INSIDE CT: Still Writing After All These Years

By David Neff

It was ten years ago that CHRISTIANITY TODAY began publishing a column by Charles Colson (who alternates with Philip Yancey). From the first, the column was well received, and its popularity continues.

I recently asked Chuck what he was thinking when he began writing his column. "I hoped, when I started it," he replied, "to cause people to think biblically."

Chuck recalled his hesitation. Back then, he viewed his column as "extraneous" to his calling in prison ministry. Now, speaking and writing to provoke Christians to think biblically about contemporary issues is primary. The work of Prison Fellowship ("the embodiment of my teaching") is carried on by 45,000 trained volunteers. "My primary job," he says, "is being an equipper and an enabler." In addition to his CT column, in the past ten years Chuck has published half a dozen books, begun a daily radio broadcast, and (very recently) launched a syndicated column with Religion News Service.

More than many Christian leaders, Chuck gives abundant credit to the team with whom he creates multiple drafts of each column. He singles out Ellen Santilli Vaughn and Nancy Pearcey for special recognition.

Ten years after beginning this column, is Chuck encouraged? Yes, by the readers who tell him how his column has changed their lives. But he also feels he is "building sandcastles on an incoming tide." According to George Barna, over the past ten years the percentage of "serious Christians" in America has declined from about 12 to a mere 6.

If Chuck cannot stem that tide, he says, he will keep writing anyway. "I take comfort in the legend of the man who stood preaching at the gates of Sodom." Why do you keep screaming at them, ...

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