Our church has just finished our preaching series on 1 Thessalonians. We have Q&A in the service to allow the congregation to send SMS questions to the preacher to attempt to answer after the sermon. When I preached on 1 Thess. 4:13-5:11 on the return of Jesus, one question that came up was this:
In relation to the dead rising up, what about non-Christians who never heard the gospel?
Now, in the passage, Paul is trying to give comfort to the Thessalonians by assuring them that those who have died will not miss out when Jesus returns. Those who have passed away will be raised again to be with Jesus together with those who are still alive. Therefore, they must not grieve as if they have no hope. So, Paul is not dealing with the conditions or destiny of nonChristians. However, the question about those who never heard the gospel comes up rather often, both in the service and in personal conversations. So, I thought I will write some of my thoughts on this issue.