About Those Who’ve Never Heard

April 20, 2010

I recently came across the “Christian Apologetics” site rationalchristianity.net.  This site contains a section in which they attempt to answer common objections to Christianity.

Among the first questions they attempt to answer is: ‘What happens to people who never hear the Gospel?’  That’s a great question.  When I click the link I get an article entitled ‘What happens to those who’ve never heard of Jesus?’.  That’s an even better question because it’s more specific; after all the gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ.

The problem is that the article never answers the question!  Instead we get this:

In order to be saved, a person must have faith in God. How can someone who’s never heard of God believe in him? The answer is that God has planned things so that everyone has access to some knowledge of him, through nature and conscience as well as other means. (emphasis mine)

This is simply sleight of hand.  ‘How can someone who’s never heard of GOD believe in him?’, is an entirely different question than asking ‘What about those who’ve never heard of JESUS?’ or even ‘What about those who’ve never heard the GOSPEL?’

Ask the average Christian if anyone can be saved apart from the Gospel and faith in Jesus .  If they are scriptural they will answer in the negative.  The Bible is clear:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. ” (John 14:6)

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. ” (Acts 4:12)

No one will ever be saved apart from the gospel and faith in Jesus Christ, so asking ‘What happens to those who’ve never heard of Jesus?’ is a perfectly legitimate and appropriate question.  But the article never answers that question.  Instead it immediately substitutes an entirely different question; ‘What about those who’ve never heard of GOD?’, and answers:

‘The answer is that God has planned things so that everyone has access to some knowledge of him, through nature and conscience as well as other means.’

But how does this answer the real question; ‘What about those who’ve never heard of JESUS?’  Does the writer of this article believe that the person who by ‘nature, conscience, or some other means’ comes to believe in GOD can actually be saved by such belief?  If not then the question is irrelevant and the answer of no value in answering the real question:  ‘What about those who’ve never heard of JESUS?’

Jesus himself said:

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. ” (John 17:3)

One may believe that everyone is given enough light via conscience or nature to believe in God, but that’s not the issue.  Instead we have to ask, Does God give to everyone enough light to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the only name given whereby they can be saved?

It’s easy to see why many Christians avoid this question, and why it’s so often raised as an objection to the faith.  Billions of people have lived and died on this planet without having ever heard of Jesus, much less having come to a saving faith in him.  It makes no difference whatsoever whether or not these people believed in GOD.  What about those who’ve never heard of JESUS?  One cannot hope to satisfy the skeptics who ask this question by providing the answer to a completely different and wholly irrelevant question.

Does christianity have any meaningful way of answering this question without obscuring the main issue?  Well, if by ‘christianity’ we mean that which passes for ‘orthodoxy’, whether Catholic or Protestant, then probably not.  But the Bible does provide a direct and unambiguous answer.

What about those who’ve never heard of Jesus?  THEY WILL HEAR.

To be continued…

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