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'God's man'

"'God's man'" Continued...

The sudden incapacitation meant that Colson missed—for the first time in 34 years—spending Easter Sunday in a prison among inmates. Instead, inmates at Sing Sing and Riker's Island prisons in New York, where he was scheduled to preach, sent get well cards to him.

With Colson in critical condition, Metaxas had been sitting in for Colson as host of Breakpoint and said he would continue Colson's call to the church to stand firm against the current threats to religious freedom.

"He's not trying to impress anybody," Metaxas said. "He has completely avoided being merely political. And he has completely avoided the taint of the televangelist stuff. He's been his own man. He's been God's man."

Before he fell ill and had to end his speech, Colson urged the church to renew a dying culture, one of his recent themes. He eviscerated the contraceptive mandate as one expression of hostility to the church, but called for a spiritual response to that hostility. (See "Colson's final speech" to read excerpts.)

"Elections can't solve the problem we've got," Colson said. "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 it comes right back to us," he continued. "Look in the mirror, that's where the problem is. If we can, through the church, renew the church to really bring a healthy cultural influence, then there's some hope we can be changed. … 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."

Colson is survived by his wife, Patty, three children, and five grandchildren.

For more, see "Setting captives free," by Emily Belz, from the May 5 issue of WORLD.

Information on Charles Colson's funeral arrangements.

Video tribute from Prison Fellowship:

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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