Friday, December 23, 2011

The Theology of Infant Salvation by R. A. Webb - Chapter 2 - Scripture Data

The Theology of Infant Salvation by R. A. Webb - Chapter 2 - Scripture Data

We now come to chapter 2 concerning scriptural data. In some ways this will be some of the weaker arguments, not by any fault of Dr. Webb. Scripture doesn't specifically say all infants are saved. But we can infer from scripture that infants are.

He shows in this chapter that even though the scriptures do not directly say infants are saved, there are instances where the Spirit of God has come upon children or God has blessed them. His argument is, if God blesses an infant would he not even more desire to save them if the die in that state.

Chapter Outline
  1. Saved Infants
  2. Scripture Statements
1. Saved Infants

Under the first heading, Web lists a group of 18 children that were touched by God in some way. These include:
  1. Abel and Seth
  2. Isaac
  3. Jacob
  4. Moses
  5. Samson
  6. Samuel
  7. David
  8. David's Child
  9. Josiah
  10. Jeroboam's Child
  11. Child of Widow of Zarephath
  12. Child of the Sunemite
  13. Isaiah
  14. Jeremiah
  15. John the Baptist
  16. Paul
  17. Timothy
  18. Jesus
I will not go through each person, because some seem to have very little relevance. Just because a child has favor with God in some area, does not constitute salvation. Through common grace, God pours out rain on the just and the unjust. 

Some of these people do lend credence to the argument. The better ones are:
  • Samuel - he ministered before the Lord even as a young child
  • David's Child - When the child dies, David says he will be with him in the future. This shows, at least in this case, the infant is going to heaven and David will see it there. Webb makes a very long argument for this interpretation and it is a very good one.
  • John the Baptist - He was filled with the spirit in his mothers womb. It is hard to deny when reading this scripture that God can not save a child in the womb.
He then comes to a conclusion concerning all of these infants who were touched by God:
  1. Infants can be regenerated and sanctified without doing damage to the nature of the child or the Gospel itself
  2. Not all children are saved in infancy. (He is not saying that some infants go to hell. He is saying some grow up and never get saved and go to hell as adults. He believes that a child who grows up and does not serve the Lord were never saved at all. If a child dies as an infant, God saves them and sends them to heaven.)
  3. Because all infants who die in the scriptures went to heaven, he infers that all infants throughout history who die, went to heaven.
  4. The scripture never shows an infant dying and going to hell, so we have no warrant to believe differently.
2. Scripture Statements. 

Moving from specific children, he then moves to scriptures more general statements about children.
  1. "Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child." Ex xii. 22,24 - God gives legal protection to children and widows. Webb still does not believe this is a good argument for our subject.
  2. Job finds ransom and returns to the days of his youth Job xxxiii. 25 - same as the first instance. This is not much of an argument for our subject.
  3. Jesus heals the lunatic child Luke ix. 42 - ditto
  4. Jesus says you must be like a little child to enter the Kingdom Mat. xviii 1,6 - this is more like it. There is a little more in this scripture to sink you teeth into. Jesus is saying children have at least some attribute that makes them more like the Kingdom of God.
  5. Speaking of children, Jesus said "such is the Kingdom of God" - same as the last point, it seems Jesus is saying, in some way, children are part of the Kingdom.
  6. His 6th argument is great. All the passages about final judgment (2 Cor v. 10, Matt. vii. 23, Rev. xvii. 12) speak of people being judged by the evil works they perform. Because a baby dying in infancy never actually sinned, they will not be judged. The best quote I could find so far is the following: "Original sin renders all the race - adults and infants - damnable; but the judgment scene shows us that damnability is converted into damnation only upon the ground of actual, personal, and conscious sins - a kind of sin which no infant dying in infancy could commit".
Basically scripture never speaks of an infant going to hell. It does say that all adults in hell were sent there for the sins they have committed. Infants can not commit actual sins, so they will not be sent to hell.

Next Blog: Chapter 3: Uncertain Data

Check back next time when we study a new chapter

God Bless,

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