"I think all children who die in infancy are elect and will be, through Jesus Christ, saved."

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

Quote:
I think babies and imbeciles—that is, those with profound mental disabilities—don't have access to the knowledge that they will be called to account for. Therefore, somehow in some way, God, through Christ, covers these people.
Somehow in some way? Right John and that way is called The Advocacy of Christ who is (that is Christ) automatically assigned by the court of heaven, by virtue of his office, the role of Advocate to all those who cannot choose for themselves. But then this would mess up your doctrine election eh John? Better just leave it with "somehow in some way" without you having to explain it beyond that :).

Matthew Richards's picture

it doesn't mess up the doctrine of election at all.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
The Advocacy of Christ who is (that is Christ) automatically assigned by the court of heaven, by virtue of his office, the role of Advocate to all those who cannot choose for themselves.
I don't recall this in the Bible. You gotta a verse for it?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Larry wrote:
Quote:
The Advocacy of Christ who is (that is Christ) automatically assigned by the court of heaven, by virtue of his office, the role of Advocate to all those who cannot choose for themselves.
I don't recall this in the Bible. You gotta a verse for it?

Your very brief response can easily give the impression that you might be of the erring persuasion that biblical propositions and conclusions stem strictly from direct and elementary statements only and are not derived by means of the full spectrum of theological exercise.

From what I recall in the past regarding your theological disposition I am not under the impression you are at this kind of early stage in your handling of Scripture, hence I am not led to believe your question is asking for a direct statement as such to satisfy your inquiry, rather you are asking from what source in the Scriptures is the Advocacy of Christ addressed.

But, instead of assuming anything and since I am not completely sure what you are asking, I will ask the following questions to understand where you are in your theological development and the intent of your question, hence aiding me in guiding you in a way that maximizes your benefit.

1. Do you believe and/or demand that all theological propositions or conclusions stem strictly from direct statements in the Bible and is this what you are asking for, that is a direct statement declaring this?

2. Do you recognize and accept that the process of theological discovery and establishment is not limited to direct statetments only but also involves the necessary elements of observation, implication, comparison, categorization, deduction and so on and because you believe this to be true are you asking from what source(s) in Scriptures this is derived?

If your answer to the first question is, yes, then I cannot be of any help to you since I do not believe all theological propositions or conclusions stem only from direct statements and such a conflict would in our views would most likely debilitate any further discussion.

If your answer to the first question is no and your answer to the second question is yes, then I can proceed and lead you to the source in Scripture where the Advocacy of Christ is demonstrated and we can pursue a further discussion regarding its full consideration.

Ed Vasicek's picture

This is a complicated subject with a number of verses that can bear on it.

I suggest that those of us who postulate that babies and imbeciles "go to heaven" when they die might want to use a term other than "saved." I prefer to suggest that they might not be held accountable. In others words, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Faith is the agency through which God saves us (although I am among those who believe regeneration precedes faith). Not being held accountable could be another, but there is no direct statement that bears on this. Here are a few verses for the mix:

Romans 7:9 which might refer to Paul's bar mitzvah

Quote:
I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;

I Cor. 7:14 which might refer to being "safe" if a child is a child of at least one believing parent:

Quote:
For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

And then there are those verses we usually think about with David when his baby died, and "I will go to be with him..."

"The Midrash Detective"

Larry's picture

Moderator

Alex, I think you are way overthinking this. My point is that the argument you made is not made in Scripture, and certainly not in this flowerly language that you use. (Even your questions are verbose. Simple language is always better.)

Christ is never said to be the advocate for those who cannot choose him. In fact, aside from some veiled references (I think two of Ed's are not related to this topic), the argument about children/incompetents and eternal destiny is a theological construct. I believe infants and incompetents go to heaven. But that is not because the Bible says that the court of heaven assigned anything. But because of the theological constructs of it.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

The most immediate and pronounced problem I see with attempting to re-position the context or case of infants and any other person's volitionally incapable to one of not being accountable and not necessarily one that needs to be saved is that it conflicts directly or rather implicitly with some very basic tenets of soteriology.

First, if one is born in sin they need saved from the judgment of that condition and that is precisely the condition of all humans ever born, save Christ the Redeemer. They are born dead in their sins and subject to the judgment. To remove them from the status of one that must be and can be saved from this judgment removes them from the necessary adjudication in and through Christ by which all are made righteous.

While it is true they are not accountable...it is a misunderstanding to use this term in connection with their sinful state. Infants and those not volitionally incapable (referred to in shorthand as imbeciles) are quite accountable for their sinful state, so accountable that Christ died for their sins and provided the means, by his life, death and resurrection, for their salvation.

What they are not accountable for is the exercise of their volition. And so if one says they are not accountable for the exercise of their volition, they are right but if they stop there and imagine this is a sufficient place to end the context of how they are made or declare righteous they err greatly.

Though they are unable to exercise their volition and be saved, they still must have a Savior, they must be redeemed, they must be saved. Hence, removing them from the context of those that need to be saved is removing them from the declaration we commonly hold to in our soteriological expressions.

Which leads us back to why they are able to be saved since they cannot (unlike us who can or have) exercise their volition toward the gospel.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Larry wrote:
Alex, I think you are way overthinking this. My point is that the argument you made is not made in Scripture, and certainly not in this flowerly language that you use. (Even your questions are verbose. Simple language is always better.)

Christ is never said to be the advocate for those who cannot choose him. In fact, aside from some veiled references (I think two of Ed's are not related to this topic), the argument about children/incompetents and eternal destiny is a theological construct. I believe infants and incompetents go to heaven. But that is not because the Bible says that the court of heaven assigned anything. But because of the theological constructs of it.

I realize that you have your set of beliefs but your question to me wasn't about your beliefs, it was about mine.

Now, you asked me a question to which I have sought clarity and if you are sincere in your question to me and wish me to provide you with an answer I happily will, but before we can proceeed I will still need you to answer my two questions so I may know how to answer you. However, if you really aren't interested and the question wasn't sincere, just let me know and I will take into account that you sometimes post questions that you really aren't interested in being answered, which is fine, but it helps to know whether you really want it answered or not.

And in the case that you aren't interested and someone else reading this is interested, I am more than glad to provide amplification.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
I realize that you have your set of beliefs but your question to me wasn't about your beliefs, it was about mine.
My point was that I don't think we disagree on the outcome.

Quote:
Now, you asked me a question to which I have sought clarity and if you are sincere in your question to me and wish me to provide you with an answer I happily will, but before we can proceeed I will still need you to answer my two questions so I may know how to answer you. However, if you really aren't interested and the question wasn't sincere, just let me know and I will take into account that you sometimes post questions that you really aren't interested in being answered, which is fine, but it helps to know whether you really want it answered or not.
I think the question was pretty self-explanatory. I am fairly familiar with Bible study and the difference between types of proof and types of arguments for issues. Trust me when I say the answer to either of those two questions has nothing to do with this. And I generally don't post questions I am not interested in answers for, so again I think it was pretty self-explanatory.

You made a very specific statement about this subject using language that does not seem even biblical under either of your two questions. So my question stands.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Larry wrote:
I think the question was pretty self-explanatory.
If you ask someone a question and they are not clear regarding your intent and they seek further clarity, it is never a good policy regarding the process of discovery to tell them it is "self-explanatory". Whether it is clear to you isn't what is at issue, what is at issue is the need of the person answering the question, which you asked, for more relevant information. I encourage you to find value in this Larry, otherwise you will damage your opportunity for discovery if you lean heavily upon these kinds of insistences instead of simply providing the information.

Larry wrote:
I am fairly familiar with Bible study and the difference between types of proof and types of arguments for issues. Trust me when I say the answer to either of those two questions has nothing to do with this. And I generally don't post questions I am not interested in answers for, so again I think it was pretty self-explanatory.

You made a very specific statement about this subject using language that does not seem even biblical under either of your two questions. So my question stands.

I am aware the question still stands and this is not in debate but your reassertion of it bolsters my confidence that you appear sincere in seeking an answer. I appreciate that. So I will take it as an affirmation that you reject the belief that theolgoical propositions and conclusions are only derived from direct statements.

However, do let me encourage you as well, here, that if someone asks you questions in answering pursing your inquiry to them, telling them what is and is not relevant to the process of their response (such as my two questions) is to assume you already know the answer which here, you do not. It is very important to recognize and respect the process and need of others in their asking for clarity so they may respond instead of telling them how to respond.

It is much like a student asking a teacher a question and then going about telling the teacher how he or she should answer all the while the student is quite uninformed regarding information the teacher is about to provide. This kind of presumption, again, while deny you the valuable nuggets gained during the discovery process. I know you are passionate about your dogma here but if I need clarity on a matter before continuing, though you may not understand at the moment why, please assist me or just let me know you are not interested in cooperating with the process and we can end the discussion. And please understand, in no way am I offended, I recognize people's right to their views and values but if our views and values regarding the process are not similar enough then it will make effective discussion and discovery unlikely and that really isn't the wisest investment of effort.

Now as to the Advocacy of Christ. I am working on a complete post this weekend instead of a brief summary which I believe, here, will only frustrate readers with incomplete considerations. By Monday I anticapte a full delivery.

In the meantime, the main passage in focus (but not exlcusively) will be 1 John 2:1-2.

Ed Vasicek's picture

I think we need to perhaps look at it this way (those of use who believe in unlimited atonement, anyway):

1. Christ died for everyone's sin, providing objective salvation for all mankind.
2. The death of Christ is made effective for those who believe (the subjective element is necessary for salvation to become effective)
3. The Scriptures do not seem to address those who are incapable of believing
4. The death of Christ could be made effective for them in some way that is not revealed in Scripture, or it may not. If it is made made effective because of non-accountability, anyone cleansed from sin is still cleansed by the work of Christ on Calvary.

The verses I cited that are not deemed relevant well might be. The Romans 7:9 verse suggests being alive without being under the Law. Since the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the Law (I Cor. 15:51-58), if you are not under the law the whole power of death unravels.

In I Corinthians, Paul spends much time answering questions sent him by the Corinthians. Unlike our teachers who taught us to state the question first and then answer, Paul does not do this. He uses the broad term "now concerning" or "concerning what you wrote." It could be that the I Cor. 7:14 verse was in response to a question about this very subject. If so (and this is merely being postulated), then a young child who has one believing parent (or more) is seen by God as an extension of that parent and therefore "safe." There is no reason why this verse could not be interpreted this way, but neither is there a reason why it must.

"The Midrash Detective"

Anne Sokol's picture

i asked this question here about a year ago when I was co-leading a post abortion bible study, and i think it was charlie who directed me to john macarthers work on the subject. [URL=http://put_url_here ]http://www.ondoctrine.com/2mac0142.htm[/URL ] it answered my questions quite satisfactorily and i recommend it.

MacArthur wrote:
And these are, as I said, eternal souls! The question about "Where are they?" then is of monumental significance: they're either populating hell at an incredible rate or they're populating heaven at an equally incredible rate or getting divided into heaven and hell. This is a question that needs to be answered. It needs to be answered on the large scale and it needs to be answered on the individual scale. A parent has the right to know! "Where is my baby? Where is my child? Where is that adult child of mine whose mind never developed and who for all intents and purposes mentally is still an infant?" The death of one single baby in a family--the loss of one in the womb, the loss of a child at birth--is significant.