Three times in the last few weeks someone has asked me a question about what happens to those who have never heard the gospel of Christ. It is one of those questions that is always closely under the surface for evangelicals because we have compassion for the lost. There is a special concern for those who are lost and have not had the opportunity to know about Christ. For some reason, I rarely post about theology on this blog. In this case I think it has become necessary. So I will do my best to explain why I believe that these people must be lost. My first argument is a simple straightforward argument from scripture. Salvation is only obtained one way, by faith in Christ. John 14:6 makes this abundantly clear. That there is no way to get into heaven except thorough the sacrifice of Christ. This is not simply prooftexting or taking one verse out of context, the same idea carries throughout the Bible. Faith is the only method of salvation.
This may sound repetitious, but it bears saying. There is no other god, person, entity, or idol to appeal to for salvation. Acts 4:12 says, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This is clear. Faith in a tribal sun-god, or in the moon, or in a giant rabbit or anything other than the name of Christ is worthless.
If I had no further argument, this would be enough to establish this doctrine.
My second argument is to appeal to general revelation. (A topic which I’m surprised that I haven’t blogged on before) Romans 1 makes it clear that God has made Himself known to everyone through creation. Romans 1 also makes it clear that this knowledge is enough to condemn, but not enough to save. An awareness of God does not even remotely resemble saving faith. James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in God. The doctrine of general revelation, therefore tells that this knowledge makes us without excuse. That is to say that all people know that they are guilty.
As I was writing this post, I realized that it was becoming way too long. So I have split it into 2 parts. Come back tomorrow and read part 2.