In the video presentation below Dr. Flowers unpacks the various theories regarding the fate of the unevangelized while debunking the idea that this is a black and white divide between Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic scholars. In other words, there are even Calvinistic scholars (and confessional statements) that take a more inclusivistic approach regarding those who are unable to hear the specific news about Jesus. The slides for the presentation are also provided in the link below the video.
Slide presentation on: The Fate of the Unevangelized: Pluralism, Exclusivism, Inclusivism, Restrictivism and Calvinism
More on this topic is discussed here:
13 thoughts on “The Fate of the Unevangelized”
Inviting all commentators to the adult table!
Remember, many that God will include in His heaven may have believed in a coming savior…. but not specifically the name of Jesus.
Indeed, foh, they would have looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. Heb 11. Could some have known nothing of a coming Savior? They may have only humbly trusted in the truth of God they saw revealed in nature and conscience.
If ultimately suppressing the truth revealed in nature and conscience is enough to damn us then wouldn’t it stand to reason that humbly receiving that truth, by faith, would be enough for God to impute the cross and righteousness of Christ to their account?
Thanks for tackling these questions, Leighton. I appreciate your willingness to endure the false charges for the sake of helpful interaction and sound doctrine. Your podcast gives me plenty of good company while driving around for work. I’d love to hear what Adam Harwood and Dave Allen might have to say on the question of the unreached.
Looking for that Blessed Hope…
After listening and reading the back and forth from Leighton and the guys at Poopit & Pen, I can see how Leighton has been mis-represented (and purposely maligned in my opinion). There are things about Billy Graham that he did which I personally disagree with, like chumming up to the Roman Catholic Church instead of rejecting that organisation as un-biblical and false. I am sure there are things about Billy Graham that Leighton disagrees with as well, as he even admits. But that is another issue for another day. Nonetheless my heart goes out to the Graham family during a difficult time.
Everyone one of us whether Calvinist or Non-Calvinist has to deal with the issue of “those who never hear the gospel”. The silence on the comments here tell me that this is something that everybody thinks about and tries to get their head around.
My stance on this is somewhat similar to Lieghtons in that everyone has been given well and truly enough revelation from God to be able to seek after him and find him. Call it “Good News” “The Gospel” “God’s Revelation of himself”. And yes it all hinges on the gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ atoning for the sin of the world to make this possible.
The Calvinist would say that general revelation is not enough…….and I would agree without the work of Christ and Christ cross it isn’t. But with the work of Christ and the cross it is. I also believe general revelation or “enough light” doesn’t come through any religion such as Buddhism or Hinduism or any other false religion.
The light of the gospel comes by Jesus Christ and since He is God the Son equal with God the Father, any light comes from Him. What would be the point of ‘general revelation’ or ‘light’ if you need ‘special revelation’ to even realize that there is ‘general revelation’ or ‘light’? It wouldn’t make sense, therefore general revelation and light has a purpose.
I’ll just believe by faith that everyone who stands before the Lord in judgement will be judged for not believing in what they could have believed in – The Gospel (Good News)
I’ll just agree agree with the apostle Paul – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world”
The Calvinist would be quick to point a finger at this stage I would think, and would accuse me of saying you can be saved without the gospel. But again I will just agree with the apostle Paul that everyone will hear the gospel (Good News) – “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”
Then I will throw the beautiful verse back at the Calvinist, the one they always throw at me to try and describe Calvin’s “secret decree” of salvation………which it doesn’t.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Sometimes I can’t get my head around how the Lord gets the gospel to the lost, but I am 100% confident he does.
The God of the Universe who created billions of stars, and named them. The God that created the trillion cells in my body and created the incredible coding system to keep it running is,somehow, going to forget about some of his creations and not give them a chance to know him. That is taking away the power of the most perfect and all powerful God. It is limiting the power of God and we aren’t capable of that for we would have to be greater than God to limit his power.
A sociological attribute of Calvinism, is the degree to which it postures as constituting the only true source of divine revelation.
Calvin auto-magically assumes everything that pops into his imagination comes directly to him from the Holy Spirit and should therefore be embraced (per the Catholic tradition of Ex-Cathedra) with “sensus fidelium” (i.e., double-think accepted without question).
Having established a Protestant form of Papal infallibility, he then positioned himself as the judge over any rational thinker who questions his library of self-contradictions.
That soon became the established template of behavior for that population of Calvinist “Don Quixotes” that would follow.
But Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among the brethren, receives us not. 3 John 1:9
Every tree brings forth fruit after its own kind. :-]
Why evangelize if salvation can be by osmosis? Also, what happens to the people of Eph 2:12? It says they were without hope and God. It sounds like they were destined to live and die without God. So it’s no different than Calvanism’s teaching that God destines some to hell. Please affirm or correct my thoughts.
Glad to see you commenting, but not quite sure what you meant by the comment. Please lay it out some more.
Hosea speaks about the cutting off of the 10 tribes of Israel who taken captive by the Assyrians. After that captivity they were scattered into the lands north and west of Assyria – where we find the city of Ephesus. These Gentiles who were predestined for salvation thru the Gospel is who Paul contrasts with the other Gentiles who were idolators. So it is likely those gentile Ephesians were the ones Paul is writing to as the fulfillment of their promised regathering in the last days had come to pass.
Hello MoGrace2u and welcome.
BTW: Where in the scripture do you see it EXPLICITLY stated that people are predestined to be saved?
I think this is something best left with God.
We don’t have to have all the answers, but qualified opinions are allowable..
So my opinion is based on Genesis 18:25 “That be far from Thee to do in this manner — to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
also 1 Samuel 16:7
7” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
and, Jeremiah 17:10,
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
Whether they have never heard or took a long time to come to a place of conviction and repentance as I did, we can rest in the knowledge that out loving and holy and righteous God will judge their hearts fairly and reward them accordingly.
I’m not sure which view Leighton has: (A) the general revelation is enough to save – the sinner believes God exists, and if that’s all he knows before he dies, then he is saved; or (B) obeying general revelation, the sinner seeks after God and God makes sure he gets to hear the gospel – as in the case of Cornelius. From many of the comments on Soteriology 101, I see that (A) is widely held.
I hope Leighton means (B). General revelation is NOT the gospel.