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Many individuals die never having heard the Gospel. Some illustrative examples are: pretty much everyone who was born before Jesus, individuals contemporary to Jesus but who were too far away at the time to hear about him (e.g. Native Americans and all tribes from the Pre-Columbian era during the first and many subsequent centuries), isolated jungle tribes in Africa and the Amazon, and uncontacted peoples in general.

How do different denominations across Christianity view the problem of individuals dying without ever having heard the Gospel's salvation message? What is the biblical basis in each case?

Note that this is an overview question: answers must summarise the positions of several different major Christian branches, and if possible even some of the smaller ones as well.

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    This has now become an impossibly broad question. To summarise every single major branch of self-identifying 'Christians' as to what they each believe about this topic (which, in itself is a broad topic not specifically dealt with in scripture) is a huge task that is just not appropriate to this website. And in so broadening the question, three answers, at a stroke, have been nullified. – Nigel J Sep 25 at 5:21
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    Major edits to questions should be avoided when they invalidate already valid responses to the question. One can always ask another question. – Ken Graham Sep 25 at 17:09
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    Yep. While I was putting considerable thought and work into composing an answer the question changed to an overview question so that moments after posting the answer it was deleted. Kind of a bummer. – Mike Borden Sep 26 at 1:26
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    @ curiousdannii♦ To ask for an overview of the beliefs of all major Christian branches PLUS add the tag 'Other Religions', is absurd. It would take thousands of words to encapsulate such an overview and would take days of research. The scope of this question is too long and life is too short. Pity some really good answers had to be deleted after the question was edited. – Lesley Sep 26 at 9:30
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    @NigelJ I guess the best option would've been to suggest to the OP to ask a new question rather than saying yes when they asked if they could edit this one. With hindsight I would've done that. But it's too late now. Oh well. – curiousdannii Sep 28 at 3:27
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+100

What is an overview of Christian viewpoints on the eternal destiny of individuals who die never hearing the Gospel?

Many peoples have as yet not been evangelized and are considered uncontacted people!

At first glance, this question is basically straight forward, but it does not address the question of infant baptism or infants that die without the grace of baptism or the souls that died prior to Our Lord’s first coming. I think that these souls should also be included in those souls who die never hearing the Gospel.

Catholicism

To all of the Catholicism believes that salvation is possible in some circumstances.

Issue:

What does the Catholic Church mean by the phrase, "Outside the Church there is no salvation" (extra ecclesiam nulla salus)?

Response:

All salvation comes through Jesus Christ, the one Savior of the world (cf. Acts 4:12). His Holy Spirit dispenses those graces through His body, the Church. "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Lk. 10:16).

Response:

All salvation comes through Jesus Christ, the one Savior of the world (cf. Acts 4:12). His Holy Spirit dispenses those graces through His body, the Church. "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Lk. 10:16).

Quoting from various documents of Vatican II and Pope Paul VI, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 776) explains:

As sacrament, the Church is Christs instrument. She is taken up by Him also as the instrument for the salvation of all, the universal sacrament of salvation, by which Christ is at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of Gods love for men. The Church is the visible plan of Gods love for humanity, because God desires that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one Temple of the Holy Spirit. Discussion: There are two principal errors when it comes to the Churchs teaching on extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Some reject this teaching as both incorrect and arrogant. Others interpret this statement to condemn all those who are not visibly united to the Roman Catholic Church. To properly understand this teaching, we must examine it within the context of divine Revelation and Church history. This examination will reveal that the phrase was not formulated to express who would go to heaven and who would go to hell, for only God will judge that. Rather, the phrase expresses an understanding of the Church in relation to her role in the salvation of the world.

Quoting from various documents of Vatican II and Pope Paul VI, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 776) explains:

As sacrament, the Church is Christs instrument. She is taken up by Him also as the instrument for the salvation of all, the universal sacrament of salvation, by which Christ is at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of Gods love for men. The Church is the visible plan of Gods love for humanity, because God desires that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one Temple of the Holy Spirit. Discussion: There are two principal errors when it comes to the Churchs teaching on extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Some reject this teaching as both incorrect and arrogant. Others interpret this statement to condemn all those who are not visibly united to the Roman Catholic Church. To properly understand this teaching, we must examine it within the context of divine Revelation and Church history. This examination will reveal that the phrase was not formulated to express who would go to heaven and who would go to hell, for only God will judge that. Rather, the phrase expresses an understanding of the Church in relation to her role in the salvation of the world.

Translation or Interpretation?

Many people translate the Latin phrase extra ecclesiam nulla salus as "Outside the Church there is no salvation." This translation does not seem entirely faithful to the Latin meaning, and contributes to the misunderstanding of the phrase.

The Latin word "extra" is both an adverb and preposition. Depending on its use in a sentence, the word has different meanings. When used to describe spatial relations between objects, the word is translated as "beyond" or "outside of" (e.g., Beyond the creek is a tree; or, James is outside of the room). When used to describe abstract relations between concepts or intangible things, the word is commonly translated "without" (e.g., Without a method, it is difficult to teach). Within the phrase in question, extra is a preposition describing the abstract relationship of the Church to salvation. Considering the Latin nuances of the word, a proper translation would be, "Without the Church there is no salvation." This translation more accurately reflects the doctrinal meaning of the phrase.

Scriptural Foundations

In the Gospel of Mark, after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Eleven and gave them the commission, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mk. 16:15-16).

In order to accept or reject the Gospel, each person must have it preached to him. If acceptance or rejection of the truth were based on private revelations given to each man, woman, and child, there would be no need for Christ to commission the Apostles to preach the Gospel. Jesus desired to reveal Himself through His body, the Church. While this passage condemns those who reject the truth, it does not condemn those who have not had the truth offered to them as Christ intends.

The New Testament clearly teaches that salvation is a gift offered by God in various ways to all men. Adam, Abel, and Enoch lived between the first sin and the covenant of Noah. They were bound by original sin. All are considered to be in heaven. Enoch did not even die, but was taken to God before death (Heb. 11:4-5). These men were neither baptized nor circumcised, but nonetheless saved.

When the gentile centurion came to Jesus in Capernaum and asked for the healing of his servant, Our Lord agreed to go to his home, but the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed" (Mt. 8:8). Jesus replied:

"Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from East and West and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth" (Mt. 8:10-13).

Jesus makes a clear distinction between those who are sons of the kingdom (that is, those who have knowledge of and accepted the faith) and those who are not. He includes in the kingdom of heaven many of those who are not. Jesus graces us with His incarnation, and His presence is known through His body, the Church. The Church carries on the work of Christ here on earth. Those to whom the Church has not preached the Good News will be judged by God in a manner known to God and tempered with His mercy. As St. Paul explains:

"When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my Gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" (Rom. 2:14-16).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear on this issue:

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336 847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."

Infants are incapable of belief, yet the door of salvation may still be open to them.

Very few Greek Fathers dealt with the destiny of infants who die without Baptism because there was no controversy about this issue in the East. Furthermore, they had a different view of the present condition of humanity. For the Greek Fathers, as the consequence of Adam's sin, human beings inherited corruption, possibility, and mortality, from which they could be restored by a process of deification made possible through the redemptive work of Christ. The entrusts infants born without baptism to the mercy of God.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

As regards the Christian theology about the fate of the unevangelized, there seems to be basically four possible solutions amongst believers. However, some of these positions are fraught with serious biblical and theological challenges.

Views on the Unevangelized

  1. Universalism: This is the view that God will ultimately save all people through Christ’s sacrifice regardless of whether they believed, disbelieved, or had never heard the explicit gospel message itself.

Also called universal salvation, this position reflects what might be defined as an extreme optimism concerning the redemptive grace of God. Its defenders, though always a minority in church history,1 nevertheless insist that various biblical verses can be understood to support this viewpoint.

Universalism has been described, at minimum, as a “revisionist challenge to orthodoxy” (including Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant) because a version of the teaching was condemned as a heresy in church history.3 Historic Christian orthodoxy has rejected universalism because Scripture indicates that some peoplewill suffer eternal divine judgment because they have rejectedGod and specifically Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (for example, Matthew 25:32–33, 41, 46; John 3:36; Revelation 14:11).

  1. Inclusivism: This view holds that people (among other religions and among the unevangelized) can be saved by responding favorably to God even if they have never heard of Christ. The Catholic theology of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) said people of good will who never hear of Christ could be saved by Christ as “anonymous Christians.”4 Thus, the unevangelized are not excluded merely because they have never heard the gospel. However, this view has been rejected by many traditional Christians because it fails to recognize the depth of sin’s bondage on the human will and the potential idolatrous thinking of non-Christians. Also, Scripture clearly teaches that salvation comes through hearing the explicit preached Word (Romans 10:17).

  2. Exclusivism: This position is the traditional Christian view. It asserts that the unevangelized are apparently lost apart from hearing and responding affirmatively to the gospel message because they have sinned in Adam. Therefore, theyhave no right to divine grace but will be judged by the general revelation God has given to all human beings. At this point of tension, exclusivism must account for the Jews and holy pagans who were saved in the Old Testament before hearing about the explicit message of Jesus Christ. Moreover, there appear to be three versions of exclusivism:5

Restrictive exclusivism affirms that conscious faith in Christ is necessary for salvation and therefore the unevangelized are definitely lost. Pessimistic exclusivism affirms that while the fate of the unevangelized is not known with certainty, there is no clear evidence in Scripture that God will perform an extraordinary work of grace to reach the unevangelized apart from the normal means of the preached gospel. So the unevangelized are likely lost.

Nonrestrictive (optimistic) exclusivism affirms that while the fate of the unevangelized is not known, Scripture seems to indicate that God may reach out to those who haven’t heard the gospel in some extraordinary way (dreams, after-death tests, etc.).

  1. Agnosticism: On this view humans can not definitively know the state of the unevangelized and their fate is God’s prerogative.

Protestant interpretation

The doctrine is upheld by many in the Protestant tradition. Martin Luther, the foremost leader of the Protestant Reformation, spoke of the necessity of belonging to the church (in the sense of what he saw as the true church) in order to be saved:

Therefore he who would find Christ must first find the Church. How should we know where Christ and his faith were, if we did not know where his believers are? And he who would know anything of Christ must not trust himself nor build a bridge to heaven by his own reason; but he must go to the Church, attend and ask her. Now the Church is not wood and stone, but the company of believing people; one must hold to them, and see how they believe, live and teach; they surely have Christ in their midst. For outside of the Christian church there is no truth, no Christ, no salvation.

The Genevan reformer John Calvin, in his Reformation-era work Institutes of the Christian Religion, wrote: "beyond the pale of the Church no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, can be hoped for". Calvin wrote also that "those to whom He is a Father, the Church must also be a mother," echoing the words of the originator of the Latin phrase himself, Cyprian: "He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother."

Reformed scholastics accepted the phrase so long as the church is recognized by the marks of the church, which they defined as proper administration of the Word and sacrament, rather than apostolic succession.

The idea is further affirmed in the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 that "the visible Church ... is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation." Despite this, it is not necessarily a commonly held belief within modern Protestantism, especially within evangelicalism and those denominations that believe in the autonomy of the local church. The dogma is related to the universal Protestant dogma that the church is the body of all believers, and debates within Protestantism usually center on the meaning of "church" (ecclesiam) and "apart" (extra). - Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

Orthodoxy

For the Orthodox, the question is in God’s hands and thus is an open question.

Regarding God’s mysterious work outside the Orthodox Church, we have nothing to say. We make no judgments about what God is doing there, or about what happens to the souls of those who are not Orthodox or not Christian on earth. It is all we can do to try to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). - Do All Non-Orthodox People Go to Hell?

Anglicanism

The idea is further affirmed in the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 that "the visible Church ... is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation." Despite this, it is not necessarily a commonly held belief within modern Protestantism, especially within evangelicalism and those denominations that believe in the autonomy of the local church. The dogma is related to the universal Protestant dogma that the church is the body of all believers, and debates within Protestantism usually center on the meaning of "church" (ecclesiam) and "apart" (extra).

Thus extraordinary means of salvation would be at God’s disposal.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Notable because baptism is seen as necessary for salvation, but individuals who die never hearing the gospel are not automatically condemned since before the Final Judgement / Resurrection, there is still opportunity in the after-life for hearing the gospel, accepting Christ, and receiving baptism by proxy.

Does everyone need to be baptized? Yes. Jesus made it clear that being born of water and of the Spirit is necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven (see John 3:1–13).

What happens to people who die without baptism? God has provided a way for everyone to receive all of His blessings—even after death. Baptisms and other essential ordinances can be performed on behalf of those who have died without the opportunity. The Apostle Paul spoke of baptism for the dead in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians 15:29) and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue that same practice in temples today.

Here’s how it works: Latter-day Saints study their family history to discover names of people who have died without being baptized. Members are then baptized on behalf of those ancestors in the temple. This service for others is offered in love—and because life continues after death, those who have died are aware of the ordinances and can choose whether or not to accept them. Common questions

All in all it seems rather interesting that many denominations hold that they hold as saints those who are mentioned in Sacred Scriptures (Bible) as being a saint and thus saved, yet did not know Jesus Christ on a personal level!

Many Old Testament Figures are recognized a saints in various denominations. Obviously, they could not have believed in the Gospels of Jesus Christ.

When we enter eternity, there will be many surprises.

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    I answered this question as best I could. However I protest that it should not have been significantly altered. It could have been deleted as being too much of an overhaul! For future reference, I will delete a question if users flag it as too much of an overhaul. Here is an example: Changing the title from no evidence to so little evidence seriously invalidates existing answers. – Ken Graham Sep 27 at 23:08
  • Would you be fine if I or someone else added the LDS viewpoint to this answer? It is, I feel, notable for this question and different enough from what you already wrote to warrant separate inclusion. – kutschkem Sep 28 at 15:21
  • @kutschkem By all means and thank you! – Ken Graham Sep 28 at 15:22
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The major denominations of Christ's body are shown as to what they believe happens to those who never hear the Good News. In general, the sources do portray that this is their belief within that group.

This link provides a nice overview of general positions and definitions about salvation. For example, who believes the unsaved might be saved post death?

Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized Universalism Inclusivism Postmortem Evangelism Universal Opportunity before Death Restrictivism -source-

Generally, however, the following are denomination specific beliefs.

Catholic

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337 -CCC-

Orthodox

  1. Orthodox believe that by His grace God has revealed and preserved “true doctrine” and “true worship” in the Holy Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is the true Church.

Does this mean that all now outside the Church will go to hell? No. Bishop Kallistos Ware suggests that “While there is no division between a `visible’ and an ‘invisible’ Church yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense we cannot always say” (The Orthodox Church, p. 248, 1993 edition). Christ our God may be working in others in ways unknown to us and even to them, to bring them to salvation. And in due time, perhaps not till after death, they may recognize God and accept Christ and be united to His Body the Church-so that they can be saved. -source-

Anglican

The Church of Ireland, in common with the rest of the Anglican Communion, is faithful to the Bible’s reticence on this subject and does not require from its members any belief not clearly taught in the Bible. Many questions are left open and we can exercise our judgement on them. For example, is there progress after death or is the final state of each individual reached at the moment of death? The Bible does not give a definite answer to these questions either way. A complicating factor is the question of time in eternity. We cannot assume that time continues in the same way after death as it does before. The day of judgement is not a date in human reckoning that can be known. Judgement may be going on all the time, as some verses in St John’s Gospel suggest (e.g. “Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out” John 12:31). -source-

Protestant

As might be expected, Protestant groups are widely varied on certain specific beliefs, while all would agree we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. As shown in the first link, there would be a variety of teachings.

As such, I hope this provides a clear overview.

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As per OP's invitation to post answers which complement answers already offered I would like to address a specific part of Ken Graham's very comprehensive post. There he lists Exclusivism as the traditional Christian position regarding the fate of the unevangelized and further demarks 3 forms of exclusivism. This answer attempts to flesh out, biblically, most of the third option as Ken presented it below (excepting after death tests):

Nonrestrictive (optimistic) exclusivism affirms that while the fate of the unevangelized is not known, Scripture seems to indicate that God may reach out to those who haven’t heard the gospel in some extraordinary way (dreams, after-death tests, etc.).

Biblically, the baseline starting place is that no one is righteous and everyone is without excuse regarding God's existence and what he requires:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 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 they are without excuse. - Romans 1:18-20

Therefore the holiness and justice of God would seem to be satisfied by universal condemnation and there are some who believe this way (i.e. Restrictive or Pessimistic Exclusivists).

However, part of the revelation that everyone has about God right from the beginning is also the promise of grace and mercy. In what theologians refer to as the Protoevangelium is evidenced the very first gospel (good news) presentation made by God Himself:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. - Genesis 3:15

Therefore any acceptance of a mercilessly judicial God constitutes a rejection of the God Who Is.

Paul spoke of this God to the philosophers in Athens who carefully covered their bases with a statue to The Unknown God. In his speech he describes a God who sovereignly places each human life in the time and circumstance where they have the best opportunity to seek God and find Him:

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us - Acts 17:24-27

And He has said that anyone who seeks Him with their whole heart will find Him:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:11-13

This puts the onus not on God, who has made every provision, but on man who must reject what his sinful heart and the voice of the world system tells him and seek after God regardless of the cost to his current worldview. Thus the call to repent (completely change your mind) and cry out to God. Dedication to a particular religion is not the answer although perception of and fellowship with those who have found God is an intended result:

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. - 1 Corinthians 12:18

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. - 1 Corinthians 12:27

Abraham is an example of those who have found "favor" with God in exactly the same way as we do today. They clung to the promise of mercy and grace from God regardless of circumstance, personal failure, human logic, and the voice of contemporaries and are thus reckoned by God as righteous:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. - Genesis 11:17-19

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. - Genesis 15:6

The heart of the difference between those before Jesus' ministry and after is history. Jesus came at just the right time in history and effectively actuated that which was promised. Man is currently required to look back in faith as the Gospel is presented as opposed to having to look forward prior to His first advent but those who have not yet heard the gospel cannot look back. This is why the preaching of the gospel must be done with gentleness, respect, and humility always mindful that we do not know where any person is along the path:

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:24-26

There is now and always has been salvation found in only one Name: Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Living God. Adam, Abraham, David, and countless others all found it without ever having heard the gospel as it is now revealed. If an "isolated jungle man" is saved by the grace and mercy of God having responded to the revelation he has and having sought after Him truly, with all his heart, without having yet heard the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ then that is to the glory of God. The responsibility to preach the gospel is not about about getting others to believe exactly what we currently believe but is a presentation of an exceedingly better and fuller revelation toward that end: We are not proclaiming what God will do but that God has done what He has promised. The fullness of God is revealed in Christ Jesus and the presentation of the gospel:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily - Colossians 2:8-9

The degree of revelation that a man has received, the degree of acceptance of that revelation, and the degree of earnest desiring of more in the heart of a man is solely the bailiwick of Almighty God. The Calvinists and the Armenians are both pointing to the same essential truths but from opposite sides and they are both lacking in fullness. In order for a man to be saved God must first do something because we are completely lost (He has) and then the man must respond (will we?).

Therefore God may save a man who is responding to the revelation that he has received (that is up to God) but it is infinitely better for that man if he can receive the complete revelation of God that is found in Christ. And so the gospel is to be proclaimed by every believer to every creature as though God Himself were pleading through us:

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. - 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

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I believe there are 3 primary viewpoints to the question, "What happens to those who die without ever hearing the gospel?

The Christian views below are not tied to any particular denomination as there may be some people that attend the same church who would disagree within the denomination.

One viewpoint is: God is evil because it seems like He's sending people to hell because they do not have an opportunity to hear and that's not fair. One Christian viewpoint is: God will someway get the gospel to anyone across the planet who calls out to him, maybe due to seeing his revelation through what has been made. Rom 1. One Christian viewpoint is: God commands that we we share the gospel and we must do so in order for people to be saved. "great commission" Another view point is: The bible doesn't explicitly give us the answer to the question, but we do have evidence that God is Not evil and no one is getting an unfair shake.

People who have never heard... This includes David, Abraham, Adam and Eve, their Children, Daniel, Solomon, Isaac and Jacob, Sampson, etc. These people had faith in God without hearing the gospel message that Jesus died and rose again for their sins. Those they lived imperfect lives, the object of their faith was the One True God. God credited their faith as righteousness and the payment for their sins was made by Jesus. (Romans 1-4).

We do have the Romans 10 passage about the hearing and believing but I think we want to know specifically, "how will God judge those who have never heard the Gospel?" I do not think we get a direct answer to that question. We do however get indirect information that should help us draw a conclusion. 1. No one goes to heaven because they deserve it. (If so there's absolutely no need for Jesus, the cross, and His resurrection. 2. Heaven will be full of sinners like me and Abraham, Adam, Paul, who placed their faith in the one true God. 3. We learn that no sin is a secret sin to God as he knows the thoughts and intentions of each man's mind and heart. Matt. 9:24 When He judges, He has all of the information. There's not going to be missing evidence that was not taken into consideration. 1 Cor 4:5, Luke 8:17 4. He is merciful and good, willing that non should perish. 5. He judges based upon revelation. Each is responsible for the information they have been given. The judgement on the Pharisees was worse because the miracles was done in front of their face. Matt. 11:23

While I cannot directly answer the question, I'm confident that God is good and faithful and will judge with righteousness and justice when He acts.

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