Chuck Colson's Final Speech

Chuck Colson's Final Speech

March 30, 2012
"Breaking the Spiral of Silence"
Wilberforce Weekend Conference
Lansdowne, VA  20176

“I personally am very glad to be here because this is the first time I’ve been out in three months. I had a little mishap and have been on the sidelines recuperating. So I’m really glad—I would not have wanted to miss this weekend, and was afraid I might have to. …

“I happen to be one of those who believes that societies are changed by movements at the grassroots. So how do we get that material out to people that they can use it for their neighbors. I think cultures are changed over the backyard fence and the barbecue grill; I don’t believe they’re changed from the top down. And I’ll talk to you tonight a little bit about why I think that is so critical right now. …

“My topic is the cultural environment today. Culture at a crossroads, which indeed it is.

“What you’ve just witnessed with the Department of Health and Human Services attempting to impose a mandate on the church that the church and Christian groups and religious organizations would have to provide insurance for things which violate our conscience, and that we wouldn’t be allowed a conscience exemption. What’s extraordinary about that is there have been battles over religious liberty ever since the nation was founded. Most of them have ended up in court decisions, sometimes legislative. This is the first time in history—which is why Cardinal [Donald] Wuerl here in Washington said this is the most serious invasion of the church by government ever—it’s the first time it’s been done by a bureaucrat in a government agency simply writing it and putting it out as law. Normally in a court case you get a chance to argue both sides. But there wasn’t a chance for two sides to be argued this time; it was done by executive fiat. But it’s opportune for us as we meet here tonight—Eric [Metaxas] said this is a moment. This is a moment, where the church has to learn how to defend itself against this sort of thing, and do it in a sort of way that is constructive. …

“What we’re witnessing in our culture today—the HHS mandate is but the tip of the iceberg. It’s the latest visible manifestation of a growing hostility to Christianity. Mainly because, and this has always been the case, government officials feel threatened by the power of the church, because we all worship a king higher than the kings of this earth. And that’s seen as a threat. We’re also seen as wanting to impose our views on people. Don’t let them tell you that. We don’t impose anything. We propose. We propose an invitation to the wedding feast, to come to a better way of living. A better way of life. It’s the great proposal. We couldn’t impose if we wanted to impose. And we don’t want to impose. In our democracy you can’t.

“So we need to be very clear about who we are and what we do and why we do it. And I hope some of the teaching this weekend will help you with that.

“But what we’re seeing now is the fruits that have come from 30 years of relativism, death of truth, in the academy particularly, and in public discourse. And the coarsening of public discourse, coarsening of politics.

“Everybody looks to the elections and thinks, well the elections are going to settle this problem or settle that problem. Elections are important. Whoever serves in office, it makes a difference what kind of person that is and what that person believes. But elections can’t solve the problem we’ve got. The problem we’ve got is that our culture has been decaying from inside for 30 or 40 years. And politics is nothing but an expression of culture.

“So how do you fix the culture? Culture is actually formed by the belief system of the people, by the ‘cult,’ which is us, the church, has been historically. So if things are bad, don’t think it’s going to be solved by an election. It’s going to be solved by us. You have a healthy cult, you have a healthy culture. You have a healthy culture, you have a healthy politics.

“So it comes right back to us. Look in the mirror, that’s where the problem is. And if we can, through the church, renew the church to really bring a healthy cultural influence, then there’s some hope that we can be changed.

“I think Eric is right that this is a moment. This is a moment when the time is right for a movement of God’s people under the power of the Holy Spirit to begin to impact the culture we live in. Desperately needed. …”

Chuck Colson was unable to finish his speech, which was to be his last.  Chuck was helped off-stage by colleagues.  He died April 21, 2012.




Found In: Relationships > redeeming culture > Speech
Related Scripture: Jude 1: 3

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