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Do You Want to Develop a Biblical Worldview? Check out the Colson Fellowship Program

The Christian Perspective / Chris Hughes
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2022 5:00 am

Do You Want to Develop a Biblical Worldview? Check out the Colson Fellowship Program

The Christian Perspective / Chris Hughes

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March 16, 2022 5:00 am

Michael Craven of the Colson Center for Biblical Worldview and Dr. Chris Hughes talk about the Colson Fellowship Program. They look at ways for Christians to become better educated and develop a Biblical Worldview.

 

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This is Robbie Dilmore from The Christian Car Guy and Kingdom Pursuit, where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build a kingdom. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it and share it. But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network.

Welcome today. If you listen to this show, you know that the whole purpose of this show is to encourage people to develop a biblical worldview. And my guest today is in the profession of helping people develop a biblical worldview, to learn what the Bible says, to know what they believe and what they don't believe. And then be able to take that knowledge out and influence the world and impact the culture for Jesus.

Well, welcome to Christian Perspective. I'm Chris Hughes. I'm so excited about this show today. I've been hoping to have our guest today on for a long time, and I'm so glad that he was able to join us today to talk about what a biblical worldview really is. Before we do that, I want to thank our sponsor, the Citizens for America Foundation, whose sole purpose is to impact the culture for Jesus. They have a great event coming up on April 30th. It's called the Culture Engagement Summit. You can learn more at citizensforamericafoundation.com.

That's citizensforamericafoundation.com. And on that day, on April 30th, it's a one-day event. Speakers will be coming from all over the country to cover a variety of topics to help you learn more about what the Bible says on issues like homosexuality, critical race theory, transgenderism, the pro-life movement, and so much more. So I encourage you, tickets start at only $15. It's real close to the Memphis airport.

It's a one-day event. So I hope you can go to citizensforamericafoundation.com to learn more about how you can participate at the 2022 Culture Engagement Summit. I also want to thank our other sponsors, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. They are the home of the Christian Perspective Studios. And if you're looking for a college to attend or you have a child or grandchild that's getting ready to go to college, check out the college at Mid-America. It is a Christian college that has not been influenced by socialism or social justice. They teach their students how to develop a biblical worldview.

Or maybe you've already been to college and you might be at a point in your life where you're trying to figure out what God would have you do next. And if seminary is part of that plan, I would encourage you to check out the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. They have a lot of great online programs.

You can study right there at home. Or if you wanted to go to Memphis to their main campus or some of their branch campuses around the country, you can. So please check out Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Well, my guest today is Michael Craven. Michael is with the Colson Center.

And if you have listened to the show in the past, you've heard me talk about a man who really had a great influence on my life. Never met him, but what he did really impacted me, and that is Chuck Colson. So we're going to talk a little bit about Chuck Colson today and some of the ministries he started. One of those is the Colson Center. And part of the Colson Center is, in my opinion, the best biblical worldview training program in the world, and it's called the Colson Fellowship Program.

Michael Craven, welcome to The Christian Perspective. Chris, it is great to be with you. Always excited to be with one of our Colson fellows. Just so excited about how the Lord is using you and what you're doing today. Well, we're going to share.

I've never shared that part of our story with our guest today. We're going to do that in just a minute. Before we do, Michael, tell our listeners who you are and how you got to where you are today. Well, I am the Vice President for Equipping and Mobilization at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Specifically, I oversee all of our academic programs, primary of which is the Colson Fellows Program, which has a couple of expressions. The individual program, which you're familiar with and you went through, and then more recently we've launched something to offer in and through churches so they can begin to equip their members with a robust Christian worldview, or probably better stated, a robust public theology. And as to how I got here, I actually knew Chuck, I met Chuck back in 2009 following an invite from him to participate in something he called The Movement. He believed deeply, as you well know, that the church had in many respects lost its way in terms of its engagement with the world outside itself. And he reasoned that this was largely attributable to the diminution of a consciously Christian worldview, or a way of seeing all of reality from a deeply theological perspective, informed by Scripture that God has created this world and He has created and structured it in such a way that He wants it to function. And He has given us insight and understanding into how that world is to operate and our charge in advancing that form, that norm, those creational standards. Well Chuck Colson was a fascinating guy, maybe particularly some of our younger listeners may not know who he was. He passed away a few years ago. I love the world of politics and Chuck Colson worked for President Nixon.

I kind of like to say he's like the Kellyanne Conway was to President Trump. Chuck Colson was an advisor and a brilliant political strategist that worked with President Nixon. And I'm going to probably butcher some of this, Michael, so correct me if I say something wrong about Chuck, but about the time that the Watergate break-in took place, Chuck Colson had a friend who had been witnessing to him and eventually led him to the Lord.

For years I had thought that Chuck didn't get saved until he was in prison, but I think he was saved before he went to prison and basically did not contest any of the charges of Watergate. He went to prison and had a passion, a couple of things that really created a passion in his heart. One was ministering to people who were in prisons across the country and he formed an organization called Prison Fellowship. And then he also had a passion for engagement in the culture and through that he started the Colson Center.

Did I get that right or did I butcher it? Yeah, that's right. I would elaborate on that. It was really through his work in prisons that he began to realize that so many of the issues that were causing men to end up in prison had their origins upstream in culture. And this is where he really began to deepen his desire to understand culture, the ideas from culture that shape us, how we're catechized by the culture, and how the church has a responsibility to stand against those ideas.

One of the things that we say at the Colson Center a lot is ideas have consequences, bad ideas have victims. And as Christians who are called to love their neighbor, it is not possible for us to exercise, to be faithful to that love of neighbor while allowing ideas that do so much harm to people to just go unaddressed, to go unanswered, to go unchallenged. And this was Chuck's great passion, was really equipping, well really helping the church recover something that it had lost. Because as he put it, and I'm quoting, he said, And historically the church understood this, Christians generally speaking understood this throughout the West, but this has been something that we have lost over the last century or so.

Well we really have, and because of that we've seen really our society has changed so much, particularly in the last 60 years, or 60 or 70 years, things have just gone downhill as the church and as Christians as a whole have pulled away from the culture and society and just felt like they shouldn't get engaged and they just live in a cocoon almost, a Christian cocoon. Well when he first, the Colston Center is a little different I think now, when he first formed, was the Prison Fellowship part of the Colston Center back then? No, Prison Fellowship was the first ministry, it was then and remains to this day the largest prison ministry in the world, and it was inside Prison Fellowship that he formed and launched the Colston Center for Christian Worldview. And then about six years ago the decision was made between both organizations that it would be best for the Colston Center to spin off on its own, which we did with a tremendous amount of help from Prison Fellowship, so they remained a very strong ally, sister organization to us.

They are in essence our birthplace, but we now stand independent of Prison Fellowship and pursuing the mission that Chuck had established those many years ago. Tell our listeners a little bit, and we're going to focus specifically in the next segment about the Colston Fellowship program, the Colston Center really does a lot of different things, can you share with us some of the things that the Colston Center does? Yeah, so a lot of people are familiar with John Soane Street, who is the president of the Colston Center and the primary voice of the Colston Center, he was handpicked by Chuck to take over as the new head of the ministry, and so a lot of folks are familiar with John through Breakpoint, either the podcast or the daily emails, and this is a medium that we employ to really try to help Christians understand what we ought to think about a given issue arising in culture, these hot button issues that we are increasingly find ourselves confronted with. So John is able to offer, and we at the organization are able to craft a response from a consciously Christian perspective of how we ought to think about these things.

But Chuck really wanted to take that further and equip Christians on how to think for themselves, how to give them that same analytical ability to discern what is true and good and beautiful in this rapidly changing world we find ourselves living in. Historically cultures experience changes over the course of generations, and today we're seeing cultural change occur at lightning speed, the likes of which we've never ever observed in history. So we're seeing culture changes, massive cultural changes take place within 4-5 years as opposed to 40-50 years.

It's really crazy the changes. It really is, and so it's incumbent upon Christians to really understand the times and know how to live faithfully in them. You mentioned earlier the decline of our culture, and I think the temptation among many Christians is to think that that is the result of a secular occupation or overthrow. We've been overthrown by secular forces. I would argue that that's not true theologically nor historically, that it's more accurately the result of the Christian evacuation. And it began with an intellectual evacuation, the diminution of the role of the mind and the intellect, moments 12, 1, and 2. A reduction to just personal piety and salvation and to the exclusion of everything else that we are commanded to do in the Scriptures, and the consequence of that has been where we left that void, other forces were all too eager to move in and did.

Well, it is a void that needs to be filled. Let's take a quick break here, Michael. We're talking to Michael Craven from the Colson Center, and we've been talking a little bit about Chuck Colson, who was the founder of the Colson Center, and his vision for not only the prison fellowship ministry that he had, but also impacting biblical worldview and training Christians to take a biblical worldview into whatever area of life that they live, work, or go to school, or whatever it may be that they're doing. So this is a show that you don't want to miss because our whole focus of this radio program has been to help you develop a biblical worldview to see the entire world through the lens of the Bible.

And the specialists in developing that worldview come from the Colson Center, and we just are so grateful that Michael Craven's with us today. So stick around. We're going to take a quick commercial break. We'll be right back.

We'll be right back. From all over the world for thousands of years, visit Jerusalem's religious quarters and explore Christianity's most treasured religious sites like the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Via Dolorosa. Walk with Chris through the winding alleyways of Nazareth's old city and visit ancient Bethlehem, the place of our Savior's birth. Float in the Dead Sea, visit the Sea of Galilee and the Jewish fortress of Masada. See firsthand where the events of the Bible took place. Touring Israel with Dr. Chris Hughes is a travel odyssey like no other.

Visit citizensforamericafoundation.com and get ready for an unforgettable trip and memories that will last a lifetime. Do you desire to build family relationships that stand the test of time? Does creating a godly family seem like a daunting challenge?

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I'd like to invite you to tune in to Equipped to Be and visit ConnieYaupers.com where I share useful tips and proven strategies to help you navigate the seasons of motherhood, faith, and life with confidence and joy. History was made on today's date. Stay tuned for an American Minute with Bill Federer. He was called the chief architect of the Constitution and wrote many of the Federalist papers, which were instrumental in the states ratifying the Constitution. He introduced the Bill of Rights in the first session of Congress. As president, he and his wife, Dolly, had to flee the White House when the British set it on fire during the War of 1812. Who was he? James Madison, born this day, March 16, 1751. James Madison wrote, before any man can be considered a member of civil society, he must first be considered a subject of the governor of the universe. This has been an American Minute with Bill Federer.

For a free transcript, call American Minute at 1-888-USA-WORD. Welcome back to The Christian Perspective. This is Chris Hughes. My special guest today is Michael Craven from the Colson Center, and we're talking about biblical worldview, the need for Christians to understand what they believe and why they believe it. Before the break, Michael, you were talking about part of what Chuck wanted Christians to do is learn how to think for themselves. How did he intend for them to learn how to think for themselves and understand the times that they live in and to be able to live faithful lives? That was really his vision for the Colson Fellows Program, which was then called the Centurions Program.

It was only renamed following his death in honor of him. So originally it was the Centurions Program, and that was his goal, was to create a year-long, intensive experience, deep dive into the study of Christian worldview. And I think the whole topic of Christian worldview remains rather confusing to a lot of folks. I think we tend to treat worldview formation as an elective of the Christian faith.

Interesting, but not necessary. But when we understand that what a worldview is, it's really the understanding of all of those public dimensions of biblical theology. We all will concede that God has created the world, structured the world in a particular way, and he wants that world and all the relationships in that world to function in a very specific way. And whenever we violate those ways, there are consequences. As the old philosopher once said, you cannot go against the grain of the universe and get and not get splinters.

Thus, the universe has a grain, it has an order, it has an orientation that is true and good and beautiful. And this is where theology, biblical theology, results in a comprehensive understanding of those creational norms. An example would be marriage. God has created a creational norm for the propagation of the human species. It's called marriage. It's unlike any other relationship in nature, right?

One man, one woman, gathering together, committing, usually committing in life, for life, to participate in the dominion mandate, the creation mandate, to be fruitful and to multiply, to subdue the earth, to bring the fullness of God's creation into being. The fall does not change that. The fall merely makes that difficult, right? You have pain in childbirth now, the be fruitful and multiply part, and then as we work to subdue the earth, to bring creation into the fullness of its glory, for God's sake, we encounter thorns and thistles and we do this from the sweat of our brow. It never changes. The fall just renders it difficult.

And so what a Christian worldview does, or public theology does, it is those dimensions of biblical theology that help us and guide us in understanding those creational norms, not only how to live them out, but also how to advance them to the glory of God, to advocate for them, to commend them to others, so that they may flourish and thrive and experience the abundance that God promises. And since the program started, is it 17 or 18 years now? I don't know if COVID set you behind. How long has the program been running? 18 years.

Yeah. 18 years, and several years ago, we re-engineered the program, how we deliver the program. As you know, at one time, the program was, it was difficult to achieve admission into the program.

There was a rigorous application process, quite a bit of scrutiny, and we really wanted to democratize the program, not diminish the rigor or challenge of the program, but we wanted to open it up and make it more accessible to more people. So we re-engineered the way we deliver it, and we conceived of the regional cohort model. We now have regional cohorts in 60 cities across the country, supported by a volunteer staff of commissioned Colson Fellows that numbers in excess of 475 volunteers serving in each of these local cohorts. And today, students participate in the program through their regional cohort, and they meet each month rather than, as you were aware, you met only three times throughout the course of the program in what we call the national program, where you'd convene in Washington, D.C. or elsewhere, and that was the only time you ever were able to gather. So, as a result, the program has grown. We have 745 students in the program today. It's the largest Christian fellowship in the world, dedicated to worldview formation. That's tremendous to be able to have that many students. I know when you were changing the format, you were looking for places to have these cohorts across the country, and part of the reason was to make it easier for people with people's jobs. Sometimes maybe they couldn't participate in the national program you had, and now your reach has really expanded, where people all over the country can now participate in these programs and develop a biblical worldview. On your website, you talk about four different formats that you have.

What are those formats? Well, the first I mentioned, for the regional cohorts, we have roughly 60 of those in the United States. We have seven international cohorts where international students are able to gather at various places around the world.

But if you don't happen to live near one of those regional cohorts, we also offer online cohorts that are available in all four major time zones in the continental United States. And then we now have pastors cohorts that are led by commissioned Colson Fellows, who themselves are pastors, either former or current. And this offers pastors an opportunity to gather with their peers and study in the Colson Fellows program together. And then finally, there is the church affiliate program, which I referenced earlier, which is a new delivery system where we offer the Colson Fellows program in and through the local church, led by the leadership of the local church. But it is the same program. So that would be a group, even in the church, where they meet on Wednesday nights or just usually a Saturday once a month, is it the same kind of program if it's within the church?

It's the same program. They do vary a little bit in that, as you point out, some will meet on Wednesday nights, some will continue to meet on Saturday mornings, like most of our regional cohorts do once a month. So they do have some different scheduling options in the local church. We've had about 20 churches already in this first year that have joined us, and that's been exciting to see.

So we have a real commitment to just really coming alongside the local church and helping them in the world formation of their members. If someone's listening and they wanted to start a program like this in their church, would they have to have a graduate of the program, a Colson Fellow in their church to lead it, or are there online instructors? So if there's not a Colson Fellow in their church, what would they do?

That's a great question. We've actually designed the program just to answer that. If they don't have, as you know, we do require that all Colson Fellows cohorts be led by people that have been through the program. So in the event that a church is interested in the program and they don't have any Colson Fellows either on staff or in their congregation who are ready to do that, we will offer them up to four free seats in the program to go through it, be trained, see for themselves the benefit of the program. And at the end of that experience, if they are still committed to moving forward, then those are the folks that will lead their cohort if they don't have already Colson Fellows in their churches. And if somebody wanted to do this in a church, is there a minimum number of people that would have to participate in order for you to establish a cohort in a church? Well, we just encourage them to follow basic pedagogical principles which indicate that the best small group ratio is one leader to a minimum of seven students. So if a church gets below or they don't have enough interest to fill a cohort of seven students, we're probably going to have a conversation with them and work through that jointly and maybe advise them in that first year. If they've got three students, why don't you put them in the online cohort, let them go through the program and let's slowly build your interest in your local church, in your congregation, and that works as well.

That's a very obtainable number. Most churches have more than seven people and could hopefully make that happen. So that's a tremendous opportunity for them. So for a church, and I'm kind of hopping around different topics here, but for a church that's interested, let's say there is a Colson Fellow in a church and they wanted to start. Do they go online and apply as a church instead of individuals and then do individuals still have to apply for the program or just if a church has it, anybody there can do it? So if there are churches out there that are interested in exploring the Colson Fellowship at their church, we invite them to go to our website, colsonfellows.org forward slash churches. You'll find a link for churches on colsonfellows.org and there is a form they can submit and that will initiate the process. They will hear from one of our senior relationship managers that will partner with them throughout the entire process, walk them through, give them a digital information package as well as send them some hard copy information as well, and make sure they've got all the information that they need to make a decision.

There's no commitment at that point, there's no contract, they're not bound by anything. We want to invite churches into this experience as a partnership and only insofar as they are comfortable with that partnership. So that's the best way to get started and then we can move forward from there. And I know there was discussion, I'm sorry Michael I haven't kept up with it as much as I should have, I know there was discussion also about entering into Christian schools and having cohorts in schools. Was that program organized and is it a possibility for Christian schools to train students as well? We did pilot a version of the Colson Fellows Program for staff and faculty of K-12 Christian schools. And in the course of piloting that program, we learned some things and decided that the better approach would be to launch a whole new program, a sister program at the Colson Center called Colson Educators.

And this is where we are able to provide shorter term, more succinct content, curriculum materials for both teacher formation, board formation, and for use in the classroom as well. So trying to nurture teachers who already have very, very busy schedules through a program like the Colson Fellows Program, which as you know is very, very rigorous. It's about six to eight to ten hours a week commitment. It is a significant investment of time. That's just really difficult for K-12 teachers. Are the teachers able to attend the classes you have for them online or do they have to go locally to a cohort type situation as well? They're all online, they're all self-administered at your own pace, and they're all free. Wow, what a blessing.

But by training them, you're helping to reach the next generation as well. Folks, if you're listening, our guest today is Michael Craven, he's from the Colson Center, and we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to really jump into some of the topics covered, speakers, and what's required to be a Colson Fellow.

Stick around, we'll be right back. The United States of America has a strong Christian heritage, but most Americans don't know the truly important role that God in the Bible played in the founding of this great nation. This June, join nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes, for four amazing days in our nation's capital. With Chris, you'll embark on a journey of discovering the hidden secrets of Washington, D.C., and rediscover much of America's forgotten Christian heritage. Your tour will include an up-close and personal look at the nation's establishment and how it's evolved over the centuries. Learn about the government and the men who helped forge this new kind of republic, one that acknowledged the creator from its very inception.

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Welcome back to Christian Perspective. My name is Chris Hughes. Our guest today is Michael Craven. Michael is with the Colson Center. He really oversees many of the activities of the Colson Fellowship Program. I asked him to come on here today to talk to us about how we can learn more if we want to develop a biblical worldview. I'm going to share, now this might make him cringe, I was not, as you guys know, I'm not the academic and intellectual in the room, but several years ago I heard John Stonestreet, who is the president of the Colson Center, speak a couple of times and every time he talked, he talked about this organization, the Colson Center, and a program that they had called the Colson Fellowship. And the more I heard about it, just over time, God began to tug my heart that I needed to learn more about what I believed and why I believed it, what was happening in the culture, how I could develop a biblical worldview, to be honest.

Before, John, I don't think I'd ever even heard the term, I mean, I was a Christian, but I don't know that I'd heard the term biblical worldview or understood that our worldview is a lens through which we see the world, and as Christians we need to see that world through the lens of the Bible. If you were listening in the first half of the show, Michael was talking about how rigorous, and it probably still is, we can talk about that in a minute, but the application process was not easy. It was a pretty detailed application, and it could be very difficult to get accepted into the program, and when I was in the program, you had an option to do, I believe at that time you had a few regional cohorts, but they had a national program, whereas Michael said you would go to three meetings around the country.

I went to San Antonio, I think D.C., and maybe Denver, I believe, was the other one that I attended. But in my mind, so you might not like the way that I listed, I was talking to my son about this just a few days ago, I really see the Colson Fellows program as almost like a master's degree in biblical worldview. Because you are studying, it's about 10 months, and as Michael said, it's not easy.

It takes a lot of time. There's a lot of reading required, and there are a lot of books, I think 20 some odd books, if I remember correctly, are in that range, and so there's a lot of reading going on. There are daily Bible studies that were wonderful. Michael, so I'll tell you one of my favorite things about the program was this disciplined devotional that we all as a group were sent every morning as an email to study the different topics that kind of coincided with the books that we were reading at the time. And when I was in the program, we had to read a lot of books, and you answer questions on the books to make sure that you're understanding what's going on.

So it's really a lot like a master's program, like I said, or going to college, where you're reading books, you're answering questions, you have a daily devotional that you participate in. And at that time, it was roughly, I think it was two evening webinars, and I don't know if they still do that today, but speakers would come on it. And to me, this was just worth the time and money and effort on its own, because the authors of the books that we were reading, which were really the top experts in the world on whatever topic we were studying, were coming on these webinars, and we had access to them.

People like Christopher Yuan, who went through, was an active homosexual for years, and got saved, and now travels the world telling people about Christianity and how God can take you from that lifestyle, or Scott Klusendorf, who to me, Michael, is the foremost expert on the pro-life movement in the world. And to have access to these types of people, where it's not just some pre-recorded, or then at least, it was not just some pre-recorded program, but they were coming and speaking at our events, and they were in our webinars, and we could ask questions of these men and women who really know more about their subjects than any other colleagues around the world. It was an incredible program. You have homework assignments, you have writing assignments, and again, I'm going to throw all this stuff out there, and then I'll let you tell us what's different today. But when I was in the program, which was a couple years ago, we had kind of your final assignment. To me, it's almost like your master's thesis, is you have to develop what's called a three-year plan. Do they still do that today, Michael, the three-year plan?

Absolutely. What you just described, the academic format and structure remains almost unchanged at all. What does change, as you know, is we do carefully curate the curriculum each and every year, and we make slight modifications to keep pace with what's happening in culture. Obviously, when you're studying world view and culture, you're talking about a rather dynamic topic, so you have to continue to update, modify. But students, yes, they will read 13 books in the forthcoming year. We've selected 13 particular books.

We still host the two monthly webinars each month with speakers and primarily authors of some of the books that students are reading. As you point out, there's a very strong spiritual formation component in the accompanying devotionals, which are written to correspond with the subjects that the students are studying. Just like you, this is one of the things that we hear most often. This is one of the most favorite and unexpected dimensions of the program because they tend to think this is an entirely academic exercise.

It's very much a formational experience. In fact, many students, when we ask them, why do you enroll in the program, they will always say things like, well, I want to learn about world view and I want to learn apologetics. When we ask them, did it meet those expectations, we never get the answer, I learned about world view and I learned about apologetics. Instead, the language changes to this much more transformational, this program changed my life. I've been walking with the Lord for 30 years.

I never knew these things and now I do. The story of God got much larger and I'm beginning to find my place in His story rather than trying to fit Him into my story. These kinds of things are what we hear from our students. The academic format and structure of the program is pretty much what it has been with these minor adaptations that we make each and every year to keep pace with what's happening in the world. It's really impacted my life, I can tell you, Michael. We have not really talked about what happened to me since I finished the program because COVID kind of ruined things and organizations weren't meeting like they were able to in the past. If you're listening, part of what you do is you go through all this, you learn so much and it's like a knowledge explosion that takes place, things that you never dreamed that you would learn and then you're asked in this three-year plan to basically say, how am I going to take what I learned and impact the culture or put this into my daily life?

What are the things that I'm going to do? And some people, their plans, and Michael, maybe you can share in a minute some of the, you know, you probably have kept up with things people have done. Some people are school teachers and they talk about how they're going to implement it in their schools. Some are implementing it in their churches, others in businesses.

Well, I came from the world of politics and I'm a little different, well, I'm different in so many ways, Michael, than most people, but particularly in the Colson Fellows program because politics is a world in which I operate. And so my three-year plan was I really felt like God wanted me to try to develop some kind of program where I could reach Christians who, George Barna is a Christian pollster, he said that over 40 million people who profess to be evangelical Christians in the United States of America are not even registered to vote. So what I wanted to do was not about politics, but how could Christians understand issues like abortion and homosexuality? We have probably less than 10% of pastors in the country today ever address those topics. So you have people who don't read their own Bible on a daily basis.

Barna also tells us that the faithful church tenders in America only go once in every three weeks, and if you never read your Bible, you hardly ever go to church, and you have a pastor who doesn't address these issues, we have a whole generation of people who profess to be Christians but don't know what the Bible says on these issues, like abortion and so forth, and we're electing people to public office who don't have a biblical worldview. So in my three-year plan, I said that I would develop an organization, start an organization, which we did, called the Citizens for America Foundation, and we're dedicated to educating Christians and then trying to get them to develop a biblical worldview and then take that worldview, not just, I mean, I want them to have it at school and church and home and all that, but to take it into the world of public policy and politics and get engaged and elect godly men and women to public office so we can put an end to things like legalized abortion in America. And this radio program, which started in February of this year, is an offshoot of that program, and none of this would have ever happened had I not attended the Colson Fellowship Program or participated in it and been encouraged, basically, if you want to complete the program, you've got to develop your three-year plan, and if I had not developed the three-year plan, none of these things would be happening today. So, Michael, you specifically, in ways that you never knew, influenced me, and particularly Chuck Colson and John Stonestreet and his vision and Brooke and some of the others that participate in the program. Because of what I learned in that program, today we're able to touch thousands of lives every day on the radio and the podcast and conferences and educational programs that we're putting on, and for me, my testimony is it all started with you. And so I'm just so thankful for the Colson Fellowship Program and the work that you're doing. Well, that is so encouraging, and it is a common refrain, and I think what is happening, you know, we live in extraordinary times.

There is no question. We live in an extraordinary moment in the history of the Church, and we are seeing, and I think this is why we're seeing so much growth in the interest in the program and participation, is increasingly Christians are rightly concerned about the state of and direction of our culture, and they're equally concerned about the Church's apparent inability to do anything about the culture. We seem victimized by the culture, and they know in their heart of hearts there's something wrong with that posture, that we serve the King of Kings, that Jesus says all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him, and He is the ruling and reigning King, and this is why the early Church went to the arenas, why they went to the lions, why they went to the cross, because they declared that Jesus was King, Caesar was not. So there was this very public, very political aspect, not political in the sense that we think of today, but this very political, public aspect of the Church and Christian faith that saw the world under the authority of Christ and the world that needed to be, discover the authority of Christ and be invited to enter into His rule and reign, to repent of our sin and enter into His rule and reign, and this is of course what He commands us to do, right? Seek first the Kingdom of God, and I think there's a great deal of confusion today over what is the Kingdom, the nature of the Kingdom, when, where, but what we know from the Scriptures is Jesus Christ inaugurated His rule and reign upon the Earth. It has come, it is coming, and one day, thankfully, it is fully and finally come, and all enemies are put under His feet, death and sin, and we reign with Christ forever and ever. And that's what the Church is called to do, is offer a sign and foretaste of that which is coming, and appeal to the world to repent and enter the Kingdom of God. And we can't do that if we have so privatized our Christian faith that it is of no public good, and I think that's where the Church finds itself today, I think that's a fairly common understanding among those that pay particular attention to these things. And we are guilty of rendering the Christian faith, the truth that stands above every other truth, we have rendered it irrelevant, and what a worldview does, or public theology does, it helps us connect the relevance of Jesus Christ to every aspect of life and reality. And that's what the world desperately needs to hear today.

Amen. Folks, if you're listening, I'm talking to Michael Craven from the Paulson Center. Once I'm back, we're going to tell you how you can apply for the program and exactly what's involved.

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Welcome back to The Christian Perspective. This is Chris Hughes. My guest today is Michael Craven from the Colson Center. We're talking about a wonderful program within the Colson Center. I encourage you to look up the Colson Center online, subscribe to Breakpoint, which is a great, very brief daily. You can get an email and it's also an audio, almost like a radio program.

In fact, it's played on radio stations across the country. John Stonestreet usually, who's the main host of the program, addresses issues every day within our culture. It takes a couple of minutes and you can learn so much by getting that email and listening to that each and every day. Well, Michael, we're talking about the Colson Fellows program and how people can get involved through their church or through a local cohort to learn how to develop a biblical worldview and then take that into their lives. If someone wants to apply, where do they go online, what's the website address, and what's the process of becoming a Colson Fellow? Well, for folks that are interested, I would just encourage them to go to colsonfellows.org and learn about the program. I think after listening to what you and I have been talking about, some might be inclined to think that this is for academics and scholars.

It is not. We operate under the belief that every Christian has the mind of Christ and that we're all called to seek wisdom, to pursue wisdom, no matter what it costs us, we're called to acquire wisdom. That's really how the Bible speaks of what we refer to as worldview. Because wisdom is not knowledge, it's actually, the ancients understood wisdom and the biblical writers understood wisdom as knowing how to be a human well.

And in order to know how to be a human well, they sought the wisdom of the universe, the Greek philosophers did, and they believed that that wisdom, the logos, was evident in nature, it was embedded in nature. Jesus Christ comes into the world and there is a dramatic shift, epistemological shift that takes place in the world, where the wisdom of the world is relocated from nature to a specific person, Jesus. He is the wisdom of the world. He is the one that we follow, He is the one that we seek to understand, and we are called to do what? Go out and make disciples of all nations, to disciple the nations, teaching them to obey all that Christ commands. We're going to know what Christ commands. So, He implores us to seek wisdom, He gives us insight and understanding, out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding. So, you don't have to be an academic, you don't have to be a scholar to go through this program, succeed in this program, thrive in this program. Again, you have the mind of Christ, every Christian does, the Lord gives wisdom, but we have to do our part. I tell people all the time, you can't pray for wisdom, sit on the sofa and watch Netflix and hope to achieve any.

It's not going to happen. We've got to work for it. And we do that by the renewing of our minds. So, I just want to clarify that.

This is for every Christian who claims the name of Christ and wants to grow in their knowledge and understanding of their Lord, and what He would have them do in this cultural moment, so that they may be found faithful in this moment. So, again, go to Colsonfellows.org and learn about the program. You can submit an application. The application process is a lot easier than it used to be.

We're just looking for information about you, your background, your interest, where you stand in relation to worldview knowledge. And we're looking for ways to get people into the program, not keep people out of the program. Is there a cost to participate, Michael? There is a cost.

Glad you mentioned that. The tuition for the program is $900 for the year. That's the lowest the tuition has been in its 18-year history.

Historically, you know, I think when you went through the program, you're looking at, with all costs included, you're looking at about $3,000. So we've lowered the price significantly, and we've increased access by delivering it through either regional cohorts or online cohorts. So there are no excuses for not participating in the program.

We have payment plans available, so we just want to serve the body of Christ and equip them for these extraordinary times. Well, that's really made it so much more accessible because a lot of people cannot commit to travel. And as you said, when I went through the program, you were expected to go to three different weekends. Well, you had to pay for, meaning the individual, the student would have to pay for travel to Denver or D.C. or wherever and pay for a hotel room and food and all that.

And none of that is in place anymore. Now you can just go to your local church or wherever your local cohort is meeting, and it really saves you a lot of money and makes it a lot more accessible. So we've talked about where to go to apply, which is colsonfellows.org. We've talked about the cost. Tell them one more time about the time commitment involved in the program. Yeah, obviously there's a lot of reading, 13 books, and that's the primary time consumer. We estimate that our students will spend anywhere from six to 10 hours per week committed to their Colson Fellows studies.

Now I would say that that is not necessarily in addition to an already busy schedule. We assume, for example, that most of, if not all of our students are involved in some sort of daily devotion. We assume that they are involved in some sort of ongoing reading, non-fiction, Christian, theological, spiritual formation reading, and all that they need to do is they just supplant all of that activity with exclusively the program's activity. So the hour that you're spending in the mornings in your daily devotions, you're now committing that hour to the Colson Fellows devotions that are, again, written specifically to correspond with what you're studying. So it may not necessarily result in a net addition of six to 10 hours, but it is a commitment, and the commitment is really in keeping pace, keeping up with the program and not falling behind, because once you get behind it's really tough to catch up. Yeah, a couple of times I got busy traveling with work or whatever and I got behind and that did make it rough, but it is a great program. Like you said, we're already doing our devotions or reading already and we just shift focus to the program while we're in the program.

We spend more time than that on the internet and so many other things in a week. It is a time commitment, but really it's worth it and it pays off. We've only got about three minutes left in the program, and again, if you want to learn more about the Colson Fellows program, go to Colsonfellows.org.

It is a wonderful program and I really encourage you to take a look at it. If you want to transform your daily walk with Jesus, and again, I did not expect, and we've talked about this a little bit in the show, the devotions have a lasting impact on me and then the friendships that I made that will last me a lifetime were really invaluable. You're going to grow close to the people in your cohort and really people across the nation, but Michael, y'all got a big event coming up called the Wilberforce Weekend. Can you tell our listeners, we only got a couple of minutes, what that is and how they can attend? Yeah, so Wilberforce Weekend is the Colson Center for Christian Worldview's annual conference that we host each year. Last year was hosted in Fort Worth, Texas. This forthcoming year, May 13th through the 15th, it is hosted in Orlando, Florida at the Rosen Resort.

And it will feature a host of speakers from John Stonestreet and Oz Guinness to a multitude of others, many of whom folks recognize. You can visit Wilberforceweekend.org to actually learn more about that. It's also the scene of our annual commissioning ceremony for all of the Colson Fellows from around the country.

They voluntarily come to this. It's not compulsory that they attend this, but I think we've got about 600 coming this year for commissioning. And that is an extraordinary experience on Sunday morning when we combine worship and this commissioning service for over 600 Colson Fellows who've worked really, really hard to achieve that title.

Yeah, that was one of the things I hated about the lockdown with COVID-19 is our cohort did not get to do that. So it's just a tremendous weekend. And again, those of you listening, this is not like some political conference. This is a Christ-centered event. It's called the Wilberforce Weekend. It's named after William Wilberforce, you know, who took a great stand against slavery in England. And I just encourage you to go.

What did you say? It's Wilberforceweekend.org or dot com? Dot org. Okay, Wilberforceweekend.org. It is a tremendous weekend. It's right down there close to Disney.

Take the whole family. You can have vacation while you're down there. Beautiful facility.

I was there for an event a couple of weeks ago. I really encourage you to attend the Wilberforce Weekend. It will be a life-changing event.

Of course, I strongly encourage you to take a close look at the Colson Fellowship Program. It will literally change your life. Michael, thank you so much for being with us today on The Christian Perspective. Chris, it is a blessing always and just so excited to see what God is doing in and through you. Well, thank you, my brother.

I'm praying for you. And again, what you're doing is life-changing. And I thank you for your commitment and obedience to God when he calls you to this ministry with the Colson Center.

It is needed and y'all are impacting the culture unlike any other organization out there, so I sure appreciate you. Folks, thank you for listening today. Each and every day you can tune into your local radio station and listen to The Christian Perspective. If you miss a program on the radio, go to wherever you receive podcasts.

Each show is released later in the day in the podcast format. Share it with your friends on social media. Now let's get in God's Word. Let's look into becoming Colson Fellows. Know what we believe while we believe it. Then let's go out and impact the culture for Jesus. Thank you for listening. The Christian Perspective with Chris Hughes. Learn more about impacting the culture for Jesus. Visit CitizensForAmericaFoundation.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 19:42:51 / 2023-05-21 20:04:30 / 22

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