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This blog is an excerpt (Introduction) from my new book, The Eskimo's Conundrum: The Fate of Those Who Have Not Heard the Gospel

You have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

—1 Peter 1:23–25

Recently, a relative of mine sent a photo of a post and asked me how I would respond to it and share the gospel. The post said:

Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"

Priest: “No, not if you did not know.”

Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?”

In this syllogism, the major and minor premises are faulty; therefore, the conclusion is invalid. Let me explain. But before I do, I want to state five fundamental presuppositions crucial to my argument. I do this for the simple reason that none of us approach life with absolute neutrality. We all have a worldview through which we interpret reality.

First, for a Christian, a foundational presupposition is that the Bible, the Christian Holy Scripture, is the indisputable and ultimate standard for truth. The Word of God (the Bible) is the final criterion for the Christian’s epistemology (the study of the nature of knowledge, its scope, and the means of obtaining it). [1]

Second, the Christian presupposes that the truths revealed in the Bible are attested by history, nature, and human experience. While truths in the Bible are validated by human experience, its authority is not dependent on human validation; it is inherently authoritative and self-attesting because God is its author. Furthermore, the God revealed in the Bible is just, righteous, and merciful. The Bible says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face” (Ps. 89:14 NKJV). God will do what is right, so no one can accuse Him of injustice (Gen. 18:25). “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful” (Ps. 116:5 NKJV).

Third, the Christian Bible is just another book, a relic of the past, to those whose eyes are not opened by the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers may ascribe some historical or literary value to the Bible but see it as irrelevant to their lives. Martin Luther, the sixteenth-century Reformer, wrote regarding the Bible: “No man sees one iota in the Scriptures, but he that hath the Spirit of God. All have a darkened heart; so that, even if they know how to speak of, and set forth, all things in the Scripture, yet, they cannot feel them nor know them: nor do they believe that they are the creatures of God, nor anything else.” [2]

Fourth, there is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NKJV). Christianity is not the only belief system claiming such exclusivity. Every belief system claims exclusivity to some degree because truth, by definition, is exclusive. No two truth claims can be true simultaneously and in the same sense if their claims are at variance. One must be true, or both may be false, and the truth may lie elsewhere. Both cannot be equally true because truth claims cannot violate the law of non-contradiction. Therefore, Jesus was perfectly reasonable when He claimed exclusivity as the only way to God.

Fifth, one enters the kingdom of God not by argumentation, however clever and logical it may be, but by God’s sovereign grace and power. Jesus said, “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up” (John 6:44). Salvation is the sovereign work of God. He saves whom He wills and when He wills. He also determines the circumstances under which He saves people for His glory.

There are two predominant views among Bible scholars regarding the fate of those who never heard the gospel or about Jesus Christ: inclusivism and exclusivism. Inclusivists propose that while the atoning work of Christ is the sole basis for salvation, people may receive the benefit of Christ’s atoning work even if they are unaware of Him, as long as they genuinely seek God according to the light they have received. Inclusivists build their argument on God’s love for humanity and Scripture passages that indicate that God wants “all” people to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3–4; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2). Upon closer examination of these passages that contain words like “all” and “world,” we discover that these verses do not mean “all” people without exception but rather those who put their trust in Christ. [3] For a further explanation of the meaning of these words in Scripture, see footnote 29.

The exclusivist argues that there is only one way to God: through Jesus Christ. One must respond to the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. To suggest any other way is to negate the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made for our redemption. The people who have not heard the gospel or salvation through Jesus Christ are lost, not because they rejected Christ; they are already lost, according to Romans 3:10 and 23 NKJV. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Christian scholars intensely debate this topic with no unanimous consensus. I realize this is a difficult question, and Bible-believing Christians can sincerely differ in their views about the fate of unevangelized people. There is a plethora of published literature on this subject for those interested in further investigation.

In this book, I have taken the exclusivist position based on what I have gleaned from the Bible and my understanding of the relevant texts. Because Christ is the only way to salvation, evangelizing people is a divine mandate that all Christians must obey. In this regard, I echo the sentiment of Walter Unger: “This question is a serious one and cannot be pursued as a mere academic curiosity but is vital to our understanding of the nature of God and our sense of mission. The conclusions we reach must be consistent with the full-orbed portrayal of God in Scripture, and our theology of the unevangelized must not diminish our sense of urgency in proclaiming the gospel throughout the world.” [4]

The purpose of this book is not to provide a definitive and exhaustive answer to this challenging question but rather to bring perspective to this topic and to motivate readers to urgently reach out to their neighbors and respective communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may still have unanswered questions or disagree with what I say in this book. “If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you” (Phil. 3:15).


[1]. I use the term “Christian” to mean one who has experienced new birth by the power of the Holy Spirit, is a follower of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and regards the Bible as the inspired word of God, infallible, without error, and authoritative for faith and practice.

[2]. Martin Luther, The Bondage of The Will (Amazon, Kindle Edition, 2010), 20.

[3]. Ronald H. Nash, Is Jesus the Only Savior? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 143.

[4]. Walter Unger, “The Destiny of Those Who Have Never Heard: A Bibliographical Essay,” Direction, /gen/art_822_.html (accessed May 25, 2023).


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