Why are Little Children Excluded from the Grace of God?

LDS Temple in Salt Lake City by mstrwhew

From Pastor Bror Erickson’s blog
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[Book of Mormon]
And now, King Benjamin, thought it was expedient, after having finished speaking to the people, that he should take the names of all those who had entered into a covenant with God to keep his commandments. And it came to pass that here was not one soul, except it were little children, but who had entered into the covenant and had taken upon them the name of Christ.
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Poor little children. Why had they not entered into this covenant and taken upon them the name of Christ. If we are talking about the same Jesus Christ of the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it would seem odd that his name was not given to the little children, that they were not also saved by this “covenant.” The Jesus of the Gospels loves little children. In fact, God, in revealing his gracious will to the world through Holy Scripture, shows that he loves little Children when he sets up a “covenant” with Abraham.
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I put the word covenant in parenthesis, because I think it is slightly misleading. God gives a testament through which his people inherit grace. As Paul talks about it in Galatians, and indeed elsewhere, he talks about people being heirs, coheirs, and inheriting. This language tells you what kind of “covenant” God has made with Abraham, and it is not your run of the mill 50/50 covenant, but a testament, a will. “For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.” (Romans 4:14 (ESV) “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17 (ESV) “ And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:29 (ESV) “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”( Ephes. 3:6 (ESV) “So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:7 (ESV) You don’t become an heir by any old “covenant” but by a Testament. And God is not so fickle a father to cut little children out of the inheritance because they are too young to make false promises of obedience to Him. In fact he commands Abraham that all his children are to be circumcised on the eighth day. Because the circumcision was a seal of this testament he made with Abraham. And in the gospels he shows himself to be very loving towards these little children, taking them in his arms and promising that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these, in fact going so far as to say that if your don’t receive the kingdom of God as a little Child you will not receive it at all. “ But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. [15] Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15 (ESV) Later he extends this kingdom to them promising that the gift of the Holy Spirit through baptism is not just for adults, but for their children also. “ And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [39] For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”( Acts 2:38-39 (ESV)
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So now why are they excluded from these promises, cut off from their inheritance etc. in the Book of Mormon? Perhaps because it is a work of fiction written by an ex Campbellite/Baptist preacher named Rigdon? Perhaps because it has nothing at all to do with the Jesus Christ of the New Testament? Just a couple thoughts.

 

 
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How about you?  Any thoughts?
 
 
Here’s one from me:
 
‘what in Heaven’s name does Mormonism have in common with Biblical Christianity?’
 
 
 
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102 Responses

  1. little children do not need to be baptized. They are pure. If they die, but are not baptized, they are saved. This is much better than what other churches believe.

    • Ryan, Then one would assume you not only do not approve of abortion you must be one of its strongest advocates. Why let the baby live for it may grow to be an unbliever and go to hell?

      Revolting thought isnt it?

      Christ have mercy!

  2. Thanks, Ryan!

    You made my point stronger for me (and for Pastor Erickson, as well).

    Your assertion is exactly OPPOSITE of what the Bible says about sin and how it has infected ALL people, regardless of age.

    “In sin my mother conceived me.” You and I, and every baby ever born (aside from the Lord Jesus Himself) were born into sin.

    This is a perfect example of the HUGE difference between Mormonism and biblical, historic, and orthodox Christianity.

  3. Sorry, but, try as I might to argue on the ‘merits’, I just can’t get past the whole story of the BOM itself.

    I know, I know–Moses received his orders out of a burning bush and had his laws written on stone tablets.

    Well then, you may ask, so why do I find it so completely hokey that a guy from Palmayra NY who claims to have a revelation from an angel and finds buried golden plates that only he can read using seer stones and an old hat.

    Well, sorry, but the BOM and its authors are just a ‘hack,’ a cheesy ripoff. And it’s contradictory to itself and it conflicts with the Bible and there is not a shred of evidence to support any of it. Not to mention the reputation of the author.

    That said, what is this magical “age of accountability” when kids suddenly become sullied and impure? Where is that found in the Bible?

  4. I tried to read the BOM one time (opened it at random) and everything I read was antithetical to what was in the Bible.

    But these poor folks (mormons) are so invested, that they do not want to be freed that man-made religious system.

    It’s really a shame. Jesus wants to free them from all that self-centered, religious activity.

    _____________

    Good question! What age should be the proper age of accountability?

  5. I heard a guy once claim that the age of accountability should be 21. If he had been my pastor through my teenage years?!!!
    Yikes, hate to even think about it.
    Not that idea is not Biblical. What is Biblical is that God loves little children and desires them to be saved, and gives parents a blessed assurance that their beloved little ones are in fact saved despite their sinfulness when God’s name has been put on them also in baptism.
    But there isn’t a baby alive that isn’t corrupted with sin, the selfishness is bred in early. We love them, but it is pretty hard to be blind to the selfishness there.
    This is why they should not be excluded from the “covenenant” based on their inability to make vocal vows to God for things they can’t possibly follow through on.

  6. Right!

    Take a rattle (any toy) and place it between two 5 month old “pure” babies…

    and then sit back and watch how they share it!

    Ha!

    Are people just plain blind to the realities of our sinful natures, as well as dismissive as to what the Bible actually says???

  7. So wait, what are you guys saying here?

    Is a 2yr old saved or unsaved? Hell-bound or Heaven-bound?

  8. Expatmatt,
    What we are saying is that if that two year old is not baptized we have no reason to believe they are going anywhere other than where the rest of the unbelieving world is going.
    of course the two year old could very well be a believer and have faith, merely being denied the opportunity to be baptized by unbelieving parents posing as believers and calling themselves baptists, but that is another story.

  9. So, Bror, it doesn’t matter if you’re baptized after all, God will still save you if he chooses? Good to know.

    This is an interesting topic, cause I just discussed it a little this morning with a couple guys I’m “discipling.” Do all babies go to heaven? Piper actually recently wrote on this topic, and he says yes. I’m not sure that I agree with him (plus, I don’t think it logically follows the idea of original sin and total depravity, which he affirms)… at least, I don’t think the Bible is clear enough to have a confident opinion on it. Maybe in God’s great mercy all babies do go to heaven. Or maybe, in His sovereign election, some don’t.

    The reason most Christians say that all babies who die are saved is because it is comforting to those who lose children. Comforting it is, but is it Biblical?

  10. Subscribing to comments…

  11. Right from the start, babies think it’s all about them all the time. Feed me now, change me now, give me now, pay attention to me now. What’s all that but evidence of original sin? Yet, at the same time, they have an innate trust that all that stuff is going to happen.

  12. Darius,
    Baptism is an act of God’s election, his choosing you if you will. election does not happen outside the means of grace, that is outside those places where the Gospel is heard (Romans 10) or the sacraments baptism and the lord’s supper are administered according to Christ’s institution.
    So Expatmatts question about a two year old, is not to be given a blanket answer. There are questions. Does the two year old believe in Jesus Christ? That is the main question. Now faith will want to be baptized, and have the Holy Spirit, sealed to the person. However, I think God is likely to send the baptist parents to hell and save the child, because they denied the child opportunity to have this grace applied in such fashion, when they are given express command to baptize their children in Acts chapter 2.
    I don’t want to bet on maybes when it comes to God and salvation. That God is gracious we know. But that he also has a wrath worth fearing is also well attested. I would not come anywhere close to thinking all babies are saved. Piper is off his rocker. No one is saved by youth alone.

  13. All baptized babies do go to heaven. Babies receive faith in baptism the same as an adult. Who says a baby’s faith (trust in Christ’s promise delivered in baptism) is any less than an adult? Christ’s promise delivered to us in baptism for the remission of sins is effective. He won’t forget us.

  14. Jonathan,
    Yes, All baptized babies go to heaven. I’d affirm that.

  15. Jonathan, if that’s true, you should go around sprinkling random kids to save them. I am utterly amazed how some people can put so much hope in religious ceremonies instead of God’s grace and the baptism of His spirit. You can’t make him save anyone. What happens if you baptize someone He has not elected? Oops, guess he has to change his mind…

    • The catacombs a filled with the graves of young infants left to die of exposure, whom Christians gathered, baptized and tried to bring back to health, but who died in the Christian faith, believers, elected by God.

    • Darius,
      That’s freaking crazy. I can’t believe you actually wrote that.

  16. So what happens if that child later lives a completely unregenerated life? Did the water just not “stick?” Your position on child baptism is utterly illogical. If they’re elect, they’re elect. That predestined status never changes.

  17. “What happens if you baptize someone He has not elected?”
    See post above, by baptizing the child God has elected him/her. Baptism is a means of Grace, whereby God elects.

    Darius,
    The doctrine of election that you are espousing is the illogical one. It does not take into account the discrepencies between time and eternity. God elects from all eternity, but he does so in time through the means of Grace.
    This is different than believing at some point in time, a long long time ago, before God created the world, he decided who he would send to hell and who he would choose to go to heaven. And the elect are elect, and the damned damned.
    Rather God is operating in time from a position outside of time. This is also why we don’t believe int he perseverance of saints. And don’t pit the religious ceremony Christ instituted against the grace of God, but see it as a means of Grace, a sacrament through which grace is extended.

  18. “Baptism now saves you.” If I had parents’ permission, would that all babies were baptized. But, sadly, most parents would reject that, though. So if the child is not brought up in the nurture and admonision of the Lord, not taught that he/she is a baptized child of God, and what a great gift and assurance they have in baptism, then that smoldering wick of faith, that shave of a mustard seed, might could just die out. But, does it change the fact that Jesus makes a promise in baptism, your sins are forgiven, or that the HS is any less given in faith/trust? I trust that the word is effective, even to a little baby.

    • One Lord, one faith, one baptism.

    • Not only could the smoldering wick die out because baptism is forgotten, it can also be rejected later on, as when a person comes to despise his infant baptism, thinking instead that he has to have another baptism wherein he decides to call the HS.

  19. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

    Yep, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. John baptized with water, but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

    • Yes, Jesus commanded water baptism in the name of the Father Son and…wait for it…… HS!

    • Darius,
      We have been down this road a couple times, but I still don’t get it. Why do you see that being baptized by the Holy Spirit, necessitates some other baptism than the one Christ instituted in Matthew 28 and is carried out by the disciples throughout Acts with water? If I were to take your position I would have to come to the conclusion that being as their is only one baptism, we must cease with this water thing.

  20. “Not only could the smoldering wick die out because baptism is forgotten, it can also be rejected later on”

    That is so unbiblical and man-centered, I don’t know where to start. God gave Jesus certain people and Jesus said that He wouldn’t lose any of them. Once your name is written in the Book of Life (which it was before time began), it can’t be erased.

  21. Double predestination is unbiblical and man-centered because it teaches that you have to look to yourself for your assurance or be despair because you can never be sure if you are elect.

    But…God desires that ALL people be saved and come to saving faith in Christ. And Christ died for the sins of the WHOLE world. (Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.) If you don’t want to believe the promise imparted in the means of grace including baptism is for you and your children, then you are free to reject it, but it is still on offer and hasn’t changed. That was Judas’ own demise that made him go to ‘his own place’ because he rejected that the forgvieness of sins was real even for him, as Jesus foresaw.

  22. Paul in Romans 9 clearly didn’t agree. “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?”

    You apparently say no, God doesn’t have that right. You’ll have to take that up with Him in the next life.

    God certainly does desire that all people are saved… yet I think even you would admit that many will not be saved. So why is God’s desire not met? Or is it that while God’s general will is that all be saved, His specific will decides that some will not be? Maybe the point of the Gospel is not the salvation of all mankind but the glory of God. After all, it says that FOR THE GLORY SET BEFORE HIM, Christ endured the cross.

  23. You’ll have to take up the question about why some and not others with God. It is a mystery that we can’t answer with “God desires some to not be saved.” All we can say with confidence is, if we are saved it is totally and completely the work of the Holy Spirit acting through the gospel and the means of grace. If we are not saved, it is our own fault, because we reject the offer of forgiveness for Christ’s sake. Otherwise, all that can be offered is angst or despair. Is Christ really FOR me? Yes he is, everyone can trust his promise. Christ is no liar; God cannot lie.

  24. “It is a mystery that we can’t answer with “God desires some to not be saved.”… Is Christ really FOR me? Yes he is, everyone can trust his promise.”

    This comment is deeply unbiblical. I would entreat you to base your views on Scripture and not your own opinions. First of all, even if you choose to ignore Romans 9 (which apparently you do), you have to still deal with TONS of other Scriptural texts that indicate God chooses to reject some. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated,” etc. Jacob was actually the less decent of the two brothers. Yet God chose to reject Esau, just as He chooses the worthless things of this world to astound the wise.

    Jesus is for me IF I’M A CHRISTIAN. He is not “for” unbelievers except in the sense that He is offering salvation to them. “If He be for us, who can be against us?” was not written to all people, just Christians.

    • 1 Tim. 2:3-7 (ESV)
      This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, [4] who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. [7] For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

      I suppose though Darius that you are now going to say All Does not Mean all here? Just all Christians? I don’t think so.
      Yes God has hardened the hearts of some, Esau he has hated. But these if you look happen when they reject his offers of Grace. What is clear is that he desires all to be saved, and does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, and that would mean he also desired that Pharaoh, and Esau would be turned from their evil ways.

    • “Jesus is for me IF I’M A CHRISTIAN. He is not “for” unbelievers except in the sense that He is offering salvation to them. “If He be for us, who can be against us?” was not written to all people, just Christians.”
      Wait though, I mean there Jesus isn’t really being sincere is he, he isn’t really offering salvation. He is just teasing them with salvation, while offering them hell. I mean isn’t that really your position?

  25. How do you know if you are a Christian? How do you know if you are elect? What if you are not elect and you are just going through the motions?

  26. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    Yes, Christ is FOR unbelievers and believers alike. Unbelievers hear Jesus’ words of promise “your sins are forgiven” and, out of their stubbornness, reject it.

  27. Now, I have not read every post in this thread, as I just don’t have the time or patience. But I would like to say a few things.

    First, I have read the entire Bible complete and i have found no hard proof for this rediculous idea that all people are born sinful.
    Yes, there is the reference from Psalms given above, but it does not carry the meaning people give to it. We are conceived in sin, meaning that the world we are born into in a sinful world, not that we are sinful when we are born. We become sinful as we gain understanding and are exposed to the temptations or the world. This is what being “Conceived in Sin” means.

    I find it funny that people claim children sin because they do not behaive as they should, but take no real thought as to if they actually understand how they should behave.
    Romans 7: 7 “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. ”
    Ask a child what lust is, and see what kind of understanding they have. Ask them what the law of God is, and why it is. These are things that one must know before they can sin. One cannot sin without the law, and children do not know the law. It doesn’t matter how selfish they are, or how violent, because they do not know these things to be wrong, and are thus not guilty of sin. As such the Atonement of Christ works in their favor without baptism, without covenants, to save them from physical death and bring them back to their Heavenly Father.

    If this was not so than why would Christ give the stern warning “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17: 2). If they are sinners just like us why is offending them so much worse than offending adults?

    • Romans 3:23 (ESV)
      for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

      Shemat, i’m just going to referance that. I too have read the bible complete a few times, and see ample evidence that we are born sinful. But yours is an interesting take on psalm 51. Do you really feel comfortable with that? Really?

  28. It always comes down to the theory that there is Holy Spirit baptism differing from water baptism. Clearly the baptismal institution by Christ has the Holy Spirit located in water baptism. One is brought to faith by hearing as well however, that is not a baptism but rather conversion. So salvation is not baptism or hearing but both. Water baptism is not water only but water and word. Ephesians 5:25-27

    The reason that is not clear to Evangelicals is that they do not want it to be clear.

  29. Rom 8:1- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    But, with double predestination and limited atonement, some who think, feel, “believe,” that they are not condemned, really do stand condemned.

    What are the odds? Who can know? No wonder you have to look to fruits, and walk the walk. If you don’t it’s almost a sure sign you may not be elect. Then again, you may be, and it just doesn’t matter. O, blessed assurance!

  30. “Yes God has hardened the hearts of some, Esau he has hated. But these if you look happen when they reject his offers of Grace. “

    You don’t realize this, but you’re saying we earn our salvation here. Jacob was loved by God because he didn’t reject God’s grace.. in other words, he was inherently a better person than Esau. This is heresy! ALL are sinners and NO one seeks God. God chose Jacob before Esau had an opportunity to reject His grace. In fact, on the face of it, Esau seemed the more worthy person for grace. Which points to the fact that God hardens who he wants to harden and loves whom He chooses to love. You can ignore and twist Scripture all day long, but it doesn’t make it go away.

    • Darius,
      No, what I am saying is if we are saved it is due to the grace and work of God, and the Holy Spirit, If we are not it is our own damned fault, because we have the ability to reject, but not the ability to accept.
      I’m very conscious of what I say.

  31. So wait, what are you guys saying here?

    Is a 2yr old saved or unsaved? Hell-bound or Heaven-bound?

    🙂

    I guess I should throw into the mix – does Baptism of a 2yr old make a difference to their salvation should they die at that age?

    It sounds like there are quite a few contradictory opinions on this matter.

  32. Expatmatt,
    Is a 40 year old saved or unsaved? Does baptism make a difference?

    • Bror,

      Do you hold then that there is no difference between a 2yr old and a 40yr old? Both are equally capable of acknowledging and repenting of their sins and accepting the saving grace of Christ’s blood?

      I don’t know many 2yr olds who would have a clue what you were talking about.

      I thought the whole point in ‘age of accountability’ was that below a certain age you don’t have the mental faculties to make such a decision or even to recognize concepts like ‘sin’?

      • Actually I think the two year old might have the advantage. Mark 10:15 (ESV)
        Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

        So there you have it. But in reality not much of a difference at all, all are incapable of faith, which is why it must be a work of the Holy spirit. Repentance? Just the flip side of faith.

  33. Matt,

    If you hold that baptism is effective as a means of grace, then, yes, the 2 year old goes to heaven.

    If God predestines some to damnation, then at best, there is no way to know whether the baby is saved, whether baptized or not.

    You have as much assurance as a Muslim or a Buddhist with double predestination.

  34. 2 Samuel 12:22-23….”And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

    David knew that the little baby was saved. He said, “I will go to him someday.” David knew that when death came to him, he would be reunited with his son.
    A child dying in infanc ygoes to be with the Lord. Matthew 18:10 says, “take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.” The word “angels” in this verse should be translated “spirits”. When a little baby dies today, that baby goes immediately to be with the Lord. That is the teaching of the Word of God.

    • Ike, that’s poor exegesis.

      First, people said “I will go to my fathers” all the time in reference to death (Gen. 15:15 for example). That didn’t mean that they were literally going to see them in heaven. Rather, it was cultural saying.

      Second, almost every time Jesus mentions “little ones” in Matthew, he is talking about Christians, NOT children. Look at all of the references and you’ll see this.

      • You convinced me David didn’t mean what he said. Now I must wonder where my first baby is today.

      • Ike,
        If you are serious then read what I wrote below. Though I would disagree with both you and Darius.
        David certainly believed his child had gone to heaven, but I don’t know that I would have the same assurance in dealing with the infants of unbelievers. Infancy doesn’t save. The Holy Spirit does though, even with infants.

  35. God is not some robot that has to save, or not save depending on what WE DO or DON’T DO.

    He is God and He will save whom He will save.

    Jesus said to baptize.

    He didn’t say to baptize a certain age. He said to ” go into the world and baptize… and teach…” (notice the order).

    The Bible makes it quite clear that God DOES save with baptism.

    Can people abandon their baptisms and make no use of those promises given to them by God (no matter how old they were when they were baptized? Of course they can? Will the Lord be merciful to them?

    That is a question that we cannot answer right now.

    Why can’t we let God be God?

    • St Stephen,

      The message for our impenitent family members and friends. “Own your sin! Do not excuse it! Return to the Lord! Escape hell! You need Jesus! Do not harden your hearts against him!”

      Yes the Lord will be merciful and will grant true repentance. i.e the prodigal son (each of us who who are granted repentance) That is our Gospel to give to penitent and troubled sinners! Jesus did not die for all sinners in order to send em to hell. We were all heading there anyway.

      Praise God for his steadfast love!

  36. St. David,

    Exactly!

    The whole world is headed to hell, by our own doing.

    The Lord has done something about that sad and horrible fact, and now and then somebody actually believes it.

    How can I be sure that He has done something about it…for me?

    I am baptized. (not ‘was’, but ‘am’ )

  37. Personally, I think all of this is just silly. The Bible does not clarify anything on this matter. Both sides could continue to give references and arguments, but nothing would ever come of it. So what is the point?

  38. The point is a study of innocence. God told Jonah of the children who knew not their left from right. Jesus knew right from wrong while eating baby food. Jesus said suffer the little children to come unto me, of such is the kingdom of heaven. There is an age of innocence.
    The story of Adam and Eve talks about a tree of the Knowledge of right and wrong. Children have yet to eat of this.
    Baptism is a sign of obedience, ask the thief on the Cross. Churches and ceremonies have no ability to save. Only Christ, and you must be reborn and repent. Of what would a baby repent?
    This understanding seems critical as a base of our theology. Thank God we are not saved by our theology, but by His Grace thru our Faith. .
    Do babies have faith? Understanding? no, but they have His Grace.

    • willohroots,
      I would say baptized babies do have faith, whcih is far more than mere understanding. In fact when Jesus talks about the kingdom of God belonging to such as these (little ones) he is indicating that they have faith, and therefore the grace of God. Which is why we adults are supposed to receive it like them, and not vice versa.

      • Of course there again, we are dealing with children of believers, The boys of which have been circumcised, unless under 8 days old, so to say that they are given grace based on age alone? or that they have faith because they were just born with it is a bit of a stretch. Match this with Colasians 2, you have good reason to baptize babies.

      • I would say baptized babies do have faith, whcih is far more than mere understanding.

        Mr. Erickson,
        Sorry for butting in. Could you elaborate on your statement? Do you mean faith in God or a more general definition of faith, trust in someone or some thing?

      • Craig,
        When I speak of faith, and I should get better about being more explicit in this, I mean faith in Jesus Christ who died for those babies that they might live. I mean faith in the God who for us men and our salvation became man, that he might die in our place and be risen to our justification. There is no saving faith that is not trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
        This is what I speak of.
        BTW. It is Bror, Bror Erickson, or Pastor Erickson. I’ll accept Rev. But if you don’t want to use my first name, please don’t call me Mr. Just sounds funny.

      • Bror,
        Would you mind explaining where in Colossians 2 you see a command or reason to baptize babies? I am curious about this one.

      • Col. 2:11-12 (ESV)
        In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, [12] having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

        If though baptism I am circumcised in Him, then one has to wonder why I would wait until my child was eight years old to have him baptized, when children were to be circumcised on the 8th day.
        As the point of this post is, God does not exclude children from this “covenant” He never has, he loves them too much, he wants them incorporated into it. He incorporates us now through baptism.

      • Bror,
        Thank you for your answer. I have long held that the only way one could justify the baptism of infants with Scripture is as a modern day version of the connection with circumcision, but I didn’t remember that reference.

        Of course, circumcision didn’t save anyone either. (Romans 4:9-12)

    • Jeoffury,
      i would disagree with you that this is the only way one can justify infant baptism, in fact I think it is one of the weaker arguments for it, but a very valid one. There is also Mark 10, Matthew 28, Acts 2:38 Mark 16:16, Ephesians 5:26, Ezekial 36, 1 Peter 3, Romans 6:4/ I could go on here for a long time. I have before.
      The only way to denigrate the baptism of Children is to completely ignore everything the Bible actually says concerning baptism and the work of the Holy Spirit.

      And it would be a very superficial reading of Romans 4 that would lead one to disregard altogether the role of Circumcision in the faith of the pre-incarnation Christians of the Old Testament. Even Paul in Romans 4 calls circumcision a seal of righteousness, which is not a nothing, and is the same language he also uses regarding Baptism, 2 Corinthians 120-22.

      • Even Paul in Romans 4 calls circumcision a seal of righteousness, which is not a nothing

        I didn’t say it was a nothing. But Paul makes it clear that the seal confirms what already is, it does not make it to be so.

      • Mark 16:16 – Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

        Interesting that you see this as a support for infant baptism. It is a support for baptism to be sure, but the verse would seem to indicate that belief is the standard as it is the only one used in the negative side of the conditional statement.

        I don’t see much point in going through all of the Scriptures that speak about baptism; because I will readily agree that baptism is essential to Christian life.

      • So the question becomes right off the bat, do these little one’s believe, to they have the capacity for faith. Jesus indicates that they do, they receive the kingdom of God, which can only be received by faith. If they have faith then they should be baptized.
        Faith and baptism are interlinked, that is the point of the pro-side of Mark 16:16. If you don’t believe though, it matters not if you are baptized or not. If you don’t believe you won’t be baptized. On the other hand if you do believe you will want to be baptized, and have that righteousness sealed to you.
        But the baptist argument is to read Mark 16:16 as if Baptism wasn’t mentioned at all there because Jesus doesn’t mention baptism twice as he does the word belief. But he does mention it once and we ought to pay close attention to what it is saying. Faith and Baptism go together, almost, almost to the point where you can’t really have the one, faith, with out the other, Baptism. To reject baptism is to say you have no faith.
        In the case of Baptists though, I think the sin and the judgment for it falls on the parents.

      • In the case of Baptists though, I think the sin and the judgment for it falls on the parents.

        Just to be clear, you are saying that God will judge parents for not baptizing infants (let’s not obscure this with the word children, because all of my children were baptized at ages 4-5 years), even without an explicit command in Scripture saying to baptize infants, (the Colossians 2 reference is the closest thing one can point to and it isn’t expressed as a command). Yet, in discussions on the sermon on the mount and Washer here, I found that most were generally appalled at the idea that Christians might be judged for not keeping other more explicit commands of God like those mentioned in Matthew 5-7, because if they are baptized, that is all that really matters. This is a curious position to take.

      • Yes Jeoffury,
        I do think it is a sin that parents do not baptize their children, and one they will answer for. Is there forgiveness? yes. But it is sin to deny the grace of God to your children, infants.
        Acts 2:38-39 does not specify age, the promise is for your children, how do you think the people reacted? You think they went home and told their little babies, “when you get old enough I’ll baptize you?” When God Promises such blessings, their is an implicit command.

      • Matthew 18:6 (ESV)
        but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

        Mark 9:42 (ESV)
        “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

        Luke 17:2 (ESV)
        It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

        Little ones believe. But now would teaching them to despise the gifts of God conferred in baptism be considered a sin? I think so. Any false doctrine is sin, and a breaking of the second commandment. So you tell me is my position still so peculiar?

      • But it is sin to deny the grace of God to your children, infants.

        Do you think that I, a mere man, can stand in the way of God’s grace to anyone? You give me far too much credit. God gives grace to whomever He will; with or without me.

        You keep focusing on one implied commandment and I am trying to point back to all of them. How is it that you feel justified in making one of them more important than others?

        Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
        Matthew 5:19 (ESV)

        If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
        -Matthew 5:29-30

        “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
        -Matthew 7:21

        All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
        -Romans 2:12-13

        I won’t even quote James’ version of this statement by Paul since I know how inflammatory he is considered around here.

        Any false doctrine is sin, and a breaking of the second commandment. So you tell me is my position still so peculiar?

        Would you like to back that statement up with Scripture? Scripture defines sin a little differently.

        But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
        -Romans 14:23

        This would actually mean that if I baptize infants without believing it to be correct, it would be a sin for me to do so, as Paul says earlier in this chapter, “each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

        Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
        – 1 John 3:4

        Scripture defines sin as a transgression of the Law, not as incorrect doctrine. God will not allow Himself to be replaced; not even with our best ideas about Him. To believe otherwise really does violate the first and second commandments.

    • “Scripture defines sin as a transgression of the Law, not as incorrect doctrine. God will not allow Himself to be replaced; not even with our best ideas about Him. To believe otherwise really does violate the first and second commandments.”

      Jeofurry! Really!!!!! You don’t see lying about God, teaching false doctrine, as a slander of his name? you don’t see it as sin when someone preaches falsely concerning him and his grace? How is that not a transgression of the law? Just read the pastoral epistles and see how seriously God and Paul takes this. Leading someone to missplace their faith?
      No, the problem that you have is man can stand in the way, when man preaches falsely. Because the grace of God doesn’t just zap people like divine thunderbolts from heaven, but is communicated to others as the Gospel is preached, faith comes from hearing (Romans 10). So by obstructing the preaching, obfuscating the preaching with false doctrine, and by remaining silent when you should be speaking you stand in the way of the grace of God.
      Teaching kids to despise God’s grace, causes them to sin, causes them to stumble, and is a great offence to God. Because only his grace can save us from our sins. I don’t ignore the other laws, But I concentrate on forgiveness.

      • You don’t see lying about God, teaching false doctrine, as a slander of his name? you don’t see it as sin when someone preaches falsely concerning him and his grace? How is that not a transgression of the law?

        I didn’t say any of those things. I probably didn’t use the best wording by saying incorrect. I should have used the word mistaken. Would that make you happier? Perhaps you can forgive me for me mistype. I am not perfect.

        I do stand behind the original intent of the statement however. Paul makes it very clear that we don’t always agree on every detail of theology, and indicates that this is still acceptable. Check out Romans 14 for instance or Philippians 3:15-16.

        Because the grace of God doesn’t just zap people like divine thunderbolts from heaven, but is communicated to others as the Gospel is preached, faith comes from hearing

        According to some testimonies that I have heard and read; it does in fact do that from time to time. God does what He wants to do after all. And I agree with you that faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God as Paul teaches.

  39. and the BOM is BS

  40. The faitht that the Bible speaks of is not belief (or understanding) of SOMETHING…but rather, it is TRUST in SOMEONE.

    Babies are not really capable of a whole lot of knowlede or understanding about something, but they are capable of placing trust in someone.

    Especially when that trust is given to them, by that someone, as a gift in an action performed by that someone (the Holy Spirit) who speaks to those babies “in sighs too deep for words”.

    Jesus said to baptize. He (the triune God), is actually doing the baptizing…not the pastor, priest, etc..

    So we baptize and trust that God’s action, and His promises in those actions are valid and true, no matter the age of the one that is baptized.

    It’s not a rabbit’s foot, or lucky charm. It’s not a guarantee. Because we can walk away from those promises and never take advantage of the benefits given in them. But from God’s end, they are always valid and always true.

  41. .

    Please listen to this audio on what ‘faith’ is, and how it is tied to baptism, and a great explanation of why infant baptism:

    http://lightofthemaster.com/Faith.html

    .

  42. So basically nobody knows if the unbaptized babies of unbelievers go to Heaven or Hell, is that what y’all are saying.

    But the unbaptized babies of believers stand a fairly good chance.

    And the baptized babies of believers are more than likely to get in.

    Is that about right?

    Sorry if I’m a bit slow on all this but you guys use a lot of short-hand that I’m sure makes sense to you, but it sure don’t to me!

    I’m especially interested in this ‘baptized babies have faith’ thing. Do they have faith because they are baptized? Is it the baptism that brings the faith out of them? Do only ‘faithful’ babies get baptized in the first place? How does predestination fit into all of this.

    Certainly is a can o’ worms you’ve opened here, Steve!

  43. Matt,
    Faith isn’t brought out of them so much as it is brought to them in the person and work of the Holy Spirit as it is for all of us.
    As for predestination, I have already answered that question with my diatribe on Baptism as an act of election geared toward Darius above.
    As much as baptists like to demean “head knowledge” or intellectual assent as being faith, when it comes to babies that is all they see as being faith. Now I would agree with them that intellectual assent alone is not faith, faith is so much more than that, which is why babies can have faith, even when they don’t have much or any head knowledge. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 2, makes that abundantly clear, if he can give it to a forty year old, he can give it to an infant.
    Mark 9:42 (ESV)
    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

    Notice above that atleast some of these little ones believe in him. Darius will tell you that he is talking about adult Christian believers, but he is holding an infant when he says this.

  44. Wow, amI ever glad that a forty-year-old can have faith. Not only that, but even one whose ‘head knowledge’ is even gone rather totally, as in, one who has had a stroke and not longer has consciousness or cognitive ability! Even still, Jesus is faithful! He will not forget us even if we can’t remember Him! (How’s THAT for ‘faith’???)

  45. I really think that it’s hard for people to reconcile our positive position on the sacraments when they haven’t been explained the meaning of “bound will”.

    I’m not the right person to articulate it but am a firm believer that we have free will in the things beneath us but not in the things above us.

    Salvation is all of God.

    Rejecting the message of Christ’s work on the cross is choosing what’s beneath God, but any motion Godward is all of Gods doing and power. The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies.

  46. Yup. ‘Down religion’ is where it’s at.

    Where did this notion that come from that we somehow have access and ability to climb Jacob’s Ladder?

    What a horrible song that was that I learned in Sunday School!

  47. “So you tell me is my position still so peculiar?”

    Well, considering you improperly interpret “little ones” to mean children, yeah, you’re off base. See Matthew 10:41-42 for what “little ones” actually refers to.

  48. To be fair, most evangelicals interpret “little ones” incorrectly too. So you’re not alone in your wrong exegesis.

    • Sorry, Darius, that it means something in one place of scripture does not mean that it means the same thing in another area of scripture despite the context.
      In both Matthew and Mark, Jesus takes a child and puts him in their midst, takes him up in his arms. So that it means disciple given the context of Matthew 10, does not give one the license to say that it means an adult disciple given the context of Matthew 18, or Mark 9, nor Luke 17!

  49. and of course why are the older disciples called little ones in Matthew 10? Because of their child like faith, the little ones give us a model of faith, and yet somehow baptists think they don’t believe. It makes no sense to me.
    Darius, your repeated and tired interpretation breaks every rule of hermeneutics and eisegesis.

  50. Bror, it’s called an analogy. Look it up.

    • no the analogy is in Matthew 10. It does not mean that it applies to Matthew 18, Mark 9, or Luke 17. There is not reason given the text itself to think it does. What there is is a stubborn baptist confronted with sin and running from the law, rather than repenting and being forgiven.
      A man holding an infant in his arms and talking about the faith of little ones and his love for them is not making an analogy.
      And the analogy in Matthew 10 is that the Maturist of disciples has the faith of a little child. A faith that doesn’t seek to twist God’s word to fit his preconceived notions, and fend off the law.

  51. I’m confused, what’s in Matthew 10?

    Matthew 18 says one must become “like a little child.” Perhaps it’s just me, but that certainly sounds like an analogy.

  52. “A faith that doesn’t seek to twist God’s word to fit his preconceived notions, and fend off the law.”

    Talk about projecting…

  53. Darius,
    Why must one become like a little child? What is it about the little child that we are to emulate? Exactly?

    But know when he says anyone who causes one of these little ones to sin… the analogy of why we must become like a little child is done.

  54. A little child is trusting and not skeptical… they’re not hardened by the world yet.

  55. Exactly!!!

    So when the Holy Spirit speaks to an infant, (who is capable of trust, and not much more), “in sighs too deep for words”…we believe that the gift of faith is being given to that infant.

    Grace…before faith. That’s the way God works.

  56. Trusting not skeptical, sounds like the essence of faith to me.

  57. So why don’t you want to baptize them Darius?
    But it also brings home that he is talking about little infants, easily led astray by skeptical jaded adults into sin, caused to sin by the sins of the fathers, and not the disciples, or adult believers he is talking about. The adults should be skeptical enough to read the bible and know their doctrine, and right from wrong to know when they are being tempted.

  58. So skepticism is bad?

    • The Apostle Paul commended the Hellenist Jews and Greeks in his missionary travels for their hearty investigation of the gospel. I wouldn’t say he was commending their “skepticism,” per se, but rather their epistomological study through searching the scriptures.

  59. expatmatt,
    Skepticism has its place even with those who believe, perhaps especially with those who believe, but it has its place.

    There are though different degrees of skepticism, and plain obstinence is given the name skepticism.
    What is good is the faith, the simple trust that children have in their good Father. Something that is lost as time jades a person.

  60. What I don’t understand is why evangelical parents who don’t believe in infant baptism and seem to deny that a child can have saving faith, are so proud and happy when the child sings “Jesus Loves Me” as an preschooler and talks about God and His love and so forth when older. If children cannot have faith and are not old enough to make a “decision” the child is just parroting what he has heard his parents say, without actual belief or faith. What does that matter?

    • Yeah, right on, Barb!

      “Faith is a gift” the bapticostals say…except when it comes to the head knowledge required to make a decision for Christ.

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