I like what Paris Reidhead (a Finneyite moral government preacher) said about his missionary trip to Africa. He said, "When I got there, I found that they weren't poor ignorant heathen running around saying 'someone please come and help us'. But they were monsters of iniquity. They are living in utter and total defiance with far more knowledge of God then I ever dreamed they had. They deserve hell because they utterly refuse to walk in the light of their conscience and the truth they knew."
Even those without Churches and without bibles are sinners because they have a God given conscience and willingly refuse to obey it. They are sinners because they are disobedient. And they are disobedient because they refuse to obey the knowledge of their conscience.
Missionaries are needed to tell people about the gospel. All men know that God exists and that love is the law, because their conscience tells them this. But God uses missionaries to tell men about the gospel. Sometimes God doesn't use missionaries and simply uses visions, nevertheless, God also sends missionaries.
But those who have never heard of Jesus Christ, the bible, or Christian still have a conscience. And their conscience tells them that their is a God and they tell them that they are under obligation to the law of love.
All men are accountable to their conscience. I didn't need the bible to tell me that there was a God. My conscience told me that. And I didn't need the bible to tell me about the law of love. My conscience told me that. So I was a sinner long before I read the bible, because I voluntarily lived contrary to my God given conscience.
- Those with a conscience are accountable to that conscience.
- Those with a conscience and a bible are accountable to their knowledge as well.
But even those who don't have a bible, don't have any Churches, don't have any preachers, still have a conscience.
And since their conscience tells them what God requires, they are without excuse for sinning. Therefore they deserve hell for voluntarily choosing to sin.
And since they have a conscience that tells them that God exists, they have enough knowledge to seek God if they wanted to. And if they seek God, and seek forgiveness, even without a bible, God could reveal it to them.
I hear of Muslims who seek God and God gives them visions of Jesus. They never had a bible or anything or heard a preacher, but they have a conscience that told them they sinned and they had a conscience that told them about God, and when they sought God they found God, just as God promised.
So as Paul said, God is not far from anyone of us. And God has given a revelation of Himself to all men. So all men know better then to sin and are therefore accountable for sinning.
All men are guilty in exact proportion to their disobedient to their knowledge. Personal disobedience to knowledge is the measure of personal guilt.
[b]This is from the article:[/b]
"Moral responsibility and moral accountability cannot exceed moral knowledge. Conscience is absolutely essential for responsibility, character, and accountability. Moral knowledge is an unmovable precondition of moral guilt. The entire world is guilty of sin because the entire world has a conscience, the entire world knows better.
The very foundation of just wrath and deserved condemnation is knowledge of obligation. For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20) Men are under the wrath of God because they hold the truth because of what is already known and shown to them, which truth they suppress and reject in unrighteousness. And because of this knowledge they are without excuse for their behavior.
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. (Romans 2:14-15) By nature all men are a law unto themselves because of the thoughts of conscience all men inescapably have, the natural revelation given to them by God, both of His own existence and of His moral requirements. All men, in all cultures, on all continents, necessarily affirm the existence of God and the requirement of love; God and His law of love are known by all, the consciences of all men make these revelations inescapable.
Natural revelation is the basis of responsibility and accountability, the very foundation of judgment and condemnation, the reason of guilt and blameworthiness. And as more revelation is granted upon the foundation of natural revelation, responsibility and accountability must itself increase. And if increased disobedience follows the increased revelation, then judgment, condemnation and guilt must increase as well."
[b]This is also from the article:[/b]
THE CLEAR AND EXPLICIT TEACHING OF
DIVINE INSPIRATION RESPECTING MORAL KNOWLEDGE AND MORAL ACCOUNTABILITY
That a man is guilty only to the extent that he knew better because of his conscience; that accountability is measured by the knowledge of a mans conscience; and increased knowledge equals increased accountability, can be clearly derived from the following passages:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the might works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, then for you. Matthew 11:21-22
And that servant, which knew his Lords will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did not commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required Luke 12:47-48
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
Jesus said unto them, if ye were blind, ye would have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remains. John 9:41
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. John 15:22
Where no law is, there is no transgression. Romans 4:15
Sin is not imputed when there is no law. Romans 5:13
To him who knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17
Some sinners have a greater sin John 19:11
Hypocrites (who all know better) will have a greater damnation: Matt 23:14, Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47
Teachers (who by necessity know more) are accountable to a stricter judgment: James 3:1
See also: Matt 10:15, Matt 11:24, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:12, Luke 10:14, Romans 1:18-20, Heb 10:26, 2Peter 2:21
It is abundantly seen that all men are judged and accountable to the knowledge that they have; those with little knowledge are accountable to that little knowledge, no more and no less; those with greater knowledge are accountable to that greater knowledge, no more and no less; personal moral responsibility and personal moral accountability never exceeds the limits of personal moral knowledge.