John Piper: “He will not condemn anyone for not believing what they had no access to understand.”

by Greg Linscott

I was listening to the panel discussion from the 2007 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference. As I listened, something John Piper said in the Q&A caught my ear. The question posed was this: How should we understand the destiny of infants or those with severe mental handicap? What is your counsel for those who have lost a loved one like this? In his reply, Piper said:

“Owing to God’s zeal for public justice at the last day He will not condemn anyone for not believing what they had no access to understand. Natural access, physical access… not moral rejection, but a baby, an imbecile, or a person on the other side of the globe who’s never heard the gospel. I believe they’re all lost, and will go to hell if they don’t hear the gospel. But they will not be indicted for not believing the gospel which they haven’t heard– they’ll be indicted for suppressing the truth they had.”

As I continued to listen, it seemed Piper was saying that those who have not heard- especially infants, but also introducing those “savages” who have never heard- may have access to the Gospel after death.

I ask you- is this indeed what he was saying? If so, is there room for this understanding Biblically?

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