One of the main emphases in the book is the fact that, among Christians, disputes arise over the interpretation of daily activity, beliefs, and lifestyles that aren’t specifically spelled out in the Bible as sin. The Apostle Paul refers to this as “disputable matters.”
Elisabeth writes that she thought she had a clear understanding of what sin was until she went to live with the Auca Indians after her husband’s death. With no way to communicate verbally with them, she spent a year observing their lifestyle.
The “savages” took care of their families, showed grace to one another, and lived by a moral code. Although adultery is rampant in western civilization, the Aucas wouldn't think of helping themselves to another man's wife. But…when Elisabeth’s husband had put his arm around one Indian to show Christian affection, it meant the missionaries were cannibals and had to be killed for the safety of the tribe. Elisabeth’s willingness to spank her toddler when she misbehaved was perceived as barbaric by the Indians. During her “quiet” year, Elisabeth wrestled with the concept of savage versus civilized. Her conclusion was that each culture has their own definition of disputable sin which often conflicts with other cultures.
Elisabeth spent time doing what all Christians should do when faced with conflicting cultures and information. She studied the New Testament, particularly the Apostle Paul’s letters, and prayed for discernment. “The Liberty of Obedience” was borne out of that time of study.
The book is comprised of an introduction to Elisabeth’s life and her thoughts. Then she shares four articles she wrote about defining good and evil, service, and spiritual discernment based on her years with the Aucas. She challenges her reader to really examine their hearts, motives, and beliefs that might be tied more to culture than Biblical truths, and strive for obedience based on God’s grace and love. I thoroughly enjoyed Elisabeth’s message, and it’s a great little book that can be read in one sitting. “The Liberty of Obedience” is available on Amazon.com.
(My friend, Christian writer Ginny Brant, recently spent time with Elisabeth Elliot, her husband Lars, and her daughter Valerie. [I’m trying not to be jealous.] The article and photos are amazing. I pray you’ll be as blessed as I am by Elisabeth’s inspiring story. Click here to read.)