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Letter From Colson Center President Alan Terwilleger
What's next for the Colson Center in 2013?
By: Alan Terwilleger|Published: January 18, 2013 4:53 PM
Topics: Colson Center
Let’s face it, 2012 was a rough year. For those of us here at the Colson Center, of course, we lost our founder, our mentor, and our friend, Chuck Colson. The political campaigns were positively brutal. So called “gay” marriage advanced, folks in Colorado and Washington thought it was a good idea to legalize pot. Hurricane Sandy. I could go on.
And so far, well, 2013 hasn’t been off to a great start, either. The country breathed a momentary sigh of relief when we avoided the fiscal cliff, only to be reminded that there’s this thing called the debt ceiling we’re smack up against. A champion of human rights, evangelical Pastor Louis Giglio, had to step aside from delivering the benediction at the presidential inauguration because gay activists found out he thinks homosexual behavior is a sin. Then there’s the HHS mandate, with Hobby Lobby’s Christian owners facing crippling, multi-million dollar fines because they won’t pay for abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.
And yet . . .I have never been more excited to be a part of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. I am utterly confident in the God of History. And I’m seeing His hand at work in the Church—awakening the Church to the simple fact that we have strayed, fallen short, in preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of His Son.
The Dean of our Centurions Program, T. M. Moore, put it this way: In our day again the Gospel of the Kingdom has been substituted for by an inadequate and false gospel, a gospel of personal peace and wellbeing. This false gospel loads believers with false assurances about their eternal state even as it distracts them from the pursuit of holiness, minimizes the life of discipline and obedience, fosters an idolatry of material success, redefines the “go/tell” mission of the Church, and leaves the larger issues of culture and society in the hands of the children of the kingdom of darkness.
The Gospel of the Kingdom has become captive to mere personal interest, felt needs, aspirations of prosperity, postmodern relativism, and social and political ambitions. Certainly there are aspects of most of these in the Gospel of the Kingdom; however, the Gospel of the Kingdom is much broader, much deeper, much more integrated, and much more sweeping in its implications and power than any or all of its present-day substitutes. What we need today is a movement to restore the Gospel of the Kingdom – Christianity as a worldview – to the churches and the public square. This will not happen without the deliberate, coordinated effort of those who share a burden for such a broad and deep renewal.
And that’s what the Colson Center is doing, working to coordinate with like-minded Christian organizations for renewal within the Church and within the culture. The kind of coordination that Chuck Colson began with the Manhattan Declaration and with the Doing the Right Thing campaign on restoring ethics will continue in the coming year to embrace church-wide efforts on religious freedom, marriage, education, immigration, and more.
In the coming year, we’ll be collaborating with organizations such as Focus on the Family, Cru, Movement Day, and others to form Kingdom movements in various cities, encouraging and developing Christian leaders who will work with local believers and organizations to build coalitions to benefit and transform their communities.
This “city strategy” is well underway in our Centurions Program, where we’ll be adding to our list of local affiliate programs across the country as we grow our ground troops leadership ranks.
And soon, I will be able to announce the establishment of a new Fellows program, where the Colson Center will enlist expert academicians and practitioners in the areas of culture, economics, government, creation, education, relationships, theology, and science and technology.
Yes, there is plenty of bad news regarding our culture, our government, and our nation. But the need for the Church to be, as Chuck always said, the Church, has never been greater. We have an enormous opportunity to fully embrace what Chuck called “the cultural commission.”
Chuck explained the cultural commission this way in one of his “BreakPoint” commentaries:I spoke to a gathering of pastors about engaging the cultural battles of the day. Afterward, the pastors had a lot of questions -- but they were also a bit confused. One asked: "But won't engaging the culture this way interfere with fulfilling the Great Commission? Isn't this our job -- to win people to Christ?"
That people still think this way left me momentarily speechless. "Of course we're called to fulfill the Great Commission," I replied. "But we're also called to fulfill the cultural commission." Christians are agents of God's saving grace -- bringing others to Christ, I explained. But we are also agents of His common grace: We're to sustain and renew His creation, defend the created institutions of family and society, and critique false worldviews.
As I spoke, I saw the pastors' eyes light up in a great "Aha!" moment.
This is a matter on which the Scriptures are very clear. In Genesis, we're told that for five days, God created the universe. On the sixth day, He created human beings -- and ordered them to pick up where He left off. They were to reflect His image and have dominion -- but from then on, the development of the creation would be primarily social and cultural: It would be the work humans performed as they obeyed God's command to fill and subdue the earth.
It’s an enormous task God has put before His Church. But what a privilege to be called into His service, to participate in restoring the Gospel of the Kingdom, and to be able to show the world the fruits of God’s loving kindness.
I am indeed looking forward to 2013.