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Amy Carmichael: ‘Beauty for Ashes’

Iain Murray
Banner of Truth, 2015.

Reviewed by Peter Barnes

Patricia MacArthur rightly speaks of Amy Carmichael in terms of “a compulsive life”. In every respect, Amma, as she was known, takes her place as one of the foremost Christian women of any age – not that she would have enjoyed that praise, or agreed with it.

Nevertheless, her long life, wherein she spent more than 50 years in the south of India in Dohnavur, is ample testimony to her life of faith which works itself out in love. For that matter, Iain Murray’s little biographical work is also a labour of love. In most ways, there is little added to what we already know from the biographies by Frank Houghton and Elisabeth Elliot, but there is the clear assertion that Amma’s split with Stephen Neill in 1925 was, in fact, a dispute with the future bishop over the full authority of Scripture.

51EN8nsmBOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Amma combined a single-minded devotion to Christ with clear-headed insight. Blessed with the gifts of a poet, she uttered sayings which deserve to be remembered. For example, “To live in a hurry means to do much but effect little” and “If unlove is discovered anywhere, stop everything and put it right, if possible at once”. Others are “Faithfulness in little things is a very great thing” and “Joy is perfect acquiescence in God’s will”.

The work of Dohnavur has continued since Amma’s death in 1951. For this, many will be very thankful, and we ought to prize everything we can learn from this most remarkable and godly woman.

Buy it here from Reformers Bookshop

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