South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu [who died on December 26, 2021] has spent half his life in the front lines of the fight against apartheid and is one of the movement’s most prominent leaders.
In 1986 the Nobel laureate became spiritual leader of the Anglican Church in southern Africa when he was named archbishop of Cape Town. His position has helped him avoid much of the repression his anti-apartheid colleagues have suffered. It also allowed him to assume interim leadership while many of them were exiled or behind bars.
Since the 1990 release of many prisoners and the unbanning of political parties, Archbishop Tutu has kept a lower profile. But he is as committed to biblical justice and reconciliation as ever. And, it seems, the battle is far from over. The night before he spoke to CT’s Thomas Giles and Timothy Jones, he attended the funeral of the 42 people massacred in June at Boipatong in the violence that brought talks on multiracial democracy to a halt.
What role has faith played in your life, and how has it led you to the fight against apartheid?
I have come to understand that a person’s worth derives not from extraneous things, such as achievement, status, or race. One’s worth is intrinsic and comes from being created in the image of God. God values his own image in mankind even after the Fall.
God has also sent his Son to further underline our infinite worth. He says, “You are of such worth that I will ransom you from the clutches of the Devil—not with perishable things, such as gold and silver, but by the precious blood of my Son.”
As if that were not enough, God says, “I will sanctify you by the gift of my Holy Spirit.” So human beings are of worth not ...1
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