Can my failure to witness send someone to hell?

Insane busyness is continuing, and I am having trouble completing my next GIGO post. In the meantime, I keep coming up with other things I want to write about … when I have time.

Here is one of them.

Suppose I am called to witness to Joe. Suppose Joe is so open to the gospel at this point in his life that if I were to witness to him he’d be saved. And suppose I disobey God’s promptings and don’t witness to Joe.

Will God send someone else along to witness to Joe, so that he gets saved? Will He do something like that for sure? Or is it possible that because of my disobedience Joe will end up in hell, since I didn’t share the gospel with him?

I told my Sunday School class the other day that I think God would definitely send someone else along to share the gospel with Joe. Someone else in the class disagreed. Now I’ve been rethinking how best to justify my stand (or change it, but I don’t think I’m going to do that).

So what do y’all think, readers? I suppose if you’re Calvinist, it’s a no-brainer. So I’m more interested in what you’d say if you’re not completely Calvinist.

[Edit: I forgot to mention that my wife has also blogged about this question.]

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7 thoughts on “Can my failure to witness send someone to hell?

  1. I believe that pretty much everything about why the world is the way the world is boils down to free will. Sin exists because God chose free will over a perfect world. That’s the whole point of, like, everything. If Joe would choose to be open to the gospel, but God won’t give him the chance, how is that giving Joe a choice?

    Also: if we say that it IS the Christian’s fault that Joe doesn’t get saved, isn’t that kind of…arrogant? God is GOD. He’s the almighty creator of the universe. He doesn’t NEED us. He chooses to use us, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t know what He’s doing, or He doesn’t know when we’re going to fail. If He wants Joe saved (which John 3:16 and every other verse about God’s love says He does) He’s not going to be caught off guard if we don’t obey.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Bekah!

      A confusing verse to consider, in that light: Matthew 11:20-21.

      Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

  2. That’s a good point. I don’t know, maybe it’s a whole, “you believe, Thomas? Yeah, well, blessed are the people who don’t need miracles to believe” type thing. Like, “you guys already knew who I was, so I shouldn’t have needed to show you miracles”. But, yeah, I don’t know. For all I know it was a figure of speech. (Although maybe it’s slightly heathenistic of me to wonder that…) Anyway, I still believe God gives everyone freedom of choice, even those people. God’s big enough to make sense of the verses that make no sense.

    Sorry if I kind of completely avoided answering the question. 🙂

    • Yes, I like that verse for this.
      I also think that Romans 8:29-30 (those whom he predestined, he called) makes the same point, even if interpreted in a not-very-Calvinistic way.

  3. To answer the question the original question exactly; “Can my failure to witness send someone to hell?” the answer is no, because everyone is going to hell anyway. The question should be worded: “Will there be people who could have been saved that were not, because of the lack of faith or disobedience of believers?” An interesting verse to consider is Matt. 23:13; as well as Romans 10:13-15

  4. I know that the Apostle Paul stated that he believes that for everyone he meets that their blood is on his hands until he shares the knowledge of salvation to them, Paul was a man of Great conviction so I pray that we would all have that kind of mind and we wouldn’t have to deal with this kind of question. Amen

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