Tributes

For more than 35 years, Chuck Colson, a former prisoner himself, has had a tremendous ministry reaching into prisons and jails with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I get to Heaven and see Chuck again, I believe I will also see many, many people there whose lives have been transformed because of the message he shared with them.

He will be greatly missed by many, including me. I count it a privilege to have called him friend.

Rev. Billy Graham, evangelist


What did Chuck mean to me? In a word, he meant “transformation.” His own life, from Watergate villain to a man of passion and love, and of grace and care; transformation of the prisoner, the least of the least; transformation of policies that affect those things; transformation of our culture through individuals embracing the life and the love and the worldview of Jesus.

And he also meant a very personal transformation to me when he came and he sat down with a cup of coffee a couple Decembers ago and challenged me to see that God had a vision for my life that I hadn’t seen yet, and that God was calling me to something far greater than I ever thought.

Chuck meant transformation, change, redemption, reclamation. My friend, and my mentor. We’ll all miss him. Chuck meant a lot to me.

Jim Liske, CEO, Prison Fellowship Ministries


America has lost a gentleman and statesman of the highest integrity and character. I’ve lost a dear friend and mentor who, most importantly, modeled for me how to stand for God’s Truth with Christ’s heart. Chuck was an endlessly selfless man, whose love for and ministry to those in prison made him one of the great modern-day lions of the faith.

Chuck was a great example to me and millions of others for his willingness to share so openly about his own faults and the besetting sins of his life. Only a humble and broken man thoroughly disinterested in his own image could so openly admit it was his own pride and out-of-control ego that led to his downfall.

From that shame, though, he emerged as a shining example of the redemptive power of Jesus and spent the rest of his life setting aside his own ego for the sake of others, investing his time and energies in those besides himself. Chuck was never threatened by anyone else’s success, especially those of us from the ‘next generation.’

He was actually energized by it.

That is the mark, and the legacy, of a great man.

Jim Daly, President & CEO, Focus on the Family


Chuck Colson was one of the most influential evangelical leaders of the past half century. After a career in hardball politics, he devoted his life to ministering to prisoners and sharing the Gospel’s message of love and hope to millions. His contribution to the growing cultural influence of evangelicals was difficult to overstate.
The first book I read after coming to Christ was Chuck’s Watergate memoir, “Born Again.”. Both the book and Chuck’s ministry had a major impact on me and countless others. I will miss him terribly.

Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition


Chuck Colson was one of the great Christian statesmen of our generation. His life was transformed by Jesus Christ, and as a wonderful testimony to the grace of God, Chuck’s life and work with Prison Fellowship impacted thousands of people from prison inmates and their families to churches and communities all over the world. He will be missed. But his courageous voice, which spoke truth to the hearts of so many, will continue to impact lives for years to come.

Franklin Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse


If there were an evangelical Mt. Rushmore, Chuck would be on it.

Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention


It is hard to imagine the Christian landscape without Chuck Colson. About the time I began my walk with Christ, Born Again was published. He will be sorely missed. But let us rejoice at the power of a redeemed life. May God bring healing to the hearts of his family and friends and glory to His name.

Max Lucado, best selling author


I was always encouraged whenever Chuck Colson and I stood together, speaking to the sanctity of life, ethical stem cell research, the rights of the medically fragile, the unborn, newborns with disabilities, and the elderly. His wisdom and gravitas made him a champion for the weak. We will miss his voice… so who will speak up now? If Chuck were here, he’d pass the mantle to you. He would want you to be that voice, standing together for the Gospel and the sacredness of all life. Thank you for doing this for Chuck’s sake, but mainly for the sake of Christ.

Joni Eareckson Tada, Host of Joni and Friends


On behalf of Campus Crusade for Christ, let me express heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Chuck Colson. I knew him and highly respected him as a Christian leader, colleague and servant of prisoners and their families. While he will be greatly missed, we rejoice that he is now in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Chuck carried a passion for seeing others come to have a personal relationship with Christ, mature in the faith, and share that faith with others. It has been our privilege to serve as partners with him in advancing the Gospel.

Chuck’s love for Jesus was shown by his dedication to caring for prisoners and their families. He challenged Christians in all walks of life to live out a Biblical worldview in their public and private lives.

We are praying for his family and for all those connected to him in ministry. We pray too for his former colleagues at Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center as they honor his memory by continuing to advance his work.

Steve Douglass, President of Campus Crusade for Christ International


Chuck’s life demonstrated the power of God and of Truth to change hearts and transform lives. He was a man of courage who called Christians to take a stand for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. The Alliance Defense Fund was honored last year to present Chuck with the Edwin Meese III Award for Originalism and Religious Liberty.

Most importantly, Chuck Colson has been a friend to me, to ADF, and to countless other leaders. He understood that the good news of the Gospel—enabled through religious liberty and the rights of conscience—was the most important message in the world, and that no limits on the Gospel, its message, or God-centered action should be allowed.

Please be in prayer for the Lord’s peace and comfort for Chuck’s family during this time of loss. We take consolation in knowing he is rejoicing right now in the loving presence of his Creator.

Alan Sears, President, CEO, and General Counsel of ADF


Chuck Colson embodied and made possible an immeasurable amount of good in the lives of the people, families and communities he served in bringing a message of faith and hope.

Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate


I will always remember Chuck as a unrelenting defender of the truth, a model of godly righteousness, a discerner of the times and a contagious Christian. In 2006 I interviewed him for Intercessors for America, an organization he loved and helped strengthen. That interview experience was, and is, a major highlight of my personal walk as a believer. I simply knew I was face to face with one of the great men of our age. I’ve been honored to be his friend, and I will miss him terribly.

John Beckett, Chairman Emeritus: Intercessors for America


Chuck Colson has had a significant impact on the work of the ACLJ. One of the first letters I received after arguing my very first case at the Supreme Court was from Chuck. His words of encouragement have had a lasting impact on me. He is a friend and a mentor.”

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel, American Center for Law & Justice


There is a Jewish belief that no righteous person can match the true penitent in moral stature. That would certainly seem to apply to Chuck Colson who went from Watergate to a rare level of moral greatness. When he turned his life around, he could not possibly know how many others’ lives he would turn around as well. His death leaves a national void.

Dennis Prager, commentator and author


Chuck Colson lived an extraordinary life. He was a man who experienced tremendous lows yet went on to spark a movement of ideas and people focused on spiritual transformation.

House Speaker John Boehner, R, OH


For nearly four decades, Chuck Colson’s life and example have been a constant and necessary reminder to those of us in and out of public office of the seductions of power and the rewards of service. His famous redemption story and tireless advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and the outcast have called all of us to a deeper reflection on our lives and priorities. He lives on as a modern model of redemption and a permanent rebuttal to the cynical claim that there are no second chances in life.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R, KY


Chuck was a dear personal friend to me and Carolyn as well as my leader, mentor, and role model. I will always treasure the first time I met him at Sandy Cove in 1986 and his gracious words to Carolyn and I as we left Prison Fellowship to join Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries. One of the things I vividly recall was a conversation with Chuck as he and I entered the auditorium at a staff conference. We talked about how this somewhat ragtag group of people did not have the resumes you would look for if you wanted to go out and change the face of prison ministry around the nation and the world. Yet we stood there in awe and amazement at what, by God’s amazing grace, was being accomplished.

Burt and Carolyn Rosen, President, KARM


Marsha and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Chuck Colson. Chuck not only was a longtime friend, confidant and mentor, but he also was instrumental in my decision to engage in public service. Chuck’s post-Watergate decision to change his life for the better and establish the successful Prison Fellowship program demonstrates his faithful commitment to serving the God he loved. Marsha and I will miss Chuck greatly and we will continue to be inspired by his example of how life should be lived. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Colson family and all those who have been touched by his faithful service.

Sen. Dan Coats, R, IN


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.

Rick Santorum, former Senator, PA


Having been given a second chance, Chuck Colson devoted his life to carrying the Christian message of second chances to those in prison, and he saw countless lives changed by his compassion and example.

Rep. Mike Pence, R, IN


Chuck Colson’s home-going is very sad for those of us who know him, but we are comforted by the fact that he is now in the presence of the One he most wanted to serve—his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our prayers are with the Colson family, his many friends, and his co-laborers at Prison Fellowship and at The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Chuck has been an inspiring example of the power of the gospel, compassion for prisoners, and courageous adherence to biblical truth. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.

Dr. Charles Stanley, Pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta


My personal relationship with Chuck Colson began several months after his release from Federal prison. A friend and fellow Iowan, former U.S. Senator Harold Hughes asked if they could see me. During the meeting, Chuck described his vision of developing faith based programs to bring hope and support into correctional institutions across the country. The vision Chuck talked about that day went on to become Prison Fellowship, a program that continues to touch the lives of countless offenders and their families throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Chuck was a truly brilliant visionary, a man who understood human frailties and wanted to bring Christ’s love and compassion into the lives of the downtrodden. His life exemplified the admonition for all of us contained in Micah 6 –“to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God”.

Norman A. Carlson, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons (Ret.)


Chuck Colson knew firsthand the dire situation of our prisons. That experience drove him to become a fearless advocate for the millions caught up in the system, while helping many offenders successfully re-enter life on the outside. He called for liberals and conservatives alike to join forces in this effort. We can honor his legacy by working together to make the criminal justice system, in his words, ‘more effective, humane and successful.

Nicholas Kristof, columnist


I had a lot of respect for Chuck Colson. In recent decades he did a tremendous amount of good in American prisons, fighting prison rape in particular. It’s partly because of him that prison rape came to be treated seriously, rather than as a joke. I admire a man who can redeem himself, and I also admired his willingness to reach out and work with a liberal like myself. So, RIP, Chuck, and let’s remember you less for the wrong you did in the White House than for the good you did in prisons.

Senator Jim Webb, D, VA


My heart is heavy to know the loss we all suffer with Chuck’s passing. His desire to educate and unify the Church coupled with his tireless pursuit of a Gospel-centered common good, are legacies future generations will recount and remember.

Chuck’s writings and friendship significantly impacted the trajectory of my life. I experienced his distinctly winsome, humble and genuine spirit first hand. God used his words to direct my life’s work towards elevating Christian faithfulness in western cultures in whatever way I could.

In the end, Chuck was the best teacher and mentor I could ever have. His life exemplified how gratefulness to Christ for our own redemption ought to motivate how we live, work and extend God’s redemptive power into every corner of this world.

Gabe Lyons, Founder of Q and author


Chuck Colson had a deeply Christian sense of justice and believed that we are all children of God whether in prison or without. His work is precisely what is needed to make our system of justice live up to our best values.

Gov. Jerry Brown, D, CA


I mourn with the rest of the America and the world at the loss of Chuck Colson. As founder of Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Chuck impacted the lives of countless people for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While he has gone home to be with the Lord, I have full confidence that his legacy will continue through his outstanding ministries and eloquent written and verbal contributions to the cause of Christ. The Oral Roberts University community is thankful for the life and ministry of Mr. Colson.”

Dr. Mark Rutland, President, ORU


RIP Chuck Colson – a fine man whose life proved that there is such a thing as redemption.

Sen. John McCain, R, AZ


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Charles Colson Legacy Fund

Through Chuck’s humble service, God established two great ministries: Prison Fellowship, which serves and equips the Church to fulfill the Great Commission among prisoners and their families. And the Colson Center, which resources Christians to propose and live out a Christian worldview. It was Chuck’s vision that these two ministries would bring God’s peace and truth — His Shalom — to a broken world in desperate need.

The Colson family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Charles Colson Legacy Fund.

Make a donation in Honor of Chuck

Gifts to the Charles Colson Legacy Fund will further Chuck’s work, bringing God’s light into a dark world, making — as Chuck always said — “the invisible Kingdom visible” to God’s great glory.