Tu to Eternity

Archbishop Desmund Tutu has passed into eternity. No one can doubt his commitment and contribution towards the improvement of black South Africans’ lives. While Nelson Mandela was in prison, Tutu was the most prominent voice decrying the black majority’s oppression. Many within the church hail him a hero, a latter-day saint, a man of prophetic call. While he was promoting the theology of liberation, however, he naturally forgot the gospel of grace, of sins forgiven, of the need for each repentant sinner to be born again. With the exception of William Booth and some others, most Christian campaigners for improved social conditions and political rights travel this dry and dusty road. For example, Tutu was a lively campaigner for ‘LGBTQ+ rights’, long before they acquired this initialism. As the Church Times reports:

His support for what by now were known as LGBTQ rights and committed homosexual partnerships represented a dissenting voice in striking and costly contrast with the overall tone of African Anglicanism. On this issue, he was influential in South Africa, though he failed to sway opinion in other African Provinces. In 2007, he spoke of being ashamed that “on the long journey from Calvary to Lambeth”, the Church had become homophobic.

Whereas the world will applaud him all the more for yet another battle with an oppressive establishment, I see here a further drifting away from the Bible’s authority. That ‘overall tone of African Anglicanism’ sought to be faithful to God’s word, not man’s preference. We shall see if, before the bar of eternity, God greets Archbishop Tutu as enthusiastically as the clerics and bishops are currently mourning his departure.