Monday, May 14, 2007

On Dr. Francis Beckwith and a new Thomas Howard Book

Click here to read a reflection about the conversion of the former president of the Evangelical Theology Society ... and my breakfast with the sister of Thomas Howard, another convert to the faith whose new collection of essays about his journey to Rome has been published by Ignatius Press.


Tiber Jumper said...

Hello Heidi!
Your story about Elisabeth Elliot is making it's rounds on the internet. As a former evangelical who lost much including friends and family when I converted I am surprised by Elizabeth's comment about a lack of courage to convert.
We saw her speak at a missions conference in 1979 and my wife read her books, passion and purity, being one of them. We were big fans of hers.
Do you think the issue was really one of courage? Only God knows the heart and it's not up to us to judge but, I wonder if she was just being gracious in her comments to you. A woman with her courage could "Cross the Amazon" but not the Tiber, sounds fishy to me. God bless you

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

Hello Tiber!

I agree ... she is one of the most courageous women I know, which is what made the comment surprising. For the record, I don't think courage has anything to do with it (at least, not the fear of what other people might think). It has everything to do with what GOD would think ... And fear of the Lord is a good thing.

It's important to remember that in the evangelical tradition, there are many (including Elisabeth) whose faith runs deep (dare I say, deeper than that of many Catholics), and whose confidence in God is breathtaking. To many of them, "adding" anything (which is what they perceive Catholics do in the sacraments and the Magisterium) is in some ways worse than not believing at all.

I think Elisabeth sensed my discomfort, and allowed herself to express her admiration for what she appreciates about the Church.

Perceptions and misgivings run deep. I have no doubt she admires the Church (and that her brother's decision influences her greatly). I also do consider it unlikely that she will convert, for a variety of reasons.

The Church has always taught that there is hope for those outside the boundaries of the "visible Church," and Elisabeth is a great example. No doubt God will one day reward her for her faithfulness to Him all these years. Heidi

Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the follow up Heidi.