Hell a motivation for missions
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Hell: A Motivation for Missions?. What happens to people when they die? What should happen to people before they die?. Biblical concept: 54 verses. NET Hebrews 9:27 And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment ,

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Hell: A Motivation for Missions?

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Hell a motivation for missions

Hell: A Motivation for Missions?

What happens to people when they die? What should happen to people before they die?

Biblical concept 54 verses

Biblical concept: 54 verses

NET Hebrews 9:27 And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment,

NET Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

NET Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds.14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death– the lake of fire.

What about people who have never heard

What about people who have never heard?

  • Only time people are concerned about lost

  • Some arguments are emotional: sympathetic, “It just doesn’t seem fair.”

  • Some arguments are deductive: depends on your perspective of God’s character– “a loving God would not send anyone to hell”

  • Some arguments are exegetical: “all will be reconciled to God in accordance with 1 Cor 15:22” – Yes, “Every knee shall bow…”

    • “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

  • Some arguments are theological: God arbitrarily regenerates some from every tribe – It is not our primary concern.

Eleven positions of the uninformed

Eleven Positions of the “uninformed”

  • Universalism: All mankind will be saved.

  • Qualifieduniversalism: Salvation pertains to those who do not refuse it

  • Inclusivism - Anyone who is sincere and follows goodwill in their faith is saved by Jesus. One set of beliefs is absolutely true, other sets of beliefs are at least partially true. (Mr 9:40; 2 Pet 3:9)

    • “All truth is God’s truth”

    • John Wesley, C.S. Lewis, Clark Pinnock, & Billie Graham

Eleven positions of the uninformed1

Eleven Positions of the “uninformed”

  • Extended probation: For a limited time after death a person is given a 2nd chance to repent

  • General revelation as a door to saving faith even without special revelation (a trust in mercy)

  • Extraordinary applications of the atonement: if grace applies to babies-insane then applies to unevangelized by election.

Eleven positions of the uninformed2

Eleven Positions of the “uninformed”

  • “Faith that would have been” [if a person would have heard the gospel]

  • Agnosticism: no one can know so we should not be dogmatic (John Stott, James Orr)

  • Traditionalism [restrictivism: grace to babies and mentally incapacitated]

  • Annihilationism and conditional mortality (the wicked become as if they had never existed)

  • Degrees of punishment in hell (same duration, but not the same intensity)

Wider hope categories

Wider Hope Categories

  • Three Views of Wider Hope Theories

  • Restrictivism—the unevangelized in this life are lost.

    • Some soften this by the “degree of punishment” will reflect what they knew and responded to

    • Pinnock says that many unevangelized (in this life) will have a “grace-filled postmortem encounter” with Christ and go to heaven if they choose then.

  • Inclusivism– salvation is accessible apart from special evangelization (as long as they recognize their spiritual need and throw themselves on the mercy of God – whether they hear and believe the gospel or not)

  • Universalism: all will be saved.

    • C.H. Dodd, A.T. Robinson, Paul Knitter

    • Not a real option for Bible-believing Christians.

Variations of key views

Variations of Key Views

  • Extrabiblical modes of special revelation (Little)- Visions, dreams, mystical experiences, etc.

  • The “acceptability” of God-fearers (Anderson), however this is defined

  • A “grace-filled postmortem encounter”with God (Pinnock)

  • Acceptance of a sincere call to whatever gods are known as a reaching out to the true God (Knitter)

Variety of key views

Variety of Key Views

  • The “Melchizedek factor” (Don Richardson)—assumes he knew God through general revelation

    • It is the same in other religions

    • Makes it easier for them to come to Christ

  • Implicit Christians or implicit-faith (Erickson) –

    • Can be saved if they have responded to God in the sense of seeking “glory and honor and immortality” (Rom 2:7) –

    • God will save them, because if they would have heard the gospel, God knows they would have accepted it.

Variety of key views1

Variety of Key Views

  • Annihilationism/conditionalism (John Stott) –

    • No person is actually immortal until an immortal soul is given at conversion.

    • The unsaved do not survive death in any form.

  • Agnosticism (C.S. Lewis):

    • No one knows what God will do with those who have never heard

Different views

Different views












Endless cycles of reincarnations


Cycles of life


Escape mechanism: hopeful grace


Just condemnation for sin(s)

Five clear teachings

Five Clear Teachings

  • True Light Enlightens Everyone: everyone has heard or understands … enough to be responsible.

    • “In him was life, and the life, was the light of men…The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” Jn 1:4,9

    • “for what can be known about God is, plain to them because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So that they are without excuse(Rom 1:19-20)

    • “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world” (Rom 10:18)

    • Though this usually refers to indirect revelation through creation, conscience, history and reason, it also refers to His incarnation, Scriptures and different modes of special revelation

Five clear teachings1

Five Clear Teachings

  • People love darkness more than God’s light and turn a deaf ear to God’s voice

    • “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world and people lovedthe darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.” (Jn 3:19)

    • “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day” (Rom 11:18)

    • “None is righteous, no not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Rom 3:10-12)

    • Paul’s task was “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins…”(Acts 26:18) – Confrontation vital in conversion

    • Not only have men and women NOT been passed by in the giving of revelation, their lifestyle reflects their REFUSAL of it

Five clear teachings2

Five Clear Teachings

  • The degree of judgment is proportionate to the intensity of the light seen and clarity of the Word that is heard.

    • “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (Jn 12:36)

    • “For all 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” (Rom 2:12)

    • Is God just in judging the unevangelized?

      • Remember God is always just (Ps 89:14)

      • Additional revelation is always given on the basis of what we do with the revelation already given (General to Special)

      • People will be judged on the basis of what they have done with divine revelation.

      • Jesus condemned the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because they were unrepentant in spite of great miracles and teachings done in their midst (Matt 11:20-24)

Five clear teachings3

Five Clear Teachings

  • The missionary calling to proclaim the gospel is vital to the plan of God– Someone must take responsibility for the unreached!

    • “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” (Jn 1:7-8)

    • “And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (Rom 15:20-21)

    • Paul gave a series of rhetorical questions to establish the imperative of “going with the gospel”

      • Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

      • How will they call on one in whom they have not believed?

      • How can they believe in one of whom they have not heard?

      • How can they hear with out someone preaching to them?

      • How can anyone preach to them unless someone is sent? (Rom 10:13-16)

Five clear teachings4

Five Clear Teachings

  • Only by hearing and believing in Christ during this life can men and women be saved.

    • “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12)

    • “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world (Jn 9:5)

    • “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47)

    • “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish…For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:14, 16)

Final word on hell

Final Word on Hell

  • We have to leave the final word on the fate of men in the hands of our God:

    • “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25)

    • He makes no mistakes

    • Whatever He says in His revealed Word is final– We must act on what we know

  • His final words were, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” Matt 28:19

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