How Does the Lord save Infants/Babies then?

Discussion in 'Pneumatology' started by Dachaser, Aug 11, 2017.

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  1. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Are those who are born to saved parents automatically saved, are all of them chosen by God to get saved, and do they need to have a saving faith, or can God choose to them regardless if faith or not in Christ?
  2. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    I do not believe they are all saved. Just like all the circumcised weren't saved. I also believe that they must have saving faith. I also believe that God will save all of His elect. So, if an Elect baby dies, God has regenerated that baby.
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    The faith of a child is like a seed that has sprouted. It is very rudimentary yet. It doesn't have branches or fruit yet. Only the most rudimentary root system can be visible, if at all. But if God regenerates an infant, then that infant has faith, even if it is only what Calvin would call a seed-faith. This does get at another significant difference between Presbyterians and most Baptists: Presbyterians believe that infants can have real faith, even if that faith is not something the infant could articulate. There is no lag in time between regeneration and faith.
  4. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I disagree that there cannot be a 'lag'. There are many orthodox, reformed men that hold to the idea. U may be interested in the thread I started yesterday on the order where I quote VanMastricht on the idea.
  5. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    :up: Indeed, and this is gathered by deduction and necessary consequence: Men are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (his doing and dying). End of story. Ergo, whilst dying elect infants (and other categories of elect folk) may not be outwardly called by the ministry, there is some way that they are called, albeit unbeknownst to us. Faith is a gift and miracle in itself, regardless of age, and I cannot understand why folks have difficulty accepting that those who are not on our particular plain of cognizance are regenerated, exercise faith (in some degree), granted repentance, etc.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  6. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Can you name some of these "many", Scott?
  7. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Are you familiar with the Confession that you affirmed? Please review Chapter 10, para 3 of the LBCF.

    We can assert that there are elect infants who die in infancy. We don't know how many or how few. We can also assert that believers have special warrant to hope that their infants who die in infancy are such (Luke 18:15,16, II Sam. 12:23, Acts 2:38,39, Ezek. 16:20,21). Beyond this we may not go. We may legitimately hope, but we may not demand.

    Outside of Reformed circles, there are Calvinists, especially those using the Spurgeon revision to the LBCF, that will say that all infants that die are on their way to heaven. Piper agrees with them, too.
  8. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Turretin, Van Mastricht, Hodge seem to imply the same. I cite some of these men on the other thread on the ordo. When we speak of seed faith, there is automatically an indication of a gap-being that these seeds need water. Consider that the external call must come from the outside and that that outside call is effectual based upon data. If an infant has (f)aith and repentance, it must have a basis for that faith and must repent of that which needs repenting of; Christ does not repent for us. Consider a grown man. Can that man be regenerated and converted without assenting to biblical facts? Can he be saved , 'less he repent'?
    Is his repentance, vicarious only and will that save? If the man cannot be repented for and he is regenerated, i.e. can now see, what is the point of sight if the characteristics he needs are vicarious?

    I will also add, it is difficult to read between the lines when we speak of the ordo; many theologians use the terms interchangeably, and in my opinion, to their error. For example, here Hodge says:

    in my opinion, here Hodge is intermingling 'regeneration' and conversion, being guilty of the exact thing I describe. So many authors do this because most are not talking deeply about the components of the order, but just the whole of it.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  9. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Lastly, seed faith says much; if an infant has seed faith, what waters it and germinates it? I would say, the word of God. How does that happen? In the life of the elect infant that perishes, it would be Christ himself-giving both the internal and external call. But in the life of an infant that is decreed to live a full life, the call comes from the outside, i.e. the Preacher at a later time. See rom 10:14-17. I don't see the struggle here, to be honest with you. VanMastricht even goes to the extent to say:

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  10. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    -Reformed View:
    1. Zwingli, Hooper, Candlish, and Toplady by inference, held that death in infancy is a sign of election, therefore all children dying in infancy are elect and saved.
    2. The opposite side is that the only sure sign of election is faith with its fruits, therefore there are no grounds of knowledge on their fate wether they are children of believers or not . But God has His elect among them.
    3. The majority of Calvinists held to the middle ground in that children of believers are saved and children of unbelievers are damned. Children of those in the Covenant are holy.
    4. Owen goes a step further and held that if their parents were believers, God extends mercy BUT there are some elect amongst unbelievers infants.
    5. The majority view is held in this statement by Petrus de Witte “We must adore God’s judgements and not curiously inquire into them. Of the children of believers it is not to be doubted but that they shall be saved, inasmuch as they belong to the covenant. But because we have no promise of the children of unbelievers we leave them to the judgment of God.”
    6. The confessions refrain from all definition of the negative side of the salvation of infants, dying such, and thus confine themselves to emphasizing the gracious doctrine common to the whole body of Reformed thought.
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I think that in the end, we can trust the Lord to do what is the right thing in this area, but also would see myself as agreeing with Spurgeon on this area.
  12. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Westminster speaks of elect infants and Dort of not doubting the salvation of a covenant child dying in infancy. Are all babies who die in infancy elect? Are all babies of believing parents who die in infancy elect? My answer of "yes" or "no" has no bearing on what God has determined to do. Though we may wish He revealed the answer, we are left with knowing that although by nature Adam's posterity is condemned in Adam, God is merciful. We should rest in what we know, not in speculation.

    I do know that infants who know very little of anything, understand something of faith. They trust their parents, knowing their voices. They trust that when they cry out, they will be heard and their needs met. They are comforted but their mother's scent, her touch, her care. In many ways, they can teach us a whole lot about what our faith in God should look like in simple, undoubting trust.

    Since babies have much to teach us about what it means to trust, it is certainly no stretch to believe (and scripture testifies to this) that infants have the faculty to exercise faith in God, though most of us would agree that the measure of faith is small. They obviously cannot articulate their faith.

    Why speculate beyond what is revealed?
  13. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Genesis 18:25 is no real help for your appeal. The context is clear. Sodom was destroyed. The Lord of the earth did rightly. There is but one hope for sinners: the righteousness of Our Lord.
  14. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    What scripture?
  15. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    JTB rejoicing in the presence of his Savior.
  16. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Also, consider Psalm 22:9:

    "But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts."

    If our Savior trusted while an infant, why not the infants He represents?
  17. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't believe, even under the mindset I have of the doctrine, that one can believe that John is in anyway typical. John was regenerated and converted, i.e. the complete ordo fulfilled, in the womb. Doctrinally speaking, this is not the way God shows us he works, generally. The only time we acknowledge this scenario, outside of John, are w/ elect infants dying in infancy. Much can be inquired in regard to what john actually knew in regard to Christ at a young age and if he understood repentance-but, I digress. In this case, it is an isolated instance given the rest of scripture.
  18. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    The same can be said of Jeremiah and David. These must be considered as theocratic anointings. Yes, they do exemplify the doctrine that children can be regenerated in the womb and even in these extraordinary cases, even converted, but they are not typical and shouldn't be used to support the doctrine in the same level as God uses the preacher to convert his sheep.

    13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Ro 10:13–14.
  19. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    We have no idea what the unborn/infants can understand. I believe they understand more than we realize. To this day, the brain is the least understood organ of our body. We have so much to learn about it. I believe that the unborn/infants who hear the Gospel and are predestined are saved if they die at that age. There's only one way of salvation for all of mankind in all times.
  20. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    There's a helpful article in this quarter's Founders Journal on infant election. Worth your time, David.
  21. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Perhaps not, but it may be typical for elect infants who do die in infancy.

    Scott, I think you place too much emphasis on knowledge of biblical facts. Infants know very few facts concerning what makes their parents their parents, but they know their parents all the same. It seems that your application of knowledge to this discussion would necessitate believing that infants cannot know their parents until they can be cognitively aware of the facts about their parents.

    Or not... I think you may be confusing faith with quantity of knowledge and level of sanctification.

    Could it be that the whole issue you are having with some of us is because in making infants the exception to the rule you in turn have to create another rule to solve your own problem?
  22. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    Scott, instead of arguing against "moving" the rest of the ordo back in "time" to the point of regeneration, why not consider "moving" the point of regeneration forward to the time of the effectual external/internal call? In other words, why does there have to be a "lag time"? It is only because you insist on the notion of people being regenerated prior to "conversion" in time. What is your biblical warrant for these early regenerations? Apart from the very few examples already cited, which you agree are atypical (i.e., not the ordinary means), why can we not say that the typical scenario is that all elements of the ordo, in essence, are taking place at the same time? Even if you want to press your "seed needing water" argument, why cannot the seed-faith come to life (regeneration) at the moment it is watered (external call of God's Word)? In other words, the unregenerate person hears the gospel, the Spirit gives him ears to hear (regenerates him), he is convicted of his sin, repents, and places saving faith in Christ. I just don't understand why you feel the need to have the first part happen one day and the rest on another day (or month or year).
  23. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    1) no; 2) no; 3) a: yes; b: no
  24. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    Jon, you need to work on your verbosity...
  25. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    This is precisely what I am saying. However, your next portion of your statement, reveals that you are not following....

    The infant (or adult for that matter) that has seed faith IS regenerated already.

    It is not a matter of 'feeling the need'. Let me clarify, I am not saying that the scenario we are discussing is typical. Many times, it does happen in an instance, but in the case of the infant regenerated in the womb or closely thereafter, there must be a biblical treatment.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  26. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    It is typical for the infants who die in infancy-I said that. Thats the point.

    I do? I will quote Hodge on the matter:

    *In the above quote, I believe Hodge is using the term conversion here to refer to 'regeneration'.

    Bruce made the same argument-how does that work if the mother that carried the baby for 9 mos gives her child to a surrogate on the day of delivery? Does the child suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome becasue it doesn't know the woman who now nurses her etc.?

    I believe your issue comes down to how you are defining 'know'. The infant does not have that type of cognition to process gender, name, mother, etc.

    No. Sanctification would follow conversion and is not the same thing. I ask again, can a person have faith in nothing or repent of nothing? Accept nothing? Receive nothing and be saved? Is Christ vicariously doing these things for the saint or does the saint have to participate?

    First of all, Tim, Brother, I am not having any issue with anyone. I have not made the regenerated infant 'the exception to the rule'! Is it possible that you cannot see the trees for the forest as the 'rule' as you put it is not illogical, given the circumstances.
  27. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    Yet, why must that biblical treatment go beyond what we already confess? The Confession declares that "elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit..." simply acknowledging that - even if via atypical means - God will save the elect infant. You would agree that "saved" is equal to or at least encompasses "conversion," right? Else, they are saved but not converted, which is nonsense.

    So, these elect infants are regenerated and saved atypically. Why must we posit what it might look like if they were to live beyond infancy? Is there any biblical warrant to suggest that they might? Why can we not say that elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved atypically in infancy, while elect persons surviving beyond infancy are regenerated and saved typically in a single, "spokes of the wheel," event? Why must the latter be supposed to have been regenerated prior (by whatever measure of time) to their conversion?

    Someone earlier (or on another thread) mentioned Lazarus as a helpful example. Can we really fathom that he was lying there in the tomb alive (regenerated) just waiting for the external call, "Come forth?" Or is it better to think that the Master's cry was attended by the Spirit's vivification, and the dead came to life and responded in the same event (though logically in accord with the ordo salutis)?
  28. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Agreed, and the hope is rooted in the truth that God Himself, in the Person of Jesus at the Cross and in His resurrection, has provided in full the grounds by which He might choose to save all infants who have died.
  29. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Are there any scripture that states just some infants are saved though?
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  30. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    What is "Os"?
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