Profile In Faith: Eric Liddell - page 7

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From the Summer 2012 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Eric Liddell: Muscular Disciple and Olympic Champion

by Joel S. Woodruff Ed.D.
Vice President of Discipleship & Outreach, C.S. Lewis Institute


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Eric Metcalf, a teenager in the camp, recalls Liddell giving him a pair of running shoes that had been repaired with string, to keep his feet warm in the winter. Metcalf goes on to say, “the best thing, however, Eric Liddell gave me was his baton of forgiveness. He taught me to love my enemies, the Japanese, and to pray for them.”14 After the war, Metcalf would return to Japan and serve there as a missionary for forty years.
  David Mitchell, a child who survived the camp, wrote later, “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.”15
  It took two months for word of Eric’s death to reach the West; when it did it’s said that all of Scotland mourned.
  Liddell’s life was short, only forty-three years, and yet his legacy lives on. China lists Liddell as their first Olympic champion and honors him as one of seven hundred heroes of the liberation of China. The movie Chariots of Fire brought Eric’s story to another generation and won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 1981. Over the years, thousands of people have been inspired not only by Eric’s athletic accomplishment, but also by his integrity, humble service, and faith in Jesus Christ.
Scotland wouldn’t see another gold medal until 1980, when Allan Wells won the 100 meters, the race that Liddell refused to run on Sunday. Just after his victory, Wells stated simply, “That one’s for Eric Liddell.”16

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1. David McCasland, Eric Liddell: Pure Gold (Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 2001), 54.
2. Simon Burton, The Guardian, January 4, 2012, 05.59.
3. Sally Magnusson, The Flying Scotsman (New York: Quartet Books, 1981), 53.
4. McCasland, Eric Liddell, 56.
5. Magnusson, The Flying Scotsman, 32.
6. McCasland, Eric Liddell, 71.
7. Burton, The Guardian.
8. Burton, The Guardian.
9. Janet and Geoff Benge, Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold (Seattle: YWAM, 1998), 57.
10. The Guardian, July 12, 1924.
11. McCasland, Eric Liddell, 117.
12. Max O’Neill, “The Guts and Heart of a Man of Faith,” 21st Century Christianity, June 2010.
13. Langdon Gilkey, Shantung Compound (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 192.
14. Hamish, McDonald, “A Forgiving Man in an Unforgiving War Camp,” Weifang, Eastern China, August 18, 2005.
15. David, Mitchell, “I Remember Eric Liddell,” in Liddell, Eric, The Disciplines of the Christian Life, (Escondido, CA: eChristian Books, 2011), 14.
16. Magnusson, The Flying Scotsman, 56.


Joel S. Woodruff, Ed.D. Vice President of Discipleship & Outreach - Joel Woodruff has worked in education, “tent-making,” nonprofit administration, and pastoral ministry in Alaska, Israel, Hungary, France, and Virginia. He served as a Dean and professor at European Bible Institute, and worked for Oakwood Services International before coming to CSLI. He has a B.A from Wheaton College, M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.


COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.


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