He rejects the notion that the only saved infants dying in infancy are those born into covenant homes. He also rejects the idea that some born within covenant homes that die in infancy can be lost. Rather, he affirms that God saves all who die in infancy. Piper is not alone in these speculations. Presbyterian A.A. Hodge and Dispensationalist John MacArthur assert the same. I appreciate Piper much more on this matter for he speaks more tentatively regarding what he thinks; whereas Hodge and MacArthur are dogmatic in their claims. Hodge even went so far as to suggest the Westminster standards teach this form of universalism, which it does not.
"I think they're all saved. In other words, I don't buy the principle that says that children born into "covenant families" are secure, and children born into "non covenant families" aren't. I don't go there."
"My reason for thinking they're all saved is because of the principle in Romans 1 where Paul argues that all people know God, and they are "without excuse" because they do not honor him or glorify him as God. His argument is that they are without excuse because they know things, as though accountability in the presence of God at the Last Judgment will be based, at least partly, on whether they had access to necessary knowledge."
Piper’s reasoning is terribly flawed. Piper reasons that if a person knows God, then he’s without excuse. Fine so far… until he deduces from that premise: If a person does not know God, then he needs no excuse. It is certainly true that if a man knows God, then he his culpable. However, it does not logically follow from that premise that those who do not know God are not culpable. That is fallaciously to deny the consequent based upon a denial of the antecedent. In other words, from if P then Q, we may not reason to not P, therefore, not Q. Even if Piper’s final conclusion were true, it would not follow from his premises. Simply put, that one is culpable for having knowledge of God does not imply that he is not culpable for something else apart from such knowledge, such as the inherited corrupt nature and imputation of Adam’s sin. Rather than deal with these, Piper seems to presuppose that sins proceeding from the corrupt nature either are not present in infants, or simply do not warrant damnation. In either case, the forensic and genetic aspects of sin are simply ignored in his treatment of the subject. (In passing we might note that it is a bit dubious to assert that infants do not know God. A defense of that premise might have been in order.)
"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.""In some way, God, through Christ, covers these people?" What needs to be covered? Certainly not their sin, for Piper has already conceded that what these infants need is not a covering for sin but rather their just and deserved place in the kingdom. Moreover, why would Piper say that humans such as these are saved in death? Saved from what? Would he at least concede that elect infants dying in infancy are united to Christ through the monergistic work of regeneration, or would that smack of the need for too much grace? In the final analyses, either Piper has affirmed that the “salvation” of infants dying in infancy is a matter of justice alone, or he has implied that infants deserve mercy and grace.
Counter since: 9/6/2006