Stumped on a question asked by a friend

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Ashley, Oct 18, 2002.

  1. Ashley

    Ashley
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    I was talking to my friend, who is dabbling in Islamic religion, about Jesus, and honestly he stumped me on a question. He asked "If the only way to heaven is through Christ then how to people in remote locations go to heaven, if they never hear about him?" I'm sure to you guys this is an easy one, so help me out!!! Much thanks!

    Ashley
     
  2. Aaron

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    They don't.
     
  3. Helen

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    Ashley, first of all, I disagree somewhat violently with Aaron!

    We are all descended from Adam and Eve, and then from Noah. The story of creation and the subsequent world-wide flood is known in every ancient culture. In both of those stories is the promise of God that He Himself would rescue us. The promise was given to Eve and the picture through Noah. These came down in funny ways in different cultures, entwined with mythologies of various sorts, but still there.

    I am also convinced (as I helped write in this article) that God put the story in the stars themselves so that, before Christ, men and women all over the world would know God would rescue.

    And just as the Old Testament folks who cast themselves on the Promise of God were depending on Jesus as surely as believers today are, the same is true for anyone, at any time through the history of the world who depended on the God of gods for rescue and not himself. Depending on the Promise of God is the same as depending on Jesus Christ, who is that Promise fulfilled.

    Thus, yes, it is ONLY through Christ that anyone is saved. But Christ has always been the great I AM of all the world, not just of the Jews and Christians.

    There are a number of missionaries who have come back from their various mission fields stunned at how ready the various peoples were for the gospel of Christ. It seems that the message they were waiting for was "how did God do it?" now "Who is God and what on earth are you talking about?"

    God left something for everyone to respond to someplace in their individual worlds. And if they chose to respond to the truth they were shown, and follow that truth, it would lead them irrevocably and finally to Christ Himself, who is the only way to the Father.
     
  4. RaptureReady

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    As Aaron said, "They won't." The only other way to heaven after the church is called home is to make it through the seven year tribulation period without taking the mark of the beast(666). This will be hard to do though, especially when everyone that has heard the gospel will be given a false illusion to believe. This will be a terrible time. Thank God I've been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
     
  5. Deacon

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    They won't get to heaven. Romans 1 clearly says God's attributes are clearly seen by all, so everyone is without excuse.
    God only holds us accountable for the light we see. Unfortunatly even that light is rejected. :(
     
  6. Helen

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    Deacon, with all due respect, you have no idea which hearts have responded to God's message and love and which haven't.
     
  7. jcrowe

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    Helen,

    I have read here that gospel in the stars is not biblical. Please read and respond.

    That said I agree with Aaron, they don't make it.
    Apart from Christ we cannot be saved.
     
  8. Scott J

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    Aaron is correct... blunt, but correct.

    The question is based on flawed premises- that God is obligated to give everyone an equal chance, that the purpose of creation is the salvation of men, that somehow people deserve an opportunity for salvation.

    The truth is that no one deserves to be saved and we have no right to question God's mercy or His justice. We think of terms of it not being fair that God chooses to give one person an opportunity to hear the gospel but not another. The truth is, it is not fair that the gospel exist in the first place (Christ dying for man's sin) much less that any of us should be so blessed as to hear it.
     
  9. Paul of Eugene

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    Let's see what the Apostle Paul wrote about this subject.

    Rom 10:13-18
    13 for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!"

    16 However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, " Lord, who has believed our report? " 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;

    "Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    And their words to the ends of the world."
    NAS

    The rhetorical questions posted by Paul are presented to remind us of the importance of sharing the gospel. But Paul is also careful to remind us there is an older preaching that has gone out. He explicitely directed us to Psalms 19 and I will post a little more of that reference:

    Ps 19:1-4
    The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
    And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    2 Day to day pours forth speech,
    And night to night reveals knowledge.
    3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
    Their voice is not heard.
    4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
    And their utterances to the end of the world.

    It doesn't matter how remote the island, the very heavens themselves preach to them about the glory of God. And Paul is here telling us that is enough.
     
  10. PastorGreg

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    If seeing the hand of God in nature is enough, then why did our Lord come and suffer as He did? No one can be saved without the knowledge of Christ and His shed blood. John 14:6
     
  11. Sherlock57

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    As a missionary for the last 21 years this is a question that a missionary needs to deal with before going to the field. First there is a general revelation of God through His created works as we see in Romans. But that revelation does not give the specifics of God, it show us that there is a God and He is all powerful. We also learn from Romans 10 that if the gospel is not heard there is no faith and with no faith there is no salvation and also from Hebrews 11 that without faith it is impossible to please God. But let us go back further into the past to see why these have never heard. Back in distance time two generations of parents decided not to educate their children about God. This decision had its affect on their children who did not learn of God. Each man has to pay for his own sins, but our sins do affect those that are around us and also our children. An example of this would be those in the boat with Jonah who lost all of their merchandise because of Jonah's disobedience. Noah and his children knew God. Somewhere, sometime this knowledge was not passed on and people are paying the consequences. If the gospel is hid it is hid to them that are lost
     
  12. Helen

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    The easiest way to answer you is to simply cut and paste from an article my husband and I wrote several years ago (before we were married, actually) on Abraham. This article was written in response to a request for it and I think it has been published, but I'm not sure. I think we still are entitled to to copyright! However we are the authors, and this is part of the article:

     
  13. Pastor_Bob

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    Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men ,"

    This verse teaches that God's saving grace will appear to all men at some point in their life. They all have an opportunity to be saved.

    Luke 3:6 "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

    All flesh would include even those in a remote part of the world. They may never see a preacher, they may never see a Bible, but they will be visited by the grace of God. We may be the only gospel they see. We need to live right so when that day comes, they'll desire to be saved.

    1Peter 2:12 "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation ."

    Jesus Christ Himself gives each man, woman, boy, and girl enough light to be saved. What they do with that light is up to each one.

    John 1:9 "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world ."
     
  14. Aaron

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    All I can say is, I'm glad God sent me a preacher and didn't leave me to discern the Gospel from the stars! :rolleyes:
     
  15. Helen

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    Thank you, Bob.

    Aaron, that gospel has been so perverted now that I am grateful we ALL do not have to try to figure things out from the stars! But there was a time when the message was clear.

    Remember how Hebrews starts? Before God spoke in various ways, but now through Christ Jesus His Son. Now we have so much more. But that did not mean they did not have SOMETHING to latch onto in faith then.

    They knew they were waiting. That was the entire concept in the prophecies, in the understanding of Paradise, or Abraham's bosom. But they could still trust and hope despite the wait.

    It is when we believe God that it is credited as righteousness, not when we understand Him!

    Thank God!
     
  16. Johnv

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    Religions are simply institutions created by men in an effort to understand their God better. There have been many "ways" that have been shown. Imagine this: Confucious says, "Here is a way to get closer to your creator". Buddha says "Here is a way to get closer.". Mohammed says "here is a way". Even Calvin and Luther say "Here is a way".

    Then picture Jesus. Does Jesus say "here's a way". Nope, Jesus says "I am the way".

    When people say there are many religions and many ways to get closer to God, they're correct. But unless those ways make room for the believer to take the hand of the one who is "the way", you can't get close enough. Even in Christianity, there are many who are following the way of Christinity, but haven't taken the hand of the one who is the way.

    Ultimately, it doesn't matter what religion you belong to. What only matters is "the way".
     
  17. Grasshopper

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  18. Deacon

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    Is God able to bring a person to a saving faith apart from a biblical witness (the written Word of God) and/or apart from a personal witness (another believer)?

    Jesus answered that question most clearly when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except by Me”. This includes all of the Old Testament Saints, (Hebrews 11). Romans 3:10-12, 14-18 states,
    Without God’s grace there is clearly no salvation. Can we all agree on this point?

    There are two people mentioned in the Bible that may support your view of a witness without a transmitted (from another believer), or written Word. One is Abram (Abraham) called by God from an idolatrous family. God chose Abraham from among idolaters. The other person that may support your theory is Melchizedek (Genesis 14). Melchizedek was king of Salem (the future Jerusalem), possibly a Canaanite. Melchizedek expressed a new name for God that Abraham had never before used, the God Most High (El Elon). Abraham recognized this and then used this new name to worship his God during the encounter. Abraham recognized that God’s special revelation was not limited to him. Melchizedek received Abraham’s tithes, received his blessing, and accepted his wisdom. Here was a man who was Abraham’s superior (Hebrews 5). God called Melchizedek from among the heathen. (On the other hand some scholars believe that Melchizedek was a theophany, an appearance of God).

    On the other hand, God calls Abraham’s prodigy, the chosen people. There are no other people that He calls by this name. So the question remains, ‘Can God bring a person to a saving faith apart from a biblical witness (the written Word of God) and/or apart from a personal witness (another believer)?’ Yes, with God every thing is possible!

    This brings us to a question regarding the election of God’s chosen. Does God choose us because we deserve to be chosen or because there is something special in me? Did God choose Abraham because Abraham had faith? No! God chose Abraham: No reason given! God chose Abraham. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3). His people were called the chosen people.

    Concerning Abraham and his people the Word of God says;

    God chooses people to fulfill His perfect plan.

    A good book to read about Gods working among the unevangelized is “Eternity in their Hearts, (the untold story of Christianity among folk religions of ancient people)” by Don Richardson. (Regal Books, 1981). Don Richardson has also written a great book called “Peace Child” about evangelizing the people of New Guinea.
     
  19. Daniel David

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    Ashley, they don't go to heaven.

    According to Paul in I Cor. 1:21 - For it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.

    Also, Paul said in Rom. 10:17 - Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the (spoken) word of God.

    I included the word spoken there in parenthesis because the greek word is rhema. That is an utterance. So, God chose to save people by the proclamation of the gospel.

    This "gospel in the stars" stuff smacks biblical revelation and seeks to strip the glorious saving act from Christ.

    Helen, two passages disprove your theory. To promote that stuff is no different than the libs who pick and choose their passages as truth.

    Out like heathens from heaven who do not believe the GOSPEL of CHRIST.
     
  20. Molly

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    The creation is God's revelation of Himself,and His written Word is His revelation of Himself....the saving gospel is about Christ,that is in His written Word. We can see there is a God through creation,but His power is in the gospel(Romans 1:16-17)for salvation. We hope and pray these remote areas can receive the gospel.

    So,we need both....the display of the greatness of a Holy God through His creation(His natural revelation) and the revealtion of His plan to save His people(His written revelation). Can we be saved with only one of these? Yes,His written Word,the gospel message,that's pretty much it. We can not imagine the saving gospel through creation,but we can know there is a God.

    Hope that makes sense and I didn't repeat myself too much.
     

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