What happens to a person who has never heard of Jesus?

This article is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Complete Bible Answer Book—Collector’s Edition (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008)
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One of the most frequently asked questions on the Bible Answer Man broadcast is “What happens to those who have never heard of Jesus?” Will God condemn people to hell for not believing in someone they have never heard of?

First, people are not condemned to hell for not believing in Jesus. Rather they are already condemned because of their sin. Thus, the real question is not how can God send someone to hell, but how can God condescend to save any one of us?

Furthermore, if ignorance were a ticket to heaven, the greatest evangelistic enterprise would not be a Billy Graham crusade but a concerted cover-up campaign. Such a campaign would focus on ending evangelism, burning Bibles, and closing churches. Soon no one will have heard of Christ and everyone will be on their way to heaven.

Finally, it should be emphasized that everyone has the light of both creation and conscience. God is not capricious! If we respond to the light we have, God will give us more light. In the words of the apostle Paul: “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26–27).

For further study, see Ronald H. Nash, Is Jesus the Only Savior? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994). See also Hank Hanegraaff, “Is Jesus the Only Way,” available at www.equip.org.


“I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

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