What happens to those that died who never heard the Gospel?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by JeffM, May 3, 2004.

  1. JeffM

    JeffM
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    This is something I have been grapling with most of my adult life as a Christian.

    I also find it a hard one to answer when a non-believer ask me.

    I've heard different teachings on this over the years, whether Biblical or not. I've heard some teach that you are only held accountable if you can make a conscience decision to accept or reject the Lord. So, if you are someone who has never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, such as the Hawaiians before the missionaries arrived to teach them, then God won't hold you responsible. This is where the whole age of accountability thing comes in.

    I asked my Pastor this question recently and he said you must be saved period before you can enter the Kingdom of God. All those that have died in the past whether or not they heard the Gospel, who did not accept Christ are in Hades awaiting the final judgement. This would mean infants and young children who have died, especially those in abortions go immediately to Hades.

    This seemed a bit unfair to me even though I know God is a just God, especially for the people who were completely ignorant. How can they be held accountable without given the opportunity to be saved or not be saved?

    But then again, if you could get to Heaven out of ignorance, then there would be no need to spread the Gospel as Jesus instructed.

    Maybe God will have mercy on them in the final Judgement? Only he knows their hearts and can administer the proper sentence, otherwise, why have a final judgement in the first place?

    Your thoughts please, this is very confusing.

    Jeff
     
  2. Johnv

    Johnv
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    There's been hundreds of years of debate on this topic, not to mention quite a few threads on this bb.

    Jesus says in Rev 3:30, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Jesus makes it a point to say "if anyone hears my voice and opens the door". There's an implication that some may be prevented, by outside circumstances, from hearing Jesus knock at the door. They may be infants who die, the mentally retarded, the informed, perhaps even geographic limitations. The implication in this verse is that anyone who is given the opportunity, and receives Jesus, is saved. So there's at least an implicative possibility that those who are prevented from hearing the Gospel, by whatever reason, God may provide for them to hear in some way. TO what extent, well, that's why the Bible also tells us not to be the judgers of peoples' salvation.
     
  3. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    They split hell wide open.
     
  4. Pete Richert

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    Does God, who had to go as far as sacrafice his own Son to atone for sin in order to remain in our presence, somehow then ignore the sins of others? Or do they recieve this imputation of their sin to Christ somehow other then belief in him?

    If so, we should put a serious halt to all our missions work. Nothing has sent more people to hell then our missions board who regularly inform Millions of people of Christ, though a minority believe. The rest then lose their ticket to heaven and are on their way to hell. To qoute a great philospher who once commented on the blissness of ignorance, "I'll take the Matrix!"
     
  5. Hamtramck_Mike

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    Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.

    I do not see any room here for any debate; we have the revelation of God through Jesus Christ, we must turn to Him for forgiveness of sins.

    All those that have never heard the Gospel will die in their sins.

    Jesus also says, "No Man can come unto Me unless the Father which sent me draw him. All those that the Father gives to Me will come to Me and he that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out."

    This whole issue speaks very clearly of unconditional election. God chose those who would be saved purely on His good pleasure and nothing else; our spreading the Gospel is to us a very active affair, but from God's viewpoint, it is passive. The book of life was written before the foundation of the world.
     
  6. JeffM

    JeffM
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    So there is pre-destination?

    Some where born to be saved, some born to be lost?

    If so, it makes me want to fall to the ground in thanksgiving to God for choosing me :D

    This leads me to another question that I will start on another thread.

    Jeff
     
  7. littlewhitedove

    littlewhitedove
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    I have read in the bible that it says...

    Does not nature itself teach that there is a creator? Do not worship creation but the creator.

    Moses and others of OT were seen as rightious because of their faith. They believed in the coming of Christ, we believe in the Christ that came. They looked forward to the cross and we look back to the cross.

    God wrote the laws in mans hearts and minds when Jesus came so that we all know. We don't have to tell our neighbor. He is drawn by the Holy Spirit. No one comes to the Father except the Spirit draws them.

    The spreading of the gospel is just that, The Good News. The Good News is that we don't have to look for the coming of the savior of the world He has come.

    When Israel was in the wilderness and was bit by a deadly snake they would die usless they looked at the bronze poll that was made. Some just wouldn't have enough faith to look to the poll and they died. The poll had no saving power of it's own. The faith was the saving power. The poll is a symboil of Jesus. He does not save us on His own. He is the means by which our Father has provided for us to look to in faith for our salvation.

    You have to be mentally able to reject Christ and what He did for us other wise you would not be able to accept Him as the way and the truth and the life.

    The only sin that is not forgiven is unbelief. All others are forgiven. The man that has never heard the gospel has no excuse. He may not know the 10 commandments but they don't get you to heaven anyway. But he does know there is a creator and he is just part of the creation and that he should worship this creator. All mankind worship something, some type of god. It is in our make up to worship. What he choses to worship makes the difference.
     
  8. pinoybaptist

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    Hi, JeffM. Allow me to speak my two bits here. There are those who teach that without anyone hearing the Gospel and responding to it in the positive there is no regeneration that takes place. This is Gospel Regeneration. To which your question applies, and which is a fair question. This doctrine must also answer your question about babies who die in the womb and prematurely out of the womb, imbeciles, morons, idiots, even tribes who have never seen a 'white man', in a manner of speaking.
    Gospel regeneration places the power of the new birth in the Gospel, and the ability of man to fulfill the 'Great Commission', of the faithfulness of churches to do the same and to 'send out' preachers and missionaries to far-flung areas. Missionaries whom most, not all, require to be Bible-college trained, and must pass the scrutiny of mission boards, while in the meantime, according to statistics, approximately 145,000 humans will breathe their last within the next 24 hours as I write this, as you read this, as they go to their Bible classes.
    Most Gospel regenerationists are Arminians in their theology, they say that man has a part in his salvation, and that part being to hear the Gospel, believe it, repent of his sins, and open the doors of his heart, as Johnv said, and then pray the sinner's prayer, and believe in his heart that Jesus saved him already.
    From your pastor's answer, very plainly he believes that only those who are capable of answering the Gospel call to repentance and exercise faith and belief in Jesus Christ can be born again, and babies and others with no mental ability to comprehend, or the physical abilities to hear and listen, are out of the equation and are all doomed to hell. (Funny how these same people will vehemently object to the Doctrines of Grace as unfair and making of God an elitist).
    Anyway, it's a many-colored spectrum, you know. There are those in the spectrum who believe that all you really have to do is believe, and that's it, you're saved. That's easy-believism, and many in the same side of this spectrum will object to that.

    There'll be a second part to this, my wife is honking the horn. Panera waits for us.
     
  9. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    Second part, JeffM, if you're still there. On the other side of the spectrum, you have those who maintain Spirit Regeneration is what the Bible teaches.
    That is, that God, having elected those whom He will save, based on Himself and Himself alone, and no merit at all on the part of the creature, in his own time, thru the Holy Spirit, regenerates these elect (Romans 8:29-30, John 1:12-13), having no need of human participation, whether it be in the creature's salvation, or the preaching of the Gospel in order for the creature to be saved.They hold that God is able to regenerate and save babies in the womb, as in the case of John the Baptist, and the mentally unstable as exemplified by the possessed Gadarene.
    Now, there are those who hold to this doctrine that teaches God uses the Gospel as a means of converting the already regenerated sinner to Jesus Christ, and there are those who maintain that God uses any means, the Gospel simply one of them, the written word and the preached word again a couple of these many means, to convert the already regenerated sinner to Christ.
    This group of believers maintain that the Scriptures do not bring cause salvation, but a knowledge of it, and the Gospel a message that brings life and immortality to light, and the Scriptures intended to teach correct doctrine, rebuke false doctrines, exhort to Godly living (2 Tim 3:16).
     
  10. Dave Taylor

    Dave Taylor
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    I think one side of the arguement is making a flawed assumption.

    One side of this arguement is assuming that there are people who 'have never heard' or been drawn by the Lord to accept, follow, and trust Him.

    Abraham was not privy to missionaries or local churches to teach him; but by faith, he sought the Lord; and found Him.

    Similarly with Cornelius...and many others throughout the ages.

    David said wherever I go, you are there. to the mountains, to the seas, in the darkness, there is nowhere I can hide from you.

    I personally believe it is absurd to even entertain the idea that God, who loves us to the unimaginable depths of sending His son to die for humankinds sins on calvary; has not made himself clearly known to all men who He has created in His image.

    He doesn't create and then vanish. He makes Himself known to us, so that we can respond to him; but many prefer the darkness instead of the light.

    He is not very far from any one of us.

    Will we respond to the light that He gives us so that He then, will give us more light; and eventually draw us to hear, understand, and accept the gospel?

    I believe the invitiation is given.

    Too few listen to it on the day of their visitation.
    Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men

    Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse"

    Romans 2:15 "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"
     
  11. HankD

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    "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

    HankD
     
  12. Johnv

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    Maybe, maybe not. Simply "informing" people about Christ is not akin to sharing the Gospel. Simply giving someone info is not sharing the Gospel. That's where we often go wrong. We tell say "Jesus", and walk away, washing our hands.

    A few months ago, I was having lunch with my cousin at a fast food joint across the street from his church (which is a large, prominent church in the area). While we were eating, a man came in and asked the person behind the counter what the building across the street was. "That's a church", she replied. The man said he had walked that same street for years, and never realized there was a church there. He asked how you could tell. She pointed to the big white cross on top.

    Now, you'd think that any person could recognize a church as a church, but perhaps that's simply our presumption. Simply having a cross atop your building is not sharing the Gospel. SImply flashing a bible verse on a marquee is not sharing the Gospel. Simply reading the Bible to someone is not sharing the Gospel. Etc etc etc.
     
  13. Pete Richert

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    I'm . . . not sure what your talking about. I'm refering to seeking out tribes in Africa who have yet to have any contact with outside civilization much less the gospel. Per the ingorance theory, all of them are safe from God's judgement. But once we show up and "share the gospel" or however you want to define it, unless 100% of them believe we have now reversed the destiny of some (usually most) and now they are on their way to hell. Not a good idea, me thinks.
     
  14. Johnv

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    Again, just showing up with the Gospel is nopt akin to that person now having the opportunity to accept or reject. There should not be the assumption that, because a missionary is now in a jungle village, that everyone in the village has now rejected the Gospel. A villager with a missionary in the village can be just as isolated and prevented from accepting the Gospel as a villager where no missionary is present. My point, btw, is that a person in our local town can be just as isolated and prevented from accepting the Gospel as a villager in an isolated jungle.
     
  15. Michael52

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    JeffM

    I have also struggled with this question, and still do! I just think the loving Creator of all will do the ‘right’ thing, regardless of what we think or do (or ‘fail’ to do).
    Seems in some form or fashion, all are ‘exposed’ to God and are held accountable.

    Is one’s accountability mediated by the ‘light’ they are given?
    If WE fail in this, it seems WE are accountable! God’s plan will be done regardless of our failures. Praise the Lord.

    It is probably best for all concerned that I am not in charge of determining the eternal fate of anyone (including myself). [​IMG] The God of infinite mercy and justice will do ‘right’ by his creatures.
     
  16. pinoybaptist

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    Pete Richert said:

    No one is safe from God's judgment outside of Christ. Likewise, no one is beyond the reach of God's mercy in Christ.

    Why ?
     
  17. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Romans 10:14 answers this problem.

    1. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?

    2. How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?

    3. And how will they hear without a preacher?
    __

    1. They can't.

    2. They must hear the gospel.

    3. This is why we MUST send people.
     
  18. Pete Richert

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    Why . . . are they on their way to hell?

    Why . . . is this a bad idea?

    1) because now they have rejected Christ while before they were safe from God's judgement in their ignorance.

    2) perhaps we disagree about this, but in general I consider hell a bad place to go.
     
  19. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    Pete Richert said:

    Where is the Scripture that says man is safe from God's judgment in his ignorance ?
     
  20. av1611jim

    av1611jim
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    Hi guys...
    Romans 1:1-3 answers the problem quiet nicely.
    Jim
     

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