Ask Father Paul - 05/19/10
Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible
Pastors get some of the most interesting questions. Here are a few that I’ve gotten over the years and via email for this column.
Dear father Paul: What about people who have never even heard about Jesus or God? Will God send them to Hell? — Mike.
Dear Mike: Good question. I get this one a lot.
God has one plan for mankind revealed in his word, the Bible. Let’s call it “Plan A.” “Plan A” says that (all) humans are born with the stain (think of it as a virus) of sin which separates us from God, and unless our sins are somehow purged, we cannot have fellowship with or live eternally with God ... and further, that our sins can only be purged through our confessing in and believing in Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross. Jesus himself said, “no one can come to the Father except through me,” (“Plan A”), John 14:6.
Most people, including me, think it’d be great if God had some other plans too ... say a ”Plan B,” a ”Plan C,” and even a “Plan D” for good measure. Four plans sound better than just one. Right? Frankly, I wish there were other “Plans.” I don’t want to see anybody go to Hell ... so to me, the more “Plans,” the better. But, here’s the thing, If there are any other “Plans,” besides “Plan A,” I don’t know about them, and God has not revealed them anywhere in his word to us, the Bible. Really!
The Bible clearly teaches that all people are accountable to God and that he has (in fact) already revealed himself to every person (without a preacher, missionary or even the Bible), through both nature (see Romans 1:20) and in our hearts (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). So the fact is that none of us will ever be able to claim, “I’ve never heard of God” ... or, “I have no consciousness that there even is a God.” No, we see his handiwork all around us in nature, and all of us know, deep down in our hearts, that there really is a God.
The problem Mike, isn’t that we don’t know there is a God. Again, everyone does ... but it’s that we don’t seek after him! Romans 3:11 tells us plainly that the average person doesn’t seek after God, and isn’t hungry to know him. That’s never been more true than today.
Deuteronomy 4:29 says this ... ”But if ... you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches us an extremely important principle. It’s just this. To every single person who truly seeks after God and wants to find him, God will come to that person and make himself (and “Plan A”) known to him no matter what it takes ... no matter what God has to do !
Instead of debating whether there are those who have “never heard of God,” Christians should be doing their best to make sure everyone does hear about him.
Dear Father Paul: Does each person have a “Guardian Angel?” — S.C.
DEAR S.C.: Boy I’d really love to think so. I sure need an angel looking out after me, and you probably do too. I can think of several really close calls in my life where I was saved from disaster or injury and I thought at the time ... ”must have been my angel looking out for me.”
The truth is though, that we don’t know for sure, and the Bible has no really clear teaching on the subject. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus said, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones (speaking of a little child that he had called to stand among them). For I tell you that their angels in heaven will always see the face of my Father in heaven.” He might have here been referring to all those who believe in him, or he could have been talking just about little children. It really isn’t clear. Hebrews 1:14 does point out that one of the angel’s duties is to minister to believers. Elsewhere the Bible is full of instances in which angels protect, provide for, and give information to men and women. The bottom line, to me, is that God does not need angels to accomplish his purposes. He can, and does do all things according to his will.
Do you have a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Georgia....”the Ancient, Historic Church For Today’s Generation.” More info. directions and service times are at www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com. Worship with us this Sunday.