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What About People Who Never Hear the Gospel? - Mike Winger

Video from Mike Winger

"A transparent and thorough treatment of the question from a biblical perspective. Various issues are dealt with such as why people get judged in the first place, what all people should know, biblical examples of people who were saved without hearing the gospel, a rebuttal of universalism, how we ought not suppose that all religions offer a path to God, and how the reality of people responding to the gospel means that we need to be serious and vigilant in evangelism.' from video introduction

What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

"The man on the island. Perhaps you’ve encountered him in a friend’s argument against Christianity. Maybe you’ve even voiced the objection yourself.

How could a good and loving God condemn to hell someone who’s never heard of him?

When it comes to this emotionally vexing issue, there are two dominant positions among professing Christians: inclusivism and exclusivism. While both views maintain that Jesus is the only way to God, only one insists on the necessity of conscious faith in him.

Allure of Inclusivism

Inclusivism is the belief that salvation is only through Jesus Christ, but that there may be persons who are saved without knowing it. They are redeemed by the person and work of a Christ they do not consciously embrace. Simply put, Jesus may save some who never hear of him.

Inclusivists often cite Romans 2:1–16, a passage taken to imply that salvation is possible apart from God’s special revelation. The content of general revelation—both the created order without (Rom. 1:19–20) and the moral law within (Rom. 2:14–15)—provides sufficient knowledge for salvation. As Millard Erickson explains, “The rise of more inclusive views of salvation, even among evangelicals, is based on a belief in the efficacy of general revelation for a salvific relationship to God” (Christian Theology, 123).." from the article: What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

Counterpoint & Response

David Bentley Hart is an American Eastern Orthodox theologian, writer, philosopher, and religious studies scholar whose work encompasses a wide range of subjects.

He has over time developed an attitude of universalism. His book: That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation sums up his beliefs.

Partly I see in him and others an indignation that God would condemn anyone. Hart also gives an exegetical explanation for universalism.

Listen to the above video and the one below and see what you think.

David Bentley Hart, "Is Everyone Saved? Universalism and the Nature of Persons"

Video from James S. Cutsinger

"Lecture at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Columbia, South Carolina 16 November 2018" from video introduction

David Bentley Hart’s Lonely, Last Stand for Christian Universalism

"For those not already acquainted with him, David Bentley Hart of the University of Notre Dame is widely regarded as one of the two most influential academic theologians in the English-speaking world today (along with John Milbank of Nottingham University). Hart’s output is prodigious, and his range of intellectual interests—in the literature of various languages—is staggering. His published PhD dissertation, The Beauty of the Infinite (2004), caused reviewers to regard him, young as he was, as a leading Christian theologian.

Though Hart no longer has possession of his personal library of some 20,000 volumes, he seems to have read most of it and not to have forgotten much. Had he been born earlier, he’s the sort of scholar who might have sat beside C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the other Inklings at The Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, and not only have grasped their exchanges on English literature, Western history, world mythology, and Christian theology, but also have taught them a thing or two. Those who think this must be hyperbole should examine the essays contained in three recent collections: A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays (2016), The Hidden and the Manifest (2017), and The Dream-Child’s Progress (2017). These and other volumes by Hart I gladly commend.

Yet Hart’s new book, That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation, on my view, doesn’t merit the same commendation, and lacks the argumentative acuity and literary beauty of the earlier works. Film buffs might call it the “Godfather III” of Hart’s oeuvre—not quite up to snuff. Even the master sometimes misses. Adding to the disappointment for me, and I’m sure for many other readers, is that Hart is no longer countering unbelief—as in Atheist Delusions (2010)—but is now in all-out war with fellow Christians believers who hold to traditional views on heaven and hell.." from the article: David Bentley Hart’s Lonely, Last Stand for Christian Universalism

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