The Olympic runner and missionary on discipleship.
Within a year of his 1924 Olympic success (dramatized in the award-winning film, Chariots of Fire), Eric Liddell—the gold medalist who wouldn’t run on Sunday—went to China as a missionary with the London Missionary Society. There, he taught science at the Anglo-Chinese College in Tientsin and later decided to tackle the more arduous task of rural evangelism, traveling many miles in rugged conditions by foot and bicycle.
Following the Japanese invasion of China and the consequent outbreak of World War II, Liddell was classified as an “enemy national” and sent to the prison camp at Weishien in August of 1943. As one of 1,800 prisoners packed into a facility measuring only 150 by 200 yards, the former national hero played a pivotal role in meeting the camp’s physical and spiritual needs. He organized athletic meets, taught hymns, and ministered from the Word. David J. Michell, who was a child in the Weishien camp, writes: “None of us will ever forget this man who was totally committed to putting God first, a man whose humble life combined muscular Christianity with radiant godliness.”
Just months before liberation, Liddell died of a brain tumor on February 21, 1945.
The following is taken from A Manual of Christian Discipleship, a directive on spiritual living written by Liddell. It is being published for the first time this month—exactly sixty years since Liddell first went to China—by Abingdon Press, under the title The Disciplines of the Christian Life (1985).
The Key To Knowing God
A disciple is a person who knows God personally and learns from Jesus Christ, who most perfectly revealed God. Obedience is the key to knowing God. Obedience to God’s will is the secret of spiritual ...1
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