Babies without Baptism?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by UK Anglican, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    Babies who are stillborn
    A foetus which is miscarried (going on the assumption life begins at conception)

    If life begins in sin, what happens to them after they die?
    and is it possible to change the outcome?
     
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  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Augustine was particularly adamant that such human beings go to Hell. Aquinas believed that they go to the sort of "upper" Hell reserved for righteous pagans. He was unwilling to put them in the pits of suffering...

    I don't see God destroying those who committed no actual sin?
     
  3. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    :( It upsets me to think that babies don't seem to have a chance if they are just condemned to hell, they may be born into sin but they have committed no wrong.
     
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  4. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It's not as if the Holy Scriptures treat babies as human only once they are born. Remember Jeremiah's prophecy, and God's words to him: before he was formed in his mother's womb, God knew him. There is a certain sanctity surrounding this.

    I don't believe unborn or stillborn babies go to Hell. The Incarnation, Cross, and Resurrection of Christ purchased redemption for even those who cannot have faith in Christ. Did God allow mental retardation, for example, only that those people afflicted with it should perish eternally?
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It's not that they 'were born into sin but have committed no wrong'. But rather that they are born 'wrong'. That is why we even let women and midwives baptize babies in an emergency, because this birth into iniquity, into an enmity against God, was taken very seriously.

    It is a very harsh doctrine, but the fact is that sin, death, God, redemption are all very harsh and difficult doctrines. We don't have a faith of 'easy believism'. It's one of the strongest proofs that Richard Dawkins was wrong in his false and incoherent libels against us (aside from the proofs for God).

    That being said, there is no 'automatic' placement of the foetus into Hell. We are not God and the Church does not have the power to know what happens. The only reason Hell is even mentioned in this context is that we are taught (in Scripture and the Fathers) that salvation only comes through Christ, without whom, logically speaking, it isn't possible. But, it is quite conceivable that God could extend his mercy, so we don't have any rock-solid confidence about the terrible destination of the unbaptized. It may even vary on the individual person-to-person basis. All we can speak about with confidence is not the automatic destination of all unbaptized, but rather, the urgency and necessity of baptism for all.
     
  6. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    Still born infants, full term infants, toddlers, small children, and the mentally handicapped have no opportunity to reject God. To imagine Hell filled with these types is completely contrary to the God of scripture.

    Jeff
     
  7. Joan Lucia-Treese

    Joan Lucia-Treese Member

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    As a mother of two babies who died at 22 weeks of pregnancy and a former hospital chaplain, this issue is very dear to me. While my daughters were baptized and I have baptized many premature and infants, I do not believe that my God would cast those souls to Hell.
     
  8. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    If its any consulation to anyone, Roman Catholic unbaptised babies use to go to Limbo but about 5 years ago the pope changed his mind and now they don't, I presume they now go to heaven. OR the pope clarified the situation where some eroneously thought these babies went to Limbo. Depends on whom you want to listen to.
     
  9. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Given our fallen nature which inflated our sense of pride and entitlement, the common error most people make is to think that God owes us something, especially grace. This, however, is completely false.

    We're all born at enmity with God, as sons of wrath, bearing the guilt of Adam. We all deserve to be condemned, regardless of age, gender or race. It's quite presumptuous, if not altogether false, to declare that God saves the children, regardless of baptism. The elect children will be saved, assuredly, but it is the height of pride to declare that all children are ipso facto elect. I know this is an emotional issue for many and that's why discussing this subject is usually counterproductive. Let this be said, though: that as believers we can certainly hope and pray for mercy, for us and for anyone, but we cannot take it for granted.
     
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  10. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    It is certainly true this is an emotional and difficult subject, it is something I personally struggle with. I agree that we can't take anything for granted, and that babies are given no choice to reject God but there are an awful lot of children who commit horrible crimes that means that surely they will not go to heaven, of course I know alot of people will argue that opinion, but surely we can't always say there children, there innocent.
     
  11. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This isn't really an issue of God owing us anything - it's more an issue of whether God is merciful to the helpless. All the promises of God are "Amen" in Christ, who died for our sins & rose for our justification. On the basis of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we can see the love of God for the Cosmos made manifest. I might even say that I think the Passion & Resurrection purchased life for the dead in the womb, as well as in the tomb.

    We really should not get into the subject of "the elect" divorced from the subject of "having faith". Christ instructs us to hear God and love God entirely by faith - not by sight or reason or anything else. Since miscarried infants had no ability to hear the Word, nor to have faith in Him, what can we expect? Does Christ automatically destroy and judge the incapable?

    Sorry for not being exact or Augustinian-Thomist in my zeal. None of that interests me all that much anymore... humanity has a Father in Heaven, not a Professor of Systematic Theology in Heaven.
     
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  12. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    The biblical passages in relation to the fate of infants are pretty scanty. However Samuel 12:22-23 indicates David's faith that he will one day be reunited with his son after death.

    In the end we know that God is good and wise, and we just have to trust that what He does is good and just and leave it in His hands
     
  13. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    I like what your saying,but I do have a query.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong but if we have to just leave things in Gods hands as far as Babies/a Foetus are concerned then why have infant baptism at all surely it would be better to just leave it in Gods hands as far as all children are concerned and just have adult baptism when they can choose for themselves.
     
  14. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    I grew up Baptist and in all honesty still have some Baptist preferences towards believer's baptism. We had an infant baptism at my (Presbyterian) church on Easter, and the minister described it as an act of faith on the part of the parents, that they are handing their child over to God, and trusting that one day the faith they profess their children would too. The parents and the congregation promised to raise the child and support the child in growing in the faith at the baptism
     
  15. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    I was Christened as a baby and was brought up within the Church of England and it was that support of being raised in a christian environment which had the most impact on me, I was confirmed as a child as well by my own choice, and even though I strayed from the church as a teenager it was that commitment which stayed with me and eventually brought me back into the church as an adult.
     
  16. Mercy

    Mercy Member

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    To be fair, Limbo was never a Roman Catholic dogma. It was only ever a hypothesis. The pope was merely clarifying that.
     
  17. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    Water baptism, nor any other ritual, ever got one person into heaven, and the lack of it never sent one person to hell.
     
  18. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    All of creation was in a sense redeemed by the Cross but not all men were predestined to eternal life. The error here is for you to assume that a baby or a mentally handicapped person is, ipso facto, part of the elect of God. That's the unwarranted assumption I'm speaking of. All men are born at enmity with God, the Scriptures are clear about that.



    No-one's divorcing election from faith, at least not me. So that's really just a strawman.

    All men are born in sin, do you realise that? Grace and mercy are not acts of justice on God's part: none of us, not even sweet toddlers, are entitled to it. All of us are born as enemies of God, we're not born innocent or neutral. All men are judged in Adam, the head of the human race, and are enslaved to sin. Infants are sinners at an early stage of life, nothing more.

    In case you don't remember, Consular, God ordered the annihilation the Amorites, the Hittites, Canaanites, etc., and commanded the Israelites not to spare anyone of them, not even the children. Were those pagan children helpess? Yes but they were nevertheless reprobates.



    This is just an emotional rant that has no relevance to the discussion.
     
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  19. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, but do we currently stone disobedient children to death, or did you build a hut for your menstruating wife? We also don't recognize polygamy or the dietary laws of the Old Testament, so we look to the words of Jesus Himself who said "Allow the little children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of heaven". You do realize that the first person to see the risen Lord was that reprobate Mary Magdalene?:think:

    Jeff
     
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  20. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think he was trying to make a point more about God's eternal foreknowledge & predestination of events, rather than to the Law.

    Calvin would probably say that Mary Magdalene is proven to be Elect because the 7 demons were cast out of her, and she was put in her right mind by Christ. The very fact that she saw the Resurrection and was part of the apostolic church is proof that she was not reprobate. Committing sin is not what proves reprobation - apparently we'll only know the reprobate at the end of time. Following Christ seems to be a good sign of election, however. :p

    God is certainly sovereign, and we cannot take that away from Him. For Calvinists to use this as a bludgeon is not right, however, because the mere fact of His sovereignty does not tell us how He exercises it.
     
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