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Susan Davis wrote:

Hi, guys —

The Bible is very clear on salvation.

  • But what about all those millions upon millions that never received God's word?
  • What about those countless people that lived in many different cultures that obeyed the laws of their culture and its God/or Gods but never had a chance to be aware of the one and only true God?
  • Is it justice that these people will never be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven?

Susan

  { In lieu of what the Bible says, what happens to the millions that never received God's Word? }

Mike replied:

Dear Sue,

You said:
The Bible is very clear on salvation.

  • But what about all those millions upon millions that never received God's word?
  • What about those countless people that lived in many different cultures that obeyed the laws of their culture and its God/or Gods but never had a chance to be aware of the one and only true God?
  • Is it justice that these people will never be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven?

God is not bound to His Own Sacraments, like Baptism. Those who have followed their God-given conscience the best they can, can be saved in ways that are unknown to us.

The only means the Church knows for salvation, echoing the words of Jesus in (Mark 16:16), is Baptism. That said, the Church entrusts these people to the Mercy of God. We will need that same Mercy at our Particular Judgment when we pass on to the Next Life.

A Protestant could never give the answer I gave above because they rely solely on the Written Scriptures while Catholic Christians reply on the Whole Word of God: the Oral Tradition passed down to us from the Apostles and the Written, Inspired Tradition: the Bible.

Baptism is necessary for salvation.

John 3:5
"No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit."
Mark 16:16
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved."
Acts 16:30-33
"What must I do to be saved? ... he and all his family were baptized."
1 Peter 3:21
"Baptism which saves you now."
See also:
Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38, Acts 16:15

The Holy Bible alone or the Holy Bible plus Oral Tradition?
Matthew 23:1-3
Chair of Moses; observe whatever they tell you.
(Moses’ chair was a prefigurement of the chair of St. Peter.)
Mark 13:31
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words won't.
Mark 16:15
Go to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Luke 10:16
"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me."
John 21:25
Not everything Jesus said was recorded in Scripture.
Acts 20:35
Sayings of Jesus were not recorded in the Gospels.
Romans 10:17
Faith comes from what is heard.
1 Corinthians 11:2
Commends them for following Apostolic tradition.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Being saved if you hold fast to the word I preached.
2 Thessalonians 2:15
Hold fast to traditions, whether they are oral or by letter.
2 Timothy 1:13
Follow my sound words; guard the truth.
2 Timothy 2:2
What you heard entrust to faithful men who will also teach other faithful men . . .
[from generation to generation to today.]
1 Peter 1:25
God's eternal word equals the word preached to you.
2 Peter 1:20
No prophecy is a matter of private interpretation.
2 Peter 3:15-16
Paul's letters can be difficult to grasp and interpret.
St. Athanasius (360 A.D.)
Let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian. (Four Letters to Serapion of Thmius 1, 28)
Origen (230 A.D.)
"The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession, from the Apostles, and remains in the Churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as truth which is in no way in variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition." (Fundamental Doctrines 1, preface, 2.)

Interested in what other Christians in the Early Church thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic and this topic.
I hope this helps,

Mike

Susan replied:


Thank you. I needed that.

Sue

Bob replied:

Susan,

I'm not sure if anyone answered your question yet, so here is a quick response in case you were overlooked.

God can save anyone, even those who haven't explicitly heard the Gospel or given assent to it.

  • Babies who die in the womb
  • the ignorant
  • special needs persons who can't even process concepts like salvation
  • anyone

is able to be saved.

How God does it is a mystery, but all salvation comes through Christ's Death and Resurrection so God can apply the merits of Jesus to anyone He wills to, and He wills to save everyone. Some, sadly, will reject Him. He won't force anyone to accept the gift. Sin is a danger to us all, for it can turn us away from accepting God's love, but God can discern what we cannot, and knows the hearts of all.

Entrust all persons who have not heard and accepted the Gospel into the Merciful Heart of God who can work miracles. If there is a way to save them, He will. Their job is to accept God's love and gift and open their soul to His Mercy.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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