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My heart is in such angst regarding, what I believe to be, one of the most important questions a Christ-follower has to answer and that being, 'what is the fate of those who have never heard?' I have said for some time that the answer to this question determines the direction and focus of my life perhaps more than any other issue. As it currently stands I have an answer yet I still find myself searching for a deeper level of conviction on that answer. I'm really open to being wrong. It could simply be my perception but it seems lately that more and more Christ-followers with an audience are shifting answers in regards to this question including but not limited to Peter Kreeft, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. What do you think? Actually I don't care that much what you think any more than I put stock in what I think. What does scripture say? What scripture relates to this? If you ever read this thing go ahead and throw out some verses or your 2 cents. None of us have it figured out exactly but I'd value your perspective.

  1. Anonymous Kyle | 5:06 AM |  

    Joshua whats up? It has been too long. Well I found the blog and saw this post and thought I could check in. Here is a quote from Karl Barth that I like, though it is far from answering the question: “For there is no good reason why we should forbid ourselves, or be forbidden, openness to the possibility that in the reality of God and man in Jesus Christ there is contained much more than we might expect and therefore the supremely unexpected withdrawal of that final threat…If we are certainly forbidden to count on this as though we had a claim to it…we are surely commanded the more definitely to hope and pray for it…to hope and pray cautiously and yet distinctly that, in spite of everything which may seem quite conclusively to proclaim the opposite, his compassion should not fail and that in accordance with his mercy which is “new every morning,” He “will not cast off forever” (Lam 3:22) ." Thoughts?

  2. Anonymous Jason | 11:59 AM |  

    Hey bro! Thanks for sharing a great question - you know these passages better than me but I'm glad to weigh in.

    Romans 1 indicates that general revelation requires a response to "God". However, in my head sometimes it doesn't seem fair to require people to rely on Someone for their salvation of whom they've never heard.

    But the New Testament says that we cannot be in God's presence without the covering of Jesus' blood. We would just burn up. Jesus doesn't force this on anyone, I think of it just like a physical law.

    I heard Billy Graham respond to a similar question by stating that he would not be surprised if God accepted a devout Hindu at the Last Judgment. However, I don't think that we can require this of God.

    Lewis and others often address this question by saying that though it doesn't seem fair to send people to hell, that's only because we don't really understand our fallen state and God's utter holiness. If we did, the argument goes, we'd be amazed that He deigns to allow anyone in. We'd marvel that He sacrificed His sinless Son to make it possible for any sinner to be saved without punishment.

    After all, that's just not fair.

  3. Blogger Josh Mann | 12:41 PM |  

    Touche friends. I love this keep it up--this is too important to not have a grounded, biblically-based perspective. Two thoughts so far without straight up unpacking what Kyle and Jason said.

    I liked Karl Barth's quote and sincerely I hope that in some ambiguous way that we can cling to something we don't know nor does scripture reference that somehow in the grand mystery of it all allows for those who have never heard nor had their sins atoned for through Christ experience communion with God forever. However, how many other theological stances do we have that are rooted in our 'hope' that it turns out this way or is this way yet has no basis in scripture? I realize that scripture is not contain all the information in the world, however, I don't get the impression that God says, "hey, here's a great book I wrote, it's got about half of what you need to know about me, yourselves and conducting life on this planet, the other stuff you're just going to have to kind of guess on." That doesn't mean we can't hope but I think we're called to take a look at scripture and come to a conclusion based on that scripture. We don't allow arguments from silence in many other areas, why this one?

    To Jason's stuff...that Billy Graham quote and the extended version of it which includes some surprising things has always made me wonder! Maybe the more than 2 billion devout muslims, hindus and buddhists are saved? That has significant implications... Hmm...Jase i particularly like your closing thought...i think our concept of 'fairness' is off. The reality is that what is 'fair' is not our call to make but rather God's and what is 'fair' takes us to places we really don't want to go.

    Okay...who is next, let's figure this out! Any other thoughts Kyle or Jase?

  4. Blogger Rick | 8:31 PM |  

    This question has not been asked for most of church history. Outside of Christ, people are lost. In the last 20 years, people have struggled emotionally with that idea and so have therefore been working hard to cook up other solutions on getting to heaven without faith in Christ.

  5. Blogger dong dong23 | 1:26 AM |  

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