Elisabeth Elliott

On January 8, 1956, Jim Elliott and four fellow missionaries were speared to death on the banks of the Curaray River as they attempted to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Huaorani tribe in remote Ecuador. Surrounding tribes called the Huaorani the “Auca,” meaning “Savages.” Elliott and his party had been warned of the danger of trying to reach this primitive people, but Jim had said, “No one is a fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

Elisabeth Elliott lost her husband that day and was left to raise their ten-month-old daughter. Elisabeth in a remarkable act of Christian magnanimity, forgave the Huaorani people for killing her husband, and along with Rachel Saint, widow of Nick Saint who perished along with Jim Elliott on that faithful day, took up her husband’s missionary mantle, and lived among and labored to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the Huaorani people.

She would spend two years among the Auca and fulfill the missionary vision her husband blazed with his death. She epitomized the self-sacrificing evangelistic passion that has characterized Christian missionaries throughout the history of the Church. She succeeded in converting these people despite the heartache she suffered and the hardships she faced.

Elisabeth remarried in 1969. Here husband Addison Leitch was a professor of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She was widowed again in 1973, and would go on to become and adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell herself. She married yet again to Lars Gren in 1977 who was a hospital chaplain.

She was a prolific writer and poet sharing from her experiences as a daughter, wife, widow, mother, and missionary from a Christian perspective. Possibly her greatest and most well-known book was, Through Gates of Splendor, which chronicled the story of her first husband and his fellow missionaries brave attempt to bring Christ to the Auca and their tragic deaths. She was a sought after speaker at various venues of faith throughout her life until dementia slowly robbed her of her faculties. She passed from this life to her reward this past June 15, 2015, at the age of 88.

She was without question one of the most influential Christian women who ever lived. She can take her place beside those great men and women of faith listed in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews of whom it was written “the world was not worthy,” Hebrews 11:38. The Church is bereft of another saint who has passed through those gates of splendor.

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To Boycott or Not

Financial giant Wells Fargo recently released an ad that featured a lesbian couple learning sign language to be able to communicate with a speech-impaired child they are adopting. The subtle message is that same-sex couples are just as human and caring and normal as heterosexual couples. What is not clear in the ad is the reason they are adopting is because they, as a lesbian couple, are biologically incapable of having their own children making them fundamentally different than heterosexual couples.

Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, has called for a boycott of LGBT friendly businesses and has withdrawn his ministry’s financial holdings with Wells Fargo and invested elsewhere. While I wholeheartedly agree with Franklin Graham’s stand on biblical marriage, and the threat same-sex marriage posed to our nation, I am not a fan of boycotts; here’s why.

Wells Fargo is a large financial institution and there are probably many Christians who work for them who do not agree with the company’s advertisement policies and could be adversely affected by such a boycott.

Boycotts are used by the LGBT community to bully others into complying with their demands and I do not think bullying others is the means God would have us employ to accomplish His purposes. Godly goals should be pursued with Godly means; otherwise we are no different than them. Besides, outward compliance is not always indicative of an inward change, which should be our goal.

Also, it would be impractical to vet every company that provides a service or product to determine whether or not they are LGBT friendly resulting in possibly unfair and biased boycotts.

The boycotts themselves are seldom effective. Several years ago a company that manufactures a number of health and household cleaning products was targeted by Christian leaders to be boycotted, because the family that owned the company was rumored to be involved in satanic worship and practices. The rumor turned out to be a complete hoax. That company continued and still flourishes financially today.

Wells Fargo’s advertising policies are merely a reflection and symptom of the spiritual condition of our culture; it is just responding to the culture.

Franklin’s father, Billy Graham, said, “The central issues of our time aren’t economic or political or social, important as these are. The central issues of our time are spiritual and moral.” Spiritual battles will not be waged and won in the boardrooms of corporate America, but in our prayer rooms.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses,” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4. Our weapons against the spiritual stronghold of same-sex marriage that has gripped our nation are the proclamation of the Gospel and prayer; anything less courts defeat. Our goal is not to merely change the advertising practices of a company, but to win the hearts and minds of our family, friends and fellow Americans.

The Josh Duggar Scandal

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are the parents of a large family and the hosts of the popular television reality show 19 Kids and Counting. The program was part of the TLC Network’s lineup. It recently became known that about twelve years ago their oldest child, Josh, had sexually molested several young girls, some were his sisters, when he was fourteen.

In the wake of this revelation Josh resigned his position as Executive Director of the conservative Family Research Council, and though his family’s show 19 Kids and Counting is one of TLC’s top-rated programs, production and programing is currently “in limbo.”

The disclosure has created a media maelstrom. The Duggars are accused of being hypocrites for remaining silent about what happen with detractors demanding cancelation of the show.

When Jim Bob and Michelle became aware of Josh’s actions they had Josh go through counseling, as well as the girls who were his victims. Everything seems to have been resolved to the satisfaction of all involved, including the counselors who actually dealt with the victims.

If this was indeed the case, then the decision to remain silent was probably in the best interest of the victims who may have been traumatized by further scrutiny. While their motives for remaining silent are questioned, I would have probably done the same, and to speculate whether their decision was right or wrong is not productive now.

When Josh Duggar resigned his post at the Family Research Council he issued a statement, “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. We spoke with authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.”

Though a minor himself at the time, only fourteen, I am convinced he knew what he had done was wrong. I agree with Josh that he “acted inexcusably.” But I also agree with Mike Huckabee, that although Josh’s actions are inexcusable they are not unforgiveable. Josh appears to have been completely honest about his sin and his subsequent repentance.

Many who believed the Duggars were a model of Christian purity and pristine family life were shocked when they discovered Josh’s past sins. I was surprised but not shocked. The Scriptures declare, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.

Everyone is born with a bent to sin and we each will eventually act on this innate propensity in one way or another. Thanks to Christ there is forgiveness for sin and healing for the one wounded by sin.

As the axiom says, “There is no sinner without a future, and no saint without a past.” It appears Josh has repented and is no longer the person he once was, and his victims seem to have moved on from what has happened. Let the past remain in the past.