Spurgeon and infant salvation

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LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I've been doing some reading and came across Spurgeon making some comments a) against accusations towards Calvinists and b) on infant salvation. He states that he knows of few to no Calvinist that believes there are infants in hell...only the possibility of a "miscreant" "in some corner of the earth". "I say we hold that all infants are elect of God and are therefore saved". His reasoning is that scripture speaks little on the subject and that Christ said "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven".

Questions:
1) I can't believe it truthful that Spurgeon didn't know of any that taught or believed that infants might not be elect...as in there are those that are elect and those that aren't

2) how can he reconcile this with us being born in sin (unless he taught otherwise, which would lead to other heresies) with all infants being elect and saved.

3) if all infants are elect and saved, yet none can lose their salvation, then does the infant lose his salvation? when he reaches the unknown "age of accountability" spewed forth by the arminian baptists.

My point is that coming from an arminian baptist background, I remember believing this and looking back, it doesn't add up. And the first question just doesn't seem possible.

Spurgeon was Calvinistic, but how much was he really a Calvinist and is he considered Reformed? I'm just trying to understand the background of this preacher.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I assume he means not that all infants are saved, but all infants who die in infancy are saved. Hence, he says he knows "no Calvinist that believes there are infants in hell." Spurgeon identifies himself as a Calvinist, but I don't know if he called himself Reformed. His church used the 1689 London Baptist Confession though.

As far as how some defend universal salvation for infants who die in infancy in light of being born in sin, Al Mohler's exposition is typical. In a nutshell, he says that people will only go to hell for sins committed, not for Adam's sin and guilt imputed.
http://www.albertmohler.com/FidelitasRead.php?article=fidel036
 

No Longer A Libertine

Puritan Board Senior
Scripture is silent on this issue and so should we be, we trust God is merciful and just and He will do what He sees fit and glorifying, on the one hand election does give us confidence that infants can be saved since it is Christ's grip on them and the Holy Spirit regenerating their hearts and not some prayer or profession on their part that reconciles them to God.

If all infants were automatically saved we should be killing them like mad providing an instant ticket to heaven with no risk of them falling away, abortion would be merciful through that lense.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Colleen,

First of all, Spurgeon was an ardent Calvinist. This is not even debatable. Spurgeon wrote:

"The doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works..."

Quoting from Spurgeon.org:

In his work, "A Defence of Calvinism," he states unequivocally: [T]here is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation.

Colleen, in answer to your questions:

1) I can't believe it truthful that Spurgeon didn't know of any that taught or believed that infants might not be elect...as in there are those that are elect and those that aren't

Spurgeon is guilty of hyperbole. He was trying to paint those who believed that infants can die in their sins in a bad light.

2) how can he reconcile this with us being born in sin (unless he taught otherwise, which would lead to other heresies) with all infants being elect and saved.

Once again, hyperbole. Have you ever heard the military term, "Fire for effect!"? It means that troops on the ground are calling for an artillery strike just to size up the range to the enemy. That is what Spurgeon was doing. He was firing for effect.

3) if all infants are elect and saved, yet none can lose their salvation, then does the infant lose his salvation? when he reaches the unknown "age of accountability" spewed forth by the arminian baptists.

If an infant is elect, the infant is elect. The key word is "if." I know paedobaptist believe that a child is considered saved until such time as they prove themselves reprobate. Same thing with a person who makes a profession of faith and then lives in opposition to their profession. They never had faith to begin with. As far as infants, I leave that in the hands of God. Who can say whether a specific child was elect or not? I know many on the PB who would disagree with me on this. I have to leave the unknown in the hands of the Lord.

Oh..and lest I forget. When Jesus said:

Matthew 18:1-4 t that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

This passage is not teaching about children in heaven. Our Lord is dealing with the Apostles competition for rank in the kingdom of heaven.

:2cents:
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
In a nutshell, he says that people will only go to hell for sins committed, not for Adam's sin and guilt imputed.
I can't go along with this as it is because of Adam's sin and guilt imputed that we are worthy of nothing other than damnation outside of the blood of Christ.

Travis, I agree.

Bill, I crossposted with you...going back to read.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Thank you, Bill. That helps me to understand the gent much better. He does speak strongly against Arminians, over and over, and is wonderful on predestination. This was just so contradictory to the latter.
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
London Confession of Faith 1689

CHAPTER 10; OF EFFECTUAL CALLING ...



Paragraph 3. Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit;10 who works when, and where, and how He pleases;11 so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
10 John 3:3, 5, 6
11 John 3:8

If Spurgeon understood the issue in terms of the confession he is refering to Elect infants. Although he seems to be infering that all infants that die in infancy are elect. If that is the case then so are all who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word as well (mentaly handicapped etc). Personally I don't see how we can know one way or the other in these cases. We just have to rest in the fact that God's will is perfect and that He works all things together for the good of His elect.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Unfortunately, this has led to furthur "out of context" sermons, as I find them untruthful (sorry, hyperbole isn't absorbed by everyone :lol:) and is shown in how he took the Matthew passage way out of context. But again, it does help me to understand him more and to know what to look for...rather than sitting in shock :)
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Unfortunately, this has led to furthur "out of context" sermons, as I find them untruthful (sorry, hyperbole isn't absorbed by everyone :lol:) and is shown in how he took the Matthew passage way out of context. But again, it does help me to understand him more and to know what to look for...rather than sitting in shock :)


It is a bit frustrating. I love Spurgeon and find much of his work profitable in many ways but he certainly wasn't perfect. As are none of us.:2cents:
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
The other issue where this presents a problem for me is in using him as a discussion point with arminian baptist friends. They adore Spurgeon. Rice's book on Calvinism states that Spurgeon "had" to call himself a Calvinist "due to the Arminianism of his day" (uh, that would be because he wasn't an arminian? :rolleyes: ). But because of his hyperbole and that these are ppl, who like myself, will take a person at their word as it is spoken, he can't be used. Any other baptist preachers that are truely Calvinists, yet hailed by Arminian groups?

(oh, and it's hysterical that a local anabaptist group that I am fairly familiar with is REGULARLY quoting Calvinist/Reformed preachers...Ryle, Tozer, etc.)
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Donald, I do understand he wasn't perfect. This is why I ask questions though. Because I like to try to understand where the writer/speaker is coming from and what the context of their situation in history was.
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Donald, I do understand he wasn't perfect. This is why I ask questions though. Because I like to try to understand where the writer/speaker is coming from and what the context of their situation in history was.


I understand where you're comming from.

Just empathizing with how frustrating it can be that's all.

The typical Baptist position (at least the crowd I grew up in) was that all infants dying in infancy were saved. I never could quite square their arguments with what I read in Scripture though.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Any other baptist preachers that are truely Calvinists, yet hailed by Arminian groups?

John Piper is often praised by the semi-Pelagian Baptists (I believe that most non-Calvinistic Baptists are more semi-Pelagian than Arminian). John MacArthur, while not a Baptist per se, is basically a Baptist and we all know how much he is adored by many.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I understand where you're comming from.

Just empathizing with how frustrating it can be that's all.

The typical Baptist position (at least the crowd I grew up in) was that all infants dying in infancy were saved. I never could quite square their arguments with what I read in Scripture though.

Thank you for the empathy. I knew the members here would be able to understand where I was coming from. And yeah, that's the IFB position.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Piper would definately not go over well with the IFB. MacArthur is too "liberal" ;) I'm thinking more historically.
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Piper would definately not go over well with the IFB. MacArthur is too "liberal" ;) I'm thinking more historically.


JL Dagg and JP Boyce might go over pretty well. JC Philpot probably would. But most in the IFB have probably not heard of any of these folks.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
No, they wouldn't have heard of them...but it lends more historical proof where the baptists once stood ;)
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
There's always Dr John Gill.;)

He's been labeled (by most that have heard of him) as a hyper-Calvinist though.

Gill does get that label, but to be fair one needs to consider the theological environment of his time. Gill was an apologist against Arminianism and Romanism. Much of his writing and preaching was for the purity of the gospel. This reality influenced the tilt of his ministry.
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Gill does get that label, but to be fair one needs to consider the theological environment of his time. Gill was an apologist against Arminianism and Romanism. Much of his writing and preaching was for the purity of the gospel. This reality influenced the tilt of his ministry.


Very true. I wasn't slighting Gill. I enjoy his stuff greatly. I have his entire library on disc. Have to print stuff out to read it though, I have a hard time sitting in front of a monitor for as long as it takes for me to "digest" what I'm reading.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
John Bunyan for certain. I'll look into his writings more as I have a library of them downloaded.

Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism...Dr. Rice doesn't distinguish between the two. He uses the terms interchangably. To him, ALL Calvinists are Hyper-Cs.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
If all infants were automatically saved we should be killing them like mad providing an instant ticket to heaven with no risk of them falling away, abortion would be merciful through that lense.

[shiver!! ]

I think we all have a visceral reaction to the idea of killing infants, and the idea of God sending infants to hell. But the Bible doesn't tell us that infants are all saved, and it does say we are all born in sin. The necessary conclusion is that a reprobate (one not predestined to be saved) will go to hell when he dies no matter what his age. To say that all infants who die go to heaven takes some mental gymnastics and can not be deduced from the Word.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I can't go along with this as it is because of Adam's sin and guilt imputed that we are worthy of nothing other than damnation outside of the blood of Christ.

I have similar misgivings as well about that. Still, if we are to allow that any infants who die in infancy are saved, I think we have to allow for the possibility that all who die in infancy are saved. That is, unless we make a distinction among infants.

Any other baptist preachers that are truely Calvinists, yet hailed by Arminian groups?

William Carey, the "father of modern missions." Just about any Baptist who is known for evangelizing is adored and thought to be Arminian by Arminian groups because they can't, for the life of them, figure out how a Calvinist could be earnest in evangelism.
 
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