Here is the answer to the question, Are the pagans lost? Paul (Rom. 2:12) intelligibly states that those without the law will yet "perish" without the law. So how can a person be justly condemned if he has never heard the gospel? Paul answers, every man has a conscience, and no one has ever lived up to what he knows to be right (General Revaluation). Every person knows they shall do certain "moral" things, and not do certain "wrong" things. This is tested to be true every time people pass judgment on the actions of others (Rom. 2:1). Yet, no one can honestly claim that they have lived up to what they believe they should! Because of this, God can judge all of humanity, and find them lacking, because none has ever lived up to the light of their own conscience. So is God being fair?
Scripture teaches that God is absolutely "just" (Gen. 18:25; Luke 12:47-48; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 2:6), and will reward everyone according to their works, and there will be degrees of punishment. So a question will arise in mission and evangelism committees in most churches, "would it be safer not to preach the gospel to the lost in fear if they who reject the gospel, they would be lost forever." (This is "Hyper Calvinism") If a person could be saved without hearing the gospel, simply because he has not heard, then it would logically be safer not to preach the gospel, so that no one would hear, and all would be saved! The church for centuries did little to no evangelism for this reason! But what did our Lord teach?
Even today with the modern mission movements behind us leading the way a lot of churches still do not participate in evangelism and missions. They reason there is no rationale for any evangelism or missionary endeavors. The point is that Christ commands every Christian to preach the gospel to every creature (Matt. 28), because only through faith in Christ can one have salvation. The Bible does not teach that most people will be saved; rather, Jesus Himself said most will be lost, and only a few saved (Matt.7:14)
© 1992, 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/