Infant Salvation

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ReformedBaptist, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. ReformedBaptist

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    In the thread concerning predestination the subject of infant salvation was raised in light of one's theology regarding predestination or other "calvinist" teachings. It was suggested by one observer/poster that the subject be answered biblically.

    While I agree and affirm wholeheartedly that the subject should be addressed and, of couse, answered biblically, I wanted to ask the forum if this is a subject they would like to discuss. From the former thread it is easy to see how a discussion can turn sour, emotions get in the way, and the discussion generate more heat than light. In beginning a thread on this particular subject it would not be my desire or intent to have the topic move in that kind of direction.

    My intention would be to provide biblical truth and apply it to such a subject that it may become a cause of comfort to parents who have lost a child. I also think it is a subject that should not be ignored as Christian theology may touch all things that touches the human experience.

    So, let me know if you would like me to begin a biblical answer to the question of infant salvation. Of course, my answer will come decidedly and unashamedly from the calvinist scheme.

    Your servant in Christ,
    RB
     
    #1 ReformedBaptist, Aug 13, 2007
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  2. Mr.M

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    The Advocacy of Christ is taught in 1 John 2. Christ is our Advocate. This is a very legal term here. An Advocate is one that of course speaks on another behalf. In the case of humanity, one must believe on Christ to have Him Advocate for him before God the Father, the Judge.

    In the case of infants and those unable to exercise their volition, Christ never deviates from his role as Advocate and is automatically assigned as the Court Appointed Advocate for those that lack capacity for a such volition.

    Some might say, well I don't see that here. I understand, this is called a doctrinal conclusion. One that takes serious the declaration of Christ's Advocacy and applies it in its legal context. And in the case of humanity, there is only one court, one Judge (God) and one Advocate that may speak for another and this Christ. Hence as in all courts, those who cannot represent themselves have the Divine Advocate represent them.

    Okay intellectual bees and hornets, start buzzing your complaints.
     
  3. Dewey Sturgell

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    Well Brother i realize that im new to this board and its threads but in my short time of viewing the brothers points of views the threads that ive read have been entertaining,interesting,and imformational,(so with this remark ) i myself would like to read your answers, For me what comes to mind is when Christ picked up a child and put it on his lap and said that such is the Kingdom of God,not the Kingdom of Heaven which is the spiritual life that Christ set up here on earth. I dont believe that any infant has or ever will go to Hell, for they never had sin inputted to thier souls which is what brings us guilty unto the Thrown of God , just my thoughts in short, may the Graceof our Lord fill your heart,Amen.
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    I think this is very nicely put, sir.

    And not to forget God's Omniscience. The Bible says He knows the number of stars in the heavens and calls them by name, He also knows the number of hairs on his children's head, and knows if any of His creation, such as a sparrow, should fall, why then should He not know who among men will die in the womb, be aborted, or die in infancy or childhood ?

    And since His judgment and condemnation of sinners is not based on their having inherited the fallen nature of Adam, but on the actions emanating from such fallen nature, why then should He not have counted the above infants as among His elect and redeemed them in Christ along with those of His elect who are able to declare their faith ?
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    I take it by the comments that this is something we can discuss. I will share what I have learned on the subject in my next post. This may come tonight or tomorrow. May the Lord bless you all.
     
  6. Mr.M

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    While I don't subscribe to the teaching of election commonly associated with Calvinism, you have provided an great application for those that hold to this system of theology.

    As far as the inherited fallen nature I do not believe as you do but subscribe to the teaching that the fallen nature is passed on seminally and an infant is born into condemnation.
     
  7. Dewey Sturgell

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    Well as I see so far so good ,with this topic let me ask all that read these notation of this thread, what would be the out come of all the infants that God demanded his servants kill (slew) in the old testament, (I still stand by my previous statement): But under the fury and anger of God he had so many children and infants killed because the cities never worshiped him, So the infants killed in those cities were not under any of the Grace testament and nothing to do with thier sin and never got the chance to make any kind of atonement for thier wrong doings because they where slew with thier cities which they were born, may the Lord always strive with you,Amen.
     
    #7 Dewey Sturgell, Aug 13, 2007
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  8. pinoybaptist

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    I would like to reply to both your posts, gentlemen, but, would rather wait for what Reformed Baptist will post, and then we can pick up from there.
    Good night, and God bless you both.
     
  9. Mr.M

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    They simply were awaiting the time until Christ's death, burial and resurrection whereby he became their Advocate by default as described above. Time is not a dilemma for God as it is for humans. The Savior was quite capable of dying at a specific point in human time while providing salvation throughout all of that time.
     
  10. moondg

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    Mat 18:3 And said,Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    I believe they are saved. I know they are.
     
  11. 4boys4joys

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    No Tsk. Tsk from me on this one Mr.M. Thank you for pointing out the advocacy of Christ in John 1 and 2. We actualy have the same point of view on something.:laugh:

    Romans 8:29- For whom he did foreknow, he did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son,that he might be the firstborn among many bretheren.

    God foreknew each and every one of us, he had to have known in order to create us. It says here he predestinated all he foreknew that would have to be every one.

    Revelation 4:11- Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honor and power:for thou hast created all things,and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

    If God created all for his pleasure I do not understand how dying and going to Hell would give God any pleasure and it would make this verse into something else entirely. If you want to say that only refers to life on earth and not after life on earth then explain why we will worship God in heaven? If we were only created to please God on earth than why would we go to heaven and praise him? (This would make sense because once you have a spirit it goes on forever, God goes on forever so you would think that we were created to please God forever.) (That part was opinion based on how I see scripture.)

    Ezekiel 18:23- Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God : and not that he return from his ways, and live?

    Why would God create creatures that would never please him when he tells us in his word that is our purpose. Does'nt this create a direct conflict. If he knew that we would die unsaved why would he create something that would not give him pleasure but say that is why we are created. That passage is not refering to the saved only it says ALL.

    I am no theological expert I am just posing some questions I have about the Calvinistic or predestiation point of view. Thanks in advance for some answers concerning this subject.
     
  12. JustChristian

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    Mr

    Personally, I don't believe that this is necessarily a question about election. I've always been undecided about what would happen to young children who hadn't accepted Christ as their Savior because they didn't yet understand the gtospel. It comes to me, however, that Mark 10 is pertinent.


    Mar 10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them].
    Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
    Mar 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
    Mar 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

    This same account is in Mathew and Luke too, of course.
     
  13. moondg

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    How could God be just and allow little children to go to hell? If a child or person for that matter has not reached a state of knowing they are sinners then they are saved.
     
  14. Dewey Sturgell

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    Okay then if everybody is thinking that the little children of the world are as good as God wants them, then is seems that for God to lie which its impossoble for him to lie, then for a little child or infant to go to Hell;that would make God lie; But woe onto those that advocate such, For the scriptures say Blessed are the pure at heart ,are not the infants and little children more pure at heart than those that have sinned and become forgiven through the working of Gods will; Also I do believe that he set fourth a decree to the good things of this world for the pleasure of his will; For no man knows the mind of God, may the Grace of our Lord guide you in this matter,Amen.
     
  15. Dale-c

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    I don't believe it can be said that any person, once born is truly sinless.

    They must receive God's mercy like anyone else.

    There are three possible answers from what I can see in the Bible.

    1. All who die in infancy or state of mental inability go to heaven
    2. All such go to hell
    3. Some go to hell and some go to heaven based on God's good will.

    It should be noted that a major argument is that God owes us a chance to believe.
    '
    Does he owe the pagan tribes who never hear the gospel a chance? Are they automatically saved since they know not the Gospel?

    My belief, which is more of a hope for lack of clear Biblical teaching is that God regenerates these without a visible external sign of their conversion. He is there advocate with the Father.
     
  16. ReformedBaptist

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    Dear brethren,

    Thank you for your posts and thoughts on the subject. We all know that this can tend to be a hot topic for some, and my earnest desire and prayer is that what is shared on this thread will bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, edify the brethren, and specifically bring comfort to any parent or person who loved, and lost, an infant child.

    As a by-product of the above sentiments, I also pray the Lord will be pleased to magnify and adorn the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ which has been from the beginning of the world and has not changed.

    It is not surprising to me that this subject arose out of the topic of predestination. Within the general and overarching biblical doctrine of predestination lies within it the doctrine of unconditional election. Regardless of our particular understanding of these doctrines (whether calvinistic or Arminian), we all may readily agree that the Scripture teaches predestination and election. I know of none who deny this.

    Therefore, it is quite natural that when the subject of an infant perishing arises, these topics also arise, or visa versa. As I wrote previously, my answer to this subject would follow the Calvinistic scheme. My reasons for that is because 1. The Calvinistic scheme is true evangelical doctrine. 2. No other scheme can sufficiently answer this subject.

    In the thread on predestination, I quoted the eminant theologian Lorainne Boettner as saying, "Most Calvinistic theologians have held that those who die in infancy are saved. " Let us not approach this subject with evil suspicions brethren. Let us believe the best of our brethren and the testimony of Boettner in this matter.

    Truth compels me to agree with what these many Calvinists have written concerning this subject, namely that the Scripture seem to teach plainly concerning the children of the elect, or believers, are saved, but is silent concerning the children of unbelievers. This is a simple statement of fact and why, under the right principle of Sola Scriptura, we find reformed confessions of faith silent on the subject of the children of unbelievers.

    However, as Boettner rightly pointed out, Calvinists "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."

    In my next post it is the evangelical principles I wish to highlight that will explain the way in which I believe are saved and give sound reason for such beliefs. This logical step is not my own, but follows the pattern of the late C.H. Spurgeon's sermon on the same subject. Both Boettner's statemetns on Infant Salvation and Spurgeon's sermon are available on the internet and I commend them to your reading.

    Boettner
    http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/index.html?mainframe=/calvinism/boettner/infants_boettner.html

    Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0411.htm

    Your servant in Christ,
    RB
     
    #16 ReformedBaptist, Aug 14, 2007
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  17. Brother Bob

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    First of all let me say I believe Matt and that all children who die will be in Heaven for such is the Kingdom.

    I know that after I post the following that "ReformedBaptist" is going to condemn where the information came from, but St. Augustine was a Catholic, of which is quoted many times here on BB. Also, John Calvin was raised a Catholic and followed closely the doctrine of Augustine. IMO

    This information is not just some Presbyterian preacher like Boettner, but is a History composed by the Catholic Church, who kept better records than anyone, including Baptist. As a matter of fact, it seems the Baptist were poor in keeping records. If we run our history back we hit a dead wall or we hit the Catholics, whichever you believe. Now, I post this as an opposing veiw, I commend Dale-c for at least speaking up, for I know how he believes and there are many others on here who believe the same or in infant damnation but I doubt they will come forward now, after the heated debate. Here is the info: I have tried to be honest and list the Calvinist who believe in universal salvation for infants also.

    HISTORY of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH*
    CHAPTER XIV.
    CALVIN’S THEOLOGY.
    § 111. Calvin’s Commentaries
    But Calvin did not go so far. On the contrary, he intimates very clearly that there are reprobate or non-elect children as well as reprobate adults. He says that "some infants," having been previously regenerated by the Holy Spirit, "are certainly saved," but he nowhere says that all infants are saved.837 In his comments on Rom. 5:17, he confines salvation to the infants of pious (elect) parents, but leaves the fate of the rest more than doubtful.838 Arguing with Catholic advocates of free-will, who yet admitted the damnation of unbaptized infants, he asks them to explain in any other way but by the mysterious will of God, the terrible fact "that the fall of Adam, independent of any remedy, should involve so many nations with their infant children in eternal death. Their tongues so loquacious on every other point must here be struck dumb."839

    837 Inst. Bk. IV. ch. XVI. 17: "Infantes, qui servandi sint—ut certe ex ea aetate omnino aliqui servantur—antea a Domino regenerari minime obscurum est." This was the doctrine of the Westminster divines, and is expressed in the Westminster Confession, ch. X. 3: "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth." Although this passage admits of a liberal construction, yet the natural sense, as interpreted by the private opinions of the framers of the Confession, makes it almost certain that the existence and damnation of non-elect infants is implied. The Presbyterian Revisionists, therefore, wishing to avoid this logical implication, propose to strike out elect, or to substitute all for it (as the Cumberland Presbyterians have done in their Confession). The change will be acted upon by the General Assembly in May, 1892.
    http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/history/8_ch14.htm#_edn60


    Quote:

    839 "Tot gentes una cum liberis eorum infantibus." Inst. III. ch. XXIII. § 7. To this should be added the challenge to Castellio: "Put forth now thy virulence against God, who hurls innocent babes even from their mothers’ breast into eternal death." Calvin here argues e concessis. The passage has been often distorted. We give it in Latin with the connection (Opera, IX. 289): "Negas Deo licere nisi propter facinus damnare quenquam mortalium. Tolluntur e vita innumeri adhuc infantes. Exsere nunc tuam virulentiam contra Deum, qui innoxios foetus a matrum uberibus avulsos in aeternam mortem praecipitat. Hanc blasphemiam, ubi palam detecta est, quisquis non detestabitur, mihi pro sua libidine maledicat." In the same way he challenges Castellio (fol. 289), to explain the admitted fact, that God allows innocent infants to be devoured by tigers or lions or bears or wolves ("qui fit ut Deus parvulos infantes a tigribus vel ursis vel leonibus vel lupis laniari vorarique sineat"). The attempt of Dr. Shields of Princeton to prove that Calvin believed in the salvation of all infants, is an entire failure ("The Presbyt. and Ref. Review " for October, 1890).

    To show I am not being partial or the source, here are English and American Calvinist, who believe all infants to be saved, who die as an infant.

    843 Among English Calvinists, who teach universal infant salvation, are Doddridge, Thomas Scott, John Newton, Toplady, Robert S. Candlish; among American Calvinists, Drs. Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, and B. B. Warfield, of Princeton, and Drs. H. B. Smith, G. L. Prentiss, and Shedd, of Union Seminary, New York. Comp. on this subject Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, I. 378, 381, 794, 898; Dr. Prentiss, who brings out the theological bearings, in the "Presbyterian Review" for 1883; Benjamin B. Warfield, The Development of the Doctrine of Infant Salvation, New York (Christ. Lit. Co.), 1891, pp. 61; also Chas. P. Krauth (Lutheran), Infant Baptism and Infant Salvation, Philadelphia (Lutheran Book Store), 1874, pp. 83.
    844 See above, pp. 95 sqq.

    IMO,
     
    #17 Brother Bob, Aug 14, 2007
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  18. ReformedBaptist

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    Brother Bob,

    I refuted your claims in the other forum and you refuse to offer a response back. Until you do, your arguments have been defeated. Now, if you will continue with the true Christian spirit that this thread intended, please do not come here to stir things up as you seem to want to do. Please read the beginning of the thread and what its purpose is. And try to remain civil if you will. Remember Brother Bob, this thread is NOT about what Augustine believed or what Calvin believed. It is about the subject of Infant Salvation and why I believe all infants who die in infancy are saved.
     
    #18 ReformedBaptist, Aug 14, 2007
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  19. Brother Bob

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    You have no right whatsoever to say who can post here and who can not.
    As far as you refuting on the other forum. All you did was not like the message, so "kill the messenger. Why be afraid of others history, if you are so sure of yours. Again, you choose a Presbyterian preacher for your information, but try to kill the whole History of the Catholic encyclopedia, which is a history of one of its own, St. Augustine.
     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    I will allow this one divergence for the sake of honesty.

    Phillip Schaff's History of the Christian Church has been used and the reference regarding Augstine's opinion on infant damnation is illuminating.

    Shaff wrote, "St. Augustin expressly assigns all unbaptized children dying in infancy to eternal damnation, because of original sin inherited from Adam’s transgression. It is true, he mitigates their punishment and reduces it to a negative state of privation of bliss, as distinct from positive suffering.834 "

    This is the 834 reference:

    "See the passages in vol. III. 835 sq. Augustin was called durus infantum pater. But his view was only the logical inference from the doctrine of the necessity of baptism for salvation, which was taught long before him on the ground of John 3:8 and Mark 16:16. Even Pelagius excluded unbaptized infants from the kingdom of heaven, though not from eternal life. He assigned them to a middle state of half-blessedness."

    It is a mishandling of Augustine to suggest that his teaching regarding the doctrine of predestination, or other "calvinist" beliefs are what affected his belief in infant damnation. It was his belief in the necessity of baptism for salvation, apparantly, as Schaff points out. It was John Calvin, according to Schaff, that offered an escape from this dogma. He writes,

    "Calvin offers an escape from the horrible dogma of infant damnation by denying the necessity of water baptism for salvation, and by making salvation dependent on sovereign election alone, which may work regeneration without baptism, as in the case of the Old Testament saints and the thief on the cross."

    The remaining of Shaff's work is thus,

    I think Phillip Shaff has provided a very balanced and good overview of the history of this subject.
     

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