Is Mother Teresa in hell?

by Randal Rauser

About a month ago I gave a speech at a public function. At one point in the speech I mentioned the catalogue of saints that have come before us and who even now labor shoulder to shoulder with us. Among those individuals I mentioned people like the Apostle Paul, Augustine of Hippo, Catherine of Siena, and (in our own day) Desmond Tutu. Apparently that was one step too far: afterwards a gentleman came up and asked me why I had included Tutu in that esteemed group. Why not? I asked. After all, he was a catalyst in the fall of apartheid and the healing of a nation and he remains an Anglican priest in good standing.

The man replied that he remembered hearing something somewhere about Tutu not really being a Christian. So why, he repeated, would I include him?

A couple weeks ago I was speaking in another context when I mentioned great Christians of the past who have struggled with their doubts. In that list I included Martin Luther and Mother Teresa. Again a gentleman came up to me afterwards with a worried look on his face. Why, he asked me, had I mentioned Mother Teresa?

Why not? I replied. That tiny Albanian nun labored for fifty years among the poorest of the poor in India.

He replied that he had read somewhere – he thought it was Christianity Today but he wasn’t sure — that Mother Teresa had said all religions were the same. So, he informed me, Mother Teresa’s in hell. Gak! Where’s Rob Bell when you need him…?

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