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What About Those Who Have Never Heard?: Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized [Paperback]

By Gabriel J. Fackre (Editor), Ronald H. Nash (Editor) & John Sanders (Editor)
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Item description for What About Those Who Have Never Heard?: Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized by Gabriel J. Fackre, Ronald H. Nash & John Sanders...

"What is the fate of those who die never hearing the gospel?" This question has long been contemplated by people from every religious persuasion and every walk of life. This book represents the span of evangical conviction on the destiny of the unevangelized. Nash argues the restrictivist position, Fackre advocates the divine perseverance, and Sanders sets forth the Inclusivist case.

Publishers Description
Voted one of Christianity Today's 1996 Books of the Year What is the fate of those who die never hearing the gospel? Do Hindus, Jews, agnostics and others who do not profess faith in Christ really suffer damnation after death? These and similar questions have long been contemplated by people from every religious persuasion and every walk of life. But in a culture of increasing diversity and growing doubt in the existence of "objective truth," it seems ever more pressing. In this book three scholars present the span of evangelical conviction on the destiny of the unevangelized. Ronald Nash argues the restrictivist position, that receptive knowledge of Jesus Christ in this life is necessary to salvation. Gabriel Fackre advocates divine perseverance, with the expectation that those who die unevangelized receive an opportunity for salvation after death. And John Sanders sets forth the inclusivist case--asserting that though God saves people only through the work of Jesus Christ, some may be saved even if they do not know about Christ. As each scholar presents his own case and responds to strengths and weaknesses of differing positions, readers are treated to a lively and informative debate.What About Those Who Have Never Heard? is a truly helpful book on one of today's--and every day's--most crucial questions.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: InterVarsity Press
Pages   168
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.21" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2000
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830816062  
ISBN13  9780830816064  

Availability  0 units.

More About Gabriel J. Fackre, Ronald H. Nash & John Sanders

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Fackre is the Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology Emeritus at Andover Newton Theological School.

Gabriel J. Fackre currently resides in the state of Massachusetts.

Gabriel J. Fackre has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christian Story
  2. Christian Story - A Pastoral Systematics Vol. 2
  3. Edinburgh Studies in Constructive Theology

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Systematic Theology > Soteiriology & Salvation

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Reviews - What do customers think about What About Those Who Have Never Heard?: Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized?

Further discussion and research needed!  Nov 26, 2007
The text, as a whole, was interesting reading but I felt the authors left out some much needed historical items for discussion. Throughout the entire book there is no mention of the early practices of the Christian Church with regard to Baptism for the Dead (1 Cor. 15:29) which was a common practice to recitfy this problem. Why the authors chose to exclude the ancient church Fathers and their teachings on this "lost" practice was baffling to me and would have saved a lot of ink and paper.

Paul taught the doctrine, the early Christian Church practiced it, and those who did not hear the Word were given a chance to accept Christ vicarously through it. These baptismal fonts are still visable in the city of Rome, today. San Clemente Church is one of the best excavated examples dating back to the first century. While the authors discussions are not without their own merits, further reading and research is needed if the reader wants to enhance their learning on this exciting doctrine.
Good book...  Oct 20, 2005
I Havent finished the book yet but it does talk about the 3 different views in detail without pulling any punches. Its a good book for the topic it discusses.
An incomplete yet very thought provoking presentation  Sep 28, 2005
Most christians have developped the traditional theological concept that salvation is only possible if you have faith in Jesus, for after all, the exclusivity of Christ is much insisted upon in the bible and it is the teaching of most church circles. But is this the only conclusion that we can get from scriptures? Some respected authors argue otherwise.

"What about those who have never heard" was written by three authors (Fackre, Nash, Sanders) who each holds to a different scheme for grasping salvation. But what is important, is that all three agree on the authority of the scripture and on the fact that anyone who is saved is so because of Jesus's ultimate sacrifice; without Jesus's sacrifice on the cross, all humanity is doomed. What they disagree upon, is the degree of knowledge one should have about this great atonement event and the timing of this awareness.

John Sanders argues for Inclusivism meaning that God saves people only through the work of Jesus, but some may be saved even if they have never heard about Christ. The importance is not the degree of "knowledge" about Christ, but the "faith in God" as it was revealed to the person. So, according to this view, responding positively to the light and the law written in their heart will be viewed as righteous and thus, the work of christ will be counted on their behalf. Romans 2 is given as a basis.

Gabriel Fackre argues that receptive knowledge of Christ is necessary for salvation, but that this knowledge is not restricted to this lifetime. Non-christian believers will get the chance to hear the gospel post-mortem and decide whether they accept it or not. Fackre calls it "divine perseverance", meaning that death will not stop God from allowing us to know the true gospel. Fackre relies mainly on Peter 3:19 and 4:6.

As for Nash, he strongly attacks the other views and argues for Restrictivism: receptive knowledge of Christ in this lifetime is a must for salvation. He builds his case by showing the multitude of loopholes and mistakes in the previous two views, and cites many bible passage to support his stand(1Jn 5:12, Jn 1:12, Jn 20:30, ...)

Each author presents his idea in a chapter, then the others are given each a space to respond; so a total of 3 presentations and 6 refutations. This make the book a very thought provoking and not one sided discussion. I loved this approach!

As much as i deeply want to believe in a wider hope, restrictivism sounded the most biblicaly based. The other two concepts have serious mistakes that Nash quickly points out. One frustrating thing, is that Nash doesn't build a structured positive case for restrictivism, but concentrates on "bringing down" the other views.

Reading this book will NOT convince you of any of them, since each has a scriptural case, but when you take the whole scripture in perspective, i think you will tend to lean more towards the restrictivist (although, inclusivism sounds the most "logical": for example, a few days after jesus death and resurrection, only a handful of people are believers in the atonement. Does this mean, that the rest of the planet in billions was doomed? The message didnt have time to reach them yet..hmmm)

Although the book quickly mentions it in the introduction, i had wished the ''universal opportunity'' concept was developped in its own chapter, since i believe it is also quite biblical: receptive knowledge of Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, but any sincere lover of God (as he knows him) is given a chance to hear the gospel. Look at the story of Cornelius (Acts 10): he is a believer in the God he knows, so GOD sent him an angel to direct him to Peter so he hears the gospel!

To conclude, the book is an excellent introduction to the subject, which give you different angles to look at. Although it is incomplete and although restrictivism isnt presented in a positive case (after lashing out at the other views, which leave you a bit in the unknown), the book will make every single neuron of yours fire up. At the end, neither of the three concepts 100% convinced me, but i sure learned a lot. Recommended!
Restrictivism: The Only Option!  Apr 20, 2005
Contrary to Sanders and Fackre, Nash did an excellent job refuting both inclusivism and PME, and presented his case for restrictivism well. Though I don't agree totally with Nash's restrictivism (since I hold to unlimited atonement), he does a good job presenting a very persuasive case for the traditional evangelical understanding of the destinies of the unevangelized. Sanders' inclusivism leads to the heresy of works-salvation (unbelievers who positively respond to God's light and walk in His ways will be saved even without knowledge of Christ). Such heresy leads to another heresy: that Christians also must do good works to earn or maintain their salvation. His interpretation of Romans 2 on pp. 46-7 is horrible (he follows the interpretation of the "new perspective" that Paul was not opposing Jewish works-salvation but Jewish nationalism). ... Overall, a good book for those who want to be convinced of the truthfulness of restrictivism.
Interesting Talk About Grace and Gospel  Jul 12, 2001
Three differing views of the fate of those who experience physical death without hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is fascinating, but limited. Again, as it seems to be, not all Christian views are presented.

Certainly, we who hold the Lutheran confession would side with Nash, who easily out of the three represented does the most exemplary job of using God's Word correctly. Nash is correct in his chastisement of his two opponents for not lack of good exegesis of the Bible. It is truly sad but commonplace to find such poor, hurried exegeis as exemplified by Sanders and Fackre.

It would have been good to have one argue: univesal grace, grace alone, the means of grace, and the mystery of why some saved and others not? This would have given the complete Biblical picture. This is not demonstrated by any of the three in this book.

However, as exemplary as Nash is with his defense of restrictivism by not only showing the proper exegesis and hermeneutic of the other two sides, he has some glaring weaknesses himself. As those of the Reformed are bent to do, they always want to let logic and reason dominate, rather than letting God's Word suffice.

Or as Luther would say, "What is not spoken of in God's Word must be left to the heavenly academy for resolution." We do not have all the answers to all mysteries in God's Word!" As Moses said so profoundly on his deathbed, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever." (Deut. 29:29)

Nash suffers, as Sanders catches him, on Double Predestination. Calvinists cannot say that Christ died for all, but only for the elect. This is the classic error of Calvin. As well, they hedge the truth of God's Scriptures of the Real Presence in the Sacrament. Sanders does not confess the B.C. Means of Grace as St. Paul does in 1 Cor. 10:1-11, that Christ was present with them, but most did not have faith and were disallowed into Promised Land. This typology extends throughout OT, allowing OT saints the same (Romans 4) as we NT saints, faith in Promised Messiah (Christ).

However, to deny infant sin (Age of Accountability) that Nash puts forth is unbiblical (Ps. 51:5) Furthermore, Nash is wise to attack inclusivism on premise that grace is with all until rejection of Christ and Gospel, and he shows forth Biblical attack to destory this false teaching.

Nash certainly is far and away the more faithful Biblical presenter, aside from the errors already identified. Further, he does not profess Christ's descent into hell as for what it was: Christ's victorious announcement of victory over the demon angels, nor is he correct is declaring Luke 16:19ff as being a parable. It does not necessarily have to be interpreted as parabolic, see Art Just's Commentary, Volume II, pg. 630ff.

Cudos to Nash for calling the other two's hand for not showing the Biblical evidence for their positions, while discounting his opponents Biblical proofs and offering restrictivist passages, Nash has provided the debate with the sure foundation of what God says about this controversial topic.


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