|NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Chuck Colson taught me how to think.
I never met the man. Never heard him speak in person. Never interviewed him on my blog or asked all the questions I had for him.
Nevertheless, his work had a profound influence on my life, especially in shaping my thinking during my teenage and college years. "How Now Shall We Live?," the book he wrote with Nancy Pearcey, was a paradigm-shifting book for me. It illuminated Christianity in light of competing worldviews and helped me understand the world I live in.
Even when the critical thinking skills I learned from Colson led me to critique some of his own positions, I always felt indebted to him. Colson was the bridge back to Francis Schaeffer, who led me back to C.S. Lewis, who in turn led me back to G.K. Chesterton and other great Christian minds. In my theological journey, Colson served as the librarian who beckoned me to explore the riches of the Christian faith and see how Christianity encompasses all of life.
What was his appeal?
COLSON THE STORY-TELLER
For starters, Colson was a masterful storyteller. Just the other day, I was reading parts of his big book, "The Good Life." The tales of religious persecution, corporate greed, extravagant waste, merciless injustice were so gripping I couldn't put down my Kindle.
Colson knew a good story because he had one. From the heights of privilege and responsibility in the Nixon White House to the depths of despair and determination in prison, his life was a classic example of power and corruption transformed into servanthood and integrity. The only thing more compelling than the stories he told was the story he lived.
When I was a college student in Romania, I checked out "Born Again" from the library and read it all in one afternoon. His testimony shined a spotlight on God's grace. The grace so evident in Colson's life provided a compelling apologetic for Christian truth claims.
COLSON THE TRUTH-TELLER
Colson was also a masterful truth-teller. He saw how postmodernism's inability to come to grips with objective truth claims made it more and more difficult for Christians to gain a hearing for the Gospel. Evangelism was never far from his heart. His popular philosophical critiques were born out of a heartfelt desire for people to experience the grace he had.
There were times Colson seemed to emphasize the objective nature of the Bible's truthfulness in a way that relegated all biblical truth to propositions and left little room for the narrative nature of Scripture. But one can understand his emphasis on propositional truth when seen in light of his desire to uphold the very places where Christianity's foundations were being undermined.
In later years, Colson seemed to move away from his concentration on the reasonableness of Christianity and became more explicit in his exposition of Christian doctrine. "The Faith" exemplified this shift. It was a book that celebrated Christian orthodoxy with Colson's unusual combination of childlike wonder and theological sophistication.
COLSON THE BRIDGE-BUILDER Continued...