Posts Tagged ‘elect infants’

All Babies Go to Heaven?

Posted: January 10, 2012 by Ricky Roldan in Topical
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There is much debate when it comes to the topic of the eternal destiny of dying infants. Whether one holds to the view that only elect infants or children are saved or if one affirms all infants and children who die are part of the elect we must remember to be respectful and not strawman or misrepresent those they disagree with.

I, with many within the reformed faith both historically and in modern times, believe that the scriptures teach by necessary inference that ALL babies who die go to heaven because I believe they are part of God’s Elect. In the same way that Faith is a gift to Adults, I believe that God imparts this same gift to babies before entering heaven since all men are born in sin.

Faith is a Gift, that’s the whole point. If God Grants Faith to an Adult who didn’t deserve it, who committed vile and wretched sins, how not much more to an infant? I know that what I just stated is more of a philosophical approach and argument but I will demonstrate the biblical logic for it from good and necessary deduction. Christian philosophy based on proper theology is vital.

I believe its through Faith. It is Faith that is given by Grace unto salvation not just Grace, Grace is the starting point that leads to faith that then leads to justification.

So then on what basis do we who hold to ALL infants going to heaven? I also affirm the Synod of Dort declaration and the WCF but my only contention with it is that it is vague and many attempt to limit the term “elect” to infants of believers only. I believe that it is ALL infants of believers and unbelievers alike.

We believe that Scripture does indeed teach that all persons who die in their infancy are elect. This cannot be based on emotional reasoning or only in our hope that it is true, but in a careful reading of the Bible and proper exegesis. We must start with the Scriptural affirmations before dealing with the rest.

First and foremost, the Scriptures reveals that we are “brought forth in iniquity,” and therefore we bear the stain of original sin from the moment of our conception. Thus, we face directly with the sin problem. On the other hand we also affirm the clear distinction the bible makes concerning Original Sin and Actual Sin which the reformers and especially John Calvin made.

Second, we acknowledge that God is absolutely sovereign in salvation. We do not deserve salvation, and can do nothing to earn our salvation, and so it is all of grace. Furthermore we understand and affirm that our salvation is only established by God’s election of sinners to salvation through Christ.

Third, I affirm that Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the sole and sufficient Savior, and that salvation comes only on the basis of His blood atonement.

Fourth, I affirm that the Bible teaches a dual eternal destiny – the redeemed to Heaven, the unredeemed to Hell.

My first starting premise of course is Gods Eternal Decree and a text is concerning the Deut. 1 passage.

After the children of Israel rebelled against God in the wilderness, God sentenced that generation to die in the wilderness after forty years of wandering. “Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers.” But this was not all. God directly and specifically exempted young children and infants from this sentence, and even explained why He did so: “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good and evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.” The key issue here is that God specifically kept these “little ones” from the judgment those who “have no knowledge of good or evil” because of their age. These “little ones” would inherit the Promised Land, and would not be judged on the basis of their fathers’ sins.

I believe that this passage deals directly or at least indirectly on the issue of infant salvation, and that the accomplished work of Christ has removed the stain of original sin from those who die in infancy. Knowing neither good nor evil, these young children are incapable of committing sins in the body – are not yet moral agents – and die secure in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words this is the distinction made between “Original Sin” and “Actual Sins” that the reformers made with respect to the spiritual and physical aspects of mankinds sin. Infants are guilty of “original sin” but are not guilty of “actual sins”.

Notice what it says about their physical innocence and knowing right from wrong. Adults are guilty of both original sin and actual sin while infants are not. If God would allow such to enter a physical land that really doesn’t mean nothing HOW MUCH MORE would God do for them in regards to the True Holy Land in Heaven.

Now, the most striking text is Matthew 18:1-4, 14

“18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

“14 So it is not the will of my [5] Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Now these are very important words and very clear as to their meaning. If God takes them out of this world as little ones they will not perish, NOT ONE OF THEM. It would make no sense for anyone to say that Jesus refers only to some particular and privileged class of little ones. It is obvious that He is talking of children as children, irrespective of what or despite of whose children they are.

So very clearly Jesus states “So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” This testifies to the attitude or disposition God has towards children and infants.

That’s the icing on the cake for me on top of starting at God’s Eternal Decree leading to His unconditional saving grace.

I leave you with these words from some very respected Scholars……

“John Newton, the great minister who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace was certain of this truth. He wrote to close friends who had lost a young child: “I hope you are both well reconciled to the death of your child. I cannot be sorry for the death of infants. How many storms do they escape! Nor can I doubt, in my private judgment, that they are included in the election of grace.”

The great Princeton theologians Charles Hodge and B. B. Warfield held the same position.

Such, for instance, was the position held by Charles Hodge, W. G. T. Shedd, and B. B. Warfield. Concerning those who die in infancy, Dr. Warfield says: “Their destiny is determined irrespective of their choice, by an unconditional decree of God, suspended for its execution on no act.

B. B. Warfield may have expressed it best when he beautifully affirmed, “If all that die in infancy are saved, it can only be through the almighty operation of Holy Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases, through whose ineffable grace the Father gathers these little ones to the home He has prepared for them.”

My favorite and one of the most eloquent and powerful expressions of this understanding of infant salvation came from the heart of Charles Spurgeon. Preaching to his own congregation, Spurgeon consoled grieving parents:

“Now, let every mother and father here present know assuredly that it is well with the child, if God hath taken it away from you in its infant days.” Spurgeon turned this conviction into an evangelistic call. “Many of you are parents who have children in heaven. Is it not a desirable thing that you should go there, too? He continued: “Mother, unconverted mother, from the battlements of heaven your child beckons you to Paradise. Father, ungodly, impenitent father, the little eyes that once looked joyously on you, look down upon you now, and the lips which scarcely learned to call you father, ere they were sealed by the silence of death, may be heard as with a still small voice, saying to you this morning, ‘Father, must we be forever divided by the great gulf which no man can pass?’ Doth not nature itself put a sort of longing in your soul that you may be bound in the bundle of life with your own children?”

John Calvin, the sixteenth-century Reformer for whom Calvinism is named, asserted, “I do not doubt that the infants whom the Lord gathers together from this life are regenerated by a secret operation of the Holy Ghost.” And “he speaks of the exemption of infants from the grace of salvation ‘as an idea not free from execrable blasphemy'” (cited by Augustus Strong in Systematic Theology). He furthermore declared that “to say that the countless mortals taken from life while yet infants are precipitated from their mothers’ arms into eternal death is a blasphemy to be universally detested” (quoted in Presbyterian and Reformed Review, Oct. 1890: pp.634-51).

Charles Hodge was a 19th-century professor of theology at Princeton Seminary, which was in those days a foremost American bastion of Calvinism. He wrote: “All who die in infancy are saved. This is inferred from what the Bible teaches of the analogy between Adam and Christ. ‘As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.’ (Rom. v.18,19.) We have no right to put any limit on these general terms, except what the Bible itself places upon them. The Scriptures nowhere exclude any class of infants, baptized or unbaptized, born in Christian or in heathen lands, of believing or unbelieving parents, from the benefits of the redemption of Christ. All the descendants of Adam, except Christ, are under condemnation; all the descendants of Adam, except those of whom it is expressly revealed that they cannot inherit the kingdom of God, are saved. This appears to be the clear meaning of the Apostle, and therefore he does not hesitate to say that where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded, that the benefits of redemption far exceed the evils of the fall; that the number of the saved far exceeds the number of the lost” (Systematic Theology, vol.I, p.26)

Based on these arguments, I believe that we can have confidence that God receives all infants into Heaven and are among the Elect.

Grace and Peace