The work of the missionary remains urgent, for at least these reasons —
- Those who never hear the gospel cannot be saved and so cannot live eternally with God. Imagine someone who never heard of God seeing a drowning man. If this someone is a good someone, and if he can, he’ll rescue the man. After all, common decency tells us that life is much better than death and that we owe it to our fellow man to rescue him from death — especially from a death that could be painful. Who would turn away from a dying man he could save? We don’t have to believe in perpetual conscious torment to be motivated to save the lost from death.
- Bringing salvation to the lost pleases God. If we love God, surely we will want to do what pleases him!
- When people are added to God’s Kingdom, there are more soldiers in God’s army. Not only does this give the Kingdom the ability to grow geometrically, it gives Jesus more hands and feet to care for those in need and to lift up the oppressed. You see, bringing the lost into the Kingdom helps realize the Lord’s Prayer —that God’s will be done on earth as it in heaven.
I’m sure there are more reasons, but these should be enough to make us understand the urgency of mission work.
On the other hand, if God were to save some based on available light, the problem we’ve been wrestling with wouldn’t really be solved. After all, if a missionary were to preach the gospel in a village that’s never heard of Jesus, there may be people there who would have been saved under the doctrine of available light but are lost because they aren’t persuaded by the missionary. Indeed, an ineffective missionary might manage to damn souls by the thousands.
I greatly sympathize with the motivations behind this doctrine, but I think, in the end, conditionalism is a better, more scriptural solution.