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We aren’t alone! 1,000+ converge in Texas for courageous faith

In  1 Kings 19 we find Elijah lamenting to God that the Israelites had rejected God’s covenant and that he alone was left, and Queen Jezebel was out to kill him too. God informed Elijah that he had it wrong, and that God had reserved a throng of 7,000 others who had not bowed to Baal.

I recently assembled with a couple dozen Canadians and over a thousand others in Arlington, Texas for the 2024 Colson Center national conference. Listening to the stories and seeing this throng of believers, it was very evident that God continues to preserve His people through each age, and that He also calls us to stand firm in the face of the Jezebels of our day.

As I’ve shared before, the Colson Center equips Christians to apply their faith to the cultural moment where God has placed us. This particular conference was focused on equipping attendees for “courageous faith.” As the organizers explained:

“Faithfulness to Christ is not possible when we capitulate to profane cultural narratives, no matter how often or loud they are repeated…. The clash between the sacred and the profane is no longer ‘out there’ and the pressure to compromise is not merely hypothetical.”

Courage past and present

In the opening session on “courageous citizenship,” the Colson Center’s John Stonestreet interviewed Rod Dreher, the author of the well-known book Live Not by Lies, and also Kamila Bendová, who was featured in Dreher’s book. Dr. Bendová and her family live in the Czech Republic. Along with her late husband Václav Benda, they raised six children while holding underground seminars in opposition to their communist government, all while having their home bugged. Dr. Bendová shared how she didn’t protect her children from their resistance efforts but rather involved them. Now, many decades later, she reflects that all of her children and grandchildren have remained faithful.

We can learn from the past, but need to live in the present. Doctor Kristin Collier spoke about the courage to change your mind, recounting how her journey from unbelief to faith in Christ resulted in 180 degree changes to her convictions about contentious issues like abortion. God then forced her to make a choice to follow Him in her public work as well, which came at a cost. She pointed us to Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one,” noting that at the core of courage is listening to and obeying the Word of God.

Reverend Calvin Robinson, a broadcaster and commentator from England who himself was cancelled for his faith, challenged participants “we are called to be cancelled for our faith. We should embrace it rather than be afraid of it.” He proceeded to outline how our spiritual enemy is trying to divide and conquer by having Christians look to each other as moral compasses rather than looking to the teachings of Christ.

Other speakers bravely and compassionately shared their stories and lessons about critical theory, cultivating a healthy identity, artificial reproduction, transgenderism, palliative care, and encountering suffering, all through the lens of living faithfully for our Lord.

Conference connections

It is one thing to read articles, listen to podcasts, or watch videos about these matters and another to be physically present with hundreds of other followers of Christ, growing in our walk together. We don’t all get the privilege of doing that at a conference like this, but we do have the ability to gather with our brothers and sisters in church weekly, in addition to Bible studies and fellowship in our homes. Let’s not miss these opportunities to spur each other on to godliness in this present age!

If it interests you, the next Colson Center national conference is scheduled for May 30 to June 1, 2025 in Louisville, Kentucky, and we heard that Reformed authors Carl Trueman and Rosaria Butterfield are both scheduled to speak there. Pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf will also be there. You can find out more at

Although Canada isn’t blessed with a conference like this, Reformed Perspective hopes to help change this with something similar (though much smaller and simpler) in the years to come. As valuable as a magazine, podcast, newsletter, website, and apps are, there is no substitute to gathering with others to worship God together and spur each other on in our walk.

Mark and Jaclyn Penninga were just a couple of the Canadians at the Colson Conference. Other Reformed Christians included Rev. and Mrs. Slomp, and RP contributor Mark Slomp and his wife Jennifer.

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The Colson Center: a sibling we look up to

Growing up as the second youngest in a family of ten, I learned a lot about life from my older siblings. Once grown, most of us continue to lean on our siblings in Christ as we navigate what it means to run a business, parent children, or serve in a church. We’ll get in trouble quickly if we think we can figure things out all on our own. That’s why, through the years, we have introduced our readers to some of RP’s “siblings” – organizations and individuals that we have learned a great deal from and aspire towards. If you appreciate what we are doing, you will probably like them too. I have already shared about WORLD Media Group, which covers the news from a solid Christian perspective via a magazine, video program for kids, podcasts, and more. RP is taking steps in that direction (with more journalism). But we don’t want to give up something that has always been core to our identity – worldview training. And the organization that best models this to us is the good folks at the Colson Center, a Christian organization which exists to “equip Christians to live with clarity, confidence, and courage in this cultural moment.” The organization is named after Charles Colson, whose books Kingdoms in Conflict (now retitled as God & Government) and Loving God have been very influential to both RP’s Editor Jon Dykstra and myself. Colson had served alongside President Nixon, before being thrown into prison for his role in the Watergate Scandal. By God’s grace, he repented and became a born-again Christian. God used him in a powerful way, first through creating Prison Fellowship (a ministry in prisons around the world), and then in developing Christian worldview training. He was concerned by the emphasis among evangelicals about “getting saved” without understanding the life of thankfulness we are saved to. The Colson Center trains Christians through many mediums including their daily Breakpoint commentary (on many radio stations), e-newsletters, podcasts, conferences, and intensive courses/programs. Over the past year, my wife Jaclyn and I have been enrolled in the Colson Fellows training program, following a curriculum that requires daily, weekly, and monthly training commitments that average about an hour a day. If you are looking to grow in your biblical worldview, I highly recommend it. Like WORLD, the Colson Center isn’t explicitly Reformed. But a Reformed perspective is very evident in both the underlying principles that guide them, and the teams that lead them. Both organizations seek to be faithful to God’s Word, applying it to the issues of our day, and waging war against Satan’s lies that abound in so many other resources. And they do so with grace, maintaining a positive tone that should always be found among those who hold to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the sovereignty of God. I heartily encourage you to get plugged in to their short daily Breakpoint newsletter or podcast (available in both formats at no cost). You won’t be disappointed. To give you a taste, we included a Breakpoint article in the magazine on occasion, such as "When 'helping' kids hurts them" and "Is AI just another tool, or something else?" As Jon Dykstra explained in the March/April 2024 issue: Breakpoint has an American focus and is not specifically Reformed (though some writers are), so we differ in some notable respects: they are anti-evolution and RP is specifically 6-day creationist; we'll highlight problems with the Pope both when he is acting Roman Catholic and when he is not, while they stick to the latter. So, as with everything, there is a need to read with discernment. But when it comes to the hottest cultural battles of our day – sexuality, gender, the unborn, and God's sovereignty over "every square inch" of creation – they get it right consistently, and they are timely, often replying to events that happened just the day before. That's why Breakpoint articles have been featured in our online “Saturday selections” column for years now. You can also find more about them at and