Now I’m a Centurion … thanks be to God
I just returned from spending several days in our nation’s capitol. My reason for going was to be commissioned a Centurion by Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint Ministries.
The Centurions Program is a distance learning/networking program that equips Christians to think Christianly in order to apply biblical truth to all of life and to engage and shape culture out of a biblical worldview.
About 100 Christian leaders and scholars from across America are selected each year to participate in the program and are trained through an intense combination of rigorous reading assignments, teleconferences, three weekend residences in Washington, worldview devotionals, weekly newsletters, and a thriving online forum. To be commissioned a Centurion, one must also complete a final project demonstrating how one will put to work what one has learned. My final project was to write a four-part series on a Christian worldview. Perhaps you read them in the October and November issues of The Pathway. The amount of feedback I got from readers exceeded any I have ever received in my six-plus years as editor of The Pathway.
So it was with gratitude and a good deal of relief that I was among the 100 new Centurions commissioned during special services Jan. 18. Mark Early, president of Prison Fellowship and the former attorney general of the state of Virginia, delivered a powerful keynote address on why Christians must be engaged in politics/public policy. Everything falls under the authority of God. While we are called to be “salt and light,” as subjects of His kingdom we are responsible for acting, speaking and thinking biblically in whatever discipline we are engaged, whether it be law, science, literature, the arts, history, economics, theology, philosophy, psychology and politics.
Following Early’s address, we were then each commissioned by Chuck Colson, one of the great Christian thinkers of our time and a man whom I greatly admire. His books like, Kingdoms in Conflict, The Good Life and more recently, How Now Shall We Live? have been a source of encouragement to me in my Christian walk. Colson’s remarkable life is a testimony to what God can do through one man who has turned from a life of sin and placed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Another one of the most rewarding aspects to my 12 months of study in the Centurions program were my classmates. Counted among them are some of the greatest champions for the cause of Christ I have ever met. At the top of that list is Colonel (Dr.) Jimmie Coy of Columbia, Mo. Coy is not only a medical doctor, but was a field surgeon with U.S. Army Special Forces (airborne) in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. I have never known a doctor before who jumped out of perfectly good airplanes from 20,000 feet. Highly decorated, he has served with numerous special operations units during a distinguished Army career that spanned three decades.
Since retiring from the military, Coy has been working as a staff physician at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital, where he also leads a regular Bible study. He is also on the medical staff of the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center and the Uniformed Services Medical School in Bethesda, Md. Oh, and he’s also an author.
One of his books, A Gathering of Eagles, now in second printing, features 345 Medal of Honor recipients (the highest award an American can receive), ex-prisoners of war and leaders from the military, political and religious arenas who share their core beliefs about leadership and their faith. Among those featured are retired Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton who was a POW with Sen. John McCain in the Hanoi Hilton prison facility during the Vietnam War, Billy Graham, James Dobson, Chuck Swindoll, Roger Staubach, Colin Powell, J.C. Watts and many others.
Dr. Coy faced many challenges during his time in the military, but he is now up against one of the greatest of his life: cancer. Through his chemotherapy and other treatments, his faith in Christ has only become stronger and his powerful testimony a blessing to all of us who have had the privilege of calling him “friend.” Because of the location of the cancer, he is having difficulty swallowing and even talking. It is talking that most concerns him because it inhibits his ability to share the Gospel. But as God’s grace would have it, he need not speak in order to share the Gospel. His newest book, Matthew A to Z + 2: An Easy Way to Learn the Gospel According to Matthew, has just been released. Dr. Coy is a true, American hero and his commitment to Christ is a source of encouragement to me and many others.
I am thankful for the opportunity I have had these past 12 months to grow in my Christian walk among such people. It is my heart’s desire to use what I have learned so that I can continue to act, speak and think Christianly and inspire others to do the same. All for the honor and glory to God.