Friday, November 20, 2009


(Photo by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh:

This subject is one that needs further development.

I have made a stab at developing the Doctrine of Infant Salvation. My e-book on the subject can be found at:

The following is the Introduction to my "Are All Who Die In Infancy Saved?

The issue of what happens to those who die in infancy can be emotional. Dealing with infants can be like dealing with fire or sticks of dynamite; all ought to be handled with tenderness and the utmost of care. A verse of the Scottish poet, and anti-Calvinist, Robert Burns’ satirical poem about a so-called Calvinist he calls Holy Willie quickly springs to mind and strikes a piercing but painful note in the ears and hearts of those born of the Spirit. The poem is called Holy Willie’s Prayer:

When frae my mither’s womb I fell,
Thou might hae plungèd me in hell,
To gnash my gums, to weep and wail,
In burnin’ lakes,
Where damnèd devils roar and yell,
Chain’d to their stakes…

Do Calvinists really believe that any dying infants go to Hell? Surely all Christians who have suffered the loss of an infant or a little child believe that the Bible gives ample comfort that they will see them again in glory. The 1619 Canons of Dort in Article 1:17 sums up what Calvinists believe regarding their own children who die infancy:

Since we are to judge the will of God from His Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they together with the parents are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy.

Holy Willie is William Fisher (1737-1809). He was an elder in the Mauchline Kirk Session. His body lies buried in Ochiltree cemetery. Therefore he was not just some windmill in Burn’s mind that he tilted at because of what he perceived to be Fisher’s hypocrisy. It would seem (at least according to the words Burns put in his mouth) that Fisher disagreed with Article 1:17 quoted above.

Fisher is not alone, for some still hold that there have been infants who have died and gone to Hell. Not only that, they add contempt to their objection to the Calvinist view, by alleging that it promotes infanticide! Their reasoning is that it promotes the idea that parents can ensure their children’s election and salvation simply by murdering them or having someone else do it! But, if Article 1:17 of the Canons of Dort is a true statement of Scriptural doctrine, then those who object to it stand in danger of accusing God of promoting the murder of infants, including abortion!

The onus of proof on those who believe that there have been any who have died in infancy and gone to Hell, is to demonstrate their doctrine from Scripture. But know that no Reformed Confession states this contrary position. Even though it is the sovereign Almighty God who holds our breath in His hand, even though it is He who gives us length of days, all murderers, including all abortionists, are held accountable to God for their actions. Hell is a real place awaiting such unrepentant sinners.

We believe therefore that Christians whose children die in infancy have no reason to doubt that their children are with the Lord awaiting them. But does the Bible provide any hope for infants dying outside of the covenant community of God? We believe that the Bible gives probable hope that all who die in infancy are saved, and if so, are saved by the grace of God alone.

1 comment:

  1. I found your e-book very insightful.

    More specifically I felt your chapter titled “Believers and Potential Believers” strengthened my thinking that all who die in infancy are saved - particularly because of Luke 18:17 (“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it”), which can be interrupted, “...whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a BELIEVER will by no means enter it”.

    It seems to me to make more sense to assume that infants/little children are judged as believer as a whole and saved by grace, rather than judged according to their parents’ ultimate salvation.