The Gospel Ignorant

question_mark[1]

The Webster Dictionary definition of ignorant is lacking [of] knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified. Being dumb and/or stupid is different than being ignorant. Lacking knowledge can be corrected by teaching and sharing the information lacking. I’ve been asked this question a number of times in my ministry; what will happen to those people who have never heard the gospel of Christ? What is the fate of those who have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ?

It is the Christian’s job to share what we know of Jesus Christ to all in our sphere of influence (i.e. family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.). The church has a mandate to evangelize the world and the clearest expression of Christ’s mandate is found in Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus used the word “all” four times (all authority, all peoples, all that He commanded, and all the days) to declare the destiny of all of history.[1] Since the 2,000 years the church has had this mandate, not every person has been able to hear the good news of the gospel of Christ. What happens to those people? There is an idea called “Universalism” that holds that all people will be saved because God is good; and that Christ did die for sinners and ultimately all mankind will be saved on the basis of Christ’s provision.[2] This is not the case. The Bible is clear that there are two kinds of people; the saved and the lost.[3] Romans 3:23 says all [every human being] has sinned is has fallen short of God’s glory. God is holy and just; He cannot have unclean people in His presence. He has made a way for all man to be reconnected to him through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only agent of salvation (John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”).[4] Man will be judged based on what they do with the news that have been given.[5] The purpose of evangelizing the nations is to “Go” and join Jesus’ mandate to tell all people groups the good news that there is a way to God and His name is Jesus Christ.

Some people reading this post might feel that this isn’t fair. That God isn’t very loving because He condemns those who have never heard the good news. If God was being fair, everyone would be condemned to hell; it is only because of His mercy and love (Eph, 2:4-5) that He saves us. The idea of Universalism (or inclusivism) is never found in the Bible. Our world likes the idea of inclusivism because it feeds society’s idea of tolerance. Everyone accepts each other and respects the other’s faith practices; however, the Bible is clear in that Christianity is an exclusive relationship with God through Jesus alone. Jesus says so in John 14:6 (Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.). He is the only way to the Father; and no one or nothing else can or will give us access to the Father.  In my past studying of exclusivism, I don’t see the church is the vehicle of salvation, but in the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord. [6]  If this idea leaves you troubled, pray to God and seek how you can make a difference in this world for Christ. Being ignorant is just a lack of knowledge. Maybe God will use you to instill the needed knowledge  to someone.

 

[1] Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, Perspectives On The World Christian Movement: Reader. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 126.

[2] Ibid, 171.

[3] Ibid, 172.

[4] Steven C. Hawthorne, Perspectives On The World Christian Movement. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 45.

[5] Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, Perspectives On The World Christian Movement: Reader. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 173.

[6] Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, Perspectives On The World Christian Movement: Reader. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 179.

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