Concordia Theological Monthly

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Document Type



heathen, salvation, grace, christian, faith, hades, zwingli, pelagius, socrates

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


''In order to save universal grace before the forum of the human understanding, some have thought that the Gentiles will be saved for Christ's sake, without faith in the Gospel, on account of their moral aspirations (thus, for example, Hofmann). Others have assumed that after this life an opportunity to hear the Gospel and to believe will be offered (Martensen, Kliefoth, etc.). But these are human speculations, without any basis in Scripture" (Pieper, Christliche Dogmatik, II, p. 35). Millions of men have died who never in their life heard the Gospel of Christ, their Savior. Shall we say that they are eternally lost? What, then, becomes of the universality of God's grace? This forms, says the Lange-Schaff Commentary, "one of the most bewildering subjects in religion" (on 1 Pet. 3:19 f.). "Christians of all times have been concerned over the fate of those who in this life have never heard the name of Christ." Thus Dr. C. M. Jacobs in The Faith of the Church, p. 61. Is there no hope for them? Then what becomes of the universality of God's grace in Christ? "The universality of Christ," says Jacobs (p. 59), "has always been a hard fact for men to grasp and hold."


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

1 Peter 3:19; Romans 3:11-12; Acts 4:12; Mark 16:16; John 3:18; Ephesians 2:12; John 3:6;

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Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars