Monday, April 12, 2004

I noticed that one of the people in support of the UMJC pointed to the example of Cornelius as someone who was probably saved without explicity confessing Christ. After reflecting on this, there are some problems with using this as a normative situation.

1) Cornelius knew about the true religion of the Jews explicitly. The message of Christ didn't get to him yet. There was no way for him to know. No one argues that in 300 BC someone went to hell because they didn't explicitly know Christ. Cornelius would seem to be in a similar situation. But they were held accountable for what light they had.

2) As soon as Christ is preached to Cornelius he believes. I would gather that someone who is in a regenerate state without explicitly hearing about Jesus, would accept the gospel immediately. His sheep hear his voice. If Cornelius consciously rejected Jesus, what escape would he have? None. The UMJC debate is about people who have heard about Jesus, reject him, but are secretly unbeknownest to themselves believers. The Cornelius story does not support this. As we are noticing on this point, the Cornelius narrative would only have application to people who never heard of Jesus.

3) God made sure Cornelius got the gospel. God can get the gospel to you by any means necessary. By now, we know of many instances in closed Muslim countries where our Lord appears to Muslims in dreams, thereby converting them in His great mercy.

4) Paul says "how can they call on the Lord if they do not hear the message?" (Romans 10) How beautiful are the feet who bring good news! If you follow Paul's chain of reasoning, those who have never heard of Jesus cannot be saved because they can't call upon the Lord. God has ordained the spread of the gospel through missionaries and preaching.

So can people who have never heard true religion be saved? They aren't innocent. So start spreading the gospel, God's only means of escape for the coming wrath.

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