Right now I am sitting in the office of the Ringgold Wedding Chapel, just hanging out, so to speak.
I’m here, today, to officiate 3 weddings, but in one wedding that is about to take place the family brought their own minister.
I don’t feel like going and watching a wedding just for the fun of it, and I don’t want to sneak over and steal any food from the reception hall while the bride and groom are otherwise distracted. So, like I said, I’m just hanging out for a little while.
What a perfect time to stir up a theological stink, right?
We should be thanking God for the surging tide of pro-life sentiment sweeping much of our nation right now! I firmly believe that the killing of infants in the womb is murder, for I believe that each and every fetus is an actual human being, regardless whether or not they vote for Republicans or Democrats.
But all this talk about abortion, the right to life, and millions of babies has brought back to mind a conversation I read years ago on a Calvinistic website (Monergism.com). It was just one of several “conversations” that eventually pushed me from Calvinism and helped define my theological stance as that of “provisionist”
The conversation was between two pastors and the subject was the funeral for an infant.
The first pastor discussed how challenging it had been to preach the funeral for a child, just a baby of less than a year old. He went on to say that the only thing he could do to help the grieving parents cope with the loss was to reassure them that one day, some day, they would be reunited with their child in heaven (since both parents were believers).
The second pastor, however, brutally chastised the first pastor for giving the parents of the dead child a false hope! Yes, he rebuked the first pastor for telling the parents they would one day see their child again because – now get this – he had no way of knowing if the deceased baby was “one of the elect.”
The second pastor said a better thing to have told the parents would have been the truth…that if the baby had been one of the “elect” they would see him again, but there’s no way to know till we get to heaven.
I still remember the burning indignation that welled up within me as I read that. With my face flush, I hammered out on the keyboard something akin to the following: “If I had been one of those parents, and you had told me that about my child, I would have given you the opportunity to go see where my baby went.”
Where Do They Go?
But, let’s be honest, what else is the reasonable conclusion to the Calvinist position on this subject? Are all babies who die too early to have accepted Christ (including those murdered in the womb) members of the “elect,” or is there the possibility that some were predestined to salvation and others were predestined to damnation? Even though some of you Calvinist friends of mine might not believe in “double predestination,” what is your answer to this?
Are we going to accept the proposition that God, the one who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” is the same God who would, for His own pleasure, doom any number of consciousless infants to an eternity in hell? Is that EVEN a possibility within your theological systematic?
You may use the comment section to calmly and kindly discuss.
15 responses to “Let’s Get Controversial…Where Do the Babies Go?”
Past few years I have been asked several times how many grandkids I have and my answer has always been the same…I have 3 in heaven that I will hug one day. My daughters have not been able to carry their children to term due to health issues…but I still have grandbabies.
Another positive thing about you. #NotACalvinist even though many SBC’s are, especially in the centers of higher learning.
Good on you Bro.
2 Samuel 12:23
“But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
King James Version (KJV)
We must only go so far as Scripture allows and no farther. David says that he shall go to his child. This verse concerns two people. I don’t believe that one can extrapolate to say that this verse teaches universal salvation for infants anymore than it teaches universal salvation for fathers.
You are correct, Greg, about extrapolations. However, is there anything of the character and nature of God that we see or can deduce from Scripture that lends to Him condemning infants? I can’t. On top of that, Jesus said that if we’ve seen him, we’ve seen the Father. Does condemning infants to Hell sound like anything Jesus would do? That’s why I find it hard to digest any argument that suggests the “second” Calvinist’s position.
Thank you for your comment Greg.
Firestorm:) I don’t believed parents have to be “saved” for a child under the age of accountability to go to our God. I believe that the age of accountability is to be judged by Him and not us, tho. Jesus was judged to be a man at 13 in the jewish law. Ty.
Perhaps it would have been wiser, and more honest, for the Calvinist to have admitted this was an issue beyond his mere human understanding.
This is an issue beyond mere human understanding. But if it is for the Calvinist, so it is for the Arminian, who in this post claims to know the issue.
Thanks for the comment, Greg. Which Nolensville?
I side with the first pastor, though perhaps not for the same reason.
(As an aside, we don’t form our theology from what causes us “burning indignation,” but from Scripture. Some people probably have “burning indignation” at the thought of judgment period. To form theology by emotion might lead one to text an unchristian and intemperate response.)
I am curious about whether you believe that infants are innocent in the sight of God or guilty, and if so, why? Can we say that infants are sinless and therefore don’t need Christ for salvation? If infants are innocent, then why do they die in the first place, since death is the penalty for sin.
Or is your view that since no one is righteous, not even one, that infants come into the world guilty because the sin of Adam is imputed to them (the doctrine of original sin); that they also need Christ, but that Christ out of grace extends his mercy to every infant, a mercy that expires at the age of accountability. This would indicate that a person can lose their salvation. Does Scripture teach the doctrine of “justification by youth alone”?
By the way, where does Scripture teach such a doctrine as the “age of accountability.” If there is such a view, could we infer that abortion is a good thing? Why not kill the child, who goes to heaven automatically, rather than risk the possibility that he will grow up, die, and go to hell ? By no means !
Since the example you quote involved the child of believing parents, I agree with the first pastor, but not because of any “age of accountability” or because “it would be unjust of God to condemn the child,” but because the parents were part of the covenant of grace, which extends to their children (Acts 2:39). See also I Corinthians 7:14:
“For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”
As one group has put it centuries ago:
“Since we must make judgments about God’s will from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.”
As to the infants of unbelieving parents, I would side with the second pastor. (I would disagree with him concerning the believing parents in question and would not chastise the first pastor). But if the child is not part of the covenant community. God has not spoken, so neither will I. Can I assume that all such infants, the ones in the antediluvian world, the infants of Sodom and Gomorrah, the children of the Amalekites, the Persian empire, Rome, Mesoamerica, the Aborigines of Australia are elect of God? No. It may be that ALL infants dying in infancy are elect, but if they are, it is by the GRACE of God, not the JUSTICE of God. I can hope, but, bound by Scripture, I cannot demand.
Wow, Greg! Thanks for the time you invested in that comment! You did pose some good questions, and I hope to get back with you on a couple of them in a timely manner. However, because they are good questions, I’d prefer not to answer completely off the cuff. Let me ponder them a little. If I forget, though, and you don’t see a reply in a few days, shoot me a kind reminder. A lot is going on right now.
But again, what state? What Nolensville? Just curious.
Interesting subject. I believe in the extension of grace as mentioned. I will have to take another look, but let me throw another thought into the mix. I’m of the opinion that we firstly trust in God’s goodness even if we don’t presently have an answer. But, I’m not convinced that all those babies will stay infants for eternity either. My memory is eluding me, but since those babies of unbelievers never had the chance to hear the gospel I suspect God will provide for that in His solution.Something in Scripture once led me to that thought but it escapes me now. God Bless! – Brother Bill. faithbookonline.wordpress.com
Thanks for chiming in and giving it some thought.