 80 years old.  Colson was hospitalized on March 31st after becoming overcome by dizziness while speaking at a Colson Center conference.  In the hospital he had surgery to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain.  While he showed improvement his health declined and he went home to be with the Lord.

Colson was the only member of President Richard Nixon’s staff to serve time in prison after Watergate.  After placing his faith in Christ due to his experience in prison he founded Prison Fellowship in 1976 which is now the largest prison ministry in the world.  Colson not only was an effective evangelist to those who have been incarcerated; he also was an advocate for humane prison conditions and restorative justice that would lead to successful prisoner reentry.  Colson also engaged culture with a Christian worldview through BreakPoint Radio, the Centurions program, and Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship, in an email to supporters said of Colson:

Though we mourn the loss of a great leader, we rejoice knowing God has welcomed his humble and faithful servant home. When Chuck Colson left prison, he promised to remember the men who remained behind bars. “I will never forget you guys!” he told them.

And for 36 years, Chuck faithfully kept that promise.

Our loss, but heaven’s gain and we at Caffeinated Thoughts are thankful for his contribution to the Kingdom.  I am saddened by the news of his loss.  Colson’s books and ministry have been a great encouragement to me not only in my ministry to juvenile offenders (my “day job”), but my walk with Christ as well.  Please keep the Colson family, as well as, his ministry coworkers in prayer.  The Colson family in lieu of flowers are requesting that donations be made to the Charles Colson Legacy Fund.

Update:  Rick Santorum issued a statement on the news of Chuck Colson’s death.

Karen and I were deeply saddened to learn about Chuck’s passing.  Over the last few years, both in and out of public life, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Chuck and have admired him and his commitment to living out his faith.

Chuck was a humble man who learned from his own frailty to care for the ‘least of these,’ especially prisoners.  His work to bring Christianity to those who were in their darkest days changed the lives of many.

My thoughts and prayers are with Chuck’s wife Patty, the entire Colson family and the community at Prison Fellowship Ministries during this very difficult time.  Chuck was a patriot, who loved his country and loved serving his God, and we are all a little better off for having known him.

Update 2: Here’s a eulogy I wrote over at my personal site.

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