Articles substantiating that Pope Shenouda's belief that the unbaptized are damned is not a personal belief of his but one which is taught by the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Extracted from http://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/soterlecture2.pdf
Holy Scripture also testifies that there is no salvation except through our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. In other words, unbelievers (non-Christians) will not be saved (will go to hell):
· “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Jn 3:18)
· “He who does not believe will be condemne d.” (Mk 16:16)
· “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see
life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn 3:36)
· “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24)
· “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 5:1)
· “Without (Christian) faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Heb 11:6)
· “He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1Jn 5:12)
· “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by
which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when
he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint his portion with the unbelievers.” (Lk 12:46)
· “The cowardly, unbelieving, … shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and
brimstone.” (Rev 21:8.)
Truth can be disturbing at times, therefore, truth as recorded in Holy Scripture and not
what makes us comfortable should be our quest. Some truths are disturbing like eternal, conscious
torment in fire and brimstone (Rev 20:10), but it is still true. Another disturbing truth is the fact that
only a few will escape that fire!
Q.2 St. Paul said, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained
in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves” (Rom 2:14).Does this mean that non-believers would be saved?
A. No. Let us consider the words of St. Paul:
“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in
the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the
doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things
contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of
the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their
thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus
Christ, according to my gospel” (Rom 2:12-16).
The misinterpretation of these verses leads people to false views concerning the scope of
salvation. These verses do not speak of the salvation of the Gentiles if they live by their natural law; on
the contrary, they speak about their condemnation; “For as many as have sinned without the law will
also perish without law”. A Gentile - who is without a written law – will perish without the law.
Therefore, a Jew will be condemned according to the written law, and the Gentile will be condemned
according to the natural unwritten law. These verses are not about salvation; they are about judgment
and condemnation. St. Paul never said that a Jew would be saved by the law or a Gentile without law.
St. Paul’s argument in this chapter is that there is no salvation through the written law or the unwritten
one. Therefore he said in the next chapter, “We have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they
are all under sin” (Rom 3:9). (Adapted from, ‘Dogmatic Theology’ Part VI. By Dr. Morris Tawadros).