What happens to people who die without hearing the gospel?
Would God really send those people to hell?
Three experts in this week's issue strive to answer to this question.
God does not allow anyone to go to hell because they lived at a time or in a place where they never heard about Jesus.
Yet, if you're a Christian, today's content may serve as a good reminder that your job on earth is to spread the good news of Christ.
Each person is in a unique situation
This 4-minute video explains that a person is judged based on the light that person is given, which could just be seeing nature around him or her and believing there must be a force behind it all. Alternatively, it could be that someone believed in God, but lived before the time of Christ. While we are not privy to God's plan, we can trust that he reaches out to people based on their responses to him.
God wants to enlist you in this effort
Author and preacher David Platt stresses in this 8-minute video that there are no innocent people in the world. Therefore God allows no one innocent to go to hell. There are just people who know enough to be condemned to hell if they die, and stresses the need for us especially comfortable Christians not to coast it out until we die. We need to obey God to tell others about Christ.
In this video Platt makes the following arguments based on the book of Romans:
All people know God the Father. God has made it plain to them. So that men are without excuse.
All people rejected God.
There are no innocent people in the world. If they were innocent, they would have no reason to hear the gospel.
All people are condemned for rejecting God.
All can be saved.
People cannot come to God apart from faith in Christ.
Christ commands the church to preach and take the gospel to all people.
Platt explains his view in this video on the related topic of what happens to young children or those without the cognitive capacity to make a choice to follow Christ.
God reaches people in ways we can't even fathom
In “The Insanity of God” author Nik Ripken circles the globe interviewing persecuted Christians about their experiences.
This excellent book illustrates that many people who we might assume have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel actually have, through avenues like the 90 years of radio broadcasts https://reachbeyond.org/about-us or https://www.jesusfilm.org/.
One story in the book sounded very similar to how Paul came to know Christ (minus the blinding light). The man in the story was told by God to take a bus to a city, turn on a certain street and knock on a door in a Muslim community. The resident of the home told the man about Jesus, after which he became a follower of Jesus.
I've also heard from various Christians who do outreach to Muslims that as much as half of the people they speak with have heard from Jesus in a dream. These stories give me the confidence that God is doing far more than I could ever comprehend. He knows what He’s doing, even if we are unaware of most of it.