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Thread: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

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    A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    What is your typical response to a parent whose young child (Lets say 0-3 years old) dies? Do you give assurance that their child is saved and in heaven? If so, what basis do you have to give this assurance? Would your response be different if the parents were believers verses unbelievers? Please give some verses you would use to help the parent and support your views.



    I am interested in hearing your responses on this subject. I know there will be different responses from those who hold to covenant theology verse those who hold to another system. I am interested in those differences and how they are defended.

    Thanks,

    Forester

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    I have always been of the opinion that Scripture is largely silent on this matter. My response though, would be to simply say that all is in the hands of God. I know that would not be comforting, but it's about all we know for certain.

    For instance, we know that there were some Biblical examples of infants who were regenerated.
    1. John the Baptist

    Luk 1:13-16 But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son. And thou shalt call his name John. (14) And thou shalt have joy and gladness: and many shall rejoice in his nativity. (15) For he shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. (16) And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.

    verse 15 clearly shows that John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit while still in the womb.

    2. Jeremiah

    Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.

    the verse above is God talking to Jeremiah.


    On the other hand though, we also see that many are damned from birth:

    Psa 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.




    So, whether the parents are believers or not, makes no difference because we know in the end that God will do as he pleases with whom he pleases.



    Furthermore, while considering this topic in the past, a thought has occured to me. Why do we as humans seek to assign our vision of innocence (newborn) to what God would see as innocent. Should we really think that God would differentiate between an infant and an old man? We have every assurance in the Scriptures that all who are meant to be saved, will indeed be saved. Whom God chooses to save is up to God.

    If we differentiate between a newborn and an adult, then we imply that man has some sort of choice in the matter and that the newborn effectively never had that opportunity. This is flatly false.

    Joh 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
    Joh 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    Rom 9:15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
    Rom 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.




    I know that my answer would not be of comfort to many, but again, Scripture is largely silent on this matter, so I do not see how assurance can be given.

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    This surely is an interesting subject to ponder, but one that is basically impossible to be dogmatic about.

    The interesting thing to me is that Arminians are in a worse position here than Calvinists. According to free will, the sinner must make a decision for Christ. A newborn can obviously not do this. If one agrees with salvation through the sovereign work of God alone, one can conclude that even a fetus (as exampled by John the Baptist) may be saved at any time according to our Lord's pleasure.

    My wife and I have had two miscarriages - I like to think that the Lord saves abortions, miscarriages, and the like, but who am I to question the Lord's doing? Imagine if God's Word stated dogmatically that all children under some age were automatically heaven bound. How many more murdered children would we have on our hands?

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    We find throughout Scripture that God does not just save individuals, he saves families and the Damascus road experience of the Apostle Paul is not the common one. It is common for those raised outside of the church to have some type of conversion experience but for those within the church it is more common for God to save His people in infancy. There are certainly exceptions. However, although I was raised in generically evangelical environment and said the sinner's prayer when I was 5 because I was told that is what I should do, I cannot remember a time when I did not know the Lord and know a number of other people with the same experience. It is still the normal practice of God to save His people out of the line of generations (notice I did not say that He always does or even that most children born to believing parents are elect).

    Genesis 17:7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

    Acts 2:39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

    We do read in Scripture that when godly parents bring their children to Jesus to be blessed that of such is the kingdom of God.

    Luke 18:15-16 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.

    We also read that the children of a godly parent are holy:

    1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.

    Psalm 22:9 But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts.

    There is certainly always the carnal element within the covenant line so a person cannot declare dogmatically that all the children of believers who die in infancy are elect children of God. We can comfort godly people however and tell them that it is the normal practice of God to save His people out of the line of generations. When they get to heaven and don't see their children there, they will have a perfect understanding and glorify God.

    There is no precedence in Scripture for God saving the children of the ungodly.

    I find it interesting that so many otherwise soundly Calvinistic Baptists have such a hard time with the idea of God regenerating infants. They are so scard of getting anywhere close to anything that resembles infant baptism that they place a condition of cognitive ability upon salvation and make salvation a work.

    Most of the Arminian persuasion have downplayed original sin and teach the mythical age of accountability. If they were serious, the most effective evangelistic crusade they could go on would be to go around killing as many infants as they could. As a minister pointed out in a sermon I recently heard on regeneration the very fact that infants die shows that they are sinful and in need of regeneration like everyone else. If infants were truly without sin they would not die.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    I find it interesting that so many otherwise soundly Calvinistic Baptists have such a hard time with the idea of God regenerating infants. They are so scard of getting anywhere close to anything that resembles infant baptism that they place a condition of cognitive ability upon salvation and make salvation a work.
    My position on this issue concerning infants is that it is completely up to God. God can and does save infants. I would agree that we can't know if a infant who dies is saved or not. It is God's good pleasure and will to save whomever he chooses. I think it is unbibilical to say all infants no matter what who die in infancy are saved. However, I would also say that the only way we can know if anyone is save is by seeing the outward expression of faith the a regenerate person demonstrates. This means that if God chooses to save a person in infancy we as the church can not know this person is truly saved until they grow up and demonstrate and Faith in God. I don't have a problem with infant baptism or what baptist do (Baby Dedications), because salvation is up to God and nothing the man performs (infant baptism or baby dedications) can influence or affect this in either way. I think paedobaptist and credobaptist are on two oppisite sides and both taking there view to the extreme. For the Paedobaptist they want to emphasis the coventant community and show how families are the covenant unit and how God saves familes (Which he does). So infant baptism is the sign and seal of being part of the visable church and covenant communtiy. Credobaptist on the other hand are emphasising the fact that we can't know if someone is truely saved until faith is demonstrated in that person (whether there parents are believers or not). So there is some type of evidence needed for baptism. Thus why baptism is for believers alone.

    I have been wondering about something for some time now. In all these arguements about baptism there is always reference to what the early church did and how there not any record of a debate or schism about baptism. I wonder if it wasn't a issue with the early church about when baptism occured. Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is up to God and His mercy. Maybe it wasn't a issue then at all. Maybe the early church didn't care is someone was baptisted as a infant or later, just as long as they were baptized. What if it wasn't until much later that people started taking it to extreames of the paedobaptist and credobaptist positions. Just a thought.

    Forester.

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester07
    My position on this issue concerning infants is that it is completely up to God. God can and does save infants. I would agree that we can't know if a infant who dies is saved or not. It is God's good pleasure and will to save whomever he chooses. I think it is unbibilical to say all infants no matter what who die in infancy are saved. However, I would also say that the only way we can know if anyone is save is by seeing the outward expression of faith the a regenerate person demonstrates. This means that if God chooses to save a person in infancy we as the church can not know this person is truly saved until they grow up and demonstrate and Faith in God. I don't have a problem with infant baptism or what baptist do (Baby Dedications), because salvation is up to God and nothing the man performs (infant baptism or baby dedications) can influence or affect this in either way. I think paedobaptist and credobaptist are on two oppisite sides and both taking there view to the extreme. For the Paedobaptist they want to emphasis the coventant community and show how families are the covenant unit and how God saves familes (Which he does). So infant baptism is the sign and seal of being part of the visable church and covenant communtiy. Credobaptist on the other hand are emphasising the fact that we can't know if someone is truely saved until faith is demonstrated in that person (whether there parents are believers or not). So there is some type of evidence needed for baptism. Thus why baptism is for believers alone.

    I have been wondering about something for some time now. In all these arguements about baptism there is always reference to what the early church did and how there not any record of a debate or schism about baptism. I wonder if it wasn't a issue with the early church about when baptism occured. Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is up to God and His mercy. Maybe it wasn't a issue then at all. Maybe the early church didn't care is someone was baptisted as a infant or later, just as long as they were baptized. What if it wasn't until much later that people started taking it to extreames of the paedobaptist and credobaptist positions. Just a thought.

    Forester.
    This discussion is much different than when confessing reformed individuals discuss this. It usually revolves around this Canons of Dort confessional statement:

    Article 17. Since we are to judge of the will of God from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children, whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy.

    Most folks who confess this statement would not make the statements presented here. They would say that God saves each child. But that is not what the article states. This article is included in the same head that defines and confesses double predestination. It is a very presumptious statement to declare all children of believing parents who die in infancy are elect.

    Parents have no reason to doubt, because they infact are not the Creator and cannot make that predestinating judgment. God does. This is advocated here and I am happy it is, since it is Biblical truth.

    Baptising a child God blesses you with is serious business. It ought not be done out of superstition. Sadly this is the case. You only see folks in church to have the child baptised, that's it. The rest of the time they do not darken the door of the church. Utter blasphemy and hypocrisy.

    In the early church history I remember reading that Constantine put off baptism till his death bed, the thinking was that in doing this...... sins after baptism would not cancel out the baptism itself which is what he was frightened of. St. Augustin and the Roman church advocated absolute necessity of baptism or the unbaptised child is doomed to hell. The usual form of baptism in the early church was immersion. Sprinkling was done in the early church to those who were sick or dying. Limiting the Holy Spirit to the amount of water used is doctrinal bankruptcy.Tertullian advised delay of baptism as a measure of prudence, lest the baptised by sinning again might forever forfeit the benefit of this ordinance, but he does not deny the apostolic origin or right of early baptism.

    Every infant child my wife and I presented before God and the visible church for baptism was done out of a love for God. That is what baptism is , replacing circumcision as a sign of visible church membership. A love that means I obey what He commands me to do. That also meant for my wife and I that we would do our utmost to raise these children to His honor and glory. Never did I think "there , they are baptised, they are going to heaven now, let us sin that grace may abound" God forbid.

    I have always thought of credo baptism to be the same as confession of faith within reformed churches.
    Infant baptism is a sign that the child is part of the visible church. God commanded circumcision in the OT, replaced now with the command of baptism. Baptism does not mean that each child is predestined to eternal salvation each and every time. Credo baptists have to confess this as well(re: Simon Magnus). That the seal and promise of salvation is indeed given to the predestined elect child. That seal and promise of salvation is NOT given to the predestined reprobate child.
    The parents responsibility remains the same. To raise them all in the fear and admonishment of Jehovah God.

    I think that is crystal clear when blessed directly with a child to raise.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    That the seal and promise of salvation is indeed given to the predestined elect child.

    So what about the predestined elect souls still 'afar off'? Should they be given the sign of baptism if they are willing, to testify that God will save SOME who are 'afar off' in a future act of regeneration?
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    That the seal and promise of salvation is indeed given to the predestined elect child.

    So what about the predestined elect souls still 'afar off'? Should they be given the sign of baptism if they are willing, to testify that God will save SOME who are 'afar off' in a future act of regeneration?
    The "afar off" you refer to Bill. Is that those who are presently outside the visible church?
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Ray: The "afar off" you refer to Bill. Is that those who are presently outside the visible church?

    Ah, Ray, those who know me and have read my writings are quite familiar with the fact that I do not accept 'church' or 'visible church' as a valid translation of EKKLESIA!

    I am referring to those called 'afar off' in Acts 2:39: the FORGOTTEN people of Reformed Covenant Theology (which focuses only on 'your children' in the same verse as valid candidates for water sprinkling!).

    If it is valid to sprinkle infants as a sign that God saves his elect among them, it is absolutely valid to apply water to any adult that is willing to receive it--whether converted or not! I'm just applying the reasoning of those who teach a strict covenant identity between circumcision and water administration, Ray! It is not a pejorative question. If the reasoning of covenant baptism be true, I should stand on the street corner with a jar of water and offer the 'sign' or 'seal' (guarantee ???????????????????????????????????) of salvation to any who are willing to receive it--even those who like the infant seed of believers have not yet come to faith!

    As for my own beliefs, I agree with the Free Presbyterians that water administration is not a form of unity--since it is impossible to fully recover and know the apostolic practice beyond all doubt.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    Ray: The "afar off" you refer to Bill. Is that those who are presently outside the visible church?

    Ah, Ray, those who know me and have read my writings are quite familiar with the fact that I do not accept 'church' or 'visible church' as a valid translation of EKKLESIA!

    I am referring to those called 'afar off' in Acts 2:39: the FORGOTTEN people of Reformed Covenant Theology (which focuses only on 'your children' in the same verse as valid candidates for water sprinkling!).

    response: Bill while believing parents do focus on infant baptism as does the visible church to which they belong, there are indeed cases where an adult is baptised, case in point, my brother in law. Thus they are not forgotten, God forbid. He never was baptised, went to church when younger or growing up. Yet , when dating my younger sister, attended church, surrendered to Christ, endeavored to learn the reformed confessional truth and later was baptised and did confession of faith. Soon after he and my sister married. He in turn has baptised the two children they have been blessed with. Infant baptism as adult baptism are both done in the reformed church. The one for infants of believing parents of that visible church, the other to one who comes later in life to the reformed faith.


    If it is valid to sprinkle infants as a sign that God saves his elect among them, it is absolutely valid to apply water to any adult that is willing to receive it--whether converted or not! I'm just applying the reasoning of those who teach a strict covenant identity between circumcision and water administration, Ray! It is not a pejorative question. If the reasoning of covenant baptism be true, I should stand on the street corner with a jar of water and offer the 'sign' or 'seal' (guarantee ???????????????????????????????????) of salvation to any who are willing to receive it--even those who like the infant seed of believers have not yet come to faith!

    response: Bill , adults, strangers were circumcised in the OTwhen they came into fellowship with Israel. Abraham was circumcised as was his son. The command of God was that the children ought to be circumcised on the eighth day. This was the visible church of the OT, a particular people. Surely you do not think that I would advocate offering adult baptism to all I run into, including present day Edomites, Moabites or Amelikites. If they become part of the visible church...present day Israel, then they ought indeed be baptised. Also , reformed churches recognize the infant baptism of one who comes from the Roman Catholic church or other protestant churches and thus do not re baptise. We do not advocate bankrupt Donatism.

    As for my own beliefs, I agree with the Free Presbyterians that water administration is not a form of unity--since it is impossible to fully recover and know the apostolic practice beyond all doubt.

    response: Those are the confessional beliefs of the Free Presbyterian church, yet they are a visible church of Christ. That is not the view of the reformed churches, another visible church whether it be the PRC,Can reformed, RCUS,Free reformed, NRC, NHRC, URC, OCRC ....et al. Confessing the Three forms of Unity means you practice what you confess. It is not a smorgasboard in which you pick and choose those confessional beliefs you like and drop those you do not. I would expect the same of the Free Presbyterian church members. The visible church does not revolve around the member, but Christ their head.

    Since I still have no idea how to break up the quotes , I responded in red. Thanks Bill .
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Confessing the Three forms of Unity means you practice what you confess. It is not a smorgasboard in which you pick and choose those confessional beliefs you like and drop those you do not.

    I think this points out the great difference in our hermeneutics. It will be very hard for me or a lot of us here to see that this is not exalting the Heidelberg/Belgic/Dort to the level of scripture itself.

    The essential doctrines of gospel unity have to be exalted above forms like water administration; otherwise the gospel loses its distinctive place in revelation.

    On the 'afar off' stranger issue, I still cannot see a difference between these three 'principles':

    1. I baptize my infant as a sign that God saves some of the seed of believing parents.
    2. I baptize the infant of an unbelieving parent (who is willing to have his/her infant baptized) as a sign that God saves some of the seed of unbelieving parents.
    3. I baptize an adult unbeliever (from whatever 'afar off' race--it does not matter) who has a nominal respect for Christian externals and agrees to submit to the baptism--as a sign that God saves some of those who are 'afar off' and not currently in the kingdom of grace.

    To me these three are the same; I can see no difference whatsoever.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    Confessing the Three forms of Unity means you practice what you confess. It is not a smorgasboard in which you pick and choose those confessional beliefs you like and drop those you do not.

    I think this points out the great difference in our hermeneutics. It will be very hard for me or a lot of us here to see that this is not exalting the Heidelberg/Belgic/Dort to the level of scripture itself.

    I would be very careful in saying that Bill. The remonstrants said the same thing in advocating Arminianism in trying to change the confessions. In fact if you were to read the Belgic Confession which is part and parcel of the three forms of unity you would know I confess thus:
    Article 7: The sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, to be the only rule of faith.

    We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation, is sufficiently taught therein. For, since the whole manner of worship, which God requires of us, is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures: nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden, to add unto or take away anything from the word of God, it doth thereby evidently appear, that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects. Neither do we consider of equal value any writing of men, however holy these men may have been, with those divine Scriptures, nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God, for the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself. Therefore, we reject with all our hearts, whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule, which the apostles have taught us, saying, Try the spirits whether they are of God. Likewise, if there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house.

    So you would then have to determine Bill that the Three forms of Unity "teach otherwise" than what we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures. Not only that, you would also have to determine where I have exalted the reformed confession above Scripture.


    The essential doctrines of gospel unity have to be exalted above forms like water administration; otherwise the gospel loses its distinctive place in revelation.

    The thread is discussing infants who die in infancy. A topic which the Three forms of Unity speak to directly. Again you would have to show where the Three forms of Unity do not exalt the essential doctrines of the Gospel.


    On the 'afar off' stranger issue, I still cannot see a difference between these three 'principles':

    1. I baptize my infant as a sign that God saves some of the seed of believing parents.
    2. I baptize the infant of an unbelieving parent (who is willing to have his/her infant baptized) as a sign that God saves some of the seed of unbelieving parents.
    3. I baptize an adult unbeliever (from whatever 'afar off' race--it does not matter) who has a nominal respect for Christian externals and agrees to submit to the baptism--as a sign that God saves some of those who are 'afar off' and not currently in the kingdom of grace.

    To me these three are the same; I can see no difference whatsoever.
    Why would the unbelieving parent or adult unbeliever want to baptise or be baptised if they do not believe in the first place? They would not even darken the door of the church if that was the case. That is to overlook the importance of the local reformed visible church and her calling to do all things decently and in good order. We do not baptise all universally as you have laid it out above. Parents must first believe, and adults must first believe. How are they to believe unless the gospel is peached to them? That is the difference between 1 and 2/3.

    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    The language in Acts is just far too similar to the language in Genesis to be ignored. The difference is a greater inclusion in the Acts passage from that in Genesis. "Those who are afar off" are added to the promise of the believer's and their seed--there is nothing to suggest a greater exclusion and that was always the intent of the original promise as well but the Jews did a rather poor job of carrying it out. We find people here and there from "afar off" who were brought into the line of the covenant under the old dispensation but by and large they were not. Those who were born in the covenant line were considered to be a part of the church in the old dispensation and I see nothing in Scripture to suggest that they no longer are under the new dispensation. If such a radical change did take place it would seem that some mention of it would be made in the Scriptures and that most likely Paul would be railing against some who refused to accept this change. Also, the promise to Abraham is said to be an everlasting covenant in Genesis.

    Genesis 17:7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    I would be very careful in saying that Bill. The remonstrants said the same thing in advocating Arminianism in trying to change the confessions. In fact if you were to read the Belgic Confession which is part and parcel of the three forms of unity you would know I confess thus:
    Article 7: The sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, to be the only rule of faith.
    With all due respect, Ray, I will not apologize or be careful for defending a 'smorgasboard' hermeneutic of "prove all things." A confession for me simply does not mean the same thing as it does for Continental Reformed or Presbyterians. I cannot in conscience place these other issues on the same level of confessional certainty as the Trinity, Deity of Christ, and the 5solas of the Reformation.

    So you would then have to determine Bill that the Three forms of Unity "teach otherwise" than what we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures.

    No, I don't have to determine that because scripture+the confessional tradition is in no way my baseline of truth. Every sect claims that men are obligated to refute their confessional basis. But my hermeneutic is not:

    "I search the Bible to prove that my confessional basis is true"

    but rather

    "I form a confessional basis from the Bible to judge all human confessions."

    Of course, the MAJOR doctrines taught in the 5solas are tested and proved historically by the leading of the Holy Spirit in applying scripture. I do not claim to be un-influenced by the leading and teaching of past men of God. But the divisions on these other issues, for me, are evidence that the Holy Spirit has not fully led in the conclusions reached (due to the lack of a solid biblical basis).

    Not only that, you would also have to determine where I have exalted the reformed confession above Scripture.

    I have not claimed that you exalt it above scripture; you claim that it is a basis of judging correct doctrine on these matters and I dispute that.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The language in Acts is just far too similar to the language in Genesis to be ignored. The difference is a greater inclusion in the Acts passage from that in Genesis. "Those who are afar off" are added to the promise of the believer's and their seed--there is nothing to suggest a greater exclusion and that was always the intent of the original promise as well but the Jews did a rather poor job of carrying it out. We find people here and there from "afar off" who were brought into the line of the covenant under the old dispensation but by and large they were not. Those who were born in the covenant line were considered to be a part of the church in the old dispensation and I see nothing in Scripture to suggest that they no longer are under the new dispensation. If such a radical change did take place it would seem that some mention of it would be made in the Scriptures and that most likely Paul would be railing against some who refused to accept this change. Also, the promise to Abraham is said to be an everlasting covenant in Genesis.

    Genesis 17:7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
    Wildboar,

    Who are the descendants mentioned in Genesis 17:7? Would you say that they are Abramhams physical descendants or Abramhams spiritual ones?

    If you say physical then how are non jews included in this covenant? If you say spritual then how does being a physical descendant to a believer bring you into the covenant since is it by faith?

    How do you read Galatians 3:7 "Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham." I would say that most of physical Israel in the old testament were unbelievers and are going to hell. Most of the old testament jews never had faith given by God. What are your view concerning Israel?

    Also how do you understand Romans 9:6-13

    But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son." And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

    I just find in interesting that by covenant theology both Ishmael and Esau were covenant children and both given the sign of the covenant (Circumsion). Both were descendants of Abramham just like their brothers (Isaac and Jacob respectively). However, God chose Isaac instead of Ishmael and Jacob instead of Esau. God even hated Esau but chose his twin. They were denied covenant membership (and salvation as far as I can tell. Hated is a strong word) even though they had the sign.

    Also I think paul did mention a radical change. Most jews thought that they were God's chosen people but Paul shows how that without faith physical lineage is worthless. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying that God changed from old testament to new...I'm just saying that to the jews it would seem like a change. That is why I think most old testament jews were unregenerate.

    I understand the reformed concept of the visable/invisable church, and how that the covenant community is a mixture of regenerate and unregenerate (Which explains why padeobaptism is allowed). However, I don't see this concept being demonstrated from the bible unless you get if from old testament israel. Would you say that physical israel is the Church?

    I guess the big question I have is this. What is the point of infant baptism? What does it do? What effect does it have? I know it is supposed to be a sign and seal of the new covenant but if it is not known if the infant is saved and elected by God then what good is it?


    That's all I have time to write for now. I'm interested in your response.

    Forester

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester
    Who are the descendants mentioned in Genesis 17:7? Would you say that they are Abramhams physical descendants or Abramhams spiritual ones?

    If you say physical then how are non jews included in this covenant? If you say spritual then how does being a physical descendant to a believer bring you into the covenant since is it by faith?
    These are very good questions. The descendants in Genesis 17:7 are spiritual descendants but they ordinarily come from the physical line.

    Genesis 17:13 "He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

    The covenant in the flesh was an everlasting covenant.

    Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Those Gentiles who belong to Christ are grafted into the vine and become Abraham's seed and become heirs of the promise given to Abraham. Part of that promise is to save the offspring of Abraham. We become Abraham's offspring and our offspring becomes Abraham's offspring--not head for head but in an organic sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester
    How do you read Galatians 3:7 "Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham." I would say that most of physical Israel in the old testament were unbelievers and are going to hell. Most of the old testament jews never had faith given by God. What are your view concerning Israel?
    I agree with you, the majority of the physical seed were not the spiritual seed. But due to the promise given the physical seed was regarded as members of the church until they made it clear that they were not. The Jews considered head for head could certainly not be considered God's chosen people, but considered organically they most certainly were. There was always a faithful remnant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester
    I just find in interesting that by covenant theology both Ishmael and Esau were covenant children and both given the sign of the covenant (Circumsion). Both were descendants of Abramham just like their brothers (Isaac and Jacob respectively). However, God chose Isaac instead of Ishmael and Jacob instead of Esau. God even hated Esau but chose his twin. They were denied covenant membership (and salvation as far as I can tell. Hated is a strong word) even though they had the sign.
    Esau received the sign of the covenant and existed within the sphere of the visible manifestation of the covenant but God did not establish his covenant with him and so it goes throughout history and continues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester
    Also I think paul did mention a radical change. Most jews thought that they were God's chosen people but Paul shows how that without faith physical lineage is worthless. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying that God changed from old testament to new...I'm just saying that to the jews it would seem like a change. That is why I think most old testament jews were unregenerate.
    Paul showed the greater misunderstanding among the Jews in regards to the covenant but his examples were from the Old Testament itself so it cannot be viewed as an actual change in regards to the administration of the covenant as it pertains to the seed of believers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester
    I understand the reformed concept of the visable/invisable church, and how that the covenant community is a mixture of regenerate and unregenerate (Which explains why padeobaptism is allowed). However, I don't see this concept being demonstrated from the bible unless you get if from old testament israel. Would you say that physical israel is the Church?
    Israel was the church of the old dispensation. Those who sought to worship the true God joined themselves to her. The LXX uses the Greek word ekklesia which is translated as church in the NT and Acts 2:38 uses the term as well to speak of Israel.

    Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

    National Israel is certainly no longer the church. At the crucifixion they began to fade away as the church and in AD 70 they ceased to be the church altogether.

    Matthew 13:24-30 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 "But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 "So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' 28 "He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' 29 "But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." ' "

    The kingdom of heaven is outwardly manifested in the church and the visible/invisible distinction is necessary to make sense of many of the parables of Jesus. If there are no tares in the kingdom then the parable becomes meaningless.

    Matthew 13:36-42 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    It is also the only way to explain many of the letter to the Hebrews.

    Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

    If these people fell away and were "partakers of the Holy Spirit" they had to have been hypocrites in the visible church but never truly members of the church invisible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester
    I guess the big question I have is this. What is the point of infant baptism? What does it do? What effect does it have? I know it is supposed to be a sign and seal of the new covenant but if it is not known if the infant is saved and elected by God then what good is it?
    These are the questions that are ultimately asked of every baptist that I have this discussion with. The problem with these objections is that they would also have to be brought against the administration of circumcision under the old dispensation. Baptism is a sign of the covenant but God does not establish his covenant with every child who receives water baptism. It does not regenerate but gives a visible picture of the truth of regeneration. When the true believer sees how horrible his sins really are and doubts and wonders if God could really save such a horrible person as him he can look to his baptism and know that just as certainly as water washes off the dirt from our bodies, the blood of Christ washes away our sin.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    With all due respect, Ray, I will not apologize or be careful for defending a 'smorgasboard' hermeneutic of "prove all things." A confession for me simply does not mean the same thing as it does for Continental Reformed or Presbyterians. I cannot in conscience place these other issues on the same level of confessional certainty as the Trinity, Deity of Christ, and the 5solas of the Reformation.
    PUBLIC CONFESSION OF FAITH

    (Before or after the sermon, the minister requests those who intend to make public confession of their faith to arise and to reply to the following questions


    1. Do you acknowledge the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testaments and in the Articles of the Christian faith and taught here in this Christian Church to be the true and complete doctrine of salvation?
    2. Have you resolved by the grace of God to adhere to this doctrine; to reject all heresies repugnant thereto and to lead a new, godly life?
    3. Will you submit to church government, and in case you should be delinquent (which may God graciously forbid) to church discipline?
    Answer. Yes.

    This is what is required of me Bill, and I wholeheartedly confess it to be so.


    No, I don't have to determine that because scripture+the confessional tradition is in no way my baseline of truth. Every sect claims that men are obligated to refute their confessional basis. But my hermeneutic is not:


    The reformed confessional truth is just that ..... a confession. Wrought out by reformers of old to help teach, refute error, and serve as a basis of truth. That is why I cannot confess the council of Trent.


    "I search the Bible to prove that my confessional basis is true"

    but rather

    "I form a confessional basis from the Bible to judge all human confessions."

    Of course, the MAJOR doctrines taught in the 5solas are tested and proved historically by the leading of the Holy Spirit in applying scripture. I do not claim to be un-influenced by the leading and teaching of past men of God. But the divisions on these other issues, for me, are evidence that the Holy Spirit has not fully led in the conclusions reached (due to the lack of a solid biblical basis).
    That is true within the so called reformed churches as well. They have the Three forms of Unity as their confessional base, but it has become a dead letter to them. Some have even gone as far as to refute the 5 solas and yet call themselves reformed. So where do we draw the line? What would be the use then in refuting those who are called reformed , yet they rail against the very confession they piously say they adhere to? That was the whole crux of the matter with the remonstrants.





    I have not claimed that you exalt it above scripture; you claim that it is a basis of judging correct doctrine on these matters and I dispute that.
    Then what would be the grounds then for the reformers who refuted the remonstrants? There has to be some basis. Both sides are stating their view is in harmony with Scripture. In the meantime , the churches are rocked with disunity. The heretics continue to spew their false doctrine , yet appeal that they wholeheartedly confess the reformed faith.

    What I am trying to say Bill is that in reading the accounts of church history prior to the synod of Dort, it was downright pathetic the tactics used by the remonstrant ministers to push their agenda. They were given the benefit of the doubt. The cried and piously asked for tolerance , yet when they became powerful enough how intolerant they were! Such a storm within the reformed churches of Holland that a synod which time and again was stalled by the remonstrants took place to settle the matter. In the end , a judgment needed to be made. One by the grace of God I am thankful for and learn from.

    This is not meant to rail against you Bill. I am just sick and tired and saddened of the same things happening again and again in the reformed churches, by those who piously confess the three forms of Unity , yet reject the truth taught therein. The hope is there to join with the CRC mother church. Luther maybe hoped this with the Roman Catholic church. God determines it to be not so in both of their continued clear rejection of His truth.

    I am reminded much of Elijah here. What a mighty show on the mount of God's power between the alter of Baal, the the alter of God. You could not get it any clearer than that.Elijah even mocks the priests, maybe Baal is asleep. Then God's turn, what a wonder. The Baal priests are slain, the people worship God or so it would seem. In a very short time, Elijah must flee because they are out to to kill him. He says it is enough, let me die, there are none that serve thee Lord.
    So I have to remember to , that their are 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal and be content with His truth for us as well.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Wildboar,

    Thanks for your responses. It has given me some stuff to study and think about.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wildboar
    The kingdom of heaven is outwardly manifested in the church and the visible/invisible distinction is necessary to make sense of many of the parables of Jesus. If there are no tares in the kingdom then the parable becomes meaningless.
    Maybe you missed it but when Jesus explains the meaning of the parable the field is the world not the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 13:38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one." It says the sons are of the kingdom but it doesn't say the tares are of the kingdom but just that they are of the wicked one. I would interpret this as christains and non-christians in a entire world context not just a church context of true believers and unbelievers. How do you get your interpretation?


    Quote Originally Posted by Wildboar
    If these people fell away and were "partakers of the Holy Spirit" they had to have been hypocrites in the visible church but never truly members of the church invisible.
    Hebrews 6:4-8 has always been a very hard passage for me to completely understand. My pastor has a sermon on this passage which is very good. I think you will agree with his view and reasoning. Here is the link. http://www.fcfonline.org/site/conten...ns/041804M.pdf
    If you have the time i'd like to know what you think of the sermon.


    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    These are the questions that are ultimately asked of every baptist that I have this discussion with. The problem with these objections is that they would also have to be brought against the administration of circumcision under the old dispensation. Baptism is a sign of the covenant but God does not establish his covenant with every child who receives water baptism. It does not regenerate but gives a visible picture of the truth of regeneration. When the true believer sees how horrible his sins really are and doubts and wonders if God could really save such a horrible person as him he can look to his baptism and know that just as certainly as water washes off the dirt from our bodies, the blood of Christ washes away our sin.
    Point taken.....

    Thanks for the dialogue

    forester

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    Quote Originally Posted by forrester
    Maybe you missed it but when Jesus explains the meaning of the parable the field is the world not the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 13:38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one." It says the sons are of the kingdom but it doesn't say the tares are of the kingdom but just that they are of the wicked one. I would interpret this as christains and non-christians in a entire world context not just a church context of true believers and unbelievers.
    Verse 41 specifically states that things which offend are being removed from the kingdom at the end of the world. Also the entire parable is said to show what the kingdom of heaven is like.

    Matthew 13:24-25 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

    The kingdom of heaven is certainly in the world and the world has its affect upon the kingdom of heaven. Carnal seed grows up among the children of God. I'll try to get to the sermon within the next week or so.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A question about the salvation of Infant who die

    I read the article and I agree with most of what was said. I'm not sure that the purpose of the passage though is a call to self-examination. I think that the passage is speaking of the same thing as when Jesus speaks of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    Mark 3:28-30 Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 "but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation" -- 30 because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."

    We also read of hypocrites in the NT church in the following passages:

    Romans 11:17-22 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

    1 Timothy 1:18-20 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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