Answering “Questions Christians Can’t Answer” #34 Evangelism?

This article is a continuation of the 50-part series which examines another article, “Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer“, and takes the challenge to answer those questions.

Several notes:

The questions are largely about theology, but the author of the questions demands physical, verifiable answers. Of course the entire thing is a setup for failure, as one can rarely – if ever – answer a metaphysical question in a naturalistic manner. The questioner assumes naturalism, and therefore rules out any basis for answer.

At best, the answers in this series show that the Christian belief system is internally consistent, and that if one allows for the possibility of a God, then these questions do not devastate. The conflict in this series is not the belief system against itself, but rather whether or not God exists. This question ought to be addressed prior to discussion of these questions.

The questioner, also, tends to take a mocking tone in the body of his questions. Presumably, he feels he has Christians by the throat, and consequently, does not hold back on the ridicule. These questions will be presented in their original wording (minus any profanity), but the answers will try not to take the same tone.

Now on to question 34:

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34 – It is a common belief among Christians that the only unforgivable sin is consciously rejecting Christ as Lord and savior. With that said, it is also believed by Christians that those who have never heard of Jesus and the Christian faith, i.e. individuals within an isolated tribe, babies and so forth, have no concept of Christ and can not, therefore, be in the position to consciously reject him. This would allow them entrance into heaven by default. With that said, why would you tell anyone about Christ? Why would you spread the word if that would put them in the position to consciously reject him? If they are already going to heaven due to their ignorance of the word of God, why not just let that be? You would, in effect, be losing more souls to Satan by spreading the word. You might want to rethink that whole “fishers of men” thing. 

 

One of the more prominently held beliefs regarding this is that all people have some knowledge of God and his law, whether this be profound or superficial:

Romans 2:12-16 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Consequently, even those who have never heard the Gospel of Forgiveness are judged by the information that they do have regarding morality and how they have responded:

Luke 12:47-48 (ESV)
47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Assuming this perspective, it greatly benefits those who have not heard to have every opportunity to better know the dynamics of Law and Gospel so as to be given further opportunity to repent and to know the source of their salvation.

So as to properly represent the diversity of Christian doctrines, one must also consider that Reformed theology would tend to indicate that God functions in such a way as to exercise his justice on those he rejects, and his mercy on those whom he calls. Thus it is God’s decision as to who gets to hear of salvation through Christ and who does not, and that he draws the saints unto himself.
Whatever one’s individual theology, it is important to note that humans benefit greatly by having a relationship with their Creator, a relationship made possible by the Gospel message. Not only are people who are made aware of the Gospel more likely to repent and gain a direct relationship with their Creator, but more than this, God created humans, not the other way around. If God wants others to know of Jesus and his sacrifice to his own glory, this is for his purposes, whether or not it benefits those people. As their Creator, God is not beholden to his creation, yet he gave everything to redeem it. Humans, on the other hand owe God everything, and may only truly live up to this by submitting their lives wholly and entirely to God.
Presumably the person who is unaware of the Gospel of Christ will occasionally try to live a good life, and feel the guilt of his indiscretions, while another will consciously choose to live a life of selfish abandon. In so doing, they have determined their relationship with the God they do not know. If the Gospel were to come to them, the one who already feels the guilt of his misdeeds will happily embrace this forgiveness and be enriched by doing so. The one who has chosen selfish living may, himself, be convicted and repent, to his benefit. He may also reject the message just as he has what little morality he did know about. The Gospel has become more of a benefit for this person, but either way, the Gospel has enriched rather than doomed these people.

Ultimately, the Gospel is spread for the sake of the Gospel. According to scripture, Jesus said “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” And at the end of time, celestial beings proclaim, “worthy is the lamb who was slain to receive glory and honor and blessing.” The salvation of humans is one aim of evangelism, but perhaps the primary aim is the glorification of Christ.

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