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Shadow of the Almighty : The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (original 1958; edition 1973)
by Elisabeth Elliot (Author)
Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot (1958)
No current Talk conversations about this book.
Thoroughly enjoyed. ( )
Case 15 shelf 1
I received this recommendation via this list of top 10 missionary biographies which is well worth checking out!
This book could be read as a prequel to "Through Gates of Splendor" (also by Elisabeth Elliot.) It is basically a biography of the life of Jim Elliot from the perspective of his wife, his lengthy and detailed journals and his letters to his family/friends.
Jim Elliot's life was cut tragically short when he and four fellow missionaries were murdered by the Auca Indians in 1956 during one of their first outreaches to them. This story is told in "Through Gates of Splendor."
On reading about Jim's school life and growing experiences I was impressed with his dedication to personal holiness and spiritual discipline. Also his desire to understand the Bible for himself through thorough study rather than relying on and adopting the viewpoints of other respected Christians. Most of us tend to do the latter often to our detriment especially when it comes to apologetics as we are unable to effectively express our viewpoints/defend our faith as we haven't studied it in sufficient detail or been persuaded ourselves what we believe. Elliot diligently and persistently studied the Word often adopting viewpoints that went completely against the grain at the time. (refusing to get involved in leading a political group in school.) He sought also to use every minute of his time wisely and only got himself involved in those things that would forward God's Kingdom in some aspect or another. Through reading his diaries it is clear that his dogmatic views changed over time but his heart was always to follow Scripture regardless the cost to his personal reputation. We can all learn from his example.
His most famous quotation delivered in one of his letters and contained in this book is;
"He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."
A principle well worth all of us adopting.
Somewhat strangely Elliot seemed to become less effective/less dedicated when he actually went to a foreign mission field. Whether this was because he faced all kinds of difficulties; building swept away in typhoon weather, various deaths, potential colleagues marrying instead and remaining at home or whether it was because God was expecting him to live more by faith as he matured spiritually, I don't know.
His decision to go into Auca territory with the other men is an interesting one. I'm sure this has been debated endlessly. The author (his wife) was at first unsure and asked him whether he was sure that God led him into this decision. He confirmed that this was the case and then proceeded. Whether or not it was the right decision I'm sure that Elliot believed it was and God has obviously used his testimony (and that of the others that died) for many years after his death. It is rare to read of someone so sold out for Jesus and this should be an inspiration/challenge to us all. Earthly things were of no consequence to Elliot and he spoke a lot about his frustrations in having to maneuver them.
You will wonder then why I'm only giving this 3 stars. Whilst Elliot's life was interesting and his devotional life a challenge I found the style of the book hard going and much too detailed in places. Lengthy journal extracts and letters about flora and fauna, Elliot's personal spiritual experiences, details of his growing attachment to Elisabeth may be exciting reading for his wife and family but I found it a struggle not to lose interest. For his life and dedication I would rate it 4 stars.
Recommended for those with an interest in mission/missionaries. This is clean; free of bad language and sexual content. There is a little violence on the field and also some death scenes but nothing too graphic.
This one's a biography of Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed on the job in Equador back in 1956. Whereas the Woodrow Wilson biography I read preceding this one was a well crafted story, Shadow is more a collection of diary and correspondence excerpts, weaved together by a bit of narrative. I'm not quite sure how much I like the book. Overall, Jim Elliot came across as a sanctimonious young lad, quick to speak the word of Law to his peers and himself. Of course, I'm not quite sure how much of that negative perspective flows from his youthful attitudes or how much flows from guilt over my own shortcomings. Jim Elliot was more faithful in his lifetime than I've been, even though I've had almost twice as much time to get it right. Lord, have mercy! Anyway, the life of Jim Elliot is a tale that should be told. I just not sure that Shadow of the Almighty is the best way to tell it.
Has as a student's study guide
He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. So wrote Jim Elliot at age 22, sweating over Greek roots and patristics at Wheaton College. Seven years later, writes his widow Elisabeth, he and four other young men sat together on a strip of white sand on the Curaray River, deep in Ecuador s rain forest, waiting for the arrival of a group of men whom they loved, but had never met: savage Stone Age killers, men now known to all the world as Aucas. The circumstances of the death of these men are now known as one of the great missionary adventure stories of modern times. But this is the first account of the whole life of one of them, a life revealed in some of the most poignant and moving spiritual writings of our time. Shadow of the Almighty is a tremendous biography of an adventurous and inspirational life.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)266.0092Religions Christian church and church work Missions; Home and Foreign Missions; Home and Foreign Missions; Home and Foreign History, geographic treatment, biography
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