Chuck Colson Reflects On His Conversion

From an email:

Thirty-Five Years in the Light: Reflections on My Conversion
(by Chuck Colson, August 12, 2008)

A lot of people have asked me what I think about when I remember back to that hot, humid August night in 1973 when Tom Phillips, then the president of the Raytheon Company, witnessed to me in his home. I left his house that night shaken by the words he had read from C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity about pride. It felt as if Lewis were writing about me, former Marine captain, Special Counsel to the President of the United States, now in the midst of the Watergate scandal. I had an overwhelming sense that I was unclean.

After talking to Tom, I found that when I got to the automobile to drive away, I couldn’t. I was crying too hard – and I was not one to ever cry. I spent an hour calling out to God. I did not even know the right words. I simply knew that I wanted Him. And I knew for certain that the God who created the universe heard my cry.

From the next morning to this day, I have never looked back. I can honestly say that the worst day of the last 35 years has been better than the best days of the 41 years that preceded it. That’s a pretty bold statement, given my time in prison, three major surgeries, and two kids with cancer at the same time, but it is absolutely true.

That’s because, for the last 35 years – whether in pain, suffering, joy, or jubilation, it makes no difference – I have known there was a purpose. I have known that I belong to Christ and that I am here on earth to advance His Kingdom.

Would I have ever known that if Tom had not witnessed to me?

The reason I visited Tom that fateful night was that I was coming back to his company as counsel. But before he met with me, Tom prayed about how he should treat me. After all, here was his lawyer, mixed up in the Watergate affair. Tom later told me that God spoke to him: “Tell Chuck Colson about me, because he needs a friend.” God was certainly right! I was as desperate and lonely as a man could be.

But get this: Never before in Tom Phillips’s life had God told him to share the Gospel. Never before had he done so.

But in total obedience, Tom followed God’s lead, and the result? A ministry that now spreads all around the world to 114 countries, tens of thousands of men and women coming out of prison being redeemed by the blood of Christ, and then finding their place in community; and the whole Church being sensitized to the needs of the least of these in our midst.

I also wonder what might have happened to me, personally, had I not encountered the living God that night or some other time. I do not really think I would be alive today. Before my conversion I drank, partied, and smoked heavily. I do not think I would be seeing my 77th birthday, which I will this October.

And if I managed somehow to survive the high-powered party life in Washington among the rich, famous, and powerful, I would have been so miserable I don’t think I could have lived with myself. If I did not know for sure that the God who created us sent His Son to die on a cross that my sins might be forgiven, I would have long ago suffocated in the stench of my own sin.

So how do you celebrate 35 years as a Christian? By recommitting yourself to use every available moment, every ounce of energy, in service of the King. For what He has done for me, how could I ever do less?

16 Responses to “Chuck Colson Reflects On His Conversion”

  1. 1 Jill C. August 25, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    What an inspiring and powerful story! I had heard some of Colson’s testimony before but it’s good to read this. Thanks for sharing it on your blog, Brad. 🙂

  2. 2 Judith L August 26, 2008 at 3:02 am

    Thank you for posting this, Brad. I consider Chuck Colson to be one of the modern saints. More than that, I needed to read this right now.

  3. 3 Kevin Tharp August 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Brad- I stumbled on your blog doing research on Chuck Colson and Tom Phillips. I am a Christain businessman living in Arizona (I also work for Raytheon, so the connectin with Tom is cool). I am in the early stages of a book and was wondering if I could use this recent email from Chuck Colson?

    Was this an email from Chuck directly to you>

    Kevin Tharp
    520 827-0834

  4. 4 GPHintz August 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. I’m starting a sermon series called “Sticky Significance” and this week, we’re starting it with a message called ‘Life Sucks ~ Now What’. This story is going to help me share that it is never too late. A lot of times, people believe that they have waited too long or done too many ‘bad things’. This story will help to prove that it is never too late! If you want to listen in a week or so, check out

  5. 5 julieannmiller January 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I plan to share this reflection with my growth group – as we study Philippians 3 – Paul’s testimony. Thanks for posting! I, too, would like to know if Mr. Colson had sent this to you personally.

    • 6 gayle July 20, 2011 at 1:31 am

      I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Colson after hearing him speak on the topic of synergism – He had the courtesy of listening to my account of our local school’s “synergy” forum (giving credence to all cultural religions).
      To my amazement, I received a personally dictated letter from him which encouraged me to “stand for the Truth of God’s Word.” I treasure this letter and praise the Lord for His call upon this present day “Paul.”
      Gayle – Mississippi

  6. 7 chatterbait camo tackle May 20, 2020 at 5:21 am

    Whɑt a ateriаl of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious
    experience on the topic of unpгedidted feelings.

  7. 8 Timothy Wiesner May 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    I admire the man greatly! Johnny Cash went into prison and entertained. Charles went into prisons and changed lives for eternity!

  8. 9 Webcams And Porno May 31, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Yοu will immediately be shown free of charge live sex cams.

  9. 10 creampie tumblr June 6, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Aⅼl videos are hosted by 3rd ϲeleƅration sites.

    Feel free to surf to myy webpage … creampie tumblr

  10. 11 flvto Youtube Downloader July 28, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Wohh exactly what I was searching for, regards for putting up.

  11. 12 chatrandom gay September 1, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Grеat artіcle, exactoy what I was looking for.

    Alsso visit my website :: chatrandom gay

  1. 1 A testimony | "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" – Ecc9:10 Trackback on December 2, 2014 at 12:56 am
  2. 2 herpes treatment otc Trackback on December 22, 2014 at 10:19 am
  3. 3 best stair lifts Trackback on December 28, 2018 at 7:28 am
  4. 4 Who is Dr. Francis Collins and should you be concerned? - Australian National Review Trackback on June 29, 2020 at 5:07 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: