Charles Colson embodied the very best of what it means to represent Christ in a winsome yet robust way in a contested public square. He advocated for the lost and forgotten in America's prisons. He stood boldly for life, marriage and religious liberty through the Manhattan Declaration, countless Breakpoint articles and radio addresses and his work within the evangelical church as a Southern Baptist. Colson's legacy is one evangelicals and other Christians would do well to consider and emulate as we strive to live out our faith in the public square.
With this in mind and as this spring marks the first anniversary of Colson's passing, Union University and the Witherspoon Institute are very pleased to host a conference May 2-4 entitled "Salt and Light in the Public Square: Charles Colson's Legacy and Vision."
Robert P. George and Timothy George, Colson's co-founders of the Manhattan Declaration, will give keynote addresses, as will Garland Hunt, president of Prison Fellowship. Other speakers include New Testament scholar Robert Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; Hal Poe, Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture at Union University; Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; bioethicist and Graves Professor of Moral Theology C. Ben Mitchell; Dean of the School of Theology and Mission Gregory Thornbury; and Dean of Instruction and associate professor of political science Hunter Baker, all of Union University.
Though the particular challenges of living genuinely Christian lives within a pluralistic culture have always been with us, this current season in American political and cultural change seems particularly unsettled and divisive. Christians have good reason for concern with regard to their involvement with crucial issues such as marriage, life and religious liberty. Our hope is that this conference will further our thinking and doing as we strive to be salt and light in the public square.