Prominent Baptist layman memorialized

Christians need to avoid the extremes of utopianism and cynicism if they are to live in a world marked by ambiguity, said Timothy George, founding dean and professor of Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, in the United States.

George delivered the homily at the memorial service for Charles “Chuck” Colson on May 16. Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship International and a member of First Baptist Church in Naples, Florida, died on April 21 from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage.

George, who is chair of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Commission on Doctrine and Church Unity, told the congregation that believers have the assurance of God’s promise in a world characterized by both light and darkness. He indicated that persons such as Colson, John Stott, Martin Luther King, and Billy Graham provide witness of God’s rich provision. These persons, he said, are signposts along the road of God’s providential care on life’s pilgrimage.

In her tribute, Colson’s daughter, Emily, described her father’s commitment to his family and spoke of the conviction he shared while he was yet alive, that “death is the culmination of life; it is a homecoming, a celebration.”

The service featured tributes from Danny Croce of New Hope Correctional Ministry and  Albert Quie, former Governor of the US State of Minnesota and former member of the US House of Representatives.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, who attended the memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, said “it was a fitting tribute to one of the many outstanding Baptist laypersons whose witness to Christ's transforming power continues to be a wonderful source of inspiration.”

Colson was a special counsel to US President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. He was imprisoned for seven months for his role in the Watergate affair that led to the resignation of Nixon in 1974. After his release, he became a noted Evangelical Christian leader and cultural commentator. Most notably, he founded Prison Fellowship International in 1976, an outreach ministry to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. He also helped to form Justice Fellowship to push for legislative reforms in the US criminal justice system.

 

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© Baptist World Alliance
May 17, 2012