A historic letter written by Mahatma Gandhi in which he discussed the person of Jesus Christ has gone on sale in the US. A lot has been said by many different Christian preachers who claimed ‘Gandhi loved Jesus Christ but not Christianity’
Onward Christian Radio can reveal that Gandhi rejected becoming a Christian as a polite way of rejecting Jesus Christ.
This has come to light in the content of the letter famous letter he wrote to American religious elder Milton Newberry Frantz.
In the typed letter from the Indian activist dated April 6, 1926. Gandhi described Christ as ‘one of the greatest teachers of mankind’ but stopped short of ascribing divinity to him.
‘Dear Friend, I have your letter,’ Gandhi wrote. ‘I am afraid it is not possible for me to subscribe to the creed you have sent me. The subscriber is made to believe that the highest manifestation of the unseen reality was Jesus Christ. In spite of all my efforts, I have not been able to feel the truth of that statement.
‘I have not been able to move beyond the belief that Jesus was one of the great teachers of mankind. Do you not think that religious unity is to be had not by a mechanical subscription to a common creed but by all respecting the creed of each?’
He added: ‘In my opinion, difference in creed there must be so long as there are different brains. But who does it matter if all these are hung upon the common thread of love and mutual esteem?’
Contrary to what some Christian preachers have always said about Mahatma Gandhi loving Jesus Christ, but not the Christian the letter makes clear that Gandhi was polite in his rejection of Christ and Christianity. Indeed, Gandhi was tolerant of other religious views and respected the views of others, but he was not moved to subscribe to Christianity.
The letter is being sold by the Raab Collection, based in Pennsylvania, for $50,000 (£36,275). The seller described it as ‘one of the finest letters of Gandhi to reach the market’. It is believed to be the first letter in which Gandhi discusses Christ to have gone on public sale.
Nathan Raab, president of the Raab Collection, told Onward Christian Radio that the document, sold to his organisation by an American collector, was ‘a powerful, emotional letter’.
He added, regarding Gandhi’s religious views: ‘I think his message of tolerance, of not preaching only his feelings, is as important now as it was back then.’