By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Going Deeper - with Eric Liddell

My Own Story

Eric Liddell excelled in sports of all kinds – playing cricket and rugby as well as being a superb athlete.  He also enjoyed hill walking, notably climbing Ben Nevis just a day or two before a big athletics event!  He could have been a highly successful sportsman, but chose instead to pursue a call to overseas mission.

  • What was/am I good that I have set aside either to pursue my career or calling, or because it seemed frivolous? Music?  Art? Sport? Something else?  How do I make space in my life to exercise these gifts God has given me, if simply for my own pleasure?
  • Eric decided not to compete in sport on a Sunday because of his firm beliefs. How do my beliefs affect my views on the use of Sunday or other ‘rest days’?
  • If Sabbath is made for people, and is about rest, how to I experience that in my own life?

Truth and Belief

The story of Eric Liddell is well known and loved, with some facts distorted and others embellished where it makes for a good story.  Chariots of Fire is far from historically accurate, yet carries a profound message that influences and inspires others.

  • Pontius Pilate famously asked, ‘What is truth?’ How would you answer that question?

As a Congregationalist, Eric Liddell would not have been in the practice of reciting the ancient creeds of the established churches, yet he did create his own ‘creed’ (see bottom of post)

  • Do creeds or statements of belief have a place?
  • If I were to create my own ‘creed’, what would it say? How would it shape my life?

Situations Alter Cases – the Pastoral Imperative

Eric Liddell was a very devout Sabbatarian, yet whilst in the internment camp, he agreed to allow the young people to play sport on Sunday afternoons.  He was also very diligent in telling the truth and obeying rules, yet he was one of the leaders in smuggling extra food into the camp.

  • Sometimes tensions arise between what we believe to be right and what a situation seems to demand of us. Can I think of an example where I have chosen the ‘pastoral imperative’ rather than my own natural inclination to guide my actions? 
  • Am I more naturally a rule follower, a rule bender, or a rule breaker? Do I think it’s better to ask permission (and risk refusal) or apologise retrospectively (if what I have done causes offence)?

A legend?

Eric Liddell seems to have been a thoroughly nice man as well as an amazing athlete, teacher and missionary, yet he appears never to have become vain or conceited as a result

  • Who do I consider to be ‘legends’ and why? In what ways do these people’s lives and personalities inspire and encourage me in my own life?


Eric Liddell’s Creed

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Creator, infinitely holy and loving, who has a plan for the world, a plan for my life, and some daily work for me to do.

I believe in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, as Example, Lord, and Saviour.

I believe in the Holy Spirit who is able to guide my life so that I may know God's will; and I am prepared to allow him to guide and control my life.

I believe in God's law that I should love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength, and my neighbour as myself.

I believe it is God's will that the whole world should be without any barriers of race, colour, class, or anything else that breaks the spirit of fellowship.

I believe in the Sermon on the Mount and its way of life and I intend, God helping me, to embody it in my life.


  • Hi Catriona thanks for posting this, some things worth pondering, especially like the concept of pastoral imperative, needs more reflection. While also non-confotmist i do find creeds useful and particularly like the way this one links the spiritual with the practical. E

The comments are closed.