Credo-Baptism and Infant Death

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by Douglas P., Mar 18, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    How do Baptists deal with infant death?

    In other words, if a members child/infant at Reformed church were to die, a pastor could use the reasoning from the Canons of Dort 1:17 to show that the child was a member of the covenant community and that they ought not doubt the election and salvation of their child and find comfort in the promises of the Lord.

    Since Baptists do not see children/infants as part of the covenant community, how would a Baptist pastor go about explaining the fate of the infant to the parents?
     
  2. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Is there a reason the unbeliever should doubt? Why should anyone doubt? On what basis? Because infants are ordinarily nonelect????
     
  3. Kim G

    Kim G Puritan Board Junior

    I'm baptist. I'm also a covenantal believer, just not in exactly the same way as a paedo-baptist.

    Elect infants, dying in infancy, go to heaven. Baptised or not. None of us can say who the elect are, and, frankly, I find it presumptious to say that baptised children of believers are somehow more sure of heaven than those who are not baptised. The Bible certainly doesn't say any such thing. God is the judge of all the earth, and He will do what's right.
     
  4. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

    Well, I thought this was the credobaptist answers forum. So, with respect paedo brothers, pipe down!

    The paedobaptist may well be comforted by his theology in this matter, but that doesn't make it right theology, and it doesn't mean that there is less comfort drawn from a different understanding. I will readily admit that the understanding above is a nice neat little package and I will freely admit that I cannot compete with it.

    I do firmly believe that the children of believers who die in infancy are saved. Of course I can't prove this, but of course (and with love and respect) I contend that the paedo understanding of scripture is patently false and that neither can you.

    What I can do is point to the scriptures that time and again show the Lord's love for children, and encourage every believer to trust in Him absolutely. To pity the 'poor baptist' who because he does not have a neat package to place his trust in (note, not the scripture but rather man's interpretation of the same) is to patronise and misunderstand his unshakeable faith in the LORD that 'surely the judge of all the earth shall do right'. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, we must trust Him. I rather suspect that for the paedo with weak faith, all the canons in the world will not assure Him unless He is trusting in the LORD entirely.

    I find God's Word to be sufficient, and I rest upon the knowledge of who He is that the child I never knew is in His care. Can I prove it? No more than I can prove that God exists - but I know He does, and I love Him and trust Him entirely.

    And for the record, I firmly believe that the Lord saves every infant child who dies, and that He has saved every murdered (aborted) child also. No, I cannot prove it. But I can believe it, because I know something of the nature of the God we adore.
     
  5. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    Pastor Ken,

    Psalm 51 tells us that we are sinful from conception, and Romans 5 tells us that all have died in Adam. Therefore we must conclude that from conception all are in need of redemption. Going further we turn to Joshua 6:21 and see the eschatological judgment typified (c.f. Heb 2:1ff) when Joshua and his people "devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword." At the very least we must conclude that God's judgment does not necessarily exclude infants. Obviously the Holy Spirit is sovereign (John 3) and we should all say along with Abraham "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?". With that being said there is Scriptural reasons to "doubt" the election of infants.
     
  6. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    When I saw the post earlier I was surprised to a lack of a Baptist response to this question, seeing only a couple of paedos. It is good to see that some did eventually respond. I cannot speak for all Baptist, but I will leave you my response to the infant death question since I am taking a break from working on my car.
    We should start with the Second London 10.3:
    “Elect Infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit,”

    Therefore we do affirm when infants die that they will go to heaven.

    Many of us, and I am including myself here, do deny the category of covenant children (there is a sense that I am in agreement to that, but that explanation is for another time). We do not accept that the reason a child is saved or elect is due to the federal relationship of the parent as being a godly Christian (if anything the aspect of holiness would create more discouragement for the child’s salvation then encouragement in God’s grace); instead what the Baptist would be to move the position of infant salvation from the status of godly parents to the saving work of the Spirit to regenerate the infant’s soul to salvation. Of course then the question is why would God do this, and the answer is simple. It is due to God’s special love for such little one or children. Therefore moving the grief of the parent to look to the love of God for that child. It is not due to the child being sinless, for God has the right to send such a child, breaker of God’s law, to Hell. God in his grace gives the child life. The child is not holy because the parent is holy, that is a misapplication of 1 Cor. 7:14. A child is holy in the same sense as an unbelieving spouse is holy, they are set apart in a special way to hear and receive the gospel. Now if a child cannot understand the Gospel due to the lack of a connotative ability to repent and believe then God will provide such a child grace, but not on the basis of an age of accountability. Instead it is because of his love of children, reflected in Mark 10:16, where he took or received a young child into his arms and blessed the child, for they represent the makeup of the kingdom (see Luke 18:15-16). You see they are a type, a essential characteristic, and reality of a love that God is giving to that grieving parent, who is also a child of God and part of the kingdom. The communicated image is that deceased child is now in the arms of God, in a comfortable peace as one day as children we shall be as well as we are welcomed to our true home. For we will not enter the glorious kingdom if we do not become like that small child in humility. For God by Jesus’ blood not only will grant, as if it is a present future, but instead a present time, grants the infant child the righteousness of Christ as we too share in that reality; for like the child we could not do anything to earn that beloved salvation, but are instead needful dependence on the one to saves us. The taking of that infant is a picture of that sorrow of sin, but the joy of our salvation in faith and in grace so that we can turn to the Lord God that created us and as a response of our grief turn to faith in worship to God remembering the intimate promise of salvation and reunion, because of that intimate relationship we have with that child. Salvation is solely a work of the Spirit, and he blows were he likes, which is towards the elect of God, those whom Jesus Christ loved and died for in the Covenant of Grace. We may not see the Spirit in of himself, but like seeing leaves blowing in the wind, we se can see the Spirit. The taking of the child home reminds us of our original sin in Adam, but it is also a reminder of the power of the Holy Spirit unto salvation based solely on the love of God in the richness of his grace.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  7. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    Kim,

    My question is more about whether or not the children of believers are part of the covenant community and thus the promise belongs to them, and not so much about if a child will go to heaven if baptized or not. I do believe Baptists children go to heaven even though unbaptized. But I believe this because their children are covenant children. Maybe I should have been more clear in my question, i apologize.

    ---------- Post added at 06:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:30 PM ----------

    Jonathan and David,

    I would argue that God's love for children is love for his Covenant Children. I would also argue that the parents in Mark 10 and Luke 18 were believers already in the Kingdom of God, and that non-believers normally don't seek to receive the blessing of the Lord for their children.

    Also, i would point you to my response Ken.
     
  8. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    From your line of reasoning we should doubt the election of anyone! Yet, we are told that Abraham's seed will be more than the stars and the sand on the sea. I will side with Ursinus on this one.
     
  9. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Kim, you're a Baptist and subscribe to the WCF?
     
  10. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    As David pointed out the 1689 LBC states, "elect infants dying in infancy are regenerate and saved by Christ through the Spirit." The question to ask is, "who is an elect infant?" Can it be stated categorically that all infants are elect infants, or only infants born into believing households are elect? My dear brother Jonathan Hunt casts his understanding upon the nature of God. I'll put a twist on his statement. I cast my understanding upon the sovereign decree of God. I don't know the answer to the question of what happens to infants who die in infancy. I know what my heart and mind wants to believe. Jonathan rightly pointed out that paedobaptists have a nice little package they can turn to. But having a nice package doesn't make it right. Just as not every child born into an Old Covenant home was not a believer, so not every child born into a New Covenant home is guaranteed to be a believer. To believe otherwise is to presume upon God's grace. When my daughter was born I believed that God could save her. I prayed to that end. My prayers were answered; my daughter came to faith in Christ. But could I claim an iron-clad promise that she would eventually believe? No. So, in the end, a parent must cast their hope in God and believe in His faithfulness and mercy.
     
  11. Kim G

    Kim G Puritan Board Junior

    I believe that my profile states that I subscribe to the London confession (correct me if I'm wrong). My church, which at the time is non-denominational because it is a new church, subscribes to the WCF. However, half the people there are Baptists. We still all get along. :lol:
     
  12. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Kim, gotcha!
     
  13. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Note: I am asking a question here, not answering. I have some questions based on some of the responses.

    This is an earnest question. I've read from Jonathan and David that God has a "special love" for little children.

    Are infants conceived in Adam and subject to the wrath of God or no? Is "original sin" enough to condemn any person conceived to hell?

    I don't intend to be peevish but I detect in both of your responses a sort of "age of accountability" or "I just know God is love" that I hear from many that tends to tamp down the seriousness of imputed sin. I'm not trying to compete with "neat packages" but I would like to see if you can ground your assurance of all infants going to heaven in GNC.
     
  14. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    If you read my post then you would have found that I said:

    And then later:
    Therefore as one could see, I fully accept that children are conceived in Adam and that God has the right based on original sin to send any and all children to Hell, including infants, primarily because a child cannot love God with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength. They have broken the law of God, and this is shown by their selfish nature when they do not love towards their fellow infants or towards their parents, because their entire world is that of themselves. For not only would I say that the child based on God’s justice, could go to Hell, but even further that the child would go to hell for their own sins for going against Matt. 22: 37-9. If you did not see in my original post that God has the right to send his wrath upon infants and the right to send one based on original sin to hell then I would suggest reading my post more carefully.


    First of all let me tell you what I think of the neat package of the idea of covenant children. Children are not saved on the basis of their federal relationship with their parents, but instead only by the grace and Spirit of God. If children were saved based on the godliness of parents then we would see many more Christians in this world then we currently have. Besides if parents would be honest about themselves then they would realize that they are not Godly, therefore placing parents into a depression because of their own subjective religious state. And thus are not provided comfort.

    The case I presented is not an “I know God is love” bit, nor is it exactly an age of accountability as I mentioned in the text. It is based on the apparent care presented by Jesus towards children. The “God is love” bit would and does send one towards universalism, which I reject. The “age of accountability” assigns an age, typically 12, in which a child has a span of years in which a child does not need to confuse but still can be saved. I also reject this notion, and find it to be doctrine of Satan. Children need to hear from the time they are born in this world to their final breath. Therefore parents must teach them the gospel in such a way that their minds can understand the truths of God for sake of their child’s salvation. I believe that God gives grace to the infant because of the lack of fundamental cognitive understanding and development. I think of some of the miracles that Jesus performed towards children, like with the boy in Matt. 17:18, or the girl in Mark 5:14-2, the same Jesus that would heal because of the faith of a gentile centurion (Luke 7:6-10). Also Jesus does not say, “I say to you whoever does not receive the kingdom as a little covenant child of the Jewish and the reformed communities will by no mean enter it.” What he says is as a small child. Small children by their relationship with their parents freely accepts with trust what they are given by their parents. Jesus if he wanted to could have said only the children of Abraham, but he didn’t. And to point something else out in Mark 10:13, 16, we are not told of the religious condition of the parents. The unconverted can and do seek for good things, such as blessing, for their children. All we are told in Mark 10 is that Jesus was upset with his disciples for not allowing for the children to come to him so that he can bless them

    There is no verse that says all infants go to heaven, just as there is no verse that says that all children of the believers go to heaven if they die in infancy. God alone is judge and we must trust his judgment. All we can do is extrapolate a variety of verses to try to figure out the judgment and character of God in this area. I admit that my position may sound a bit romantic, but at least I am not alone in my thinking within the Reformed community. One such supporter of my position that I know of would be the Princeton theologian B.B. Warfield, see his interesting 1891 work called “on the development of infant salvation”, found here:
    The development of the doctrine of infant salvation

    Page 49 of the text includes a list of reformed people who held with a form of universal infant salvation. I do not remember if he addresses Rev. 7:9. By the way, others besides what you find on page 49, would include Shedd, G.L. Prentiss, H.B. Smith, and A. A. Hodge. Warfield and the lot are much brighter then I, therefore I suggest looking into their work on the subject.

    Hopefully I answered your questions.
     
  15. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    In general I believe there are 7 reasons why we should believe that infants dying in infancy are elect and go to heaven.

    1 - David appears to be comforted in the loss of his child not just resolved that it has happened.

    2 - God says those who receive, interpret and reject his self-revelation in creation are without excuse, does this is some way not suggest that there is an excuse in some sense for those who never have opportunity to consciously receive, interpret and reject God's revelation?

    Romans 1:20 “20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,”

    3 - judgment and condemnation is always described on the basis of the deeds done in the body whether good or evil not on the basis of the imputed guilt of Adam

    This is not to suggest that imputed guilt is not important, (indeed I believe God must sovereignly act to overcome this guilt (as he does in all the elect)). Nevertheless these texts are representative.

    2 Corinthians 5:10 “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

    1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 “9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Revelation 20:11, 12 “11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”

    cf. also

    Romans 9:10-13 “10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.””

    James 4:17 “17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

    The next one is a bit philosophical but I'll include it anyway.

    4 - The purpose of eternal punishment is that sinners will be consciously punished for their sins. An infant would not have been conscious of sinning in this life, could he therefore be conscious of the justice of God's punishment in the next life?

    5 - It is perfectly possible for GOd to regenerate infants in the womb and thereafter by a sovereign act of grace, thereby recreating them apart from Adam's guilt.

    6 -God represents the number of the redeemed as immense, innumerable, as the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore.....where are they all? Where have they all been? My belief is that those countless billions will be made up of those who were clearly Christians, and those infants and mentally incapable people throughout all ages.

    7 - God is amazingly, bountifully gracious It must be stated, and stated without doubt that whatever level of GRACE we can expect of GOD, a more accurate estimate would be to double it, treble it, muliply by a thousand.

    Psalms 86:15 “15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”


    Deuteronomy 29:29 “29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

    I believe based on the things God has revealed about himself, his ways, his judgment, his power, his mercy and his grace, that we can and should express an opinion on this subject, and my opinion is that of Loraine Boettner

    "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."

    And Warfield,

    "Their destiny is determined irrespective of their choice, by an unconditional decree of God, suspended for its execution on no act of their own; and their salvation is wrought by an unconditional application of the grace of Christ to their souls, through the immediate and irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit prior to and apart from any action of their own proper wills . . . And if death in infancy does depend on God's providence, it is assuredly God in His providence who selects this vast multitude to be made participants of His unconditional salvation . . . This is but to say that they are unconditionally predestinated to salvation from the foundation of the world."

    And Calvin,

    "I everywhere teach that no one can be justly condemned and perish except on account of actual sin;"
     
  16. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    David,

    I'm honestly confused. I'm trying to get a solid understanding of your position not as a negative case of what you don't believe in a Reformed paedo position but the positive case for your own. Rather than negating a "covenant child" position, I still don't see a GNC case for the salvation of children dying in infancy on the basis of your understanding.

    On the one hand, you acknowledge that the wrath of God abides upon them federally (by this I meant in Adam). I'm trying to determine upon what basis that God sees them as federally in Christ (Romans 5) in your presentation. If it is on the basis of Christ calling children to himself (as you say irrespective of their status in a visible Covenant) then it seems you are saying to me that God has special grace toward all children.

    Are you saying that all children are born in Adam but, if they die young, God has federally united them to Christ by some special grace? If this is the case, at what age does a person stop being a child such that, in your understanding, they are no longer subjects of this special grace?
     
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I'm confused. How "important" is imputed guilt? When you say that God has to "overcome this guilt" are you saying that Christ has atoned for the imputed sin of Adam for those who die in infancy? If so, why note that judgment and condemnation does not abide on those who have not committed actual sins that they are cognitively aware of?

    The London Baptist Confession states:

    Am I reading you correctly to state that you believe a person is subject to eternal misery only on the basis of actual sin in contra-distinction to the LBCF?
     
  18. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Our understanding of the eternal destiny of infants who die in infancy has to be rooted in what scripture clearly teaches. There can be no confusion about Romans 3:23; 6:23 and Ezekiel 18:20. GNC does not prove conclusively that all infants who die in infancy go to heaven.

    If we believe there are elect infants then do we truly believe an infant can be saved without being justified by faith? We know that no person can be justified by the faith of another. That is why a child born into a Christian home cannot ride into heaven on the faith of his parents. How does God bring that faith to pass in an infant who may not be able to understand the gospel? Obviously it would be a supernatural act; part of the Spirit's work.

    The problem I have in all of this is the sentimentality that seems to supercede sound theology and proper exegesis. Do we know the mind of God? Can we speak for Him?
     
  19. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    I do not hold to an age of accountability. God alone is the judge and he will determine if a child has the ability to understand the gospel or their own actual sin, whether the child is 2 or 3 or 7. For regardless of original and actual sin, all are accountable for their sin. The point is not the actual age of the child, but instead the cognitive ability to understand that Christ died for them; a reality that newly born infants do not have the ability to understand on the basis of them not understanding even basic language at the moment that they are born; that in which takes time to learn. Therefore I cannot assign a particular age in which a child must be able to understand the gospel and place their trust in Christ. I think since children cannot understand or partake of the means of grace, they still receive a grace from God as a type to communicate God’s beloved grace towards us in the church as his spiritual children.

    As Bill pointed out, one cannot be saved by the faith of another, but only in Christ. If a child dies in infancy then that automatically means that child is damned because of Adam’s sin. Now the question emerges is if young children, including infants are in a special category because they can not exercise faith like you and I. The problem is that scripture does not clearly answer that question, which even includes for the case of those holding to the position of the death of covenant children. All we can do is speculate in the mystery of God and pray.

    Now, I think because of the infant’s inability to exercise faith and the desire of God for them to live, God sets them apart for salvation. The giving of children to the fire is against the nature and law of God, and such activity by the nations (including of Israel) provoked God to wrath (see and compare Gen 15:16 with Deut. 18:10, Lev. 18:21, 2 Kings 16:3,17:17, Ezekiel 16:21, and Jeremiah 19:5). Therefore God desires for their protection for such children, but not due to their innocence. If one sees the passing of the fire (being a type of strange fire) as a form of hell, and not just as a form of idolatrous worship, then what is taking place is the sending of children/infants to Hell. An activity that only God has the right to perform and if he wanted to send children there he would send them there himself. If God not pleased with the sending of children into the fire on account of his law, could it also be said that he desires not for infants to go through the fires of Hell? I think the answer as a spiritual parallel to his to this answer is yes. Also infant death may also explain part of the great multitude of people from every tribe and nation from Rev. 7:9.

    Rich, I cannot tell you when such a special grace would end, which is why it is so extremely important to teach children the gospel while they still live, for if such does not take place then one is playing with fire.

    Does that answer all your questions?
     
  20. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Unfortunately, no. How would the ban on Jericho fit into your spiritual parallel?

    I also don't understand how you understand the "exercise of faith" and how that places infants in a state of moral inability different than an adult. I know you keep trying to avoid an age of accountability but when you say: "...they cannot exercise faith like you and I..." am I wrong in assuming you're thinking of some sort of cognitive maturity level below which God shows special favor?
     
  21. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am going to answer the last two questions first and then the first question last.

    In regards to excising faith, all men everywhere is called to repentance as can clearly be seen in Acts 17:30. Now I said that infants cannot exercise the faith like you or I. What do I mean? I mean that they are not born with the ability to project words and pray. They do not understand what sin is, and what death is. What they know is the basics of life, like if he or she is hot or cold, hungry or not, pain or not in pain. They cannot sing Psalm 1 during a worship service or “Jesus loves me.” They cannot partake of the Lord’s Supper, even though you and I can because we can examine ourselves based on 1 Cor. 11:28. Therefore they cannot practice in the faith like you or I. The learning of how to repent takes time, as with their ability to understand words, and through the understanding of words then eventually the gospel. They are not born with the understanding of Matt. 22, that takes times, even though by not practicing it they are in sin, and God requires payment for that sin. Men over time are shown their sin through the moral law, and in some sense they can understand the moral law even though they choose to repress it, just like with them wanting to repress knowledge of God. Infants are not trying to repress knowledge of God, the idea of God has not been developed in their minds so that they can express a feeling of love, recognition, and devotion to him. Now if infants are also called to repentance, how can they repent at birth if they do not even understand nor can you explain to them at birth so that can understand what repentance is? With an adult they can understand the concept of repentance, even though they choose not to. Therefore the state of a child’s understanding is different their mine, yours, or a non believer when it comes down to repentance and believing. Just like with the nonbeliever having a common grace placed upon them so that they can adhere to the command of God, infants also receive a type of grace by God, whereby he understands a infant’s inability and non-abilities.

    You would not be wrong to assume some level of cognitive understanding, where God alone is the judge of the mental and biological development of the child so that the child can understand to repent and believe in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his or her sins. This is much different, even though similar, to an age of accountability, because there is no defined age; instead the focus is on the moment of ability to believe. Hopefully you can understand the difference there.

    Now I will make some comments regarding what you call the ban of Jericho. I call it the curse of Jericho. In Joshua chapter 7:26 we read, “ Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and build this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gate.” In first Kings 16:34 we see Hiel of Bethel rebuilding the city. Now this was done during the reign of Ahab, who performed many evil acts in the sight of the Lord, which included the building of a Baal alter for worship. Now we know that human sacrifice was going on in the area about the time of Ahab. In 2 Kings 3:27, which takes place not to long after the death of Ahab, we find the King Mesha of the Moabities sacrificing his oldest son. The question of consideration is whether or not Hiel or a priest of Baal offered up a foundation sacrifice or if by the powerful non-intermediate judgment of God Hiel lost his two sons. We do not know the age of the firstborn or the youngest in the 1 Kings account to make for an infant/young child parallel. All we know is the two lost their lives. If they were helping with the building of it (thus deserving their fate) then we can safely assume that the youngest was definitely not a new born and therefore does not necessarily address with the issue that we have been discussing concerning infant salvation or damnation. The building of Jericho represents a return to what God had commanded the people of Israel to destroy. It is a return to a sin that was purged from the land and thus a return to what the Amorites were condemned for back in Gen. 15 and the Canaanites. The disregard for the word of God of course would have consequences. There is a limit to a spiritual parallel one could make towards young children and infants here due to the lack of information of their cognitive understanding of the faith and their age. I wouldn’t have to much of an issue with the curse of Hiel being allowing him into the sin of Baal and the lost of the heirs of his line. Sorry I can’t help you much there.
     
  22. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree with one of my pastors, Sam Waldron: scripture doesn't explain the fate of all children and therefore we shouldn't worry about it; the Lord will do what is right.
     
  23. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes you are reading me wrongly. All I am saying at this point is that exegetically judgment appears to be connected to "actual" sin, not imputed sin. This as you can see is one of the main points in Boettner's, Warfield's and Calvin's arguments.

    Also note that I am not saying I am absolutely sure, but have a reasonable hope. Also this does not remove all the difficulties - where is that big thick and observable line between conscious rebellion and sin and ignorance etc.
     
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    So judgment abides on all but if they die before a certain point of cognitive ability, then Christ atones for for their sins. Do I have that correct?

    Again, I'm just trying to understand what this looks like so based on a typical developmental cycle, what age is this approximately?

    The ban (cherem) of Jericho had already taken place against everyone in the city (except Rahab's household. This is what I'm asking about.
     
  25. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    JP,

    Would you agree that Boettner and Warfield explicitly appeal to the application of the grace of Christ (aka "evangelical principles") as the basis for the salvation of infants and not on the basis that no judgment abides? Do you have the full context of the Calvin quote?

    I'm also not sure I'm still reading you wrongly. The LBCF says that judgment is connected to imputed sin in addition to actual sin and appeals to Romans 5. When you say that "...exegetically judgment appears to be connected to 'actual' sin, not imputed sin" is this not an explicit denial of the LBCF insistence that judgment is connected to imputed sin first and then aggravated by actual sins?
     
  26. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Andrew, essentially that is correct; however we should not use that as an excuse not to study the subject (NOTE: I am not accusing you of making that excuse). What do you tell the parents who just lost their infant child? What hope and comfort can you give them? While there is no promise that every child born into a believing household will come to faith in Christ, it's hard to argue that God doesn't work in believing families. Spurgeon believed that and wrote about it. I believe it. I just happen to temper that belief by not being presumptuous regarding God's sovereign will of decree. So, in the end, I agree with Sam.
     
  27. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Sam succinctly sums up the situation.
     
  28. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm prepared to admit my number three maybe needs more thought, but too often these texts are not included in the discussion at all. For the record I believe that infants from conception are guilty in Adam and that that guilt must be forgiven/blotted out through the blood of Christ. If that guilt is not dealt with in Christ then condemnation for that guilt and that guilt alone is certain - In Adam all die.

    If my previous words have been ambiguous or confusing (and they probably were) forgive me, but this is a live pastoral issue for me, and I have been struggling to work it out for many years. I think this issue is one we need to think about in relation to these texts.

    Perhaps these texts need to be thought about somewhat differently in general. Are these judgements to do with degrees of reward/punishment? Open for suggestions.

    With regard to you other point, yes I'd say that evangelical principles are essential, this is the basis on which all pardon is given, whether to infants or adults.

    I believe the Calvin quote is cited in Strong's Systematic, but refers to one of Calvin's disputio's. I'd need to trace it. I used it in good faith :)

    I had a longer answer, but it only posted half and its late!
     
  29. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Thank you Paul. Is it fair to say that it really has to boil down to whether Christ atones for the imputed sin of infants and that your arguments for the wideness of God's mercy need to focus upon where that mercy is found? Would you agree that points 2, 3, and 4 seem to argue against the need for the atonement of imputed sin while point 7 seems to treat God's goodness/mercy for sinners in the abstract apart from grace grounded in evangelical principles?
     
  30. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes Christ must certainly atone for all the sins of all his people, actual and imputed Adamic sin.

    2,3,4 are more textual observations that I think ought not to be discounted. My main arguments are the other ones.

    With regard to 7, no in my mind it is not meant to be abstract, but again reflective of textual evidence. I believe in common grace, and saving grace in relation to union with Christ and when I speak of grace in 7 I'm referring to saving grace. I don't mean it to sound like "God is love therefore everything will be OK" rather God is abundantly gracious and therefore we should expect that in some sense his grace with be greatly magnified in eternity through his gracious salvation.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page