Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

According to the Bible, will those who have heard about Jesus (and, perhaps, even believed that Jesus existed or that he had a special role) and yet have never prayed directly to Him (i.e. never addressed Him in prayer by using the name "Jesus") go to hell?

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There's an old saying (more or less) in Christianity that it's not a religion, but a relationship. There is biblical support for this coming from this verse:

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Very simply, it's not just what about is in our hearts; nor is it about what we do; it's about having the relationship with Jesus.

Without prayer, there is no relationship (and can be no relationship). Without prayer, we cannot make ourselves known to God.

Phillipians 4:6 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Phillipians shows that if we do not pray, our requests won't be presented to God and so he will (as stated in Matthew) not know us.

share|improve this answer

No

The Bible tells us of many who were saved prior to the birth of Jesus, so they clearly did not pray to Jesus.

And nowhere does the Bible indicate that the requirements for salvation are different for those who have heard the name of Christ, than for those who haven't.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, I saw that. I don't think that's a particularly useful distinction, however (thus my answer.) IOW, I don't think the requirements for salvation change magically once someone hears the name 'Jesus Christ.' I will clarify my answer, though. –  Flimzy Oct 7 '11 at 0:58
2  
Did you read my question or just its title? The question is about those "who have heard about Jesus and, perhaps, even believed that Jesus existed or that he had a special role". I believe that hearing things about Jesus greatly adds to a person's accountability before God. Somewhere in the New Testament (citation is needed) Jesus said something like if He didn't testify to the Jews, they would have no condemnation on them, but since He did testify to them and they still had rejected His testimony, they were now without any justification - something like that. –  brilliant Oct 7 '11 at 1:20
    
I agree that hearing things about Jesus greatly adds to a person's accountability. But where to draw the line? If a person has only heard the name "Jesus" in the context of a swear, is that sufficient to be accountable? What if they've only heard that Jesus was a Rabi? What if they read tomes on Jesus, but from an anti-Christian standpoint, and have never heard the true story? My point is, there's either a magic line where someone's knowledge of Christ is sufficient, or there isn't. Since the Bible never says that specific knowledge is necessary for salvation, I believe there is no such line. –  Flimzy Oct 7 '11 at 1:37
    
(1) I think that line is already drawn in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" It is the message that Jesus is the only Son of God given by God to the mankind so that those of the mankind who believe in that Son of God would have eternal life. Of course, neither hearing "Jesus" as a swear, nor merely knowing him as –  brilliant Oct 7 '11 at 8:44
    
(2) a Rabi doesn't convey that message. Other verses where the same line is drawn are these: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31), "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1st Johh 5:13) –  brilliant Oct 7 '11 at 8:44

No; arguably the most famous verse in the Bible tells us:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

It would, however, be rather odd to believe in Jesus and never talk to him. But if someone accepts Jesus as their saviour and then dies suddenly without the opportunity to pray, there's no reason to suspect their salvation is in jeopardy.

share|improve this answer
    
how do you accept him without talking to him? –  warren Oct 6 '11 at 17:07
    
@warren it could be a sudden realisation of the Truth, right at the end of (earthly) life. I'm sure it happens. –  Waggers Oct 6 '11 at 22:50
1  
@Waggers - (1) But what about Romans 10:9,10,13: "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation ... for whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved" - It seems to –  brilliant Oct 7 '11 at 1:04
1  
@Waggers - (2) say that just faith alone in one's heart is not enough for salvation, a certain immediate proceeding of that faith resulting in a confession or an act of communication to the One in whom you have just believed is, according to those verses, still needed for salvation. Or, better say, a faith that does not result into immediate prayer doesn't seem to be counted as a real faith at all - merely a mental recognition of some facts about the Lord without any attempt to communicate to Him. –  brilliant Oct 7 '11 at 1:09
    
<Obsolete comments removed.> –  El'endia Starman Oct 7 '11 at 2:15

A very powerful example of someone not needing to pray to Jesus to have salvation and enter the kingdom appears in Luke 23: 41-43. Three men, two criminals and Jesus were crucified on crosses, side-by-side. One of the two criminals said to the other, in reference to Jesus,

41 "And we indeed (are crucified) justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong." 42) Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43) And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

The criminal Jesus was speaking to wasn't required to pray to Him to receive this promise.

share|improve this answer
1  
Since praying is communicating with God, I think that is exactly what he was doing! –  Wikis Oct 7 '11 at 5:16
1  
@new wings - Was the very act of entreating the Lord before his imminent death not an instant of prayer? At least, it was a case, in which someone who trusted Jesus and considered Him as his Lord, was now communicating with Him. This kind of communication is the very essence that constitutes any Christian’s prayer directed to Jesus. So, it seems to me that this episode with the criminal requesting the Lord to remember him in His kingdom only supports the idea of the necessity of praying to Jesus, rather than disproves it. –  brilliant Oct 7 '11 at 6:42
    
I don't believe the disciples prayed to Jesus, however they did have a relationship with him. The question asks does one need to pray to Jesus for salvation. Prior to his sacrifice, the answer would be no. Jesus, himself, taught to pray to "Our Father" in Heaven. However, having an ongoing relationship with Jesus, which can be done through prayer, worship, or simply talking with him throughout your day is comforting and can help keep us walking the path He would have us follow. –  new wings Oct 8 '11 at 1:00
    
I don't believe the disciples prayed to Jesus, however they did have a relationship with him. The question asks does one need to pray to Jesus for salvation. Prior to his sacrifice, the answer would be no. Jesus, himself, taught to pray to "Our Father" in Heaven. However, having an ongoing relationship with Jesus, which can be done through prayer, worship, or simply talking with him throughout your day is comforting and can help keep us walking the path He would have us follow. –  new wings Oct 8 '11 at 1:00

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.