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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Infants Dying in Infancy

Since we are to treat as Christians all those born into households that profess the true religion, then we are to consider such ones who die in infancy as dying in Christ.

If the parents of such a child are weak in the Lord yet credible Christians, then I believe we are to speak as if the child is in glory due to the child's position in the visible church. Our confidence would of course be diminished to some degree as compared to our expectations for the offspring of faithful parents who lose children in infancy.

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Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

It was asked of me on a message board:

"I tried to post the following on your blog, but I was having some trouble so I put it here:

The more I have thought about the issue of God's dealings with His people, it seems to me that, given the natural affection parents have for their children, it would seem out of place for God to reject the children of His adopted children as a normative rule. In other words, one can imagine why God might, for some unknowable reason choose to damn a child of faithful believers in order to reveal His glory in some way, but it seems more typical of His character to trust that the grace He extends to His bride would also be extended to the "fruit" of that bride in their procreation (was this not one of the first commands of dominion after all?).

Is this line of thinking sound?"

To which I replied:

I wouldn’t base God’s dealings with his covenant children on the natural affection of parents because in fallen Adam, all men everywhere have natural affection. Natural affection at base is an affection that is self-centered and condemned before God. It’s worthy of death in other words. What man needs is a recreated affection whereby he can love his children with godly supernatural-affection through which God can be pleased. I do believe I understand your point though.

Because God hasn’t revealed the reason why he takes children in infancy, I feel constrained to assume (due to lack of Scriptural revelation) that the same percentage of infants, born of faithful parents, who die in infancy will be in heaven as the percentage of infants who grow to full maturity that are also born of faithful parents. I certainly have more hope for the children of Reformed paedobaptists than I do for the children of true believers in the Roman Catholic Church who expose their children to false doctrine and corrupted sacraments.

My thoughts on my blog and here have not addressed your question of what is normative with respect to the set of all true believers; so please don’t think I disagree with your conclusion. I don’t think your conclusion is inferable but it could be correct just the same. My points (at least on my blog) are two-fold. 1) We are to treat infants born of believers as Christians. 2) We can have greater hope for the children of faithful parents than those who are not as serious about their Christian life and covenant nurturing. (Whether the children live to full maturity is, I believe, of no consequence to the outcome of their destiny.) What you are calling “normative” needs to be fleshed out a bit since you are grouping all believing parents into one set of believing parents, which goes beyond the scope of what I entertained. In point #2, I was concerned with comparing the eternal destiny of children born of faithful parents to those born of less faithful parents.

In addressing your concerns, I would like to think that it is normative that most true believing parents are training their children in the Lord and that God will give increase but I really don’t feel equipped to speculate on that point. Family lines eventually get grafted out of the vine of election. Are most Christian parents living today about to have their lineage pruned? I don’t know but it would seem that you are prepared to answer “yes” to that question. I am prepared to say that I think believing Catholics, Methodists and Charismatics run greater risks than Reformed paedobaptists of losing to the devil their next generation. I am not prepared to answer whether there are more nominal true believers than not. Are most TBN folk saved and nurturing their covenant children?

Make sense?


Joshua said...

Hey Ron,

I don't know how busy you are or if you are checking here much, but do you happen to have any comments on the Federal Vision "controversy" that has been going on?

I find myself very confused about what exactly it is advocating. I come across critiques only to find that FVist and sympathizers claim that these are mischaracterizations or misunderstandings.

Do you have anything insightful to offer on the matter?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...


Please scroll down a bit and you'll find that I blogged on the matter. Of course, FV'ists will argue that there is no "official" position, so "how can you blame us for anything..." Of course this is baseless. There was a book published with articles by many of their leadrs, who will not mark and avoid each other. Accordingly, we must be able to take that book as the common denominator of the movement.

I would recommend going to the PCA website. Their GA statement is the best I have read.