"God is clearly not a Christian. His concern is for all his children. To claim God exclusively for Christians is to make God too small and in a real sense is blasphemous. God is bigger than Christians and cares for more than Christians only," writes Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his new book, God Is Not A Christian, a collection of some of his speeches, sermons, lectures, letters, and exchanges from the past three decades. Below is an excerpt from the book.
God Is Not a Christian - Speaking Truth in Times of Crisis
By Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Published: 5 May 2011 by Rider Books. 237 pages, including index. [pounds sterling]12.99 hardback.
MOST CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT they get their mandate for exclusivist claims from the Bible. Jesus does say that no one can come to the Father except through him, and in Acts we hear it proclaimed that there is no other name under heaven that is given for salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Those passages seem to be categorical enough to make ail debate superfluous. But is this all that the Bible says, with nothing, as it were, on the side of inclusiveness and universality, and does the exclusivist case seem reasonable in the light of human history and development?
Fortunately for those who contend that Christianity does not have an exclusive and proprietary claim on God, as if God were indeed a Christian, there is ample Biblical evidence to support their case.
John's Gospel, in which Jesus claims to be the exclusive means of access to the Father, right at the beginning makes an even more cosmic and startling claim for Jesus, as the Light who enlightens everyone, not just Christians (John 1:9).
In Romans, St Paul points out that everyone stands condemned as under sin before God--both Jew and Gentile (Romans 3:9). This, which is central to the teaching he intends to convey, is found in an epistle focused on the wonder of God's free acquittal of all.
God's grace, bestowed freely through Jesus Christ, would be untenable if there were no universality about sin. Sin involves, in Paul's view, the deliberate contravention of God's law. There is no problem about the Jew who has received the Torah and constantly infringes it. But what is the case with regard to the Gentile, the pagan who seems to be bereft of a divine law which he could break and so stand justly under divine judgement? If he has received no law, then he patently cannot be adjudged in the wrong before God.