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What about the folks who've never heard of Jesus?

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Since I have no life, I was exploring here at AW and found this older topic. I sincerly hope that no one minds if I "ressurect" it. I was surprised that no one mentioned that there is a plan outlined in God's Word for this very situation (that is, what happens to people who died without ever knowing of the Savior or His mission).

    In I Peter 4:6, we find the following:

    "For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."

    In the preceeding chapter, Peter explains this mission of Christ with the following:

    "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being out to death in the flesh, but quicked by the Spirit: By which also He went and preached unto the the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah . . ."
    II Peter 3:18-20

    We can presume that all of the people in the time of Noah did not have the opportunity to hear of the fullness of the "good news" as preached by Noah himself. Thus God's plan is to make sure that they DO have this opportuniy in the "spirit prison" after this mortal existance.

    However, Comrade Andrei is correct on another point. Only the authorized priesthood representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ have the authority and the responsibility to administer the required Sacrament of Baptism, without which no one can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (see Nicodemus' interview with Jesus in John 3).

    When someone has already died, that is without this necessary Sacrament being performed by an authorized servant of our Lord holding the Holy Priesthood and allowed to perform this ordinance, then there is a problem. This was prepared for by an ordinance known as "baptism for the dead." This was practised in the Church of Jesus Christ in ancient days as can be seen by Paul's mention of the practice and utilization of it as a proof of the ressurection of the dead in his epistle to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ at Corinth (see I Cor 15:29).

    God's eternal plan already has this contingency covered.

    As to where this "officialy sanctioned" Church of Jesus Christ is, this is a topic that continues to vex modern-day Chritianity, with each and every denomination saying that THEY are the only true manifestation of the Church that Jesus established in the meridian of time.

    I hope that this helps.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    The individual above had not been saved neither heard of Christ and therefore had not received the Spirit.
    No one is "saved". We are not guaranteed salvation, we hope for salvation.

    Romans 8:24
    24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees?
    25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

    Second, there is nothing about "I can't understand what I am reading because I'm not saved". Did the Jews not understand the Torah and the other Old Testament books because they hadn't been redeemed yet?

    The passages above are not taken out of context, read what is before or after in either,
    I didn't say they were taken out of context, I said they were interpreted wrongly.

    the doctrines you are posting are not the word of God but the doctrines of men and as such lack authority themselves.
    Well, as the Good Book says, there is nothing new under the sun.

    "If you produce from the divine scriptures something that we all share, we shall have to listen. But those words which are not found in the scriptures are under no circumstance accepted by us, especially since the Lord warns us, saying, In vain they worship me, teaching human commandments and precepts' (Mt 5:19)" Maximinus (Arch-Arian Heretic), Debate with Maximinus, 1 (c. A.D. 428).

    "But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men - a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed. Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind…” Tertullian, On Prescription against the Heretics, 32 (c. A.D. 200).

    "For heresies, and certain tenets of perversity, ensnaring souls and hurling them into the deep, have not sprung up except when good Scriptures are not rightly understood, and when that in them which is not rightly understood is rashly and boldly asserted. And so, dearly beloved, ought we very cautiously to hear those things for the understanding of which we are but little ones, and that, too, with pious heart and with trembling, as it is written, holding this rule of soundness, that we rejoice as in food in that which we have been able to understand, according to the faith with which we are imbued…" Augustine, On the Gospel of John, Homily XVIII:1 (A.D. 416).

    The authority of the Church is unshakable, the "doctrines of men" can be found among those who have become disobedient to Christ's Holy Church-to the only true interpreter of the Sacred Scriptures.

    Scriptures (in proper light), Tradition, the Magisterium, the Early Church Fathers, all support the doctrines of Holy Church.

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  • scud
    replied
    Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch...reading the prophet Isaiah...[Philip] asked "do you understand what you are reading?" He replied "How can I unless someone guides me?" and he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him (Acts 8:30-31)
    The individual above had not been saved neither heard of Christ and therefore had not received the Spirit. To be taught of God it is necessary to recieve the Spirit. The passages above are not taken out of context, read what is before or after in either, the doctrines you are posting are not the word of God but the doctrines of men and as such lack authority themselves.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Not so fast, nothing you posted says anything about people being able to individually interpret the Bible. You interpreted that out of the text, but with what authority? Everybody and their brother on the protestant side thinks they can interpret Scripture but obviously everyone isn't right.

    Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch...reading the prophet Isaiah...[Philip] asked "do you understand what you are reading?" He replied "How can I unless someone guides me?" and he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him (Acts 8:30-31)

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  • scud
    replied
    Except that Sola Scriptura and personal interpretation aren't even taught in the Bible, nor is the Bible the sole rule of faith and doctrines do not have to be explicitly taught in the Bible.
    Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

    Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

    You are every bit as capable as the church of interpreting scripture with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, every time you read your bible and understand something new in it it is God giving you that revelation because

    Luk 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

    If it was not for God it would be hard understood.

    [ October 04, 2005, 13:42: Message edited by: scud ]

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    There is no curch mentioned in scripture that is necessary for salvation
    Except that Sola Scriptura and personal interpretation aren't even taught in the Bible, nor is the Bible the sole rule of faith and doctrines do not have to be explicitly taught in the Bible.

    It does not say, explicitly and blatantly that the Catholic Church is neceassary for salvation however simlistic interpretation doesn't prove otherwise. The passages you post support the Church, I've already said that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. Coming to Christ is coming to the Church. Believing in the Church is believing in Christ. Loving the Church is loving Christ.

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  • scud
    replied
    There is no curch mentioned in scripture that is necessary for salvation

    Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

    Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    -------------

    Act 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

    Act 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

    Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

    Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    Act 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

    Act 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

    Act 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I'd be interested in seeing some proof from you that didn't invovle the Catholic church's own declarations and statements.
    If you mean the Bible then I'd still be providing proof from the Church!

    However, that being said, the Catechism is wonderfully inundated with footnotes from Councils, the Early Church Fathers, the Bible, Papal Encyclicals etc. etc.

    For instance, from CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) 846-848 we have four footnotes, numbered 335, 336, 337 and 338.

    335 Cf. Cyprian, Ep. 73.21: PL 3, 1169; De unit.: PL 4, 509-536.

    336 LG 14; cf. ⇒ Mk 16:16; ⇒ Jn 3:5.

    337 LG 16; cf. DS 3866-3872.

    338 AG 7; cf. ⇒ Heb 11:6; ⇒ 1 Cor 9:16.

    So, we have quotes from St. Cyprian, Lumen Gentium, and of course, the Bible.

    But, aside from that, you can not level such an accusation against me without it coming back on you. Prove something religiously without using the Bible. If we assume the Bible is true, then what do we believe about it? It comes down to authority, such that who has the authority to interpret Scripture. The Word of God is transmitted through Tradition, Scripture, and the Magisterium thus using any or all is completely valid to make a point.


    Try being saved with only the Church and no Christ.
    Now try being saved with only Christ and no church.
    You make a false dichotomy, it isn't "You are either saved by the Church or by Christ". The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, so it is both. There is no Christ only or Church only.

    Guess which one will work and which one won't.
    John 14:6
    "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
    And the only way to come to Christ is through His Church. There is no "and the church" addendum because there is no need for one. When Christ says "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" He is and we believe it is so. However, as the Church is the Body of Christ the Church is the Way, the Truth and the Life because Christ made it so. Again, it comes down to authority. What makes you think that you can come to Christ any other way besides the Church? If you say the Bible or some other denomination, fine and dandy. But all grace that is present in other denominations comes from the Church, the Bible came from the Tradition of the Church-therefore, even far removed from the Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church still brought you to Christ.

    II. THE CHURCH - BODY OF CHRIST

    The Church is communion with Jesus

    787 From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings.215 Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: "Abide in me, and I in you.... I am the vine, you are the branches."216 and he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."217

    788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit.218 As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: "By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation."219

    789 The comparison of the Church with the body casts light on the intimate bond between Christ and his Church. Not only is she gathered around him; she is united in him, in his body. Three aspects of the Church as the Body of Christ are to be more specifically noted: the unity of all her members with each other as a result of their union with Christ; Christ as head of the Body; and the Church as bride of Christ.

    "One Body"

    790 Believers who respond to God's word and become members of Christ's Body, become intimately united with him: "In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification."220 This is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ's death and Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which "really sharing in the body of the Lord, . . . we are taken up into communion with him and with one another."221

    791 The body's unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: "In the building up of Christ's Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the Church."222 The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: "From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice."223 Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."224

    "Christ is the Head of this Body"

    792 Christ "is the head of the body, the Church."225 He is the principle of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father's glory, "in everything he (is) preeminent,"226 especially in the Church, through whom he extends his reign over all things.

    793 Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to resemble him, "until Christ be formed" in them.227 "For this reason we . . . are taken up into the mysteries of his life, . . . associated with his sufferings as the body with its head, suffering with him, that with him we may be glorified."228

    794 Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our head,229 he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance by which we help one another along the way of salvation.

    795 Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). the Church is one with Christ. the saints are acutely aware of this unity:

    Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man.... the fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church.230

    Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.231

    Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.232

    A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."233

    Cf. ⇒ Mk 1:16-20; ⇒ 3:13-19; ⇒ Mt 13:10-17; ⇒ Lk 10:17-20; ⇒ 22:28-30.

    216 ⇒ Jn 15:4-5.

    217 ⇒ Jn 6:56.

    218 Cf. ⇒ Jn 14:18; ⇒ 20:22; ⇒ Mt 28:20; ⇒ Acts 2:33.

    219 LG 7.

    220 LG 7.

    221 LG 7; cf. ⇒ Rom 6:4-5; ⇒ 1 Cor 12:13.

    222 LG 7 # 3.

    223 LG 7 # 3; cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 12:26.

    224 ⇒ Gal 3:27-28.

    225 ⇒ Col 1:18.

    226 ⇒ Col 1:18.

    227 ⇒ Gal 4:19.

    228 LG 7 # 4; cf. ⇒ Phil 3:21; ⇒ Rom 8:17.

    229 Cf. ⇒ Col 2:19; ⇒ Eph 4:11-16.

    230 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev, 21, 8: PL 35, 1568.

    231 Pope St. Gregory the Great Moralia in Job, praef., 14: PL 75, 525A.

    232 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 48, 2.

    233 Acts of the Trial of Joan of Arc.
    [ October 04, 2005, 12:03: Message edited by: Comrade Andrei ]

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  • stainless
    replied
    Oh no, here we go again

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  • Kestryll
    replied
    "Outside the Church there is no salvation"
    Actually it's "Outside of Christ there is no salvation"

    Try being saved with only the Church and no Christ.
    Now try being saved with only Christ and no church.
    Guess which one will work and which one won't.
    John 14:6
    "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
    Nope, I don't see an addendum nameing the church as an alternate.

    I'd be interested in your proofs.
    I'd be interested in seeing some proof from you that didn't invovle the Catholic church's own declarations and statements.
    "I will prove that this is true by using it to prove itself but you have to accept it as truth in order for my eveidence to prove it true."
    Grant me one assumption and I can prove anything.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    "Outside the Church there is no salvation"

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

    848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338


    FWIW: Children are covered by their parents salvation until they 'come of age', thus if a baby/child dies before he or she can accept Christ they are still saved. Many scriptures back that up.
    I've never heard that. I'd be interested in your proofs.

    The Church's position-

    VI. The Necessity of Baptism

    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

    1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

    1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

    1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

    1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"63 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    So am I to understand that those who haven't heard (we're talking millions around the world) will get a chance? I know I'm condensing alot of information, but that's the gist of what I'm getting here. Combine that with the fact that God doesn't make mistakes and we have an answer. I'm satisfied.

    Thanks! RS

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  • Buck
    replied
    Here's another post on the same subject:


    http://www.assaultweb.net/cgi-bin/ul...1;t=001761;p=0


    +

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  • Buck
    replied
    This question is one of those that most believers like to stay as far away from as possible.

    It is often a favorite of skeptics who like to think there is more than one way to God besides through Jesus Christ. Yet it was Jesus Himself who made the bold claim that,

    "I am the way and the truth and the life.
    No one comes to the Father except through me."
    - John 14:6


    If God is fair, people that have never heard the Gospel would all get into Heaven automatically right? If that were true, then there must be more than one way to God. Yet the above verse seems to make that impossible.


    There is no simple "proof text" for an answer. You cannot simply turn in your Bible to such-and-such a verse and see where it reads, "Anyone who never hears the gospel goes to.............." Nice as this might be, it is simply not there.


    There are verses in the Bible however, that tells us about Gods infinite wisdom and mercy,


    "It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
    that the Almighty would pervert justice."
    - Job 34:12


    "let them sing before the LORD,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
    He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity."
    -Psalm 98:9


    "God 'will give to each person according to what he has done.' "
    -Romans 2:6

    "wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts."
    - 1 Corinthians 4:5


    The all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe knows more than us, loves more than us, cares more than us, and is infinitely more just than we can ever know this side of eternity.


    +

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    The issue of those before Christ was born is covered when He died and before He rose.

    In todays world very, very few people haven't heard of Jesus.

    I believe what Jesus said, that no one comes to the Father except through Him.

    I don't believe a person alive today would be held to that standard if they haven't once heard of Him. --- That means at some point they would have denied Him, not that they never once heard of Him and thats their excuse.

    I realize this guy was probably questioning Christianity, more than asking a simple question. My answer to myself is: God has a reason for everything He does. I will not question it.

    I certainly am not going to apply my pathetic 28 years of exsistance and semi-dimensional thinking and put it up against the Omnipotent Wisdom of God. To do so would be foolish.

    FWIW: Children are covered by their parents salvation until they 'come of age', thus if a baby/child dies before he or she can accept Christ they are still saved. Many scriptures back that up.

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