What About Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    In jeben's thread "Evangelism" he wondered if any of us in the USA had ever met anybody who had never heard of Jesus or never heard the gospel.

    Some posters cited evidence that it's likely that all, or mostly all, had heard of Jesus, but many had never heard the gospel.

    In the latest issue of the Kentucky Baptist newspaper Western Recorder, state correspondent Ken Walker, in an article about how local churches are sending mission teams around the world, quoted one missions pastor as saying a team from his church was going to a West African country, where, he said "the last time the gospel came to that village was 600 years ago."

    These anecdotes strike at the heart of the notion that some way, somehow, everybody in the world has heard the gospel. The argument for that view is that God must have sent the gospel to all, and all have had a chance to accept or reject Christ as Savior. Otherwise, God would be unfair to send someone to Hell who'd never had that chance. And, if they hadn't heard, they are saved some other way.

    Thus, my question, or questions: Has everyone heard the gospel and had a chance to accept or reject it? If so, how so? And if not, what about their spiritual future? And if they may be saved without hearing the gospel, why are we sending missionaries in the first place?

    Release the hounds!
     
    #1 Tom Butler, Jul 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2010
  2. HankD

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    Not to worry. God knows the right thing to do and how to do it.

    Genesis 18:25 ... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?​

    HankD​
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    No, not everyone has heard the Gospel. Take your example of the 600 year absence of the Gospel being preached in a village. I doubt there is anyone alive in that village who remembers hearing the story. :laugh: So for all these years the people have died without hearing.

    Evangelism is an ongoing task that will never be complete until God says so.

    As far as theiir future is concerned, the Bible is clear. People who have not trusted Christ either because of rejection or having never heard are lost for eternity. Romans 1, Acts 4:12 John 14:6
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

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    For years I was like Augustine, "Not yet Lord" IE, I know your there but I have other things I need to do first. Most of the NYC Metro area is like that. Culture of money, culture of Cafeteria Christians Etc. God forbid we should have anyone give their life up for Christ & when you hear that thats done in the bible belt, the attitude is generally "thats them... glad I don't live there" Of course there are Believing Churches but not to the same degree.

    I live in a town in NJ struggling with morality. There is 1 baptist church but the town considers it a temporary enigma because we don't do baptist here....go down south thank you very much. There is however a plethora of PCUSA churches & United Methodist's & of course the dominant Catholic churches so you can see that there very few Bible Believing Churches. Its not a Christ centered culture.
     
  5. Jim1999

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    Romans 1: 19,20

    "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.........so that they are without excuse,,,,,,,,"

    There is an internal witness of God, and there is an exernal witness of God.........hence no excuse.

    When one sought after God, He provided a teacher of the gospel. The same is true to-day.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Agreed, so what do you do about the Godless North East?
     
  7. Martin

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    I have heard that argument before. However it is clearly unBiblical. No place in Scripture are we told that "God must" make sure everyone has heard the Gospel. The people who make the above mentioned argument are basing their opinion on feelings and human reasoning, not the Word of God. God has commanded that we take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Why? Without us (Christians) doing that, they will remain lost and die in their sins.

    Two ways I respond to this:

    1. Nobody deserves grace, therefore God is not unfair to condemn those who have never heard. We are all sinners, born children of wrath, and deserving of condemnation. That is what we deserve, that is our just wage. Nobody is innocent. God would be right and just to send everyone and anyone to hell (for their sins). The salvation offered through Christ's finished work is an act of grace. God is not required to offer it to everyone who has ever, or will ever, live. God has given us (Christians) the job of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. If we don't do that, we will be held accountable.

    2. Scripture never teaches the idea of ignorance as a means of salvation. If it did, then evangelism and the Great Commission would be a cruel joke. After all, if ignorance is salvation (or even a door to a second chance) then everyone would be better off in ignorance. The Scriptures clearly teach that those who have not heard will die in their sins (Ez. 33:8). Therefore, as Scripture teaches, it is our job/duty/mission to take the Gospel to everyone we can.


    No.

    Unless they hear the Gospel and repent they will die in their sins (Ez. 33:8-9, Rom 10:14-17).
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Yes, Jim, they are without excuse.

    But what is the basis for their condemnation? It obviously cannot be that they rejected Christ, because later in Romans, Paul said (Chap10) "how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?"

    Yet, John (3:36) says "he that believeth not the Son shall not see [everlasting] life, but the wrath of God abideth in him."

    One of my pastors years ago agreed with you. He said if one will follow the light they are given, God will give them more light.

    So, is the basis for their condemnation refusal to follow the light that they have?

    Here's my take. For those who have heard the gospel, they are condemned for unbelief. For those who have never heard the gospel, they will be judged against their own moral code. They are a "law unto themselves." (Romans 2:14) Knowing their own "law," they will admit that their failure to live up to their own moral code was willful, and the condemnation is just.

    Jim, I see your "internal witness" as similar to God's "writing the Law on their hearts."
     
    #8 Tom Butler, Jul 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2010
  9. Tom Butler

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    By the way, if those who never hear the gospel can be saved without faith in Jesus Christ, then we need to stay home. To take the gospel to them, who might reject it, would condemn those who might otherwise be saved.
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    Due respects, but what makes you so sure all in heaven right now, and all who will be in heaven after now, have all heard the gospel ?

    what redeemed them ? the gospel, or the blood ?
    who redeemed them ? the gospel, or Jesus Christ ?
     
  11. Robert Snow

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    Many years ago, while doing bus visitation, I ran across a teenager who said he had never heard about Jesus. He could have been lying, but he seemed sincere. I did not speak Spanish and he didn't speak much English, so our conversation was somewhat limited.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Robert....he was!
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    I understand the perspective from which you come, but I can only appeal to scripture for my answer.

    I Corinthians 1:21 "It pleased God to save through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe."

    You are right, that it is Jesus Christ who saves, and through his blood and by his grace. But I take from the scriptures that Jesus has ordained the means through which he saves, as well as the ends.
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    Can you please clarify? Was he lying about never hearing of Jesus?

    Is it your view that all have heard?
     
  15. Eagle

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    TomBryant, Tom Butler, and Jim1999 all hit on the answer. Romans 1 is crucial to understanding this, a portion of the text is provided:

    From the context we learn that there is such thing as acting on available light or what some call "general revelation" by advancing from "faith to faith" (v.17).

    We see also that the power of God unto salvation is the gospel of Christ (v.16.) We know from other scriptures that there is no other way, name, or man, that we can go thru, and this includes people from O.T. times. Faith in the Messiah/Christ to come or who has come is all the same.

    We see God's wrath revealed from heaven against all the ungodly and unrighteous who hold the truth in unrighteousness (v.18):

    1) They know the "truth", which is sufficient truth by God's standard to condemn them to eternal damnation.

    2) This "truth" has been shown to them by God himself - and they manifest it in themselves (v.19).

    3) God uses the means of creation to "show" these "truths," including the "invisible" things of Him - even His eternal power and Godhead - so that they are without excuse (v.20).

    I know this is a lot to take in, but to summarize:

    The one and only "power of God unto salvation" is the Gospel of Christ. The only way to be saved from beginning of O.T. on, is thru Faith in Christ. However, the means of righteous condemnation by God to all who have not even heard of the name of Christ, is based on the "clearly seen" evidence of God's eternal power and Godhead. If one would but acknowledge the evidence or light they have been given, and live from faith to faith, then they will hear the Gospel, embrace the truth, and be saved - provided there is someone there to preach it! This includes the deepest, darkest jungle.

    Salvation by one means - righteous condemnation by another. If this were not true, then many would have an argument of, "it's not fair, I never heard!" God says they had clear evidence, chose not to act on it, and stand before Him - with NO excuse!
     
  16. Bro K

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

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

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    So it is your position that every person without exception has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?

    That every human being without exception has had the gospel preached to them?

    Let me make sure I understand what you're saying.

    There is no salvation outside of faith in Jesus Christ

    Condemnation, however, is not on the basis of rejecting Jesus Christ, of whom they have not heard, but on the basis of rejecting the evidence of creation.

    So the anecdote about that West African village where he gospel had not beenheard in 600 years is not true?
     
    #17 Tom Butler, Jul 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2010
  18. Eagle

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    You summaraized my position pretty well - but I must add that it is the evidence of a Creator, via the creation, that will lead them to knowledge of, and salvation in, Jesus - from faith to faith - or which condemns them. I don't understand the question about the village. Unless, you are asking if hearing about Jesus 600 years ago qualifies as "having heard." I do not think that it does, but the bottom line is that we need to be witnessing, going, sending, etc. to ensure that we are reaching whom we can - in our generation - right?
     
  19. Jim1999

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    There are two approaches to humanity; the divine and the human. Under the divine, God declared His part in redemption....I, the Lord.........It is totally in His hands. "The man that sins, he shall die..." Exactly what Adam, the beginning of humanity, did.....he disobeyed God and hence brought upon all humankind eternal damnation. He is already dead in trespasses and sin.

    From the human standpoint, he can do nothing as a spiritual corpse. God will show mercy to whom He shows mercy. All the elect of God will be saved, and remainder "passed by" ( very important words in the plan of salvation.)

    We have a tendancy to confuse the divine and the human.

    The story says that 600 years had passed since the village heard of Jesus...........why did they allow 600 years of refusal to reign?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    Regardless of our view on whether every person without exception has heard the gospel, we have an unequivocal commission from the Lord Jesus to take the gospel to every creature.

    I cited the African village story as evidence that not every person has heard the gospel.

    So, the OP question remains. Will they be condemned for rejecting a Christ they don't know about through no fault of their own? Creation suggests a creator, but how will they hear without a preacher? They will be condemned, but not for rejecting the light they have or the Christ.
     

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