The Doctrine of Infant Salvation
(According to B.B. Warfield)
-Roman Catholic View: (Pelagian roots) an infant that dies in infancy but has been baptized is saved. Children dying in the womb of parents who desired to baptize them may be taken in lieu of actual baptism. Original sin only demands a punishment of loss of heaven and the beatific vision and not positive torment.
-Lutheran View: children are not saved without baptism, inasmuch as the condemnation and eternal death brought by original sin upon all are not removed except by those who are born again by baptism and the Holy Ghost. Yet in the event of privation, children intended to be baptized are also saved; but baptism is the ordinary means of regeneration.
-Anglican View: like the Lutherans, Anglicans at large hold to the old unreformed view of the church “that the relationship of sonship to God is imparted through baptism and is not imparted without it”
1. Zwingli, Hooper, Candlish, and Toplady by inference, held that death in infancy is a sign of election, therefore all children dying in infancy are elect and saved.
2. The opposite side is that the only sure sign of election is faith with its fruits, therefore there are no grounds of knowledge on their fate wether they are children of believers or not . But God has His elect among them.
3. The majority of Calvinists held to the middle ground in that children of believers are saved and children of unbelievers are damned. Children of those in the Covenant are holy.
4. Owen goes a step further and held that if their parents were believers, God extends mercy BUT there are some elect amongst unbelievers infants.
5. The majority view is held in this statement by Petrus de Witte “We must adore God’s judgements and not curiously inquire into them. Of the children of believers it is not to be doubted but that they shall be saved, inasmuch as they belong to the covenant. But because we have no promise of the children of unbelievers we leave them to the judgment of God.”
6. The confessions refrain from all definition of the negative side of the salvation of infants, dying such, and thus confine themselves to emphasizing the gracious doctrine common to the whole body of Reformed thought.
Westminster Confession of Faith 10.3. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit,m who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth:n so also are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.o
(m) Gen 17:7; Luke 18:15-16; Acts 2:39; John 3:3,5; 1 John 5:12; Luke 1:15
(n) John 3:8
(o) John 16:7-8; 1 John 5:12; Acts 4:12
London Baptist Confession 1689
3. Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit;j who worketh when, and where, and how He pleaseth;k so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
(j) John 3:3,5-6
(k) John 3:8
In conclusion Warfield states: “If all infants dying in infancy are saved, it is certain that they are not saved by or through the ordinances of the visible church (for they have not received them), nor through their own improvement of a grace common to all men (for they are in capable of activity); it can only be through the almighty operation of the Holy Spirit who worketh when and where and how He pleaseth, through whose ineffable grace the Father gathers these little ones to the home He has prepared for them.”
Thanks to Jason Sanchez