Top positive review
Reconsidering Elisabeth Elliot
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 22, 2020
I picked up this book first because Ellen Vaughn is a colleague of sorts (we worked at the same organization, just at different times) and a good writer, and second, out of curiosity. To be perfectly honest, while I greatly respected the Elliots' accomplishments, I never got the appeal of their up-and-down-and-on-and-off courtship. "Passion and Purity" made me vaguely queasy. I wanted to read Ellen's analysis and try to figure out these lives and relationships.
I still don't get the courtship. (And to her great credit, Ellen paints it less as "epic love story given to us directly by God" and more as "confused guy dithers for a long time over whether to marry his girlfriend," which I think is a good deal nearer the mark.) But I do admire Elisabeth more than I did -- I even like her!
It's true that in her younger days Elisabeth was the sort of gushy Christian ("isn't the Lord wonderful!" tacked on to every other sentence) that I never quite know what to make of. But as she worked and suffered and matured, she displayed the kind of unrelenting faith and obedience, even in the worst circumstances, that wins genuine respect. She also became a little more realistic and down-to-earth and less gushy. And it was truly compelling to read about her struggles with strict personalities like her mother and Rachel Saint, and her attempts to push back against legalistic Christianity. I'm dying to know which of her books were banned from Christian bookstores, and why! And I'm now SUPER curious to find out how this Elisabeth became the Elisabeth who wrote "Passion and Purity" and started coming across to the world as fairly strict and unyielding herself.
In short, Ellen has done a great job with a difficult task. I'll definitely read the sequel when it comes out.