I just finished reading Mother Teresa: A Simple Path. I was asked to read this book to see if it should be placed in our church library. I am recommending that we do put it in the library because of its positive elements and for the Christian reader to be informed about her historical work, but with a statement of caution in the flyleaf. Why is that?
Mother Teresa is well known for her work with "the poorest of the poor" in Calcutta, India and around the world, for which she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. This book is a collection of thoughts by Mother Teresa and her followers on her philosophy of life and
The book is inspiring in its devotion to love the poor by loving Jesus Christ through the poor. There are many inspiring testimonies from volunteers, prayers, and simple statements that show how she kept her focus on her mission. She had a wonderful appreciation for the value of every human life, including the unborn. On p. 55 she asks why people worry about children being killed in wars but do not oppose mothers killing their own children.
I hesitate to say anything critical about Mother Teresa, because she has done far more for the needy in the name of Jesus than I have. However, I must point out that in an attempt to be non-judgmental, Mother Teresa falls into the error of universalism. That is, she teaches that any religion is an equally valid way to get to Heaven. For example, on p. 31 she says, "I've always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic." This contradicts the words of Jesus, who said He was the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and the words of the apostle Paul, who said that there is salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). We should not be surprised that Mother Teresa takes this viewpoint, as universalism is a common view of salvation among Roman Catholics. Nevertheless, Protestants who are inspired by her devotion should be cautious of her as a theologian.
Since Mother Teresa has died, she will no doubt be made a "saint" by the Roman Catholic Church (actually all believers are called "saints" in scripture, as we see in Philippians 1:1.) Her work is truly inspiring and deserving of recognition. However, her teaching about salvation sadly falls short of the teachings of the Bible.