Charles Colson’s legacy honored at spring conference

Union University, in conjunction with the Witherspoon Institute, hosted “Salt and Light in the Public Square: Charles Colson’s Legacy and Vision” May 2-4 on campus.

The conference was inspired by the life and work of the late Charles Colson, who died in April 2012 at age 80.

The overall theme had to do with “how to be a Christian in the political sphere,” said Grant Riley, junior Christian thought and tradition and philosophy major. “The conference was more or less how Christians should take after the example that Charles Colson has set for them.”

Colson’s work had a major influence on Christian rights. He was a special counsel to President Richard Nixon’s administration from 1969 to 1973.

He served a seven-month prison sentence in 1974 after pleading guilty to charges in connection with the Watergate scandal. Colson converted to Christianity before being incarcerated. Afterward,in1976,he founded Prison Fellowship Ministries.

University President David Dockery credits Micah Watson, assistant professor of political science and director of the center for politics and religion, for planning the conference and honoring who he called one of evangelicalism’s finest leaders.

“The conference was [Watson’s] idea,”Dockery said. “He took the initiative with the plans and selected all of the speakers.”

They included Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University; Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Sam- ford University; Garland Hunt, president of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Russell D. Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Several Union University faculty also spoke at the conference.

These speakers include: Hunter Baker, dean of instruction; Hal Poe, the Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture; C. Ben Mitchell, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy; and Gregory Thornbury, dean of the School of Theology and Missions.

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