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 Professor

    Edited!
     
  2. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't believe this is going beyond the scriptures or confession; see ch 28; there is enough information to warrant research on the idea. Children are regenerated in infancy at times; whether that be in the womb or at baptism or afterwards, it happens. The question that would follow, is can the baby be converted, i.e. receive faith and repentance if faith and repentance requires a mental assent to biblical propositions? Could an adult male be converted outside of a mental assent? Does God work that way? Like, God regenerates, gives faith and repentance and the man is left holding the bag, having absolutely no idea what his faith is in nor why he needs to repent of anything-or what repentance even is! That makes no sense!

    As I have clealry shown, the elect infant dying in infancy, receives the internal and external call of God from Christ Himself, encompassing the whole of the ordo-this to include faith and repentance (conversion). This is, as u would say, 'atypical'. Atypical in that, the typical way men are saved by the external call portion of the order, coming from an external voice, i.e. the preacher.

    This statement shows me that u are still not following me fully. When u ask, 'to suggest that they might?' , proves that, because no one has ever argued in that respect. What I am arguying for are infants that are not destined to die in the womb or shortly after but the infants that have been regenerated in the womb, at baptism, etc. that God has decreed will live a fruitfull, full life in the Lord, when do they receive faith and repentance (conversion)? It is not a vicarious adopting of a faith by Christ to an elect person, is it? In both the cases, infant vs adult, both must have a basis for their faith and must know that they are in need of repentance for a reason. Can a man be saved yet not know who Christ is? This would be the case of the infant. Can the infant see the kingdom of God? U might say, 'well the infant has faith'. I would respond, if regenerated, yes, in seed form-it needs the word to germinate it and then it grows. Conversion happens sometimes afterwards when the person comes to an assent of facts.

    See my above statement

    See my post above

    First of all, one cannot hang their hat on this miracle of Jesus and attempt to corral it into a teaching example on the order of salvation. Secondly, since it was not a teaching in regards to the order, it makes no sense in trying to use it for such.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  4. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Would those who are born mentally challenged and not able to understand the facts of the Gospel fall under a same category as babies and infants than in regards to God choosing to save some or all of them?
     
  5. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

  6. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    The mentally challenged i.e the imbecile, would fall under the same as the infant dying in infancy.
     
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    We all seem to be agreeing here on how the Lord saves them, and the big question is too how many of them He will save then?
     
  8. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    How do you know that such a situation would ever occur (apart from the biblical examples, which we agree were atypical)? How do you know that there are regenerated, but not converted, infants?
     
  9. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    Precisely the number that corresponds with His will. We are not given firm biblical support for anything beyond that. We do know that, if they are elect, they are saved. Where Scripture is silent is whether every infant dying in infancy is elect. Thus, the Confession declares only that the elect infants, dying in infancy, are saved. It attempts neither to attempt identify nor quantify those elect.

    As others have said, though, there is some scriptural support for the idea of believing parents having hope that their children are heirs to the promise, as well.
     
  10. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    How do we know that there are regenerate infants?
    To begin with, we see examples in scripture where infants are surely set apart from the womb-granted, they are not typical, except for Timothy (2 Tim 3:15). As well, If you read ch 28 of the WCF, it states:

    Since we are paedobaptists, looking at these portions of the WCF, along with the scripture references, these references are directly related to infants-not in the absolute, mind you, but in the majority. Upon reading them, thinking covenantally and paedobaptistically, one can simply deduce that God does at times, regenerate infants (as well as adults) at the baptismal font (if He so wills). Gievn what I have said, this is how we paedobaptists come to this conclusion.

    How do we know that infants are most likely regenerated and not converted?

    How are men converted?
    Men are called to believe-they need to have a belief in the God of the bible, of Christ and His redemptive work (though not in lofty terms), their sin and the idea that outside of Christ's mercy and grace they are sliding headlong into hell for eternity. They need to understand that God is 3 in 1-again. Again, not in lofty terms. Do all of these things need to be cognitively understood before a man is converted? Possibly. Much of this is mysterious.

    The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 1:17

    17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

    Men are saved by God's power alone. By grace alone. What is the difference between regeneration and conversion? Regeneration is not conversion and conversion is not regeneration!How are men converted? Conversion happens when the person ascends to certain truths of the bible. The knowledge does not save, mind you, but it is relevant. Without it, how could a man repent if he doesn't see his need or if man has faith, what is that faith in? The scriptures tell us, 'unless a man repent, he will likewise perish'. Luke 13:3 and 'He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.' John 3:18

    I have mentioned the terms assensus, fiducia and notia in an earlier post....they are instrumental.

    Hodge writes:

    and:

    I pray this helps....
     
  11. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    C. Matthew Mcmahon writes on the subject:

     
  12. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    David,
    Just grabbing one of your posts at random: are you advocating the position that all infants who die in the womb are automatically saved? That is an exceedingly un-confessional position. If all babies who die are saved, where is the doctrine of Original Sin? We might as well become Pelagians (horrors!). Is it not better to believe that our Heavenly Father, who is good, and ordains all things that come to pass, will have done rightly, even in the damnation of unborn infants? His thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways not our ways: we must only believe that He is good and righteous, even if we can't understand His councils.
    The Bible is clear: man is a sinner from conception, liable to the curse. God has nowhere guaranteed that unborn dead babies will be all saved. Therefore it is irresponsible to conclude that they are.
     
  13. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    More from C. Matthew McMahon:

     
  14. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Ben,
    Somewhere imbedded in this thread, one of my posts show the reformed view on the subject. The camp is split on the issue. If you peruse this thread, you can find my post w/ citations.
     
  15. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    God promises to save His elect among the seed of believers. He never promises to do it at baptism or birth or in the womb. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. This is the means He uses. It's as the child grows and comes to understand the gospel that God effects what He's promises to do. Or, sometimes much later (as in the case of Jacob).
     
  16. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    No, I asked "how do we know that there are regenerated, but not converted, infants? Of course, I believe that there are regenerated infants! Those dying in infancy are both regenerated and converted.

    I interpret the βρέφος in 2 Tim 3:15 to mean "young child," rather than "infant." There is lexical room for either. However, if you want to employ this verse to indicate a regenerate infant, then you are striking at the root of your own argument, because the text says that from the time Timothy was a (βρέφος), he has known [εἴδω - to know, perceive, discern] the holy scriptures. And you call this typical! So, do you or do you not think that infants can know the holy scriptures?

    Certainly God can - and perhaps - does regenerate (and convert) infants at the baptismal font. However, you go too far: "we paedobaptists" do not universally come to the same conclusion as you do. Some may; many do not.
     
  17. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Scott,
    It appears from the replies that your position is in the minority among the reformed. Certainly no reformed person I've ever interacted with would agree that all infants are saved if they die in the womb.
     
  18. 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.

    Ruben,
    I never actually told u my position, so I have no idea how u have come to your conclusion?
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  19. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    The point of this passage is the faithfulness of Timothy's grandmother and mother:

    From birth, this child was nurtured in the faith. The text supports what I state. He was most likely regenerated in the womb or thereafter and then taught the faith, diligently unto conversion.

    If you are confessional, you do....

    I'm surprised that you haven't once interacted w/ Hodge et. al. on the matter; are you reading the citations?

    I don't believe God 'converts' in the womb (generally) or at the rite of baptism, given what I have been saying over and over.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  20. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I generally believe God does convert when baptized, and we can only see the fruit of faith as a child grows and becomes a communicant member. :) Of course a close member of the family may see evidence of faith before a verbal profession of faith.
     
  21. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Earl,
    It seems u may be confusing regeneration w/ conversion. Not all children are regenerated at the font.

    Charnock, et. al writes:

    Make the distinction between the power to and habit and act.
     
  22. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    This is pure speculation to support your "gap theory."

    Patently false. There are many who are confessional who believe that regeneration and conversion occur as "spokes of a wheel" in the same chronological event. One needn't believe in your gap theory to be confessional. That is the only issue I am taking with your position: I reject the notion of a discernible, chronological gap between regeneration and conversion.

    I am just interacting with you - and still waiting for you to show biblical warrant (and not mere speculation) that there is a gap between regeneration and conversion. I am not interested (at this point) in what others have said for or against; I am trying to get you to prove your position from the text. (At any rate, just because Hodge said it, doesn't make it "gospel"!)

    For your part, you didn't interact with the text that says Timothy knew the holy scriptures as an infant/child. Doesn't that militate against your whole argument - that even if one is regenerated, he cannot be converted until he has the knowledge necessary for faith and repentance? The text demonstrates that Timothy did have that knowledge - and you called that account "typical."

    I don't think that God converts in the womb either (generally), but I think that is what happened in those extraordinary examples we see in scripture because they were obviously regenerated and I don't believe in the "gap." In the event that God regenerates someone at the baptismal font (for which the Confession allows but which it by no means necessitates), I would say that He also converts them there.
     
  23. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    You haven't interacted with any of the citations at all.....
    I did...read again.
     
  24. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    Scott, I really don't have the time to keep this up - you have your mind set. I think you're wrong. I think the majority of the Reformed world thinks you are wrong. I will step aside and let others interact with you as they see fit to do. May God continue to teach both of us (Ps 25:4-5).
     
  25. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Moderator Note:

    Brother,

    Rather than quote from a few (not "many" as you have asserted), why not just be plain spoken and inform us of your position in unambiguous terms? State it clearly and without equivocation so that we all may properly understand your starting position.

    My read of all your posts to date on the matter assumes this is what you are advocating:

    "Not all infants dying in infancy are elect. Those that are elect may be regenerated, a physical cause, which is in opposition to the moral act (per Mastricht, Theoretic o-practie a theologia, Il.l.vi, 52), yet the moral action that would give true faith (notia, assensus, fiducia), does not necessarily immediately accompany said physical cause of regeneration. In fact, this true faith may be separated from the action of regeneration by an extended period of time."​

    Have I accurately captured your position? Please provide a correction if needed.

    That we can find a position from the saints of the past that may align with our personal views is no warrant to claim that others have it all wrong or errantly understood. These men are not our regula fidei. At this site the starting point is the subordinate standard, one's Confessional basis, affirmed when joining.

    Until you can demonstrate that the subordinate standard in question gives room for your views, the discussion will not proceed effectively. Appealing to a few men that may hold to your views, while perhaps necessary, is certainly not sufficient. You have been responded to by numerous ordained servants concerning your position. You continue to challenge their views by appeals to the writings of a few that may or may not support your view. Rather than asserting that this is the position (yours), it would be better to frame the discussion around why or why not these men of old are accurate, being misinterpeted, or just plain wrong.
     
  26. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Patrick,
    To be accurate, my response to Ruben was specifically in regard to our conversation on the subject of whether or not 'all infants' dying in infancy were elect or some infants dying in infancy are elect; it is there that I said that I never said, 'what position I take on that subject'. So, having said that, it would seem as if you have misconstrued what he and I were talking about and my response. The main subject matter that I have been defending has been clear. But yea, your description is pretty accurate and have 'captured' it except for the opening remark-I am in the middle, depending on the conversation as to whether all infants are regenerated upon death or some of them are-I don't see this as a hill to die on.

    I believe I have been gracious with my argumentation. I don't believe I actually said anyone has it 'all wrong'.
    In regards to the standards, I believe I am within the bounds of them. Since they do not address the ordo per se, more thought needs to go into that on our own. As well, the doctrine is gotten to my good and necessary consequence. Given that many theologians use the terms, dependent upon the subject matter, interchangeably, it makes the job much more difficult-hence, you have what you have.

    You make mention of my citations yet, not one person has interacted with them.

    I am not intentionally being cantankerous or difficult. The webmaster, C. Matthew McMahon, his paper entitled, 'How Faith Works', supports what I say-I know you respect Matt.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  27. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi Scott,
    Just for clarity, I am not Ruben, though there is a paedobaptist (we all make mistakes) around here of that name, and we share a last name. But just so you know with whom you're interacting, I'm Ben Zartman, his older brother, and a Baptist.
    I appreciate all the time you're taking to clarify your position, thank you for taking it. I still disagree with almost all of it.
    Grace and peace to you.
     
  28. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Hi Ben,
    My bad, pal. :) Yea, I was caught up in a loop. I have your brother's name stuck in my head from all the years of interacting with him. Thats ok that u disagree. Thats not a first. LOL. For the record, in regards to whether all infants dying in infancy are elect or just a portion of them are, I am undecided. There is enough good argumentation on both sides of the fence. Thanks for the discussion.
     
  29. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I am advocating for the position that the Lord, through the Death of Jesus, has provided for the atonement for the sins of all of His elect in Christ, and that God Himself has chosen to elect to salvation all infants and those who were born mentally challenged. I would agree with the Confession that all elect are saved, but I am saying that God has chosen to elect all in such a state. They still have Original Sin and are born as sinners, but God Himself has chosen to redeem them all through the merits of the Cross of Christ.
     
  30. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    So all infants are elected to salvation, and then at some point in their future many of them are no longer elect to salvation but ordained to destruction? That seems to be a very shaky and costly view to uphold.
     
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