Richard Bartholomew's Reviews > Born Again

Born Again by Charles W. Colson
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May 05, 2016

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Read in December, 2008

John and Elizabeth Sherrill are given acknowledgements at the end of this book, but it's obvious that their editorial input was as substantial as it is in all the various "as told to..." Christian paperbacks of the 1970s. All the Sherrill trademarks are there: a breezy page-turner narrative that shifts deftly between moments of conflict, tension, poignancy, and humour; the promotion of a broad-based, ecumenical yet simple evangelical faith, with a non-threatening sprinkling of Biblical literalism and Pentecostalism; a recurring spiritual message, in this case on the dangers of "pride"; and, of course, a happy ending once the protagonist has learnt to trust God, who is revealed through direct experience and by synchronicities.

The book contains some information about Washington D.C.'s Fellowship House (HQ of "The Family", although that name never appears), and we're told of various prayer groups springing up as the Nixon administration totters and falls. There are also some unexpected passages criticising the CIA.

As for being an accurate account of Colson's Nixon years, I'll leave that to those who have studied the era in more depth. Needless to say, Colson is basically the good guy in this narrative: he and Nixon were working for peace, and Daniel Ellsberg threatened to undo all that. That led to Colson falling into the trap of "pride", and an attempt to smear Ellsberg's character in order to influence a court case. As for other illegality emanating from the Nixon White House, Colson was apparently in the dark.

The Colson of "Born Again" is also generous and conciliatory - you wouldn't guess that Colson in real life would go on to pen bitter attacks on science (evils of "Darwinists", naturally) and to co-write a novel ("Gideon's Torch") which features AIDS patients seeking out fetus brains as a cure.
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