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After reading Andrew's testimony on his coming of faith to Yeshua, I couldnt help but have resurfacing nagging thoughts in the back of my mind concerning people and their faith...

What of people who have never had the opportunity of learning of Yeshua and his Torah, much less even learn of the Bible in general? Consider the ancients pagans such as the Egyptians, but consider them as individuals. If an Egyptian child is born into an Egyptian community with Egyptian gods, is it not inevitable that his psychological mindset and essence of being will be formed to that of the Egyptian ways? A Jewish child had a much better chance of being saved simply because of his environment, not because he was physiologically, psychologically, or spiritually superior to his Egyptian neighbor. I see this as so unfair!

Think about it guys, we are living in the year 2008 where knowledge, information, and resources are abundant. What about South American tribespeople who lived lightyears away from Israel before Spanish colonization who had no way possible of knowing the truth? Perhaps they had good hearts and a love for their Creator, but simply gave reverence to Queztalcoatl the Plumed Serpent rather than YHWH. Or even in our modern day, what about Chinese children born into Buddhist China, taught by their parents the ways of Buddha? Shall they burn because they know no better? Heck, what of southern Baptist Christians with clean shaven faces and pork dinners who still love Jesus with all their heart?

The only reason I found the truth is by lucking out through extensive reading from the internet (modern technology that many foreigners do not have nor can afford) and an already Christian background. I don't know, it just makes me think. What are your views? Automatical hell? Will they be spared? What say ye? This bothers me SO MUCH on a daily basis and I would feel better if I "dumped" this issue on others to see what they think. Thanks guys.
Shlama Akhi Runggold,

I want to be very careful how I answer this question as it may touch on certain theological controversies. I will try to stick to what I think most of us here would agree on.

My first point to you is this: I don't think my Jewish background made it more likely I would be saved. Actually, if you think about it, the opposite is true. My family 100 years ago was Orthodox. I have rabbis and cantors on both sides of my family tree, and from Eastern Europe to boot where centuries of pogroms hardened us against the Gospel. I have Holocaust survivors in my family (my Aunt Marika for example) and many others (scholars and lay people, workers, etc) who perished in the ovens of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. We were burned in Torah scrolls while bystanders sang Christian hymns.

By the time I was born, my family was firmly the other way, Reform, but that made the more religious trends in Judaism (as opposed to socio-political) less relevant. If the JEWISH sprituality was less relevant, how much more so was this the case with Messiah? I mean how much further removed could I have been from Messiah's message?

Now what about the rest of the world? My answer is this. That is what the Great Commisssion was for. That is why in Matti 28:19-20 Y'shua commanded the apostles to go out of Israel and to the rest of the world. We can argue as to what that message ultimately was, but it was Y'shua's message nevertheless. If you feel that so many do not have a chance at the Gospel, then it falls to YOU (not them) to reach them with the Good News.

I can find ample evidence of Christian and Messianic outreach in every part of the world. Three apostles went in each of the four directions. They reached the Roman and Persian Empires and got into India, China, the Russian steppes and of course, Europe. They penetrated the heart of Africa and the deep forrests of South America. They reached Arabia with their first taste of monthesim 400 years before Mohammed was born. Everyone has had a shot in the last 2000 years, but it has been regrettable that many Native cultures had such a horrible experience with shall we say some bad people cloaked in false Western religious righteousness. Still, the basics of the Gospel are easily seen.

But what if folks live in neolithic conditions or are truly cut off from the rest of the world? It is a fair question. My answer is to reach these folks of course, but if we can't, then we have to hope for YHWH's grace and that is no faint hope. We have to rely on YHWH to know people's hearts and look fairly if they live, as Rav Shaul said, "as a Torah unto themselves". Does that mean that they know Y'shua directly, who he was, why he came, what he did??? NO. But I read the Scripture as saying "he who HEARS the Word" and obeys or disobeys. If they don't HEAR it, I think that is somehow taken into account, even though the rules command immersion, faith knowledge in the basics of John 3:16, etc. YHWH may also defer judgment UNTIL they get the Word; we cannot know otherwise for certain. But I do think if we as believers and teachers don't try to reach them, then it is more on us for not telling them. YHWH may delay penalty but he never takes the rules off the table.

He who has ears, let him hear!

Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth
Hey Akh,

Though the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Eskimos, Cherokee, aboriginal Australians or Mayans did not possess a written revelation from God, as did the Hebrews, they still retained a residue of the divine image, a sense that there is such a thing as ???right and wrong.??? Though that ???awareness??? had been seriously tarnished in many, nonetheless they were expected to live up to their noblest concepts of moral truth. The law of God is written on every heart. God will judge them accordingly.

The Apostle Paul addresses this point very thoroughly in the book of Romans.

+Shamasha
Paul Younan Wrote:Hey Akh,

Though the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Eskimos, Cherokee, aboriginal Australians or Mayans did not possess a written revelation from God, as did the Hebrews, they still retained a residue of the divine image, a sense that there is such a thing as ???right and wrong.??? Though that ???awareness??? had been seriously tarnished in many, nonetheless they were expected to live up to their noblest concepts of moral truth. The law of God is written on every heart. God will judge them accordingly.

The Apostle Paul addresses this point very thoroughly in the book of Romans.

+Shamasha

Shlama Kulkhon:
In answer to this seeming "unfair condition of humanity" I try to focus on John 1:9

"That was the TRUE LIGHT which gives light to every man coming into the world."

In Genesis 2:7 Elohim breathed into Adam's nostrils nishmat khayim and Adam became a living soul. This phrase is expanded in Genesis 7:22 as nishmat ruakh khayim. Job clarifies the meaning of this phrase in Job 26:4,
"To whom have you uttered words and whose nashama came from you."

Then Job, in 27:3-4 confirms the equivalence.

Job 27:3
27:3 "As long as my nashama is in me,
and the breath of Eloah in my nostrils."

27:4 "My lips will not speak wickedness,
nor my tongue utter deceit."

That to say this. Every human soul is born with both nefesh khayia (animal soul) and nishmat ruakh khayim (living spiritual soul). There is no human soul who does not receive promptings and strivings, if you will, from the Holy Spirit of Eloah. In every language of humanity, without exception, Eloah speaks from the nashama within each person, of His exalted ways and wisdom. When anyone humbly responds in faith to His Voice, salvation is brought to the soul and salvation is always affirmed by the written Word of Eloah as by His Ruakh HaKodesh (Holy Spirit of Eloah). There is no intrinsic, discernable difference between the Voice of the Spirit of Eloah and the "written autograph", the scriptures which Jews and Christians have received. Therefore it is often affirmed that when the gospel message is revealed by missionaries to the tribes of the forests, there is often some small group of believers among them, who receive the Words of our LORD Yeshua with joy and gratefulness. There are many stories of these first encounters. Every human soul that humbly listens to the living spiritual nashama(true LIGHT), in TRUTH will receive the gospel message when it is presented in verbal and written form. Yeshua put in plain words, the very truth of salvation. As for the tribes of the forests, who have never laid eyes on a Bible, there is still the witness of the nashama within each and every one. As with every soul, acceptance or rejection of the Word, the Voice/the Spirit of Eloah is personal and binding.
It is in the hands of Eloah to righteously judge all of humanity. He alone has breathed into the nostrils of Adam nishmat ruakh khayim, the True LIGHT, which enlighens every soul, so none can escape the righteous judgement of Eloah. (Romans 1:16-23, 2:1-11)

Shlama,
Stephen Silver
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.dukhrana.com">http://www.dukhrana.com</a><!-- m -->
There's a simply wonderful book:

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Their-Hearts-Startling-Throughout/dp/0830709258">http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Their-He ... 0830709258</a><!-- m -->

This book shows that YHWH was active with people who had never even heard of the Bible!

And back in the day when I did Comparative Religion Studies, I personally found SOME of the Tao Te Ching to be very close to SOME of the New Testament.

I DON'T think that these things happen "by accident", but are a part of a greater Divine Plan.

Shlama akhi, Albion
Quote:I don't know, it just makes me think. What are your views? Automatical hell? Will they be spared? What say ye? This bothers me SO MUCH on a daily basis and I would feel better if I "dumped" this issue on others to see what they think.

I know the feeling, bro., I really do. In fact, I???d even venture to say that there???s probably no one here more so than myself who can relate. I have plenty of people from my past who can testify to how my questions nearly destroyed me, and almost destroyed the faith of them. ???I ask questions that could haunt a ghost??? is what I used to say. Like eyes made of the fire of a laser, I???d read straight through every single author who thought he had the answers, and come up with so many questions, that I had to start tape-recording my thinking-out-loud, because paper was just not plentiful enough, nor my hand fast enough to write it all. My mind was like swiss cheese from all the ping-ponging of tormenting questions bouncing around up there. I could talk for 6 hours solid, without nearly a breath of air caught hardly, and have just finally found my starting-place for a ???real??? discussion. It sucks. But after much time, I began to wonder. I came across a book one time, with the title ???Questions Are the Answer???. Can???t say that that???s really true, but it does mean something ??? they most certainly can be a telltale sign that you???re in the midst of a righteous battle, fighting your way to God, in a pure desire to understand HIM, Himself. Not ABOUT Him, but understanding HIM. It sounds to me like you???re on the warpath.

Quote:The only reason I found the truth is by lucking out through extensive reading from the internet (modern technology that many foreigners do not have nor can afford) and an already Christian background.

My testimony is similar, but without ANY knowledge leading up to what ultimately saved me. It still haunts me, in some ways. All I can say now, is that with me, YHWH quite literally SOVEREIGNLY decided to save me, and it creeps me out each time I reminisce on it. But as some ???theological pieces??? have fit together better over time, it has taught me much about the nature of God, as well. The Scriptures are true: He is willing that none should perish. That statement means different things to different people, and so this whole issue itself I guess is really a ???theological??? issue ??? one that is not really favored for discussion at this Forum, but one I certainly cannot ignore in your case. I believe I can get away with at least some general pointers or recommendations.

Quote:Andrew wrote:

But what if folks live in neolithic conditions or are truly cut off from the rest of the world? It is a fair question. My answer is to reach these folks of course, but if we can't, then we have to hope for YHWH's grace and that is no faint hope. We have to rely on YHWH to know people's hearts and look fairly if they live, as Rav Shaul said, "as a Torah unto themselves". Does that mean that they know Y'shua directly, who he was, why he came, what he did??? NO. But I read the Scripture as saying "he who HEARS the Word" and obeys or disobeys. If they don't HEAR it, I think that is somehow taken into account, even though the rules command immersion, faith knowledge in the basics of John 3:16, etc. YHWH may also defer judgment UNTIL they get the Word; we cannot know otherwise for certain. But I do think if we as believers and teachers don't try to reach them, then it is more on us for not telling them. YHWH may delay penalty but he never takes the rules off the table.

Amen. And a lot to think about!

And throw into the bag of tricks those victims and survivors of satanic ritual abuse, carrying the load in life of splintered souls, and often times barriers between the different parts of them. Or, a zillion other variable conditions and circumstances, such as, oh where was it, Switzerland or something, where this man had for decades been impregnating his own daughter in a dungeon below his house, unbeknownst to his own wife, and those children were yes, born and reared down there, never having seen the light of day once, and all products of rape, incest, fear, and terror. I can???t imagine. But YHWH can. He is far more merciful than me, and all those kids would be first in line if I were sitting in the seat of judgment. They???d be first in line, so that they could pass through, and stand next to my side when their ???father??? approached for his turn. But that???s just me; everything we can know about the Nature of God, is to be found between the pages of our Bible. And millions of books exist trying to answer these questions, because thousands of people have understood Scripture differently. That???s why they call it a ???theological issue???.

But for starters, Albion gave a great recommendation. Stephen made a good point concerning a spiritual residue and therefore longing in each of us. It brings up both reconciliatory AND protracted phenomena. So, I have my own personal approach to this issue, and being that I am more than aware that others do as well, I???ll try and be fair in titling different titles.

Ones that specifically target your exact question, by title:

No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized by John Sanders

A Wideness in God's Mercy: The Finality Of Jesus Christ In A World Of Religions by Clark H. Pinnock

Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson

The first two are Open Theistic in view, and the latter one is Classical, being more of a defense against God???s accepting sincere people of a differing religious view than Him. If taken rightly, I think it offers needed critique, because once we open up the can of worms of God accepting some outside of deliberate saving-knowledge of Him, then where is the line drawn? This is why I believe the true underlying issue is really the Nature of God, and if not a part of theodicy itself, is a direct intersection with it. So, this involves the timeless tale of differing theological templates. Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, Process Theism, Open Theism, and strains of these and others fraying in all directions. Philosophical theology, in other words. And this is not what Paul Younan wants on this Forum, I know.

A fair hearing of authors for differing perspectives on Scripture:

Calvinism: see if you can swallow passionate John Piper, strict J. I. Packer and R. C. Sproul, Bruce Ware and James White (I can???t stand them), famous Millard Erickson and Wayne Grudem, and less strict Norman Geisler, et al

Arminianism: Dave Hunt, Jerry Walls, I. Howard Marshall, et al

Molinism: William Lane Craig, et al

Process Theism: Charles Hartshorne, et al

Universalism: Thomas Talbott, William Law, et al

Open Theism: (the ???newest kid on the block??? ??? or is it?): Gregory Boyd, John Sanders, David Basinger, et al

Best place for starters, truly (thank you, IVP and Zondervan!), has to be their Point-Counterpoint series of books;
3-Views, 4-Views, 5-Views, etc. Specifically I have in mind:

Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World
-pluralism, inclusivism / exclusivism
Perspectives on Election: Five Views
-does God ???elect??? the unsaved / unheard?
The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views
-did Messiah die for me, AND for them; and if so or if not, why and how?
Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views
-did God KNOW ??????.
God & Time: Four Views
-even more in-depth than the above

This is a very personal topic for me, and not that I have all the answers, but I???m trying to be as objective and fair as I can. I guess if anyone would like more information about my personal ???template???, then feel free to PM me. But I???m not shy about which side I???ve chosen, I???ll forewarn you. And it???s an integration with the Covenant precept-ual approach as dictated through Torah. I honestly am not aware of anyone else who has taken this approach, nor has written on it. Certainly, if they exist, I???d like to know them!

One book that every single believer should have on their bookshelves ??? and read ??? is:

Stumbling Toward Faith: My Longing to Heal From the Evil that God Allowed by Ren??e Altson

She somehow found the honesty and courage and boldness that too few believers possess, and even dared to write it out! It???s not a book of answers; it???s one of brokenness, provocation, and learning to be honest about the issues we have to deal with in this life, and learn to ask the questions rather than ignore them, or worse yet suppress them. You wouldn???t believe how many people are genuinely hurt by the hypocrisy of genuine believers!

Personally, Rungold, if you want my honest-to-God upfront first recommendation, find a copy of a book called ???The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God???, and turn to chapter 5, p.171 for ???Social Responsibility???, which preludes p.173???s ???Evangelistic Responsibility???. I love and suggest this book in particular, of all the many reasons, essentially because it truly does present the gamut of all aforementioned topics and issues above, without butchering the respective adherents??? personally-stated positions. This is all too rare a commodity in our world, even sadly enough in the believing community-at-large. I???ll leave it at that. No one book has ALL the answers, and frankly, whichever side one chooses to take, they should never forget the late Samuel Terrien???s most fearful and exhilarating statement:
  • Scripture may not be comprehended theologically
    unless it is first understood grammatically.

That???s why I hang around this place, to learn to let Scripture speak for Itself. Or for that matter, to learn what is and is not Scripture. Hope I???ve been more helpful than not.

~Brother Ryan
rungold315 Wrote:What are your views? Automatical hell? Will they be spared? What say ye? This bothers me SO MUCH on a daily basis and I would feel better if I "dumped" this issue on others to see what they think. Thanks guys.

There has always been a variety of views on this issue among believers in Jesus Christ. "Orthodox" views on hell (as we know them today), as far as I can tell, did not really become concrete until maybe as late as the 5th century.
I myself believe that the NT (or at least most of it) came to us from the apostles and do contain the words of Jesus Paul etc...However I am universalist.
I dont believe in unending conscious torment for anyone. I dont think this idea is contained in the NT, but is the product of later misunderstanding of some passages.
I am happy to discuss, but am loathe to get into too much theology on here, as it can be contentious and this foreum is such a great place to look at the peshitta. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
Albion Wrote:And back in the day when I did Comparative Religion Studies, I personally found SOME of the Tao Te Ching to be very close to SOME of the New Testament.



Shlama akhi, Albion

Really? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->