Tutu – Saint or Sinner?

Jan 4, 2022 by

by David Robertson, theweeflea:

I thought I would start the New Year with something non-controversial!  This weeks Christian Today column  is a different perspective on Desmond Tutu.   I was astonished at how even evangelicals joined in the eulogies for Tutu.  A man who did a great deal of good – but also harm.  I felt it was like committing sacrilege – but sometimes we have to tell the truth!

The death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the age of 90 is a significant event for many in the world and in the Church, and the eulogies have flooded in. A hero of the anti-apartheid movement, it is hard to understate his political significance – especially of course for South Africa, but also throughout the world.

He was a winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984, an ally of Nelson Mandela and the first black Archbishop of Cape Town. His role in leading the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was crucial. The fact that South Africa did not descend into a vengeful bloodbath was to some extent due to him. He also showed tremendous courage in criticising the ANC when it descended into factionalism and corruption.

Those who met him spoke of how kind and humble he was towards them. In addition to this, his effervescent personality and his sense of humour and fun endeared him to many people. So much so that his fellow Episcopal priest Michael Battle in his book Desmond Tutu: a Spiritual Biography of South Africa’s Confessor argued that he should be made a living saint.

After his death leaders of both Church and State throughout much of the world queued up to offer their praise. In the UK Boris Johnson, Justin Welby, the Queen, Keir Starmer and many others joined in.

It seems as though everyone praised him. And therein lies the problem. When the whole world praises you – including those who hate Christ and his Church – then beware. Jesus foretold that his disciples would face trouble and persecution in this world. He also gave this stark warning – “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets” (Luke 6:46).

Is it possible for us to have a more balanced assessment before we appoint the archbishop as the next saint?

Without taking away from any of the above there are some troubling aspects in Tutu’s life.

Read here


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