What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

Different Views:

Fundamentalist View – Hell – Some Christians believe that those who have never heard the Gospel have no chance of making it to heaven. This does not seem to account for God reaching people in a variety of ways, other than just our western model of raising our hand to give our life to Jesus or perhaps getting raised as a Christian. This view is partly true and partly false.

  1. It’s true because it affirms Jesus as the only way to heaven.
  2. It is false because it often places western understandings of ‘saved’ in a way that restricts others of come to Christ in unique ways as not being authentic.

Liberal View – Heaven – Some Christians in history have thought that everyone gets to go to heaven, even those who do not believe in Jesus or are following God. This view has been called universalism, and is not true.

  1. It’s false because Jesus himself said that wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and narrow the way that leads to everlasting life (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus also frequently warned about hell through chapters 5-7 as well as chapter 25 of Matthew.

Traditional Christian View (correct) – Some would go to heaven and some would go to hell. We simply are unsure who goes where because we are simply unsure of how much one has accepted and how much they have rejected.  We do know that whoever goes to heaven will go there because of the saving power of Jesus Christ and their freely following him.

  1. Romans 1:18-20 – Nature points to God
  2. Romans 2:12-16 – Conscience points to God (that inner awareness of right and wrong)
  3. Acts 10 – Those who respond to either nature or conscience and assume that a God exists and that want to follow God, God will provide them with enough of the truth of the saving message of Jesus that they will be saved.
  4. Those who reject conscience and nature as adequate sign pointers to God, are in effect denying God.
  5. Anyone who could make it to heaven by their own free choice will go to heaven.
  6. Anyone who does not want to follow God will have their wish as well. They will go to hell.
  7. Hell is locked from the inside. One freely chooses to go there by rejecting God and his means for finding him and accepting him.

Question to Answer:

-Do you think that God can reach people through dreams, angels, or other means?  If so then how?

- What would you say to someone who thinks that God is a tyrant because he throws people into hell? Are they correct in thinking of God this way? If not, then why are they wrong?

  • Paul Laird

    God is NOT a tyrant, arbitrarily sending people to hell. John 3:16-19 makes clear that those who actively reject the Messiah will got to hell for that rejection. This implies then that they have heard the gospel and rejected Christ. God is a righteous judge. If a person is honestly seeking God but not heard the Gospel of Christ; God will find a way to lead them to the cross. Since I am not the Divine Arbiter of salvation I leave that task to God.