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King on Gandhi as "the greatest Christian"

Martin Luther King's ability to transcend religious sectarianism enabled him to deliver a universal message through the language of Christianity. Although his Baptist religious beliefs were deeply rooted, he was similar to Gandhi in his rejection of religious intolerance and fundamentalist understandings of religious texts.

In the following 1962 statement, King responds to the criticisms he received from some Christian supporters who were disturbed when he agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the Gandhi Society, which had been established in New York to educate Americans about King's civil rights activities:

While I firmly believe that God revealed Himself more completely and uniquely in Christianity than any other religion, I cannot make myself believe that God did not reveal Himself in other religions. I believe that in some marvelous way, God worked through Gandhi, and the spirit of Jesus Christ saturated his life. It is ironic, yet inescapably true that the greatest Christian of the modern world was a man who never embraced Christianity. This is not an indictment on Christ but a tribute to Him--a tribute to his universality and His Lordship. When I think of Gandhi, I think of the Master's words in the fourth gospel: 'I have other sheep that are not of this fold.''





Last updated by Clayborne Carson May 23, 2011.


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