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What about those who have never heard?


1. General considerations


    A. The answer to this question does not determine if Christianity is true or not. The matter has already been solved by the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. Also, the matter of authority (I E. the Bible) has been solved once and for all. This issue of those who haven't heard is really a matter of interpretation and understanding.


B.  When this question is asked the real question may be "What is God like?" The questioner would not want to give his life to God who is mean, uncaring, and unjust who sends people to hell who have never had a chance.


C. although this question can be very sincere, it is also possible that it is a smokescreen. That is it is a question to dodge the real issue of the gospel and personal responsibility to God.


D. What a person thinks may, or not, happen to that heathen doesn't relieve responsibility before God on Judgment Day. The question is not only, what about that heathen who has never heard? The question is more importantly, what about you who have heard.


There are many things in the Bible I cannot understand: there are many things in the Bible I only think I understand: there are many things in the Bible I cannot understand


E. Members from every tribe and people on earth will hear and respond to the gospel(Revelation 5:9)


2. Basic Principles


 A. God's nature prevents Him from being an unjust or acting unfairly(Genesis18:25 Psalm 7:11,9:8.67:4,96:10,98:9, Isaiah30:18)


 B. Those who have never heard of Jesus Christ are not in complete spiritual darkness because God has illumined them in several ways(natural revelation:)

     1. Natural (Romans1:18-23, Psalm10:1-6)

     2. Conscience (Romans2:14-16)

     3. Awareness of eternity (Ecc.3:11)

     4. Material goodness (Acts 14:15-17)


 C. If a man response to God favorably, excepting the light of revelation given. God will see that that person will receive the necessary information to make a decision for Christ.


    1. Biblical procedure

        a. God illumines every man and woman through natural revelation:

           - Through nature  (Romans1:18-23, Psalm 19:1-6)

           - Through conscience (Romans 2:14-16)

           - Through awareness of eternity (Ecc.3:11)

           - Through material goodness (Act 14:15-17)

       b. Yet, Jesus Christ is the only way to God, Heaven and salvation (John14:6, Acts4:12)

       c. God wants everyone to be saved (pet.3:9)

       d. Therefore, God will send a messenger to all who respond to natural revelation to tell them the gospel of Jesus Christ(Romans10:13-15)

      e. Those who believe are saved (John 3:16)

   2. Biblical examples

       a. Cornelius(acts10:1-18)
       b. Rahab (Joshua (2:9;Heb.11:31)
       c. Namaan (2Kings 5:15-19)
       d. Ninevites (Jonah 3:5)
       e. Wisemen (Matthew 2:2-12)
       f. cf. also Psam 145:17-20); Acts8:26-40)
   3. Modern examples from the mission field
  4. Questions: who yet respond positively to the natural revelation, be let into heaven through some other way besides Christ (e.g. through   their own religion?)
    Can-do anything He likes. Yet if God is powerful enough to reveal himself through some other way, He is powerful enough to do it the way he said He was, through Jesus.
D. condemn themselves by rejecting the light received and not by keeping their own moral standards.
    1. Rejection of external revelation brings condemnation (Romans1:18-23)
      2. Rejections of eternal revelations brings condemnat
      3. Punishment will be proportion to responsibility and revelation. Last revelations the man's less responsibility, therefore, less judgment (Luke 12:47,48,Matt. 10:15,11:22,24. 12:31;32    Mark12:40; John 19:11;Rom 2;5,12;Heb/10;28,29.II Peter 2:21) 
E. those who have heard condemn themselves by rejecting the gospel itself (John 3:18,36; !John 19:11-13)
III. other questions:
      a. what about aborted babies, infants, the retarded in the insane?
Principal people unable consciously to choose Christ are not held accountable for rejecting him. Hence, Heaven probably awaits them (cf.Rev20:11-15)
      b. what about people who lived before Christ? All of the above principles apply, especially see (c). Salvation for them, like us, was by faith alone (gen 15:6 Heb 11:1-40)

 The belief that does not save is the belief that does not change the person who believes. Jesus said that if you believe in Him, you would be changed