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Elisabeth Elliot Gren emphasizes God’s ageless call to holiness

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Is it harder to be holy in the 21st century?

That was the question posed by Elisabeth Elliot Gren to women attending a Women’s Fellowship Day chapel service at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Oct. 23.

Christianity must make a difference in the way women live their lives, at home, with their families and wherever they may work, Elliot Gren emphasized in her message at Binkley Chapel on the Wake Forest, N.C., campus — otherwise, she said, it’s not really Christianity.

“Holiness means loving God and doing what He says — trust and obey,” she said. “God has only given you one thing to do — His will.”

Elliot Gren is a well-known speaker and author, having penned such classics as “Through Gates of Splendor” and “Passion and Purity.” The former book is an account of the five missionaries who were killed in the 1950s, including her husband, Jim Elliot, while trying to reach South American jungle tribes with the Gospel. It is widely recognized as one of the most influential Christian books of the 20th century, having led many to commit themselves to international missions work.

On Women’s Fellowship Day, though, Elliot Gren’s focus was on holiness. Although the 21st century is fraught with more temptations than times past, she reminded her audience that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

She then noted two actions women can take toward holiness: prayer and surrender.

By spending time alone with God first every morning, they would obtain a peace that can carry them throughout the day.

“Prayer cannot be neglected if you want to be holy,” Elliot Gren said. “You will be able to bring peace to others. You cannot do that unless you have first received it.”

Elliot Gren gave several practical ways for women to develop their prayer lives, including using old hymns of praise and prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer.

In sharing an exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, she reminded the women that God must have control of every part of their lives if holiness is their goal.

On the theme of surrender, Elliot Gren cited Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the supreme example.

“Very often, God comes to us with things we don’t understand,” Elliot Gren said. She noted that just as Mary could not comprehend the message brought to her by the angel of Jesus’ coming birth, often we do not understand the situations God brings to us.

“What God asks you or me to do is to be at His disposal,” Elliot Gren said. “To understand is not what is asked of us, but rather the willingness to follow God.”

As an answer to the question she posed at the beginning of her message, Elliot Gren concluded by saying, “Holiness in the 21st century means trust and obedience as it has in every other century.”
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  • Heather Lanxton