Can the "man in the wilderness" be saved?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by No Name #5, Jan 10, 2017.

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  1. No Name #5

    No Name #5 Puritan Board Freshman

    WCF 10:III states:
    (emphasis mine)

    Wouldn't those "incapable of being outwardly called" include a proverbial man living in total isolation, cut off from society entirely? It's come to my attention that some interpret the "incapability" as only referring to those who are disabled (incapable of hearing or higher cognitive thought), and not simply unable to be called "outwardly by the ministry of the Word". As far as I see it, since the WCF does not frame the context as including only the disabled, then it does, in fact, mean those that can't be "outwardly called by the ministry". Wouldn't that include the proverbial "man in the wilderness"?

    Thank you!
     
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    This application is excluded by the next section of the Confession: "much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess. And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested."

    Compare with Larger Catechism, question 60. "Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?" Answer. "They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church."
     
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  3. No Name #5

    No Name #5 Puritan Board Freshman

    Could God spur belief within the heart of the proverbial man in the wilderness, in the same way as he could an infant or an imbecile? They don't hear the Gospel, either, nor can they profess Christ. Isn't this GNC?
     
  4. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Even in the extraordinary times of the apostles God sent Peter to the house of Cornelius to preach the gospel to him that he might be saved. God might use out-of-the-ordinary measures to bring the gospel to one who is outside the reach of the church, but it will be the gospel of Christ that He uses to save. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation.

    There is no "good and necessary consequence" to be derived from the bare power of God because then anything would be possible seeing as God can do all things. God encloses us within the revelation of His grace, and leads us to trust in Him that He will work in accord with His revealed will. This is what it means to believe on His "Name."
     
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  5. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    Though this "might" is restricted, in that it is written, that people will not believe unless they are sent a preacher. Which restricts on how God has chosen to work. in your opinion am I off base here?
     
  6. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior

    Though I can't reply for Pastor Winzer, I think the preacher and message may be sent in an "out of the ordinary" way. That is how I've always understood it. How else would a deaf, stillborn and yet elect baby come to faith?
     
  7. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    I am pretty sue the categories, of the type of people, preclude this from being true. :)
     
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Senior

    God will alwats be able to reach and make sure His elect will come to faith in Christ, wherever they may be found, correct?
     
  9. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior

    I'm confused, which category?
     
  10. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    The first category would be elect infants and those who are unable to to understand, such as the mentally retarded, can be saved. The second category would be those who are not infants and are of sound mind who never here the gospel preached while alive. These are lost according to our confessions.
     
  11. No Name #5

    No Name #5 Puritan Board Freshman

    :amen:

    I only ask: for those who are unable to be reached by the ministry of the Word, but are of sound mind, be called in the same way as an infant or mentally handicapped person? Of course God overwhelmingly uses minsters of the Word to regenerate in keeping with Romans 10:14-18, but being that there are special situations that God sovereignty saves those who can't be reached by the ministry, doesn't it follow that He could do the same for someone completely cut off from civilization and accordingly the ministry itself? Being that verse 18 in Rom. 10 says that all have heard, in lieu of Ps. 19:4 which affirms, "their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world" - implying that the "hearing" referred goes beyond the literal - this seems to be a Biblical inference. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that person, in a very essential way, analogous to an infant or someone afflicted with a severe handicap by GNC?
     
  12. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior

    I see what your saying but I meant something else. :( I've tried putting it in words but failed and so I give up for awhile. ;)
     
  13. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    I may be hard headed in this area but currently I hold to the conviction the person who never heard of Jesus, and never will hear of Him is fallen in Adam, and that person is bound for hell because of Adam and his sin. The amount of punishment in hell will be met out by the sin that person commits. Also so far as the possibility of that person somehow being saved without any knowledge of Jesus I will let The Lord speak.

    Romans 10:14
    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    PS. The answer to the above three questions is IMO rules out any possibility of believing in Jesus if they never heard of Him. Blessed are the Ministers who preach the word to us and go out doing their job Our Lord commissioned them to do.
     
  14. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior


    You and I are in agreement. I was thinking of ways Jesus has made himself heard that are not normative.
     
  15. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    IMO the passage in Romans rules out such. God limits on how The Gospel is to be spread, and only by normative means. :)
     
  16. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Senior

    Just a follow up question on this issue of how God spreads the Gospel message out to reach the lost. Is it possible that in areas where the Gospel has not yet been sent in there by normal means such as missionaries, TV, radio etc tha God could choose to use things such as dreams and visions to prepare some for the message yet to come? has have read and heard missionaries state that when they arrived at the town, someone hdd God send that to them to prepare the way?
     
  17. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    I believe those dreams were predicated on previous exposure to Jesus in a normative way.
     
  18. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Senior

    That makes sense to me, thank you.
     
  19. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    Is there any kind of problem with me thinking that God can, and most likely has, sent angels to preach the gospel to people who can't hear it otherwise?

    Revelation 14:6-7 ...'And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'

    This is post mark of the beast, pre 7 plagues and pre fall of Babylon if you hold to a chronological position for Revelation. I know some Reformed people see it as future and some see it as side by side visions of the time we are in now. ( I would lean towards that position, or that at least we might be up to the sixth seal). If an angel here is preaching the gospel, couldn't God have sent angels in the past? Now don't flame me, I am truly wondering.
     
  20. No Name #5

    No Name #5 Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe I wasn't concise enough with my previous post. I'd like to know: is Gospel exclusivism the only way to salvation (solely by receiving the message from human evangelists), or special revelation exclusivism (that God can work through effectual calling when, and where, and how He pleases)? More explicitly, can God work through extraordinary means in addition to ordinary means? In this case, I think the question parallels asking whether or not God can still perform miracles today by disrupting the uniformity of nature. Of course, more often than not God has chosen not to reveal Himself this way during this dispensation, but should we therefore dogmatically assert that He absolutely never does?
     
  21. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    Well if someone came up to me and said an angel preached The Gospel to him or her, and they were saved I might look upon them as being "off". We have angels, or human messengers, and Romans says specifically one will not believe unless a preacher is sent, and I suspect Paul did not have heavenly angels in mind. :)
     
  22. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    Earl, we are not discussing somebody who can walk up to you in a land full of bibles and preachers and Christians. Of course God's ordinary means of grace is by way of humans or a bible or a tract, radios, etc. The OP was asking about somebody in isolation. I would broaden it to various unreached and isolated tribes the past 2,000 years.

    but being that there are special situations that God sovereignty saves those who can't be reached by the ministry, doesn't it follow that He could do the same for someone completely cut off from civilization and accordingly the ministry itself

    I have wondered about this myself. I hope to get to heaven and see people who were saved from darkest isolated jungles by dreams or visions or angels coming and preaching to them...as the OP puts it, extraordinary means. If an angel in revelation preaches the gospel, isn't that possible? Am I wrong to think this? When Satan was bound by Jesus and the gospel went forth to all the nations, did it have to always be directly by men, if no men were around? If angels are ministering spirits, could they not preach to elect where no missionaries are?
     
  23. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    Can you show me anywhere in scripture where any angel preached unto salvation to any person?
     
  24. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    Earl, I just quoted it. Rev 14:6. Unless that flying angel is some sort of revelation symbolism.

    Paul said this:

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.


    Does that imply an angel could preach a true gospel? I am just asking. Certainly Joseph Smith's angel Moroni was a liar. If that was a counterfeit, could there be a true one?

    Angels spoke to both Mary and Joseph that this particular baby was the savior. I would call that preaching the gospel.

    Can we say that it is impossible for God to elect somebody ever, if there is no human preacher or written word in their life? God can't do it any other way? No vision, dream, or angel? I don't know the correct Reformed answer, I am asking.
     
  25. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Senior

    I tnd to see this as being signs and wonders done in Acts by the Lord to confirm th message of Jesus and CRoss/Resurrction, as once confirmed, those gifts passed away. In areas where the Gospel has not yet fully gotten into, could not the Lord do similiar tigsthings to confirm that the Message of Jesus is from the true God?
     
  26. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Senior

    Think that God can still choose any method to get out the message out even today, but Hs normal one is human preaching the Gospe! Also think that he can still do signs and wonders to confirm the message of he Gospel in areas where has not yet penertrated!
     
  27. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Senior

    There is the Angel in revelation proclaiming the message...
     
  28. Shimei

    Shimei Puritan Board Freshman

    The question seemingly is what apologist call "the man on the deserted island".

    I think Ezekiel 34:11 tells us that the Elect are in good hands despite being a scattered flock!

    God bless,
    William
     
  29. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    The "even if" does not suppose this actually happens "But even if we or an angel from heaven".

    So far as being elect, in deepest darkest Africa, God will send a preacher to such a person according to Romans. Our Lord has no problem connecting the dots in the way He prescribes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
  30. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    You eschatology is showing. :)
     
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