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

by Ronald H. Nash, John Sanders, Gabriel J. Fackre

Buy the book: Ronald H. Nash. What About Those Who Have Never Heard?: Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized

Release Date: June, 1995

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Ronald H. Nash. What About Those Who Have Never Heard?: Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized


Restrictivism: The Only Option!

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.

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Interesting Talk About Grace and Gospel

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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