Sunday, February 9, 2014

Will someone who has never heard about Jesus go to Hell?


Now here's a question for you: "Can someone who has never heard about Jesus go to heaven or will they go to hell...?"

A big thank you to Jack Sparrow (No doubt 'anonymous'), who asked the following question recently:
'Do pirates who sail the seven seas and never get to hear the gospel go to hell if they die?'

Firstly, I'm glad you are so concerned about pirates, that you would be interested in their eternity.

John Piper writes that he believes people who have never heard the gospel cannot be saved and then he challenged his readers to pray for missionaries to take the Word of God to the ends of the earth.

I don't agree with John Piper here. Followers of Jesus are challenged by Jesus himself to go into all of the world and make disciples, though God is surely gracious enough and sovereign enough to orchestrate salvation for someone on a deserted island or a pirate ship.

Now, there's some ideas to seriously consider here.

It is only through Jesus Christ that salvation occurs (John 14:6), that's the main point. The salvation for a pirate on the seven seas would only be through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, irrespective of whether the salvation comes from a verbal proclamation of hearing the message of Jesus or not. I have heard stories of people having encounters with Christ through visions and dreams, without the work of an evangelist!

I believe, that God is more than capable of testing people's hearts and their response to the general revelation of creation around them and make a decision on someone's eternity.

We are not in a position to make a judgment call here. We are called to 'go into all the world,' and be faithful in expressing the gospel of Jesus in word and deed. While evangelicals will strive to reach the corners of the earth with the gospel message, I trust God's prevailing grace in situations where people have not experienced the amazing hope found in Jesus Christ. This being said, if I had to choose between hoping that someone would merely respond to the general revelation of God and having the awesome privelege of communicating the truth found in Jesus, I would choose the latter.

*****

Feel free to comment. What do you think:
  • Can someone who has never heard about Jesus go to Hell?
  • Can someone who has never heard about Jesus go to Heaven?

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1 comment:

  1. Leane Dabitz says:
    Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Due to the progressive unveiling of Christ in scripture, we know from the Old Testament that there are many souls through history who are with God in heaven now, having never heard the name Jesus prior to his coming. These were faithful to the revelation they had at the time. If never having heard the name Jesus, I believe we will be judged according to our response to what revelation of Himself He has shown. I've read of some people groups through history claim when the missionaries came to them they already had experienced visitation through dreams and visions of a Man but did not know His name was Jesus. Tricky question, but we do know God's judgements are just.

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