Cal Thomas On Mother Teresa (Whiff)

This was extremely disappointing.

“Perhaps Mother Teresa’s doubt lasted longer than most, but doubt is not the same as disbelief and in her actions as well as her words, she exhibited more faith than any doubter—or non-doubter—I have known.”

Mother TheresaToo much is being made about the sincerity of Mother Teresa’s faith or the amount of it. In reality, the only thing that matters for eternity is the Object of her faith—was she trusting in the right thing? Sadly, many of her own statements indicate that she was trusting other things in addition to the Lord Jesus Christ, including good works and baptism, which I once heard her refer to as “the ticket to heaven.”

The Bible teaches again and again that you don’t need a great amount of faith, or even unshakable faith. However, your faith must be in Jesus Christ alone. If your faith is directed anywhere but to Jesus Christ, the only hope of salvation, it is not saving faith.

“There is salvation in no one else [but Jesus Christ]; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

“But these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

More details on salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone can be found here.


4 Responses

  1. Rick Phillips provides a remarkably insightful commentary on Mother Teresa’s spiritual anguish. Read this.

    “Whereas the Bible says, ‘We love because he first loved us’ (1 Jn. 4:19), the spirituality of Mother Teresa despairingly cries, ‘Perhaps if we love Him enough, He will then be able to love us.’

    If this is the case, Mother Teresa should not be venerated for the towering height of her spiritual achievement. What she accomplished should continue to be admired on its own merits. But as a spiritual example, she is to be sincerely and compassionately pitied. In saying this, I do not mean to declare her as damned; such a pronouncement is beyond my authority or ability. But reading the pieces of her correspondence, I found myself lamenting that someone so noble as Mother Teresa should be led down such a false and tortuous path. It simply is not Christianity. Therefore, as a spiritual guide, her example should be shunned.”

  2. Dear People:

    The public response to the “revelation” that Mother Theresa was subject to doubts and long periods of spiritual dryness says more about the spiritual state of our culture than it does about her. People nowadays can’t understand why she would remain a Catholic if she wasn’t “getting off” on it. Where’s the euphoria? Where’s the payoff? If Catholicism was such a “downer” for her, why didn’t she just move on? The idea of suffering for one’s Beloved (human or Divine!) as being a high privilege is meaningless to such people.
    (Remember Don Novello’s character of Guido Sarducci, gossip columnist for La Osservatore Romano on Saturday Night Live? In one of his sketches he talked about a plan to remove the cross from Catholic churches because “the logo is a downer.” I’m not sure people could understand the humor of that today.)

    It may be that God was calling Mother Theresa, who in “natural” terms was a “cataphatic” contemplative, subject to visions and auditions and sensible consolations, to a different vocation: that of the apophatic contemplative, who encounters God in the barrenness, mortification and dark night of all the faculties of the soul — until he or she learns that the feeling of God’s absence is the very SIGN of His presence. And she may not have fully understood everything that such a call might entail.

    We mustn’t forget that Christ felt abandoned by God too: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Clearly he never doubted God’s existence; atheists never feel “abandoned by God.” And I’m sure that Mother Theresa never doubted His existence either; she simply mourned His felt absence, like John of the Cross, and Rumi, and so many other mystics always have. So what else is new? What else is new is that people are clueless nowadays about the fundamentals of the spiritual life.

    Charles Upton

  3. Charles, I’m afraid you’ve misread me. I’m not shocked by her times of doubt, nor was that the main point of my observations. I’m more concerned with what she did believe than what she doubted. Her faith—even when it was strongest—was in religion and sacraments and human merit obtained through good deeds. The Bible, on the contrary, describes salvation that is by grace (alone) through faith (alone) in Jesus Christ (alone). The Bible teaches that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the repentant and believing sinner, not earned by him (cp. Rom. 3:19-28 with Rom. 10:3; see also 2 Cor. 5:21).

    Regarding Christ’s being forsaken during the crucifixion, the point was not that we are to share in that experience. The exact opposite is true. Christ was forsaken by His Father vicariously, in place of sinners. He was forsaken by God so that we might not be. The sins which separate mankind from God (Isaiah 59:2) were placed on (imputed to) Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). He was thus punished and forsaken by God in order to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

    Again, my concern is not with Mother Teresa’s doubts, but with her beliefs. Her confidence was in things other than and in addition to Jesus Christ, who by Himself purged the sins of those who trust Him as their Lord and Savior (Hebrews 1:3).

    The problem isn’t doubt, friend; it’s misplaced faith.

    If you’re interested, I preached a sermon on the biblical doctrine of justification that is available as an mp3 file here. Further, I’ve preached on Christ’s being forsaken by God in two recent messages, available here and here.

    I’m glad for the discussion, friend.

  4. […] Cal Thomas does a good job addressing the garbage that passes for modern entertainment here. I wish he had shown such good judgment here. […]

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