Lucy S.R. Austen, Elisabeth Elliot: A Life (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2023), 611 pp.
My late Aunt, Betty Steele used to urge me to read biographies, especially missionary biographies. In a strange irony, the latest biography on my reading list is Elisabeth Elliot: A Life by Lucy S.R. Austen. The ironic twist is due to my late aunt’s acquaintance with Elizabeth Elliot when she served at HCJB in Quito, Ecuador. Elliot is known best as the wife of Jim Elliot, one of the five men slain by Auca Indians, the people group they longed to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ. On January 8, 1956, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Pete Fleming were speared to death.
Nate Saint’s son, Steve Saint retells the tale of his father’s death in his book, The End of the Spear. Lucy S.R. Austen tells another story – the story of a young woman whose husband was abruptly taken in the early years of their marriage. Austen presents readers with a comprehensive biographical look at one of the most well-known Christian women of the twentieth century.
Elisabeth Elliot: A Life is an inside look at a woman who endured gut-wrenching tragedy, yet persisted in her dream of winning lost people to Christ. Austen does not spare any details. She helps readers understand what made Elisabeth Elliot tick. She recounts the full spectrum of faith in Elliot’s life – both struggling and resilient.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Elliot’s life was her commitment to complementarianism. Austen cites from Elliot’s book, Let Me Be a Woman: “God created male and female, the male to call forth, to lead, initiate and rule, and the female to respond, follow, adapt, submit … Within the Godhead, there is both the just and legitimate authority of the Father and the willing and joyful submission of the Son.”
Elliot’s views on marriage struck the proper biblical balance: “The man and woman who recognize that they are heirs together of the grace of life move in time to the rhythm, accepting their boundaries as do the waves, yielding their self-life to the Will of life Universal … moving always toward the final fulfillment and joy – the perfect Music – which is the will of God.”
Elisabeth Elliot: A Life is a riveting look at a remarkable Christian woman. She penned twenty-eight books, spoke around the world, and left a legacy that will stand the test of time. Elliot’s life was not perfect – not even close. She, like every follower of Christ, was a sinner saved by grace. Her life is a testament to the gospel of God and will continue to shine forth for generations!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.
Dr. David Steele has been in pastoral ministry since 1991. He holds BS and MA degrees from Multnomah University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary and a D. Min from Bakke Graduate University. Following graduation from Multnomah University, he served eight years as Pastor to Students at Lacey Chapel. In 2000, he became the Pastor of Theology at First Baptist Church in La Grande, Oregon where he served for over eleven years. In 2012, he became the Senior Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Everson, Washington.
He is the author of Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther, A Godward Gaze: The Holy Pursuit of John Calvin, and The White Flag: When Compromise Cripples the Church.
At Christ Fellowship he leads the staff, serves as the Pastor for preaching and vision casting, and oversees Veritas (adult theological education) and Iron Men (men’s leadership development).
His personal mission is to positively influence people, impact the world one person at a time and to glorify God by enjoying him forever. His passion in ministry is preaching, teaching, and leadership development. Specifically, his aim is to educate the mind, engage the affections, equip the whole person, and encourage God-centered living that treasures Christ above all things.
He and his wife, Gerrene were married in 1991 and they have two children.