Is Sharing The Gospel Sometimes Worse Than Not Saying Anything?

I don’t really know how to convey this question, so I’ll just ask it-

I have heard people say God has mercy on people who do not know about Him. Especially those who if given the chance would have chosen to serve Him. And people who never knew God still have a chance to be with Him in eternity. Example, a child in Haiti with a good heart who follows their conscience and loves other may die in the grace of God.

Sometimes I feel bad for trying to tell people about Jesus because if I share the gospel with them and they reject it, wont they be worse off than if they were to stay ignorant and never reject truth because they’ve never heard it?

I don’t really understand how it all works. Can someone explain?

You’re living in a world where the vast majority of people, except maybe for those living in a remote jungle or isolated island, are aware of the Gospel. They might not choose to believe it, or even read it, but most people you meet will know it exists and have a general idea what it’s about. They’re not going to be totally ignorant.

You’re not saving them from anything by not sharing. Go ahead and share.

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Where does scripture say this? It says those who know the gospel yet reject it will be judged more harshly, but does not say that sinful human beings who have no knowledge of the gospel will not be judged. God’s mercy is the fact that he poured out his Holy Spirit upon the Church and gave it the great commission to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. Read Romans 10 and see the urgency with which Paul exhorts the Church to send people to proclaim the gospel. Don’t be discouraged that some might reject the gospel, that’s not your role. Your role is to share the gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to work through the proclamation of God’s word. Also, one other thought, you may never see the end result of your labors to spread the gospel. However, one day you may find that many people with whom you spoke later came to faith because of the seed you planted through caring conversations, bearing fruit unto salvation. Have faith that God’s word does what he purposes it to do.

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Where does Scripture say that it is the sole rule of faith? Doesn’t it say, rather, that Apostolic teaching was the means of passing on the teachings of Christ?

No. The standard isn’t “you’re saved if you listen to Pixle, and condemned if you ignore Pixle.” The Church teaches that the standard is whether or not you reject the message of Christ, knowing that it’s true.

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Give your own testimony.

“I think my life is better for following the Gospel because…”

Amd keep it to like one or two sentences.

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Ahhh great question, I like the answer Fr. Mitch Pacwa gives out to this precise question. It is not up to us to decide, we are in sales.
Conversion is ALWAYS up to the Holy Spirit.
Our duty and our salvation depends that we share the Good News, The Gospel.
And we should not worry IF we convert any one.
Also may I add, sharing the Gospels with words but also with actions by living a Christian life close to the example of Jesus.

Peace!

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I’ve heard a Protestant sermon which was on this question.

If taken to its conclusion, it would be like saying this:
A missionary lands in Africa. He encounters a native and asks him if he has ever heard of Jesus.
The native replies no. The missionary tells him: “If anyone ever mentions the name Jesus to you, make sure you cover your ears and run far far away”

Jesus told his disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.

We are all obligated to try to fulfill the great commission, in our own way. I sometimes tell myself that if I have been preaching the Gospel, or defending Church teaching, and everyone is attacking me. And its being very poorly received. I’ll tell myself “Well, at least my words were pleasing to Christ”. And who knows, maybe those seeds will sprout a long time later.

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Ignorance is not a means of salvation. Otherwise Jesus would not have commanded the gospel to be preached to all the nations.

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Whether they are better or worse off is on them. Spreading the Gospel is your job and is on you.

Jesus knew that some towns would not hear the 72 on their mission. He sent them anyway.

You need not beat them over the head with your faith.

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Spread your seeds for God, let Him worry about watering, nurturing and helping them grow.

A side from that I totally get what you mean.

Sharing the Gospel is ALWAYS better than not.

However, there are ways to incorrectly share the Gospel, which can do damage.

So I guess, what I mean to say is sharing the Gospel - in charity - is always the best

Ahh it’s the famous scenario of the Grand Inquisitor from Dostoyevsky’s “The Brother’s Karamazov.” -Whether it is perhaps more loving to keep people in ignorance so they can continue comfortably living in sin vs preaching the Good News which may get them sent to hell If they don’t live up to its demands. I recommend the story (the Grand Inquiz. section is just one chapter - you can Google it). It’s riveting!

Ignorance is not a means of salvation. Most importantly, one cannot be saved without knowledge of Christ, since faith in Christ (who embodies all of God’s revelation) is necessary:

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

Following an upright conscience and seeking the truth puts one on the path to faith and salvation, but we must meet them on that path so that their desire may be fulfilled:

CCC (my bolding)

851 Missionary motivation. It is from God’s love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."343 Indeed, God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”;344 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God’s universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.

The following is also true:

CCC

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

Yes, God could just enlighten individuals directly and maybe He does at the “eleventh hour” in extreme circumstances, but because God is a communion of love (the Trinity), He has ordered salvation to be achieved in a communion of persons joined to Him and one another in faith and charity.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently released an explanation of this very point. The subsection entitled “V. Salvation in the Church, Body of Christ” is especially on point, but the whole thing is on this topic.

Finally, for those who have hardened their hearts to the small voice of God, many respond to the charity and word of another person–that personal interaction may be the way God brings that person to repentance and conversion. The Scriptures and history–and the testimony of many converts even in our time–show this almost always to be the case. Interior enlightenment is very rare. Most often, faith comes through hearing or reading the words of another and seeing and experiencing charity first hand.

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And how do they achieve salvation? By being led by grace to faith (the assent to God’s revelation), which is absolutely necessary (see CCC 161 and 848 in my post above). It is by following an upright conscience that one participates with grace leading to the increase in grace, including the gift of faith which is absolutely necessary for salvation.

Pope Francis put it this way:

Lumen Fidei 35

Because faith is a way, it also has to do with the lives of those men and women who, though not believers, nonetheless desire to believe and continue to seek. To the extent that they are sincerely open to love and set out with whatever light they can find, they are already, even without knowing it, on the path leading to faith…Anyone who sets off on the path of doing good to others is already drawing near to God, is already sustained by his help, for it is characteristic of the divine light to brighten our eyes whenever we walk towards the fullness of love.

St. Robert Bellarmine explains in some more detail how this might play out (he was responding to Protestants who said the existence of ignorant pagans meant God did not offer the means of salvation to all):

De Gratis et Libero Arbitrio, lib. 2, cap. 8

This argument only proves that not all people receive the help they need to believe and be converted immediately. It does not, however, prove that some people are deprived, absolutely speaking, of sufficient help for salvation. For the pagans to whom the Gospel has not yet been preached, can know from His creatures that God exists; then they can be stimulated by God, through His prevenient grace, to believe in God, that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him: and from such faith, they can be inspired, under the guidance and help of God, to pray and give alms and in this way obtain from God a still greater light of faith, which God will communicate to them, either by Himself or through angels or through men.

The light of faith is ordinarily communicated “through men”–this is the way the Lord has willed that people come to salvation. Even though He might through an angel or some way known only to Himself help pick up the slack where we fail, ordinarily “faith comes through hearing.”

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Did @Hodos make this argument in his post? Lemme read it again.

Ok, just read it again. He didn’t, nor anything close to it from what I can tell. Perhaps he’ll weigh in though in case I’m mistaken, which if so, I’ll gladly yield the field.

However, if I’m correct, I think my debate coach would call this a textbook example of “non sequitur”.

Let me spell it out for you, then: @Hodos is implicitly asserting the standard that teaching is found only in Scripture (after all, when addressing Pixle’s assertion, he asks “where does scripture say this?”).

So, here’s the problem:

  • Scripture doesn’t make this claim about itself
  • The Church never makes this claim
  • Jesus authorizes apostolic teaching as the standard

And, just to tie it up in a nice bow for you: apostolic teaching has asserted that those who do not know God may be saved.

So… “non sequitur”? Hardly. Perhaps I was a bit too optimistic that my argument would have been understood without having to spell it out in minute detail…

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I think if you read and study (in the Bible and the Catechism and CA and what your church teaches) about the way Jesus spread the Good News, you would find that he started by spending time with them and loving them with “agape” love. He healed them, fed them, spoke kindly to them, and lived with them. When he did preach to them, he met them where they were - talking to them about farming, lost sheep, lost sons, daily wages, fishing, and all sorts of things that he knew his audience would understand and appreciate. Ultimately, he gave his life for them.

When people see that you care for them and love them and meet them where they are - often in spite of the fact that nobody else does (because they’re hard to love like us) - they’re more willing to listen to you tell them what, or who - makes you different. They trust you because you’ve sacrificed something of yourself for them.

Ultimately though, I agree with many of the posts before - salvation is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit. So keep loving people and telling them about Jesus and why you love him.

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And again, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.

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First, the question “Where does scripture say this?” Is in direct response to the question:

@Hodos could’ve responded with “Where does the RCC say this?”, or “Where does your Priest say this” or “Where does the owners manual to my 1997 Cadillac Seville say this” or any of hundreds of similar responses. None of which have anything whatsoever to do with “teaching is only found in Scipture.”

Second, in keeping with the entire purpose of the thread, Scripture actually does say this:

“So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”

You can make an argument in scripture - which the RCC does BTW (actually a pretty good one) - that God judges men by the weight of the heart (among other things). No need to argue non-sequiturs my friend. You’re smart enough to fight on the ground you find yourself upon. :slight_smile:

If you take it out of context, that’s the meaning. Yet we know from Romans 1, and Exodus that God hardens people who refuse to acknowledge Him.

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