Weekend Reading: July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July Weekend!  This edition of Weekend Reading is coming to you one day early due to the holiday weekend.  You’ll probably note some lighter reading below, and I hope you enjoy all the articles, videos, and blog posts!

50 years ago today Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill.  Here’s the NYTimes front page and story.

Why Hobby Lobby Matters – Russell Moore on the importance of the Hobby Lobby decision.

Christie on Hobby Lobby – I like to document moments like this because later down the line when we weigh who should be our next President, its good to remember where they stood on important issues. I’ll let you read and judge for yourself if Gov. Christie’s reaction to the Hobby Lobby ruling is satisfactory…

43 Inconceivable Facts About the Princess Bride – if you’re a fan of these Buzzfeed lists and love the movie, then you’ll read this to the end and chuckle all the way! h/t Katie Wenzel

May You Live in Interesting Times – RC Sproul, Jr. has a terrific article that I hope you find encouraging.

Charles Krauthammer on the immigration issue – hard to argue with his point.  About a 7 min. video. Best quote, “If fences don’t work, why is there one around the White House?”

If you enjoyed the World Cup (I didn’t watch a single second of it) then likely you’ll enjoy this compilation of GIFs from Tim Howard’s 16 saves in the final (losing) effort.

What is Your Mud Pie?  – Just a fantastic article from Tim Challies who examines how C.S. Lewis’ famous quote still rings true today.

That doggon Russia! – They just vetoed the idea of filming Netflix political hit ‘House of Cards’ in the UN chamber.  Personally I’ve watched several episodes of this show and the best adjective I can think of to sum it up is “raunchy.”

Patriotic Musicals and the Church – a very thoughtful article from Trevin Wax on why younger evangelicals are uncomfortable with the church being so patriotic on the 4th. h/t Parris Payden

Why College Now? – Stephen Nichols writes a piece about taking up the torch of higher education for the next generation. What makes this blog post interesting is that he writes it from the perspective of Jonathan Edwards, and how Edwards’ father (a Harvard Alum) ended up sending his son to a brand new college (Yale) because Harvard had swerved from their original commitment to Biblical standards.

Minute Physics examines whether Legolas could really see 5 leagues away – if you’re not familiar with these videos, check them out, lots of fun!

A Story of Faithfulness – Here is a 25 minute video about how the flagship seminary in the Southern Baptist Convention was rescued from the darkness of liberalism and biblical error.

Reformation Montana – Thanks to Parris Payden who snagged links to Voddie Baucham’s 4 part series on the Christian Family.  Session 1Session 2, Session 3Session 4

Pressing on Toward Maturity – are you stuck in the same routine in your Christian walk.  Check out this sermon I preached this past week.

Four Questions to Keep Close to Your Wallet – the DG blog has a quick and helpful post that should cause us to be introspective about the way we spend our money. h/t Parris Payden

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Weekend Reading: June 20, 2014

Summer is finally here (officially)!  So grab a towel and the kids and head to the pool – and keep your ipad or smartphone with you for some weekend reading.  Here are my top stories, videos, and things to check out as you kick back, or gear up for a busy weekend:

Amazon Fulfillment Center Insider’s Look – this was just a fascinating look inside Amazon’s gigantic warehouses – highly recommend you skim through this one.

HGTV cancels show due to Christian overtones – this is pretty much standard fair these days, but in case you missed it, two brothers who were stars in a brand new HGTV show titled ‘Flip it Forward’ have had their show canceled because **shockingly** they oppose muslim terrorists, abortion, and gay rights.

Disease is on the Border – if you’ve been watching the news at all lately, you’ve noticed that a flood of illegal immigrants has been amassing in Texas and Arizona. Many have come from South America via Mexico and are bringing contagious diseases with them.

Is Success Dangerous? – Jared Wilson says so, and has some good things for Christians to keep in mind.

America in a Spiritual Crisis – potential Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul said Friday that America needs revival more than it needs political leadership…I agree with him there!

Great Music from Keith and Kristyn Getty – If you attend our Thursday Lifegroup here in Dublin Ohio you’ll know we sang a new song last night from this more recent release of the Getty’s.  Check it out!

Travel by Drone! – This is a neat website where you can check out videos from cameras strapped to drones in top cities all over the world. A fun little diversion if you’re curious what Berlin or Kiev looks like from a few thousand feet above the ground.

Seeking the Face of God – this 2009 article by John Piper was helpful to me this week as I did a personal study on what it means to “seek the face” of the Lord.  One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Chron. 16:11 because it was Katie’s signature verse used to sign her love letters to me in college and reflected her desire for me to put God first – even before her.  Preview: “This setting of the mind is the opposite of mental coasting. It is a conscious choice to direct the heart toward God.”  Along similar lines, check out David Mathis’ article on ‘Bringing the Bible Home to Your Heart’ – h/t Parris Payden

My dog ate my emails – Former IRS Chief Lois Lerner’s emails seem to have disappeared, yet White House officials are unapologetic.  Go figure.

What do you do when you’re stuck in the Vegas Airport overnight? Why, shoot a music video using your iphone of course! – pretty funny stuff here! h/t Parris Payden

Pornolescence – Timely article by Tim Challies this week on the nature of Porn and its affect on Christian homes across America. – h/t Parris Payden

Hollywood Hearts Abortion and PCUSA Gay Marriage Update – Al Mohler gives a rundown on the vote of the Presbyterian Church USA (the more liberal of the two mainline Presbyterian denominations) to allow their ministers to marry same-sex couples.  He also discusses a new movie out of Hollywood’s sewers which seeks to make an abortion plot-line into a romantic comedy. Discretion advised if you’re listening with kids around.

How Suffering Leads to Joy and Hope – Two weeks ago I preached a message from Romans 5:1-5 on how suffering brings endurance, character and hope which ultimately yields joy.  The audio from that sermon is now posted if you have a desire to check it out.

In the Aftermath of Disappointing Elections – Tim Challies writes about his disappointment in the aftermath of the Ontario Elections the other day and how his faith, like Abraham’s, must be grounded in God’s character.  I wrote a similar piece just after the 2012 elections – find that little piece of archive goodness HERE. 

Resources, Resources!

Pray like a Puritan! – Looking for help in your prayer life? Check out the Valley of Vision.  These puritan prayers will inspire, deepen, and lift your heart as you prepare to spend time with the Lord.  Really enjoy this book!

Spurgeon at 180 – This week would have been C.H. Spurgeon’s 180th Birthday, and to celebrate the Confessing Baptists are giving away a complete sermon series – enter to win at the link above! h/t Parris Payden

Weekend Reading: June 6, 2014

To readers and interested parties, we are beginning a new effort today called ‘Weekend Reading’ here at the DFL blog. The idea is to provide you with a few interesting articles from around the web/news world so that whether you’re at an all day swim meat, sipping on Saturday morning coffee, or can’t sleep Friday night, you’ll have a few articles of interest to fill you in on what’s new.

Because of the nature of my own interests and background, the articles will be mostly a mix of political, theological, christian, with a mix of fun or off the wall items from time to time.  This isn’t a comprehensive list, but rather a few interesting items to check out or bookmark for later reading as you skim the headlines Saturday morning.  I expect to get help from multiple sources and friends, and want to say “thanks” in advance for those who will help keep this effort going.  Now, without further ado, here are your weekend links:

Gay Marriage and Civil Disobedience: Pastor Peter Jones has an insightful post about how Christians should be thinking and responding to the quickly evolving issue of Gay marriage and Gay rights.

 Bob Dole is WWI Vets ‘Man in DC’ – a short video about how former US Senator and GOP Presidential Nominee Bob Dole has been spending his time at the WWII memorial with vets.

The Bible Meets the Modern Age – Al Mohler has a conversation with former President Jimmy Carter about his faith, his sunday school teaching, and a few other things. This is a long read, but the audio is also available.

Fox News has some disturbing information about Bowe Bergdahl, and the Wall Street Journal has a terrifying story about the 5 Taliban captives the US set free in the Bergdahl exchange.

ChristianAudio.com is having their twice yearly sale on audiobooks – great sale to check out, many books are only $7.49. If you travel a lot or love audiobooks then this is something you won’t want to miss.

What is a Photocopier? – Hilarious new video project by the New York Times that employs actors to reenact real life depositions.  If you’re at all familiar with what deposition are normally like, then this will make you laugh out loud.

National Senate/Political Landscape – Last Sunday I gave a rundown of the national political landscape on a Cincinnati Radio program. 

Disaster and Evil in our World

Given the recent events in Oklahoma, I wanted to repost what Dr. Al Mohler posted last night. This is a thoughtful, and biblical response to the horrific events brought on by the tornados this week. I hope you find this helpful…

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The Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil

May 21, 2013
Every thoughtful person must deal with the problem of evil. Evil acts and tragic events come to us all in this vale of tears known as human life. The problem of evil and suffering is undoubtedly the greatest theological challenge we face.

Most persons face this issue only in a time of crisis. A senseless accident, a wasting disease, or an awful crime demands some explanation. Yesterday, evil showed its face again as a giant tornado brought death and destruction to Moore, Oklahoma.

For the atheist, this is no great problem. Life is a cosmic accident, morality is an arbitrary game by which we order our lives, and meaning is non-existent. As Oxford University’s Professor Richard Dawkins explains, human life is nothing more than a way for selfish genes to multiply and reproduce. There is no meaning or dignity to humanity.

For the Christian Scientist, the material world and the experience of suffering and death are illusory. In other religions suffering is part of a great circle of life or recurring incarnations of spirit.

Some Christians simply explain suffering as the consequence of sins, known or unknown. Some suffering can be directly traced to sin. What we sow, so shall we reap, and multiple millions of persons can testify to this reality. Some persons suffer innocently by the sinful acts of others.

But Jesus rejected this as a blanket explanation for suffering, instructing His disciples in John 9 and Luke 13 that they could not always trace suffering back to sin. We should note that the problem of evil and suffering, the theological issue of theodicy, is customarily divided into evil of two kinds, moral and natural. Both are included in these passages. In Luke 13, the murder of the Galileans is clearly moral evil, a premeditated crime–just like the terrorist acts in New York and Washington. In John 9, a man is blind from birth, and Jesus tells the Twelve that this blindness cannot be traced back to this man’s sin, or that of his parents.

Natural evil comes without a moral agent. A tower falls, an earthquake shakes, a tornado destroys, a hurricane ravages, a spider bites, a disease debilitates and kills. The world is filled with wonders mixed with dangers. Gravity can save you or gravity can kill you. When a tower falls, it kills.

People all over the world are demanding an answer to the question of evil. It comes only to those who claim that God is mighty and that God is good. How could a good God allow these things to happen? How can a God of love allow killers to kill, terrorists to terrorize, and the wicked to escape without a trace?

No superficial answer will do. Our quandary is well known, and the atheists think they have our number. As a character in Archibald MacLeish’s play, J.B. asserts, “If God is God He is not good, if God is good He is not God; take the even, take the odd . . . .” As he sees it, God can be good, or He can be powerful, but He cannot be both.

We will either take our stand with God’s self-revelation in the Bible, or we are left to invent a deity of our own imagination. The Bible quickly excludes two false understandings.

First, the Bible reveals that God is omnipotent and omniscient. These are unconditional and categorical attributes. The sovereignty of God is the bedrock affirmation of biblical theism. The Creator rules over all creation. Not even a sparrow falls without His knowledge. He knows the number of hairs upon our heads. God rules and reigns over all nations and principalities. Not one atom or molecule of the universe is outside His active rule.

The sovereignty of God was affirmed by King Nebuchadnezzar, who confessed that God “does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” [Daniel 4:36]. Process theologians have attempted to cut God’s power down to size, rendering the Creator as one power among others. The evangelical revisionists pushing open theism have attempted to cut God’s omniscience down to size, rendering Him as one mind among others.

Rabbi Harold Kushner argues that God is doing the best He can under the circumstances, but He lacks the power to either kill or cure. The openness theists argue that God is always ready with Plan B when Plan A fails. He is infinitely resourceful, they stress, just not really sovereign.

These are roads we dare not take, for the God of the Bible causes the rising and falling of nations and empires, and His rule is active and universal. Limited sovereignty is no sovereignty at all.

The second great error is to ascribe evil to God. But the Bible does not allow this argument. God is absolute righteousness, love, goodness, and justice. Most errors related to this issue occur because of our human tendency to impose an external standard–a human construction of goodness–upon God. But good does not so much define God as God defines good.

How then do we speak of God’s rule and reconcile this with the reality of evil? Between these two errors the Bible points us to the radical affirmation of God’s sovereignty as the ground of our salvation and the assurance of our own good. We cannot explain why God has allowed sin, but we understand that God’s glory is more perfectly demonstrated through the victory of Christ over sin. We cannot understand why God would allow sickness and suffering, but we must affirm that even these realities are rooted in sin and its cosmic effects.

How does God exercise His rule? Does He order all events by decree, or does He allow some evil acts by His mere permission? This much we know–we cannot speak of God’s decree in a way that would imply Him to be the author of evil, and we cannot fall back to speak of His mere permission, as if this allows a denial of His sovereignty and active will.

A venerable confession of faith states it rightly: “God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.”

God is God, and God is good. As Paul affirms for the church, God’s sovereignty is the ground of our hope, the assurance of God’s justice as the last word, and God’s loving rule in the very events of our lives: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose.” [Romans 8:28]

We dare not speak on God’s behalf to explain why He allowed these particular acts of evil to happen at this time to these persons and in this manner. Yet, at the same time, we dare not be silent when we should testify to the God of righteousness and love and justice who rules over all in omnipotence. Humility requires that we affirm all that the Bible teaches, and go no further. There is much we do not understand. As Charles Spurgeon explained, when we cannot trace God’s hand, we must simply trust His heart.

And so, we weep with those who weep, and we reach out with acts of care and compassion. We pray for those who are grieving and have experienced such loss. We cry for the children lost in this storm, even as we are so thankful for brave people who did their best to save lives as the winds raged. And, we pray: Even so, Lord come quickly.

This article was originally published on August 20, 2005. Last night I released a special edition of The Briefing completely dedicated to the challenge of Christian thinking in the wake of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado tragedy. Listen here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/05/20/the-briefing-special-edition-moore-oklahoma/

Continual Repentance

Tomorrow morning the class is going to turn attention to that most difficult and yet necessary of topics, repentance.

As I went through the material this week I found that the topic was simple in its intellectual depth, but far from easily studied from a purely practical point of view. My own heart was dealing with sin, and I began to wonder just how easy this lesson was going to be…

Part of being a leader is being a good teacher and that means openly acknowledging when you struggle with topics. Al Mohler explains in his book on leadership that great leaders are great teachers and are transparent and openly passionate about what they are teaching.

I wasn’t terribly excited to spend a week reading about repentance. But as you might imagine, God got a hold of my mind and heart. Because of this, my heart wandered back to the writing in a great Puritan prayer called ‘Continual Repentance’. Here is that prayer – I hope you enjoy it, and come to agree with me that we are all in need of that deep searching, painful admonishing, and beautiful healing of the Holy Spirit in repentance:

O God of Grace,

You have imputed my sin to my substitute, and have imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for you always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, “Father, forgive me,” and you are always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

Election 2012 Aftermath

Most of you know how deeply I am involved in politics.  It’s my livelihood, and I’ve made a career out of helping candidates get elected and then helping them communicate with their constituents. As a Christian working in politics, I’ve always had a lot of thinking to do on the issues that face our country, and how exactly I ought to prioritize my efforts on these issues.

I’m more convinced than ever that the number one issue facing our nation is spiritual and moral bankruptcy. The only solution for this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As Al Mohler points out this morning:

Evangelical Christians must see the 2012 election as a catastrophe for crucial moral concerns. The election of President Obama returns a radically pro-abortion President to the White House, soon after he had endorsed same-sex marriage. President Obama is likely to have the opportunity to appoint one or more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are almost sure to agree with his constitutional philosophy.

I’m in a reflective mood this morning and I’m recalling how many people have said to me “you’re really involved in an important line of work!” After all, I know important people, and I help shape the campaigns and outreach efforts of some of the most powerful people in our nation. But as I consider all that I’m involved with day-to-day, I have come to believe that my work in politics is secondary to the most important work one can be involved in, and that’s the spread of the Gospel. That is the reality – and the sooner that we conform our lives to that reality, the sooner we’ll be able to make a difference in this fallen world.

“Conforming” to this reality means conforming our minds and how we spend our time and energy to the image of Christ. Can you honestly say that you are more concerned with those dying without the Gospel than you are about whether Republicans or Democrats won or lost last night? Does your speech reflect this? Does your attitude reflect this?

If I didn’t have these truths as the anchor of my life and soul, then I would be devastated, because I’d look around and see a country on the decline, a nation which glorifies the immoral, a people who love sin with a passion that exalts man over God. And indeed I am sad, and distressed for our nation – and I intend on continuing to fight for what is right and good and moral so long as I draw breath. But my hope is not grounded in the outcome of an election. I know that these things will soon pass away. Our nation will pass into history eventually, but the things that are eternal will remain: the Word of the Lord, His Kingdom, and our faith upheld by the power of His grace, and of course, the glorious purposes of God for the consummation of all things in His Son Jesus Christ.

I’d commend anyone interested in reading more about this election and its consequences to Al Mohler’s latest blog entry.  You can read that here.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Is. 40:8)

The Age of Accountability and Infant Mortality

We all know or have ourselves been intimately acquainted with the death of a newborn, or of a young child.  The question very often that comes up is “will that child go to heaven?” this is closely tied to the question of “when is the age of a child’s accountability to God for their sin?”  I wanted to address that with some resources here, and lay out a few thoughts.  Let it be said from the start where I stand on this matter.  I believe that when a when a child dies before maturity – before understanding their culpability and what their sin actually means – that child goes to heaven.

I looked over what Sproul has to say (here) and what MacArthur says as well.  In the past I found that MacArthur was the best on this issue, but his total lack of addressing the role of original sin in this article really bothered me. Nevertheless, he has a book on the matter that may be more helpful and more extensive (here).

Al Mohler wrote an article on this in the Baptist Press here – This is by far the best explanation for how the Bible talks about this difficult issue that I could find to share with everyone.  Mohler brilliantly addresses each tradition, and brings historical facts and Biblical text to bare on the matter in a way that is very helpful.  Because of this, I’ve pasted his entire article below.

 

FIRST-PERSON: God & the tsunami (Part 3) 

Posted on Jan 6, 2005 | by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

EDITORS’ NOTE: This commentary follows a two-part look at theological questions stemming from the Asian tsunamis.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–The photographs and images are now seared into our consciousness. One of the most troubling aspects of the disaster in South Asia is the death of infants and young children. Moving at the speed of a jetliner, the walls of water fell on the young and the old alike — and so many of the youngest were simply swept away.

The death of the little ones poses anguished questions that reach to the depth of Christian faith. What happened to these young victims after death? Did they go to heaven or to hell?

I am convinced that those who die in infancy and early childhood — along with the severely cognitively impaired — go to heaven when they die. That is quite a claim, but it stands within the mainstream of orthodox Christian theology throughout the centuries, and I believe it is biblically and theologically sustainable.

In fact, I am hard pressed to imagine how any other answer can be given.

This is a question of emotional urgency for grieving parents, and it is a stone of stumbling for some who jump to hasty theological conclusions. The scope of the problem is huge, for untold millions of human beings have died at the earliest ages. Infant mortality still stands at several million babies a year. In the developing world, disease, famine and abandonment take a heavy toll. Even in the most highly developed nations, armed with the latest medical technologies, thousands of infants die each year.

The best estimates out of Indonesia and Sri Lanka indicate that young children make up a disproportionate number of the victims of the tsunamis. Like Rachel in the Old Testament, anguished mothers weep for their children.

What is our answer to the question of the eternal destiny awaiting those children? My argument that these children are safe in the presence of Jesus Christ is based upon biblical evidence and theological reasoning. I cannot accept the glib and superficial assertions put forth by those who would simply offer assurance without adequate argument.

These infants are in heaven, but not because they were not sinners. The Bible teaches that we are all conceived in sin and born in sin, and each of us is a sinner from the moment we draw our first breath. The doctrines of original sin and total depravity do not spring from some speculative theological imagination, but from the clear teaching of Scripture. There is no state of innocence, and these babies cannot enter heaven unless the penalty for their sin is provided by the atonement of Jesus Christ.

These infants are in heaven, but not because everyone is in heaven. The Bible presents us with a stark picture of two destinies for humankind. Those who are in Christ, who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, will be in heaven. Those who are apart from Christ will be in hell. Hell may be a despised concept — rejected by the theological modernizers — but it will not disappear, and its horrors await those who die without Christ. Jesus warned sinners to fear hell, and the Bible warns that we must flee the wrath that is to come. Universalism is just not an option for any Christian who believes the Bible. Those who deny hell deny the authority of Christ.

These infants are in heaven, but not because any of them were baptized. The practice of infant baptism has led to multiple theological confusions, and the death of infants is often one of the points of greatest bewilderment. Most of the early church fathers simply assumed that baptized infants who die in infancy go to heaven, while unbaptized infants do not. These significant Christian leaders and thinkers, including figures such as Ambrose of Milan and Augustine of Hippo, taught the doctrine of baptismal regeneration — a belief still held by the Roman Catholic Church and most Eastern Orthodox churches. Among Protestants, Lutherans hold to a form of baptismal regeneration and some sacramentalists in other denominations also lean in that direction. According to this logic, infants are saved because they have been baptized and have thus received the gift of salvation. There is simply not a shred of biblical support for this argument. What these churches call infant baptism cannot help us in framing our argument. There is no biblical foundation for arguing for the salvation of infants from baptism, or for positing the existence of “Limbo” as a place of eternal suspension for unbaptized infants.

So, how can we frame an argument that is true to Scripture and consistent with the Gospel? Before turning to heaven, perhaps we should take a closer look at hell. According to the Bible, hell is a place of punishment for sins consciously committed during our earthly lives. We are told that we will be judged according to our deeds committed “in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Adam’s sin and guilt, imputed to every single human being, explains why we are born as sinners and why we cannot not sin, but the Bible clearly teaches that every person will be judged for his or her own sins, not for Adam’s sin. The judgment of sinners that will take place at the great white throne (Revelation 20:11-12) will be “according to their deeds.” Have those who died in infancy committed such deeds? I believe not, for they have not yet developed the capacity to know good from evil. No biblical text refers to the presence of small children or infants in hell — not one.

Theologians have long debated an “age of accountability.” The Bible does not reveal an “age” at which moral accountability arrives, but we do know by observation and experience that maturing human beings do develop a capacity for moral reasoning at some point. Dismissing the idea of an “age” of accountability, John MacArthur refers to a “condition” of accountability. I most often speak of a point or capacity of moral accountability. At this point of moral development, the maturing child knows the difference between good and evil — and willingly chooses to sin.

The Bible offers a fascinating portrait of this truth in the first chapter of Deuteronomy. In response to Israel’s sin and rebellion, God condemns that generation of adults to death in the wilderness, never to see the land of promise. “Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give to your fathers.” (Deuteronomy 1:35). But God specifically exempted young children and infants from this condemnation — and He even explained why He did so: “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good and evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it” (Deuteronomy 1:39). These little ones were not punished for their parents’ sins, but were accepted by God into the promised land. I believe that this offers a sound basis for our confidence that God deals with young children differently than He deals with those who are capable of deliberate and conscious sin.

Based on these arguments, I believe that we can have confidence that God receives all infants into heaven.

Salvation is all of grace, and God remains forever sovereign in the entire process of our salvation. The Bible clearly teaches the doctrine of election, but it nowhere suggests that all those who die in infancy are not among the elect. Even the Westminster Confession, the most authoritative Reformed confession, states the matter only in the positive sense, affirming that all elect infants are received into heaven. It does not require belief in the existence of any non-elect infants. Those who insist that all we can say is that elect infants are saved while non-elect infants are not confuse the issue by assuming or presuming the existence of non-elect infants and leaving the matter there.

We must remember that God is both omnipotent and omniscient. He gave these little ones life, knowing before the creation of the world that they would die before reaching moral maturity and thus the ability to sin by intention and choice. Did He bring these infants — who would never consciously sin — into the world merely as the objects of His wrath?

The great Princeton theologians Charles Hodge and B.B. Warfield certainly did not think so. These defenders of Reformed orthodoxy taught that those who die in infancy die in Christ. Hodge pointed to the example of Jesus: “The conduct and language of our Lord in reference to children are not to be regarded as matters of sentiment, or simply expressive of kindly feeling. He evidently looked upon them as lambs of the flock for which, as the Good Shepherd, He laid down his life, and of whom He said they shall never perish, and no man could pluck them out of his hands. Of such He tells us is the kingdom of Heaven, as though Heaven was, in good measure, composed of the souls of redeemed infants.”

Charles Spurgeon, the great evangelical preacher of Victorian England, and John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace,” added pastoral urgency to this affirmation. Spurgeon was frustrated with preachers who claimed to have no answer to this question, and he hurled judgment on anyone who would claim that infants would populate hell.

In the end, we must affirm the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the full authority of Scripture. We trust the goodness, mercy, justice and love of God. Whatever He does is right. Salvation is all of grace, and there is no salvation apart from Christ. All are born sinners, and those who reach the point of accountability and consciously sin against God will be judged and punished for their sins in hell — unless they have come by grace to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

B.B. Warfield may have expressed it best when he beautifully affirmed, “If all that die in infancy are saved, it can only be through the almighty operation of Holy Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases, through whose ineffable grace the Father gathers these little ones to the home He has prepared for them.”

Keep those words firmly in mind as you contemplate this great and often troubling question. The little ones are safe with Jesus.
–30–
R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on “The Albert Mohler Program,” a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to http://www.albertmohler.com.