Charles Colson’s acceptance of the 1993 Templeton Prize and his appearance at a Templeton event held at the same time as the Parliament of the World’s Religions has Texe Marrs, an author and cult watcher, worried.

Marrs objects to the presence of representatives of Islam, liberal Christianity, and other religions on the Templeton Prize Committee as well as at the Parliament in Chicago. He linked the two events in an article in the June edition of his newsletter.

Marrs, president of the Austin, Texas-based Living Truth Ministries, says Colson should return the $1 million prize, which Colson donated to his organization, Prison Fellowship. He says “many people” consider John Templeton, the originator of the prize, to be “a pantheistic New-Ager.”

Colson was selected for the prize because “the sponsors were quite sure he could be trusted to endorse them and their ecumenical objectives,” Marrs wrote in his Flashpoint newsletter in June. “Is Chuck Colson … a wolf in sheep’s clothing—a born again New Ager disguised as an evangelical Christian?”

“The things that he said in that newsletter are very damaging,” says James Jewell, senior vice-president at Prison Fellowship. “It is only the strength of Chuck’s life and his work over many years that protects us from real damage.”

Though Marrs charges that Colson has taken “the devil’s money,” Jewell says Colson’s Templeton speech is an opportunity to speak to many who have not heard the gospel.

In a prepared script for his September 2 Templeton speech in Chicago, Colson is upfront about his devotion to Christ, saying, “I speak as one transformed by Jesus Christ, the living God. He is the way, the truth, and the life.… His presence is the sole explanation for whatever is praiseworthy in my work, ...

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