This article first appeared in the From the President column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 41, number 02 (2018).For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal please click here.
Just five months ago, Elliot Miller, my long-time friend and colleague at the Christian Research Institute was diagnosed with stage IV metastasized bone cancer. And now, as I write, he is absent the body, present with the Lord.
At times like this, we grieve, but not as those who have no hope! We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those (like Elliot) who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those (like Elliot) who have fallen asleep in Him. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ (including Elliot) will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together (with him) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.1
With Elliot’s passing, we are again reminded to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. To run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. To consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that we do not grow weary and lose heart.2
That is precisely what Elliot did. As with the apostle, he fought the good fight, standing for truth no matter the cost. He finished the race and finished it well, and he kept the faith! Shortly before he died, he told me that he knew he would soon be with the Savior and the saints and, more so, looked forward to that certainty.
With typical humility, he added that he wished he could have done more during his earthly sojourn. When I replied that what he had already done was enormous, he cried. Upon gaining composure, he thanked me profusely and said he would gratefully carry those words to his grave.
As I told Elliot that day, he has indeed cast a very large shadow. First and foremost, he exemplified prayer. He prayed for and with his dear wife Corinne faithfully. He prayed for the ministry he loved. Most of all, he treasured spending time conversing with the Lord in solitary places. And if you knew Elliot, you know that those places were indeed solitary. Perhaps I should say remote — deep in the woods where not even CRI colleagues such as Melanie Cogdill or even his dear wife Corinne could find him!
Furthermore, Elliot modeled a deep-seated intention to follow the truth wherever it leads — and that irrespective of consequences. Two examples stand out. The first dates back to August 2003, when I agreed to meet with leading ones in what is widely referred to as the Lord’s Recovery. Back in the ‘70s, Elliot believed these men to be cultic at best, heretical at worst. His research, along with that of such apologetic titans as Bob and Gretchen Passantino, sealed his convictions. Thus, when I assigned him to reassess the Recovery, he was quite certain his original convictions would be reconfirmed. Yet after a six-year exhaustive primary research project, he realized that he had been dreadfully wrong.
While Elliot’s conclusions respecting the Lord’s Recovery were made public in a special edition of the Christian Research Journal, translated into many languages and circulated worldwide, the second example is not as well known. Elliot felt convicted to search out the truth regarding the accusations of my detractors — some of whom he counted as personal friends. As in the previous example, he desired to make his research public in a special edition of the Christian Research Journal titled “Breaking the Silence.” To his chagrin, his findings were released without flourish in 2010 on our website at equip.org.
Finally, a word about Elliot’s sense of humor, which was without doubt one of his most endearing qualities. When he laughed, he did so in typical “hair-on-fire” fashion. Recently, when I visited him in the hospital, I said that there was something I wanted to get off my chest. “No matter what I do,” I intoned, “you always imitate me. I was born July 18, and a year later, you pick the very same date. When I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, a few months later, you had to copy me again.” Due to pain medication, it took a few moments for a response. But then in typical Elliot fashion, he grabbed his hair, laughed loudly, and retorted, “I can’t let you have all the glory!”
Elliot’s life accomplishments are many. They include his book, A Crash Course on the New Age Movement (Baker, 1989); shepherding his beloved Christian Research Journal; and devoting forty-two years of faithful service to CRI. And now, he has without doubt heard words he has longed to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”3
Elliot leaves behind his dear wife Corinne and two stepchildren, Andree and Eric, and a treasured legacy. He will be sorely missed until we are reunited again in glory.
- Paragraph adapted from 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NIV 1984.
- Paragraph adapted from Hebrews 12:1–3 NIV 1984.
- Matthew 25:21 NIV 1984.