Elisabeth Elliot a Catholic?


Well, maybe not yet:smiley:



That is incredibly cool.

I had no idea that Thomas Howard was Elisabeth Elliot’s brother.

I can tell you, as a former evangelical Christian, that Elisabeth Elliot is absolutely revered among evangelicals. If she were to become Catholic, it would create a sensation, and she knows it. Perhaps that’s why she’s a “coward.” Christians shrink from being sensations. “He must increase, we must decrease.”

Perhaps in the privacy of her life, she will or has already become a Catholic, and she just doesn’t want to announce it to the world and face being a sensation. I don’t blame her. It would be like Billly Graham becoming a Catholic. Actually, it would be more amazing; everyone would say, “But what about your husband who died at the end of the Auca spears? Are you saying he died for a false church?”

Wow. This takes my breath away.


Since he died as a martyr, baptized in blood, doesn’t he enter into the Presence without having to go through purgatory?


Theorectically, that’s true. If one wishes to recognize him as a Christian martyr, they are perfectly free to do so. He certainly gave his life in the faithful service of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I would absolutely consider him thus.

But if you are asking if he, as a non-Catholic Christian who arguably did not hold the fullness of the Catholic Faith, could be recognized officially in the Martyrology of the Catholic Church perhaps as a canonized saint-- then no. And I suspect he himself would have been O.K. with that. :slight_smile:


No, I’m not asking if he would be considered a “saint” as the RC understands “sainthood.”

Since he was a baptized Christian, and was killed for his faith in Christ, whether you wish to call it “martyrdom” or not, but for sake of arguement since he was killed for being a Christian, doesn’t he get to “bypass” purgatory?


As I said, theoretically, that’s true. And I also said I, personally, would consider him a martyr.

In the Catholic Church, almost by definition, a martyr for the Christian Faith is a Saint. This is why I phrased my answer as I did.


Let a Fundamentalist try his hand at Catholic theology…

IIRC, “saint” means someone who is full of grace, either in this life or the next. If Jim Elliot bypassed purgatory, then he would be a saint by definition. So the two ideas are interchangeable and Publisher and Fidelis agree.

'Zat right?


Sounds right to me!


'Zat’s right. :slight_smile:


This is one of those places where triumphalism runs aground.

This is one of those moments when we are awed by the grace of God and a bit confused by what appears to be God’s ambivalence to formal affiliations.

Elisabeth Elliot is (conspicuously) holy. Holiness is one of the four marks of the Church.

My guess is that she’s not bothered much by the abstract, though necessary, criteria of apostolicity nor catholicity.

She’s one of those evangelical Christians whom we would legitimately consider a ‘good and faithful servant’, according to Jesus’ criteria. It sounds like she’s open to the fulness of truth in the Catholic Church. But she doesn’t want to offend someone in particular, as intimated by other posters. Those she wishes not to offend can only be construed as anti-Catholic.

In my view, she’s probably an anonymous Catholic. So am I. One day perhaps she and I will have the courage to swim the Tiber both formally and quite nominously.


Qui, I hope I can express this well.

What you say makes a lot of sense and I agree that Ms. Elliot is not an anti-Catholic.

But what I hear is that Ms. Elliot is full of pride and self-elevation. I hope I am incorrect.

But what I hear in your post is that somehow, Ms. Elliot thinks that she can avoid the Church because she is somehow “outside.”

She is a “Christian-only” who encompasses ALL of Christianity, not just one “Church.” She is “above” all that “man” stuff, all that “earthly” stuff.

She is a TRUE Christian, the way Christ intended Christians to be, not bound up in any earthly organization.

The problem is, that’s not what Jesus taught.

In fact, it is a form of gnosticism, which places the “spirit” above the “flesh.”

Elisabeth Elliot is no better, no higher, no more “holy” than the rest of us. We all need the Church. SHE needs the Church, especially if she is, indeed, a more holy Christian than all of us.

There is a movement among Protestant Christians to abandon the man-made organizations called “churches” and be “Christian only,” above all the earthly things. What you are saying about Ms. Elliot sounds like that teaching. And it’s not Biblical at all.

I fear for her. If she has a complete understanding of the Catholic Church and chooses to reject it for the reasons that I have tried to state, then I fear for her. She is without excuse, and the doctrine of invincible ignorance will not apply to her.

Please don’t bash me. I hope I am very wrong. Only God knows what is in her heart. I don’t, and I may be way off base. God is merciful. She is safe in His Hands.


I thought it was against forum rules to speculate on conversions-in-process or alleged conversions of prominent non-Catholics on this forum


Stuff like this just puts me on fire spiritually!


Well said. And if what I said is an infraction of forum rules, mea culpa.


I apologize if I broke a rule. I didn’t realize.

I think the principle is still there, though. No Christian is “outside” or “above” the Church.


I’ve always got the impression that Elisabeth Eliott is pretty liturgical. I don’t think she’d go in for Gnostic heresies. In her writing and her life she’s always come across as someone who very deeply desires God’s will.

I will pray for her.


Cat, I didn’t read Qui’s post as saying that. I really doubt that is the case.

What it sounds like is that Mrs. Elliot may have accepted the truth of Catholic teaching, but not the “exclusivity”. That may come in time, I know it did for me. I went through a brief period of thinking, “I believe all the Catholic Church teaches, but can’t I go to any church and believe that? After all, my beliefs have never matched up 100% with any church I was in before; no church-goer expects them to.” It was really a sort of “voice of God” experience that told me, “THIS is the way–walk ye in it. If you don’t follow, you are no longer following Me.”

That was scary.

For whatever reason, I assume Mrs. Elliot hasn’t heard that yet.


Sorry for the belatedness of the reply.

Many Tiberian converts come across as arrogant. Your lack of even a hint of it, and your insightful honesty, are encouraging.

I sometimes wonder if I’ve heard that voice myself, and am repressing my memory of that experience.

I suspect Elizabeth’s brother Tom was somewhat arrogant himself. He converted to Anglicanism first and wrote a wonderful book, first published on Morehouse, an Episcopalian firm (though now available on Ignatius) called, *Evangelical Is Not Enough: Worship of God In Lirturgy And Sacrament. *The claim is certainly true. But the polemics inherent in the title are offputting to devout Evangelicals who have not heard the liturgical imperative in their hearts.

Another book was, The Liturgy Explained, which was a sort mystagogical introduction to the ECUSA BCP1979 Holy Eucharist.

Tom is of course now Catholic. His book On Being Catholic (Ignatius) reads like a dream. But we’re talking sibling rivalry and all that. Tom doubtless harangued his sister about the virtues of Anglicanism, then went to Rome. It was certainly inevitable to those of us who are Catholic at heart. But to her it might have seemed somewhat capricious, even duplicitous. You’ve repudiated the faith of your childhood (Independent Baptist) for Anglicanism. Then you repuduate Anglicanism for Roman Catholicism. What gives, bro?

She doubtless would affirm Mere Christianity (an Anglican constuct of the Anglican Lewis). But she doubtless can’t affirm any manner of triumphalism, which is what most neophyte converts mistakenly profess.

And by the way, you won’t find a better book than Elizabeth’s Passion and Purity to inspire teenage girls to save themselves sexually for marriage. I used to give this book to youth in my days as a Free Church Evangelical.



i thought discussion of possible conversion by public figures is a banned topic


Why is it a banned topic?

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