Monday, March 28, 2011

What About Those Who Have Never Heard?

Unbeliever: “Will everyone who doesn’t know Jesus go to hell?

Street Apologist: “So that I could better answer your question are we talking about unborn persons or those who live in remote places?”

Unbeliever: “How about both!”

Street Apologist: “Ok, which would you like me to address first?”

Unbeliever “How about the unborn.”

Street Apologist: “Ok, well in short, I don’t know. Scripture does not deal directly with such a question. Therefore, I fall back on the principles I do know for certain. God is in control, He is the all-wise One, and I trust He will do what is good and right.” (Gen. 18:25)

Unbeliever: “Ok, well what about those who live in remote places?”

Street Apologist: “In short, if they do not believe on Jesus Christ then they will be judged and justly condemned for the sins they have committed as-well as the suppression of God’s clear revelation.” (Rom. 1:18-24; 3:23)

Unbeliever: “What?!”

Street Apologist: “Would you like me to expand more on this?”

Unbeliever: “Yes, please do!”

Street Apologist: “Ok, I want to give you a sufficient response so may I please have a few minutes of your time to explain things in more detail?”

Unbeliever: “Swing away.”

Street Apologist: “God has given revelation to all men everywhere and therefore they are obligated to respond to it (Rom. 1; Acts 17). It comes in the form of creation and conscience, which is referred to as general revelation. God’s Word declares ‘the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse’ (Rom. 1:18-20).

Those that do not respond favorably to this general revelation will experience the consequences of God’s judgment on sin. (Jn. 3:19,20)

Those that do respond favorably to general revelation will be given more! God is perfectly capable of getting the Gospel (special revelation) to those in remote places via vision, missionary, dream etc. In fact, this is precisely what we see in Scripture.   

For example, there was a man named Cornelius, who was described as being a God-fearing man (a favorable response to general revelation).  God ultimately confirmed the Gospel message to this God-fearing man by sending him a missionary, the apostle Peter. Upon Peter’s arrival he made a rather revealing remark as he says: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right’ (Acts 10:34,35). Cornelius and his household listened to a full account of the Gospel and they ultimately received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10). Such means of special revelation harmonizes with Christ’s prayer for believers as he said: ‘I pray for those who will believe in me through their message’ (Jn. 17:20).

Another example is the Ethiopian eunuch who was traveling to worship God in Jerusalem (responding to general revelation) when God sent Phillip to ‘preach Jesus to him’ (special revelation) and then came the Ethiopian’s words: ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ (Acts 8).

The Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, who once breathed “threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” had a radical transformation after a personal encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. Nevertheless, God further used visions as a means to have Ananias come to Saul and give him a fuller account of what God had in store for him (Acts 9).

More examples of God’s use of missionaries and visions can be given, but I would like to keep your attention so those should suffice for now.

Scripture is very clear that one must believe in Christ to be saved (Acts 4:12; Jn. 3:16, 18, 36; 5:24; Rom. 10:9).

The apostle Paul rhetorically poses the question: "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Rom. 10:14)

They must believe on Christ to be saved and it is the responsibility of all men to respond to what has been given to them, as there will be no excuse for not doing so (Rom. 1:20)! There is no tongue, tribe or nation that is too ignorant or to far out of God’s reach to get the Gospel to those who would believe. The Apostle Paul declares: ‘From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us’ (Acts 17:26,27). Notably the Apostle John points out that standing before the throne of God will be ‘a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language’ who will be crying out: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’ (Rev 7:9,10).

Apart from Jesus Christ ‘salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the Gospel (Acts 17:30; Mk. 1:15).

My friend the greatest concern at hand is where will you be spending eternity because especially in light of God’s revelation to you He will not let you claim ignorance! (Acts 17:30)

Have you ever told a lie?”

Unbeliever: “Yes.”

-----Share the Law and Gospel---

Posted By: Chad Williams "Street Apologetics"