Here is the post I, Jason Delgado, promised during this past Sunday Seminary, when I was teaching on the Baptist Confession of 1689, chapter ten and paragraph three. We made it through chapter ten but I can see how paragraph three could use a lot more explanation (even taking up two Sunday Seminaries). But, I decided to point you to several resources.
First, here is the audio and powerpoint from Sunday:
What The 1689 Confession Says:
3. Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit,10 who works when and where and how he pleases.11 The same is true of every elect person who is incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
10 John 3:3, 5, 6. 11 John 3:8.
“This paragraph addresses an issue that can be very emotionally charged. The very first five words, elect infants dying in infancy, are enough to send sparks a flying in some quarters. It is rather assumed in this day and age that all babies are born “innocent,” and therefore of course all babies go to heaven. But if we stop and think about the words elect infants we are reminded that only those whom God chooses are his. All babies are born into sin (Ps. 51:5) and inherit the same sin nature as everyone. This means that if an infant is to go to heaven, then God had to regenerate them and save them. And God only does this work in those who are elect. The atonement accomplished by Christ is God’s provision for his decree of election. Without the atonement, no infant who died could ever be saved. So though the Confession only has two words to cover Christ’s work, by Christ, they are certainly the most important of the words….
So we can be hopeful that all infants will be in heaven, and we can be certain elect infants will be saved, but in doing so we must be clear in our thinking. In having this hope, we can’t just throw the doctrine of imputed sin out the window simply because we can’t bear the thought of an infant going to hell. We must always think biblically and do so consistently. Two things we want to be clear on here: if all infants or any infant goes to heaven, it is only because they are elected. If there is such a thing as a non-elect infant, then the non-elect infant will go to hell due to their imputed sin from their first parents. And let’s beware that this very issue is where we ourselves are tested from within and by Arminians in the Biblical belief of imputed sin. However, we are not to let emotions dictate doctrine, but only the Word of God.
There is a way to deal with this emotional issue biblically that is full of hope. We just need to be precise and clear on the topic, and this is exactly what the Confession helps us do. This is important, and it is immensely practical. We know those who have lost infants or have children who are mentally incapacitated from birth. In those situations, there is a real need for true and sound biblical comfort. To be perfectly clear, the Confession is not denying that all infants go to heaven; it is merely saying if they go to heaven it is because they are elect. This is a sound Biblical position.”
Resources I Promised:
I would be more explicit than the 1689 Confession, as would Pastor Jay, and say that I believe that all babies who died would have been elect and thus would go to Heaven. Let me recommend the resources in the same way I did on my wife’s blog on November 18, 2008, which was just weeks after two of my girls had died:
“…There is not one verse that says ‘Babies go to Heaven’ or anything like that, so a look at the entire scope of the Bible is needed to answer the question. Earlier this year (before my wife got pregnant) I became more convinced than ever, that when a baby dies it goes to Heaven. I came to this conclusion from many implicit references in the Bible (again there are no explicit references about this).
I decided to give you the arguments and writings of one who has already written about this (no need re-inventing the wheel, right?). So I recommend the following resources to you from Pastor John MacArthur.
You can [read or] listen for free to his sermon series, “What Happens to Babies Who Die?” (which include Jesus Loves The Little Children, and two sermons that get deeper into answering the question that I really recommend listening to both The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 1 & The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 2)
If you are more of the book nerd type then you can get this in book form (called, “Safe in the Arms of God”)….”