Monday, May 14, 2007

Some questions, pt. 3

5. If we hold to Sola Fide, that people are saved only through faith in Jesus, apart from but evidenced by good works, can we also hold, as credo-baptists, that those who die in infancy are saved in every case? This is, of course, rightly an emotional issue, but it addresses important implications of our doctrines of salvation and original sin.

It's my understanding that credo-baptists (of which I am one) don't recognize the ability of infants to exercise saving faith. Yet, the most common evangelical response (that I've heard) to the question of infant salvation is that all babies are saved who die in infancy, sometimes with reference to an "age of accountability," sometimes without such a reference. The problem I see with both of those answers, (which are really the same answer, as far as I've heard), is that they both neglect to explain how such an infant, who is clearly affected by and is guilty of sin in Adam (Gen. 6:5, Rom. 5:12), is made right with God in the absence of the exercise of saving faith.

I've made a point of emphasizing the exercise of saving faith as that which we understand not to be present in infants. I did this because we are told to use the fruits of a professed or assumed believer to judge the validity of their profession (or, in this case, our assumption) of faith.

So, will we assume that all (or some, elect) infants have faith (albeit apart from the hearing and understanding of the Word?) and are just unable to give evidence, all being elect and therefore recipients of the gift of saving faith? Or, will we hold a doctrine of an "age of accountability" that effectively negates the effects of the fall on infants, or provides a way to redemption apart from saving faith?

Some things are simply beyond what God has chosen to reveal to us. This question may fall into that category. I'm just asking in case it doesn't, and in order to get us thinking about the consequences of our ideas. Please, fire away!