The Colson Way by Owen Strachan

The Colson Way by Owen Strachan isn’t exactly a biography of Chuck Colson (there are other, more comprehensive titles that would fit this description). It isn’t exactly a “how-to” for today’s Christians. It isn’t exactly a theology book.

Somehow Strachan has taken three distinct types of books and woven them together into this one title.

Who Was Chuck Colson?

Chuck Colson died in 2012 and he isn’t exactly a household name among today’s younger evangelicals.

This is a shame, not just because Colson’s testimony was compelling (it remains so), but because he had some great insight into the cultural battles of our time. Strachan is attempting to encourage and inspire a new generation with the story and wisdom of a man from an earlier generation.

Colson’s personal story is dynamic: the story of a man who rose from a humble background, to an Ivy League education and service in the U.S. Marines, to the upper echelons of power in the White House. The fall from those lofty heights, caught up in the Watergate scandal, could have ruined Colson. The story of his conversion is riveting.

[Colson] was not simply eager to do more ministry; he wanted to give a glorious God his entire being. He wanted not only to live obediently but also to think deeply about God, and to help many brothers and sisters do the same.

Colson left prison ready to do something for God. He probably didn’t realize where that ministry would take him but he was willing to go. He went back to the prisons, back to “the least of these”, people many other Christians were content to forget.

Strachan points out these lessons from this aspect of Colson’s life:

If we want to minister grace to people, we can only gain perspective by entering into their situations. This will challenge us. If we have nice lives, we will not find it easy to go into hard places. But doing so awakens us to the challenges before us.

The church does not need savants. It needs faithful witnesses willing to do hard work to minister grace to needy sinners.

Strachan is looking at the state of Christianity today (at least in America) and he sees people in need of heroes to emulate. Colson is a great choice as one of those heroes. Here is not just a theologian or philosopher: Colson put his belief into practice.

Where some Christians sat back and marveled at their country’s lost condition, Colson plunged into it, breaking through barriers, upsetting secularized onlookers, showing no regard for walls between faith and society he considered artificial.

Colson Controversies and Context

Strachan doesn’t gloss over some of the controversies of Colson’s life and ministry, but he does try to give them context.

After all, this isn’t so much a book about what Colson did wrong, but a look at how God can use the willing.

Reading or watching the news can be a depressing experience for Christians today. Just this week we had more reminders of how our country and our beliefs are now often at odds.
Strachan notes:

The church can grow cranky and despairing in our secularizing age. It can lose itself in a gloomy forecast of the future. Or it can understand the times and work afresh to bring hope to people deadened by sin and disillusioned by the world’s broken promises. We love our neighbors; we want them to flourish. People who disagree with us, even strenuously, are not our opponents. We are doing battle with far greater forces, forces that would undo us (Eph. 6:12).

This is the benefit of re-familiarizing ourselves with Chuck Colson. He saw the current culture war. He predicted many of the battles we’re fighting today.
But, as Strachan writes:

[Chuck Colson]was a venture capitalist for hope…He was far too grounded to be blithely optimistic. He was also much to biblically minded to plummet into despair.

Feeling discouraged as an American Christian? I prescribe this book and a new look at Chuck Colson. This book isn’t long but it is surprisingly deep.

Read The Colson Way and be inspired again.

“Do your duty,” [Colson] continually preached, “and stay at your posts.”




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