Are all Infants Elect? (Split from End Times Thread)

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cpomann

Puritan Board Freshman
On such thoughts, as the fate of children or the unborn, I can have a clear and reasoned opinion. However, without scriptural backing, that is all I have is an opinion. I have been content in my Christian faith to trust that God has a answer for anything and everything I may encounter. And that I will be more than satisfied with his answer upon it's revelation. The fate of any individual is controlled by our Sovereign Lord. He does as he wills among the armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. With this I am content.

I dare not dictate to him what he must do to be worthy of my obedience.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
How do they fall short? WCF 10:3 seems to be pretty clear to me. They cite these Scriptures:

I have already answered this. One more time.

It falls short, and rightfully so, as I have said 3 times already. As such, it falls short because it is not answering the controversy that surrounds the subject. As such, it is left to private judgment and the judgment of the local churches.

And if my local church held the view the infants will be thrust into the fires of hell, I would leave that congregation regarding them as lacking a grounded understanding in the character of God, or else an over-emphasis (hyper) on the doctrines of grace.

How does it fall short? Why would a just God be right in condemning an adult and not an infant who both are guilty of Adam's sin and transgressions of God's Law?

I have answered this as best as I can. Neither the WCF or my own confession answer the subject fully. It answers sufficiently, but leaves room for interpretation and private judgment on the matter.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
If you read Spurgeon's sermon on the subject matter, it reflects my own view that all infants who perish in infancy are elect.

As another poster here said, the Scripture does not infallibly declare the matter one way or another. I find it to be an example of the depraved human nature then to conclude that our Merciful and Gracious God would rip a baby from a mother's womb and cast it into the fires of hell.

Others may find it an example of that same nature for a just and righteous God to allow a sinful creature to live. I think you're pitting one(or in this case, two) of God's attributes against the others.



Would you say that punishment of adults in hellfire is inconsistent with the merciful character of God?



Good question. But I don't know that anyone here is necessarily asserting that some infants will be damned, only that it's possible.

And aside from the argument presented by Spurgeon, my own spirit does not resonate with the judgment of some Reformed brethren today. And I too have the Holy Spirit.

So do the Pentecostals. :lol:


I agree that many Pentecostals have the Holy Spirit.

My statement here, which you have for some reason felt the need to mock?, is a statement of my private judgment.

Protestants still believe in private judgment, do they not?

I apologize, the "lol" smiley was intended to indicate an attempt to lighten the oppressive emotion that seemed to be overtaking the thread. It wasn't intended as a personal attack or even a critique of your beliefs.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
What ignorance would they be displaying? God would be just and right to condemn any an all of the seed of Adam to everlasting perdition. Since Scripture doesn't say one way or the other that any particular individual or class of individual deserves grace any more than the other (and that is EXACTLY what it would be if God has mercy on the soul of an infant who dies) why would you presume to know better than Scripture? The Westminster Confession is EXACTLY right to leave the question unanswered and to state only what Scripture implies - that all elect will be saved, and that therefore elect infants are saved.

Ignorance as to the character of God.

Please read the Spurgeon sermon.

One could just as easily charge you with ignorance of the character of God, for he is a just God just as much as he is a Merciful God.

I've read the Spurgeon sermon, by the way. I just don't agree with his conclusions.

Charge away. I see more modern reformed people content with untold millons of screaming babies suffering in an eternal torment than I have seen in the Reformers of old.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I have already answered this. One more time.

It falls short, and rightfully so, as I have said 3 times already. As such, it falls short because it is not answering the controversy that surrounds the subject. As such, it is left to private judgment and the judgment of the local churches.

And if my local church held the view the infants will be thrust into the fires of hell, I would leave that congregation regarding them as lacking a grounded understanding in the character of God, or else an over-emphasis (hyper) on the doctrines of grace.

How does it fall short? Why would a just God be right in condemning an adult and not an infant who both are guilty of Adam's sin and transgressions of God's Law?

I have answered this as best as I can. Neither the WCF or my own confession answer the subject fully. It answers sufficiently, but leaves room for interpretation and private judgment on the matter.

The WCF answers it fully and succinctly. Also look at WSC Questions #82-88.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Geoff,

If I may interject here -- What is concerning people is not the assertion of the possibility of all infants going to paradise; but the assertion of its certainty, which should be admitted goes beyond scripture. No one is asserting certainly that children are damned; we are asserting that God would be perfectly just to do so.

We must leave the hidden things to the Lord, which Spurgeon has not done. The Canons of Dort speak well to the issue, when they (remaining within the bounds of scripture) testify that no believing parents should be distressed or in doubt at the death of their infants, but should have hope. This, however, is within the bounds of God's covenant, and says nothing of all infants indiscriminately.

I read the Spurgeon sermon, and I find it horribly inconsistent. His First section (I) was good, wherein he proclaimed the imputed guilt of all humanity, including infants, and thus God's just right to damn all. However, his second section (II), it seems he completely abandoned this and appealed to a human sentimentality in God (How could God not elect such a sweet thing as this?). This is contrary to what he established rightly in the first section.

Could you perhaps expound your agreement with Spurgeon more? I would be interested in seeing where you think his argument is strongest. Thanks.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Others may find it an example of that same nature for a just and righteous God to allow a sinful creature to live. I think you're pitting one(or in this case, two) of God's attributes against the others.



Would you say that punishment of adults in hellfire is inconsistent with the merciful character of God?



Good question. But I don't know that anyone here is necessarily asserting that some infants will be damned, only that it's possible.



So do the Pentecostals. :lol:


I agree that many Pentecostals have the Holy Spirit.

My statement here, which you have for some reason felt the need to mock?, is a statement of my private judgment.

Protestants still believe in private judgment, do they not?

I apologize, the "lol" smiley was intended to indicate an attempt to lighten the oppressive emotion that seemed to be overtaking the thread. It wasn't intended as a personal attack or even a critique of your beliefs.

That's why I questioned. I assumed the best.

It is interesting to me that when a confession is questioned or critqued, it is met with such emotion.

And to my replies, I merely stated where I stood. And have provided evidence and Scriptural support for my view.

I think our confessions can and should be questioned and always held under the authority of Scripture itself.

But I have never said the confession, either the WCF, or the LBCF, is wrong on this point. Only that it does not go far enough to settle the issue we are discussing here. In other words, it allows for people to conlude, in their private judgment, both ways.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
So the infant is guilty of original sin, and as one who subscribes to the Westminster Standards, I too agree with that.

So why would it be wrong for God to send an infant to Hell? He has mercy on whom he will have mercy - and there it must rest. We cannot require of God more than he promises of himself.

And by the revelation of God's character in Scripture, I find it inconcievabel that He would.

I find it just as inconceivable that any who bear the sin of Adam
are saved at all. Yet God has done so. There are many things our
finite minds cannot compute or reconcile - and I do not wish to be
guilty of reconciling things in a way that Scripture does not. I believe
this is exactly what you are doing. By claiming that Scripture reveals
God's character to be "love" or "mercy" you are claiming that those
attributes take precedence over "justice" "hoiness" and "wrath" all
of which Scripture ALSO proclaims are the character of God. God is
not mere "love".

Do I, because I believe some infants are possibly not elect make
God out to be a monster? No. I am only honoring His holiness and
the fact that he has infinite wrath against sin. I believe he could
have very well elected every infant ever conceived - but I refuse
to assert that he did because that is not revealed to us in Scripture,
nor is it required for him to be the merciful God of love that he has
revealed himself in Scripture to be.

Consider Spurgeon:

I have. I disagree with his conclusions - he goes beyond
what Scripture teaches and I believe speaks too plainly
and asserts too much about that which Scripture does not
tell us. He has emphasized one attribute of God over another
as though one takes priority, which Scripture does not tell us.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Ignorance as to the character of God.

Please read the Spurgeon sermon.

One could just as easily charge you with ignorance of the character of God, for he is a just God just as much as he is a Merciful God.

I've read the Spurgeon sermon, by the way. I just don't agree with his conclusions.

Charge away. I see more modern reformed people content with untold millons of screaming babies suffering in an eternal torment than I have seen in the Reformers of old.

Lorrainne Boettner has an excellent discussion on this in his book on Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Ignorance as to the character of God.

Please read the Spurgeon sermon.

One could just as easily charge you with ignorance of the character of God, for he is a just God just as much as he is a Merciful God.

I've read the Spurgeon sermon, by the way. I just don't agree with his conclusions.

Charge away. I see more modern reformed people content with untold millons of screaming babies suffering in an eternal torment than I have seen in the Reformers of old.

I never said I was content. The grievous nature of sin is something we all should, indeed must, lament. The fact that Adam cast the whole of his future seed into the guilt of sin is a grievous thing worthy of great cries of anguish.

What I am is content to let God be God and not dictate to Him what He is based on my own emotional desire that all infants be saved. Scripture doesn't argue this anywhere, but puts forth to us that God is both Just and Merciful, and that He is who He is, and not who we'd like to package Him up to be in order to satisfy our desires.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Geoff,

If I may interject here -- What is concerning people is not the assertion of the possibility of all infants going to paradise; but the assertion of its certainty, which should be admitted goes beyond scripture. We are not asserting certainly that children are damned; we are asserting that God would be perfectly just to do so.

We must leave the hidden things to the Lord, which Spurgeon has not done. The Canons of Dort speak well to the issue, when they (remaining within the bounds of scripture) testify that no believing parents should be distressed or in doubt at the death of their infants, but should have hope. This, however, is within the bounds of God's covenant, and says nothing of all infants indiscriminately.

I read the Spurgeon sermon, and I find it horribly inconsistent. His First section (I) was good, wherein he proclaimed the imputed guilt of all humanity, including infants, and thus God's just right to damn all. However, his second section (II), it seems he completely abandoned this and appealed to a human sentimentality in God (How could God not elect such a sweet thing as this?). This is contrary to what he established rightly in the first section.

Could you perhaps expound your agreement with Spurgeon more? I would be interested in seeing where you think his argument is strongest. Thanks.


Sure.

First, it is not Spurgeon's words to say "How could not not elect such a sweet thing as this?" That is your words, and does not run the argument Spurgeon made.

He preached,

If we had a God, whose name was Moloch, if God were an arbitrary tyrant, without benevolence or grace, we could suppose some infants being cast into hell; but our God, who heareth the young ravens when they cry, certainly will find no delight in the shrieks and cries of infants cast away from his presence.


He is making reference here to Psalm 147:9 "He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry."

It is a direct appeal to the merciful nature of God revealed in Scripture who shows tenderness and compassion to a bird. How much more to an infant?

We read of him that he is so tender, that he careth for oxen, that he would not have the mouth of the ox muzzled, that treadeth out the corn. Nay, he careth for the bird upon the nest, and would not have the mother bird killed while sitting upon its nest with its little ones.

Again, turning to the Word of God, he appeals to what is revealed concerning the nature of God and of His special interest and concern for the weak and helpless.

You remember when Jonah—petulant, quick-tempered Jonah—would have Nineveh perish God gave it as the reason why Nineveh should not be destroyed, that there were in it more than six score thousand infants,—persons, he said, who knew not their light hand tram their left. If he spared Nineveh that their mortal life might be spared, think you that their immortal souls shall be needlessly cast away! I only put it to your own reason. It is not a case where we need much argument. Would your God cast away an infant? If yours could, I am happy to say he is not the God that I adore.

Again,

Again, we think it would be inconsistent utterly with the known character of our Lord Jesus Christ. When his disciples put away the little children whom their anxious mothers brought to him, Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven,"

Was Jesus speaking of only those children brought to Him because He knew those were elect? Or does this statement reflect something less salvific and more of a loving nature that God has toward children?


I could not believe it of Jesus, that he would say to little children, "Depart, ye accursed, into everlasting fire in hell!" I cannot conceive it possible of him as the loving and tender one, that when he shall sit to judge all nations, he should put the little ones on the left hand, and should banish them for ever from his presence. Could he address them, and say to them, "I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink, sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not?

I agree with Spurgeon. The Scripture indeed does not say God will not condemn an infant...but that is the argument of a tricky lawyer in my opinion. What I HAVE seen of my Savior teaches me He so greatly adores, loves, and delights in children.

And so he concludes:

I have not made a distinction between the children of godly and ungodly parents. If they die in infancy, I do not mind who is father nor who their mother, they are saved; I do not even endorse the theory of a good Presbyterian minister who supposes that the children of godly parents will have a better place in heaven than those who happen to be sprung from ungodly ones. I do not believe in any such thing. I am not certain that there are any degrees in heaven at an; and even if there were, I am not clear that even that would prove our children to have any higher rights than others. All of them without exception, from whosoever loins they may have sprung, will, we believe, not by baptism, not by their parents' faith, but simply as we are all saved through the election of God, through the precious blood "Christ, through the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, attain to glory and Immortality, and wear the image of the heavenly as they have worn the image of the earthy.

To this sermon I say, Amen.

-----Added 4/14/2009 at 11:05:06 EST-----

One could just as easily charge you with ignorance of the character of God, for he is a just God just as much as he is a Merciful God.

I've read the Spurgeon sermon, by the way. I just don't agree with his conclusions.

Charge away. I see more modern reformed people content with untold millons of screaming babies suffering in an eternal torment than I have seen in the Reformers of old.

I never said I was content. The grievous nature of sin is something we all should, indeed must, lament. The fact that Adam cast the whole of his future seed into the guilt of sin is a grievous thing worthy of great cries of anguish.

What I am is content to let God be God and not dictate to Him what He is based on my own emotional desire that all infants be saved. Scripture doesn't argue this anywhere, but puts forth to us that God is both Just and Merciful, and that He is who He is, and not who we'd like to package Him up to be in order to satisfy our desires.


But your reply here, in all due respect brother, is erroneous and unjust to me. And carrying a few strawmen with it.

1. I have never decided to dictate to God. Your argument runs the gament that if one doesn't hold a view like your own, then they are dictating to God. This is a strawmen, or else some other faulty argumentations. lol perhpas non-sequitor.

2. You assume that the only reason someone concludeds other than you, it based on pure emotion. This is false, and I have given my Scripture reasons why I conclude otherwise. You also suppose, I assume since your replying to me, that I am after my own desires. How could you bring such an accusation against me?

The bottom line for me, is that everythign I presently know about God the Father, through Jesus Christ, and by His Holy Spirit screams and shouts against a notion that He would cast an infant in the fires of hell to glorify His justice. Those creatures, ruined by the sin of Adam as we, seem to me the most glorious objects of His mercy and grace.

This is my private judgment on the matter.

-----Added 4/14/2009 at 11:06:11 EST-----

Wow, Geoff, do you really think that emotional appeals change the truth of Scripture? Really? You're barking up the wrong tree here when you assert that you know more than what the Scriptures actually teach. :um:

Using phrases like "ripping from the womb," etc. certainly does nothing but show that you're grasping at straws to biblically substantiate your point. If David is willing to say, "In sin did my mother conceive me," who are you to intimate that the Lord's Character would be somehow flawed if He saw to it that such an unborn baby be fitted to destruction?

Let's not appeal to silly futile emotions; instead, if you want to put some teeth into what you say, show us from Scripture that all unborn infants without exception are in fact numbered of the elect. Oh, wait . . . that's not something we finite men know, nor is it told us in Scripture. I suppose, then, it's better to remain silent asserting such a thing.


Actually Joshua, it wasn't my words as "ripping from the womb" I was responding to another poster.

And btw the Joshua, God created emotions as well as intellect.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
As a quick side-note (I have to get back to work), I'm not sure Spurgeon's claim about Gill is quite as accurate as he suggests. Here is Gill in BDD 3.13, which appears to be the source of his citation:

Some have fancied that all such infants are lost; which seems to have something in it shocking, especially to parents. And others think they are all saved, through the electing grace of God, the redeeming blood of Christ, and the regeneration of the blessed Spirit; to which I am much rather inclined, than to the former: but think it best to leave it among the secret things that belong to God; who, we may be assured, cannot do an unjust thing, nor do any injury to any of his creatures: and who, as he is just in his nature, he is merciful in Christ.

He says he is certainly more inclined to the idea that all infants would be saved, rather than all without exception being damned. I'm more inclined to that idea, too, than to the former! But Gill rightly avoids saying he holds to that.

Edit
I see you responded to my last post. Thanks, I'll read it over after work.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
One could just as easily charge you with ignorance of the character of God, for he is a just God just as much as he is a Merciful God.

I've read the Spurgeon sermon, by the way. I just don't agree with his conclusions.

Charge away. I see more modern reformed people content with untold millons of screaming babies suffering in an eternal torment than I have seen in the Reformers of old.

Lorrainne Boettner has an excellent discussion on this in his book on Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.

If, "Most Calvinistic theologians have held that those who die in infancy are saved. "

Why do most PB members and modern Calvinists have a different view?

I am not looking for answer. I have my own conclusion.

Also, it seems Boettner would conclude as Spurgeon:

The Westminster Confession does not pass judgment on the children of heathens who die before coming to years of accountability. Where the Scriptures are silent, the Confession, too, preserves silence. Our outstanding theologians, however, mindful of the fact that God's "tender mercies are over all His works," and depending on His mercy widened as broadly as possible, have entertained a charitable hope that since these infants have never committed any actual sin themselves, their inherited sin would be pardoned and they would be saved on wholly evangelical principles.

WOW

It has often been charged that the Westminster Confession in stating that "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ" (Chap. X. Sec. 3), implies that there are non-elect infants, who, dying in infancy, are lost, and that the Presbyterian Church has taught that some dying in infancy are lost. Concerning this Dr. Craig says: "The history of the phrase 'Elect infants dying in infancy' makes clear that the contrast implied was not between 'elect infants dying in infancy' and 'non-elect infants dying in infancy,' but rather between 'elect infants dying in infancy' and 'elect infants living to grow up.' " However, in order to guard against misunderstanding, furthered by unfriendly controversialists, the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. adopted in 1903 a Declaratory Statement which reads as follows: "With reference to Chapter X, Section 3, of the Confession of Faith, that it is not to be regarded as teaching that any who die in infancy are lost. We believe that all dying in infancy are included in the election of grace, and are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when and where and how He pleases."


Why are Presbyterians moving against their own historical judgments on the matter?

Again,
No doubt there have been individual Presbyterians who held that some of those who die in infancy have been lost; but such was never the official teaching of the Presbyterian Church and as matters now stand such a position is contradicted by the Church's creed."74

Thanks for a strong chapter from a book I own that shoudl be respected everywhere giving some historical context and outlook.
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
Geoff,

If your dogmatic position (all infants are elect that die in infancy) is true, then abortion is actually a blessing to millions of babies that might grow up in reprobate, godless homes. In fact, there would be two ways of salvation. Christ and dying in infancy.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Actually Joshua, it wasn't my words as "ripping from the womb" I was responding to another poster.
But you used said words, nonetheless, to try and substantiate a point.
And btw the Joshua, God created emotions as well as intellect.
Right. I'm not sure where I denied such a thing. Nonetheless, when you can't biblically prove a point, you certainly shouldn't make emotional appeals to try and make it. The same thing applies to Spurgeon and, in this case, he was wrong to make such bold assertions . . . especially from a pulpit.

Are you saying someone can't make a point using the words of the person they are responding to? huh?

And yes, I can absolutely making an emotional appeal. You may see an issue with that, or a weakness, but I do not. You can't just say the appeals were emotional only. They were not. They are built on Scripture, which has been provided.

-----Added 4/14/2009 at 11:18:16 EST-----

Geoff,

If your dogmatic position (all infants are elect that die in infancy) is true, then abortion is actually a blessing to millions of babies that might grow up in reprobate, godless homes. In fact, there would be two ways of salvation. Christ and dying in infancy.

Actually your incorrect in your conclusion. Did you read Spurgeon's sermon?

If so, how does his conclusion refute his belief?

Some ground the idea of the eternal blessedness of the infant upon its innocence. We do no such thing; we believe that the infant fell in the first Adam, "for in Adam all died." All Adam's posterity, whether infant or adult, were represented by him—he stood for them all, and when he fell, he fell for them all. There was no exception made at all in the covenant of works made with Adam as to infants dying; and inasmuch as they were included in Adam, though they have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, they have original guilt. They are "born in sin and steepen in iniquity; in sin do their mothers conceive them;" so saith David of himself, and (by inference) of the whole human race. If they be saved, we believe it is not because of any natural innocence. They enter heaven by the very same way that we do; they are receives in the name of Christ. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid," and I do not think nor dream that there is a different foundation for the infant than that which is laid for the adult.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Are you saying someone can't make a point using the words of the person they are responding to? huh?
No, I don't believe I intimated that you are incapable of making a point using the words of someone else. Not sure how you gathered that.
And yes, I can absolutely making an emotional appeal. You may see an issue with that, or a weakness, but I do not. You can't just say the appeals were emotional only. They were not. They are built on Scripture, which has been provided.
Never said you can't; said you shouldn't. As for the Scriptures provided, and the "exegesis" thereof, well, that's found wanting.

That is the only conclusion I could just draw, other than address that using the words of poster I was replying to makes sense. For you, it was only interpreted as some sort of "ploy" but I am not sure why.

As for the Scriptures and the exegesis thereof, you have nothing more to comment. The Scriptures do not directly answer the question and subject being discussed. If you are going to limit yourself to exegesis only, then I say you have nothing to comment to add to the discussion. It is something I have to infer from Scripture in order to make a private judgment, and my private judgment is consistent with most Calvinists throughout history.

And who is to say I shouldn't use emotion, Scripture, exegesis, et. I am less concerned actually of convincing someone who a Reformed of my view here...but more with clearing the calumny in the eyes of the unbeliever.

If an unbeliever heard that statement made in this thread about ripping a baby from a mothers womb to throw it into hell...There is not a heathen on earth that would not condemn such a notion.

So, such speaking and such conclusions, in my opinon, do not adorn the Gospel well. Nor are they necessary to conclude. I believe the Scriptural evidence is more than sufficient to lead to a better conclusion: It is well with the child.

So, Spurgeon's sermon is complete: It bears Scripture and is properly interpreted, it bears emotion/ethos and is probably utiltized, and it applies both well. In fact, I have seen many comforted by the sermon.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Geoff -

I am not going to rehash the whole of the conversation, and would ask your forgiveness for offending you as it seems apparent I have. I do not intend to question your character or to say that your appeals are "emotional only" or "driven by your desires". I didn't say those things directly but can see how you'd read my words in that way.

I'm sure we'll not agree on this question, but I do want to see what you have to say, in closing.

I am entertaining only the possibility that God might condemn some infants dying in infancy. You have said that Scripture tells you that God would never do such a thing, that it would be contrary to His character.

I have asked you why it is contrary to His character to do this, and you have not answered except to say "God is love."

I assume you would NOT say it is unjust of God to condemn such an individual as we are speaking about. Is it IMPOSSIBLE that God would in fact exercise justice in a single case? Would a single instance of an infant dying in infancy that God has not elected to salvation be evidence for you that God is not love? Is this the nature of your objection?
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Geoff -

I am not going to rehash the whole of the conversation, and would ask your forgiveness for offending you as it seems apparent I have. I do not intend to question your character or to say that your appeals are "emotional only" or "driven by your desires". I didn't say those things directly but can see how you'd read my words in that way.

I'm sure we'll not agree on this question, but I do want to see what you have to say, in closing.

I am entertaining only the possibility that God might condemn some infants dying in infancy. You have said that Scripture tells you that God would never do such a thing, that it would be contrary to His character.

I have asked you why it is contrary to His character to do this, and you have not answered except to say "God is love."

I assume you would NOT say it is unjust of God to condemn such an individual as we are speaking about. Is it IMPOSSIBLE that God would in fact exercise justice in a single case? Would a single instance of an infant dying in infancy that God has not elected to salvation be evidence for you that God is not love? Is this the nature of your objection?

I have actually given more then "God is love" if you read Spurgeon's sermon. I said from the beginning his argument and conclusions reflect my own. And he certainly said more than "God is love."

But even so, God is love, is an extraordinary statement and one that I would hope none on these boards would understate, and which I find impossible to overstate. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.

What I have concluded, Spurgeon, and most calvinists on the subject is this:

1. The Scripture does not answer directly one way or the other.
2. Infants can be elect.
3. Inferences can be drawn from the character of God in regards to His disposition toward children, clearly seen in Christ, to lead us to believe that all infants who die in infancy are elect.
 

Jimmy the Greek

Puritan Board Senior
I believe it was Jim Packer who commented on this issue by saying he is "hopefully agnostic." In other words, he doesn't think Scripture gives us a basis for a dogmatic conclusion, but nevertheless is hopeful that the destiny of those dying in infancy is eternal bliss.

I would ask another question, which may be kind of a tangent. If those dying in infancy are by definition elect, what about those dying at age two, or three, or four? It seems we must establish an "age of accountability" to be consistent with a dogmatic position that those who die in their "infancy" or "youth" are saved. Or else plead ignorance.

I admittedly plead ignorance on the question of those dying in infancy. One must assume an age of accountability or plead ignorance regarding three-year-olds. I do know one thing, however. God does all things well.

:think:
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Geoff,

Thanks for your reply. To prevent this post from taking up too much space, instead of quoting you, I'm just going to number the Spurgeon quotes you provided and trust you'll be able to catch to which ones I am referring.

I and II (The ravens, the cattle and the birds). These quotes, in fact, are one of the reasons I claimed Spurgeon was appealing to emotion: he has created pictures of helpless, peaceful, sweet, innocent creatures, and from these he has drawn a conclusion regarding humans, which he has just finished saying are, in fact, guilty of breaking God's law and are condemned. He can't have it both ways. The fact that God cares for his tender and innocent creation says nothing of necessity to how he deals with guilty creatures (however little strength they may have).

III. I don't think this Nineveh example holds much water, either. At the very least, it is certainly not an appropriate exegesis of passage and its purpose. I could bring forth far more examples of God pouring out his judgment upon cities, which specifically and verbally include the killing of their infants. Or, lest we forget that favorite Psalm of ours: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."

IV. I think Spurgeon has used the story of Jesus bringing the children unto himself wholly inappropriately. The point is simply that children are not to be refused; children have just as much a right to the covenant and the promises and the blessings of Christ as adults do. This surely should not be taken to mean that all children, indiscriminately, everywhere are surely owned by Christ. If it did, then we would apply this same logic to many other passages of a similar sort, and wind up with everyone being saved simply because they are Gentiles, or Jews, or Samaritans, etc.

V. Thus, the concluding quote does not follow of necessity. I appreciate his emphasis that salvation is all of grace (would that we all realized this as greatly as Spurgeon did!), but the manner in which he applies that with certainty to all infants simply does not follow. The evidence which he provides from scripture, I find to be no evidence at all. It merely shows that God is merciful, and will not prevent children from sharing in his inheritance.

Spurgeon was a wonderful preacher of the grace of God; unfortunately, this is not one of Spurgeon's finer moments.

I look forward to your response, if you have the time (or inclination).
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
To answer the question in the subject line:

I don't know. We don't know who is elect necessarily and we won't know until we die ourselves. It is possible that all infants are elect. It's also possible that none of them are elect. Even so a third option is possible, that some of them are elect.

We don't know though because we haven't been given that information so to speculate would be to do just that: speculate. I don't think we have a reason to assume necessarily one way or another.

God would be just in covering all dying infants with Christ's atoning sacrifice. God would equally be just in finding them sinners in rebellion against Him, just like the rest of us were.

Main point: We cannot know and we should not speculate or assume.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Geoff,

Thanks for your reply. To prevent this post from taking up too much space, instead of quoting you, I'm just going to number the Spurgeon quotes you provided and trust you'll be able to catch to which ones I am referring.

I and II (The ravens, the cattle and the birds). These quotes, in fact, are one of the reasons I claimed Spurgeon was appealing to emotion: he has created pictures of helpless, peaceful, sweet, innocent creatures, and from these he has drawn a conclusion regarding humans, which he has just finished saying are, in fact, guilty of breaking God's law and are condemned. He can't have it both ways. The fact that God cares for his tender and innocent creation says nothing of necessity to how he deals with guilty creatures (however little strength they may have).

III. I don't think this Nineveh example holds much water, either. At the very least, it is certainly not an appropriate exegesis of passage and its purpose. I could bring forth far more examples of God pouring out his judgment upon cities, which specifically and verbally include the killing of their infants. Or, lest we forget that favorite Psalm of ours: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."

IV. I think Spurgeon has used the story of Jesus bringing the children unto himself wholly inappropriately. The point is simply that children are not to be refused; children have just as much a right to the covenant and the promises and the blessings of Christ as adults do. This surely should not be taken to mean that all children, indiscriminately, everywhere are surely owned by Christ. If it did, then we would apply this same logic to many other passages of a similar sort, and wind up with everyone being saved simply because they are Gentiles, or Jews, or Samaritans, etc.

V. Thus, the concluding quote does not follow of necessity. I appreciate his emphasis that salvation is all of grace (would that we all realized this as greatly as Spurgeon did!), but the manner in which he applies that with certainty to all infants simply does not follow. The evidence which he provides from scripture, I find to be no evidence at all. It merely shows that God is merciful, and will not prevent children from sharing in his inheritance.

Spurgeon was a wonderful preacher of the grace of God; unfortunately, this is not one of Spurgeon's finer moments.

I look forward to your response, if you have the time (or inclination).

Here is the mistake:

To take Spurgeon's sermon as an exegesis on infant salvation. It is not, because it cannot be. Scripture does not overtly teach one way or the other. So, conclusions have to be drawn.

To say, "it is possible" infants can be damned is a conclusion. And not based on the exegesis of Scripture. To say, "all infants who die in salvation are saved" is a conclusion, and not based on exegesis.

The only real exegetical answer is all the elect are saved, whether adult or infant...like the confessions (WCF and LBCF) say. It's the only exegetical answer if that is what your trying to give.

But do the confessions give only exegesis? I don't think so. I think some of it is good and necessary inference. So, in this area they may fall short in being more clear. If not, why would the Assembly address the issue at a later date? They did beacuse the question came up. And most probably because unbelievers or Arminians were accusing Calvinism of teaching that God throws babies into hell. That seems to be the reason of Beoettners chapter in infants. to answer that calumny.

Concerning your points:

I & II. I don't think so. The focus isn't the creature, as you have made it, but rather the character of God seen in those Scriptures. I see, infallibly, that God cares for the cry of a raven as they cry for food, and are in need in their nests. I see that that God has pity toward them. How much more valuable is an infant to a raven?

III. Again, this sermon cannot be construed to be an exegetical look at infant salvation.

IV. Again, your thinking exegetically. It is taking the story and learning something of the dispostion of Christ toward children and infants.

V. And what the Scripture actually shows of the nature of Christ, God the Father, adn the Holy Spirit is enough to lead someone (spurgeon, most calvinists, and me) to conclude what we do.

-----Added 4/14/2009 at 12:19:15 EST-----

One addition. Consider Calvin's views on this subject as well.

"While, therefore, Calvin teaches that there are reprobate infants, and that these will be finally lost, he nowhere teaches that they will be lost as infants, and while they are infants; but, on the contrary, he declares that all the reprobate 'procure' their own destruction by personal acts of impiety, wickedness and rebellion. Consequently, his own reasoning compels him to hold (to be consistent with himself), that no reprobate child can die in infancy; but all such must live to the age of moral accountability, and translate original sin into actual sin."7575 Calvin Memorial Addresses, p. 112

Reformed Doctrine of Predestination | Christian Classics Ethereal Library
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
I think the conversation may be nearing the end of its usefulness, so I'll just throw out a few concluding remarks from my end.

The bottom line is that inferences must be based upon exegesis of scripture. The phrase is "good and necessary consequence." In this case, Spurgeon's exegesis of scripture which gives him the axioms upon which he infers his conclusion simply does not hold water.

I think Todd posed a most excellent question which has gone unanswered: if God were to leave just one in his/her sin, would this mean he ceases "to be love" because he has acted strictly in his justice? Do we not unanimously confess that God would be perfectly right to have left all mankind in their sin? If you grant this, then the whole proposition falls apart. We cannot take a vague notion of "the nature of God," and from this deduce certain actions which God must do in accordance with that nature, especially when they contradict other testimonies. We can only draw such conclusions based upon his actual promises: there is no promise of all infants indiscriminately being saved (or lost). All we can do is leave that to God, and not make up his mind for him. (We do, indeed, have promises within the covenant which can give us hope, but this says nothing of them that are without).

Finally, I am unsure that the "majority" of the reformed tradition holds that all infants everywhere have been and will be saved. I would need to see some pretty substantial evidence to back this claim.

With this, I bow out -- unless there is something else which you want to bring up.
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think the conversation may be nearing the end of its usefulness, so I'll just throw out a few concluding remarks from my end.

The bottom line is that inferences must be based upon exegesis of scripture. The phrase is "good and necessary consequence." In this case, Spurgeon's exegesis of scripture which gives him the axioms upon which he infers his conclusion simply does not hold water.

I think Todd posed a most excellent question which has gone unanswered: if God were to leave just one in his/her sin, would this mean he ceases "to be love" because he has acted strictly in his justice? Do we not unanimously confess that God would be perfectly right to have left all mankind in their sin? If you grant this, then the whole proposition falls apart. We cannot take a vague notion of "the nature of God," and from this deduce certain actions which God must do in accordance with that nature, especially when they contradict other testimonies. We can only draw such conclusions based upon his actual promises: there is no promise of all infants indiscriminately being saved (or lost). All we can do is leave that to God, and not make up his mind for him. (We do, indeed, have promises within the covenant which can give us hope, but this says nothing of them that are without).

Finally, I am unsure that the "majority" of the reformed tradition holds that all infants everywhere have been and will be saved. I would need to see some pretty substantial evidence to back this claim.

With this, I bow out -- unless there is something else which you want to bring up.

I was unsure of the majority opinion as well. I am taking at face value the scholarship of Boettner. "Most Calvinistic theologians have held that those who die in infancy are saved. "

Good convo.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
At what age can God send one to hell and be OK?

If the child is in the womb he goes to heaven? What if it is 2 months old and dies? What if it is one year old? Is it when they stop nursing and get teeth?
What if it is 5 years old? What if it is 12?

What would make the difference?
Whether the child had committed sin himself or not?

We do not deserve hell based on on our sin but Adam's. The infant is as much under the curse of the Law as anyone.

What about Gomorrah where no doubt young children and pregnant women were burnt up as a symbol of hell to come.

The promises some have posted in scripture are to BELIEVERS And their SEED.

This is no warrant for hope to non-believers.

Else what profit would there be for the JEW? This is the benefit. The hope for covenant children.

So apart from the covenant we do not even have a hope for those infants.

Why would God elect all in the womb but if they are born then it is OK for God to send them to hell?
Again what age is it OK for God to send them to hell?

And why does it seem more cruel to you for God to send a child in the womb but not one outside the womb?

All deserve hell. All would Go to hell if God did not have mercy on some.

I think you would do best to just believe the word, accept it, trust God with this and put it off your mind.

And if anything let it go motivate you to tell everyone you can, at especially pregnant moms to get to church and believe.

No one is attacking you. We are seeking to help you see how you are adding to scripture, not willing to accept God as He reveals Himself. And be content with the rest and the unknown.

I personally cannot see it fair of God to save all elect. I see this as the hope He has given to the covenant people only.

Now HE might, I don't see all perfectly, but it seems inconsistent to me with His word as I read it.

In fact we have no absolute assurance all infants of elect or church members are saved. We are not told and left with the covenant hope would tend to make me think not all are. Else He would say all are wouldn't He?

But He has left us in ignorance on this that we are to be content with a covenant promise and hope, and not have to know this answer for sure.

So you are not to be sure, which ever way you believe.

I love the visible covenant system of God.

But to say one knows who are elect, who are in the invisible covenant of Grace borders on if not actually would be sin.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
This question also entices as does the one, "what if they have never had a chance to hear the gospel?"

I believe the following passage is relevant to this question of infant election.

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
(Deu 29:29)

It has been noted that the scriptures are not as precise in answering this question. The Confessions do a good job in speaking succinctly as possible to the situation as much as possible.

Although many like to use King David's declaration that he shall go to his son, it is not totally declarative of every child. Nor does it truly state the child was elect. It is taken as inferred by many that the child was elect.

To base ones commitment to a church membership solely on this issue is truly short sighted. To declare that the confessions were short sighted in this area is also impugning that the divines were in great error for not expounding enough. The scripture doesn't give a whole lot of illumination on this issue. The divines were correct in their assessment to speak only as declarative as the scriptures do in this area.

Just my humble opinion.

Election does not guarantee an equal opportunity in the realm of salvation. God's character will be glorified in the condemnation of those who are not elect as well as it will be in the salvation of the Elect. I think we need to be a bit more careful in our judgment of God's Character lest we become like Job's friends who said some correct things but darkened God's counsel.
 

Dearly Bought

Puritan Board Junior
Geoff,
It seems to me that your position should lead you to be greatly disturbed by the conquest of Canaan:

"And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction every city, men, women, and children. We left no survivors."
(Deut. 2:34, ESV)
"But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded"
(Deut. 20:16-17, ESV)
 

Reformed Baptist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am also finished with this conversation. I will be talking to my elders on what their private judgment is on the matter. If this is the position of the Reformed churches mainly, I may need to get out of this movement.

-----Added 4/14/2009 at 01:11:40 EST-----

Geoff,
It seems to me that your position should lead you to be greatly disturbed by the conquest of Canaan:

"And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction every city, men, women, and children. We left no survivors."
(Deut. 2:34, ESV)
"But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded"
(Deut. 20:16-17, ESV)

I will let the board admins know if I remove myself out of confessional Reformed Christianity.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
No name calling. It will not be tolerated. We can have a discussion and disagree with each other charitably. Just a warning. Cool the emotional replies.
 

Jimmy the Greek

Puritan Board Senior
Just thought I would drop in this quote from B. B. Warfield attesting to prevalence of the view that those who die in infancy are saved:

Today few Calvinists can be found who do not hold . . . that all who die in infancy are the children of God and enter at once into His glory -- not because original sin alone is not deserving of eternal punishment, nor because they are less guilty than others, nor because they die in infancy, but simply because God in His infinite love has chosen them in Christ before the foundation of the world.
Studies in Theology, Banner of Truth, p. 438.
 
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