32 thoughts on “Sermon of the week: “Predestination and Infants” by Brian Borgman.

  1. Saved for later. Thoroughly enjoy Borgman’s preaching style and agree with nearly all of what I know of his doctrine and theology. thanks for posting!

  2. I, too, will have to save it for later. Any way of finding out ahead of time if Brian believes that the Bible teaches that some of the people who die as infants end up in the lake of fire?

  3. Pilgrim – if he covers this in the message, I’ll hear it in the next day or two. But if he believes that babies are saved, as opposed to suffering the consequences of being born in sin, that’s a BIG stretch that cannot be supported from Scripture.

  4. Appears to me Borgman – like many others – has allowed his emotional attachment to the category of “infants” to sway his interpretation of Scripture. Original sin is swept away, and those who can’t repent and believe are saved! What emotional rubbish! Non-elect kids don’t get this benefit.

    Children as the model of faith has NOTHING to do with the age of children.

    I am 26 minutes in and consider this strained to comfort people with something NOT reasonably supported by Scripture. By his own admission, it’s inference – not exegesis. Shame on him.

  5. I think the logic behind the “infants go to Heaven” is that Romans addresses the “But what if they haven’t heard the Gospel?” argument by pointing out that they will be held accountable for what they DID know; in essence, their consciences and [i]the natural world itself [/i]testifies against them.

    Infants do not have the capacity to even consider these witnesses.

    The fact is that in every single case in the Bible (except for Jericho) where God brings judgment (both to nations and individuals), He makes it clear that not only is it for specific wrongdoing they have committed (not merely being born in sin), but also the judged [i]knew[/i] that their actions were wrong. (Again, the conscience testifies). Why would the final judgment be different from any other?

  6. 072591,

    Read the Bible. Many times in the OT, the Lord commanded His people to kill everyone of their enemy – including men, women, children, and animals. These are judgments of God without any consideration for personal wrongs against His people. Remember the challenge of Samuel to King Saul in 1 Samuel?

    “And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”

    This was after the Lord’s command:

    “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

  7. Manfred,

    Could you direct me to a resource, or else explain, your local church’s position on the subject of infant death? In other words, since you are clearly advancing the position for elect / non-elect souls in the case of infant death, is this also the position of your local church?

    In Christ,
    CD

  8. CD,

    In the two years I’ve been a member of GfBC, this issue has not come up, except in passing conversation with an elder – who wisely said we should not declare to be what God has not; and we ought to trust God rather than make up comforting doctrines.

    As Borgman plainly admitted, his position is inference and speculation. True Reformers (sola Scriptura) do not declare doctrines to be biblical based on these standards – else we would all embrace infant baptism.

    Aside from wanting to comfort people – we are NOT supposed to be man pleasers – why would one make up such a claim as Borgman has done?

  9. Manfred,

    Borgman aside, I was asking about your view, and your local church’s view based upon your comments here.

    According to your testimony your church has not taken a public position on the subject, and the one elder you’ve spoken to refused to take a position, stating instead “we should not declare to be what God has not; and we ought to trust God rather than making up comforting doctrines.”

    Yet it seems, and please correct me if I’m misunderstanding you, that you are declaring to be what God has not, and that you are making up a doctrine by stating:

    Appears to me Borgman – like many others – has allowed his emotional attachment to the category of “infants” to sway his interpretation of Scripture. Original sin is swept away, and those who can’t repent and believe are saved! What emotional rubbish! Non-elect kids don’t get this benefit.

    And again:

    “I am 26 minutes in and consider this strained to comfort people with something NOT reasonably supported by Scripture. By his own admission, it’s inference – not exegesis. Shame on him.”

    Based on your comments it seems that your objection isn’t merely that Pastor Borgman (among others) sets forth a position based on his “emotional attachment to the category of infants”, as opposed to taking no position such as your elder advocated, but rather it seems that you are setting forth the case that “non-elect kids don’t get this benefit”.

    If so, is your position based on inference, or exegesis?

    If so, aren’t you guilty of doing precisely the thing you excoriate Pastor Borgman (and others) of doing, only from a position of emotional detachment from the category of infants?

    In Him,
    CD

  10. Borgman’s message is what declared that the infants of the saints are elect, having their stain from Adam not held against them. He then on to say that infants of parents who are not saved actually mature spiritually and commit sin so that hey earn hell. I did not make up anything – I summarized the points from Borgman’s message that strike me as made up.

    My position is that ALL are born spiritually dead in sin and the Bible does not give clear guidance (much less no doctrine) on what the eternal status of unborn, infants, or mentally incapable people might be. The only thing one can say from Scripture is that we see saints get rewarded in Heaven according to their good works and folks in Hell get punished according to their deeds of sin. Folks with no committed sin (the still born) would be punished less than those who fail to recognize the general revelation of God, who would be punished less than those who see the general revelation and spurn it, who are punished less than those reprobates who wage war against the church.

    We must trust God and admit that He has not spoken clearly enough on the eternal status of infants to be able to tell people that they all go to heaven. And to draw the line that this applies only to the infants of the elect goes directly against the clear teaching of Scripture that salvation and election have nothing to do with our fleshly lineage. It has only to do with God exercising His good will toward those He will save. And it is not our business to delve beyond what He has made clear on this matter.

  11. Manfred,

    You said: “My position is that ALL are born spiritually dead in sin and the Bible does not give clear guidance (much less no doctrine) on what the eternal status of unborn, infants, or mentally incapable people might be.”

    But then you said this: “Folks with no committed sin (the still born) would be punished less than those who fail to recognize the general revelation of God, who would be punished less than those who see the general revelation and spurn it, who are punished less than those reprobates who wage war against the church.”

    Which is it? Not enough clear guidance to know what the eternal status of unborn, infants, or mentally incapable people might be, or enough clear guidance to know that some still-born children will be punished to some degree in hell?

    Later you say: “We must trust God and admit that He has not spoken clearly enough on the eternal status of infants to be able to tell people that they all go to heaven.”

    Yet He’s evidently spoken clearly enough for you to determine that at least *some* still-born children will be punished to a lesser degree than others in hell? Is this inference or exegesis?

    Finally you conclude: “And it is not our business to delve beyond what He has made clear on this matter.”

    But aren’t you doing precisely that in this combox discussion?

    In Him,
    CD

  12. CD – the crux of what I’ve said is that the Bible teaches greater punishments in Hell for those who sin more. Therefore, my conclusion is that those who have less sin for which to account will be punished less – I gave that sentence as an example. It does not contradict what I’ve said elsewhere, for nowhere do posit the unbiblical notion that all or a group of infants ARE elect. All unborn children are – as far as we know – not guilty of what might be called “active sin” – opposed to inherited sin. Nowhere have I said that some still-borns will be punished less than others.

    Are you so determined to believe a doctrine built on inference that you fail to even read what I wrote?

    God may save some babies – He may not. He has not revealed this to us.

  13. Manfred,

    I’ve merely been pointing towards what appear to be internal inconsistencies in your own stated position. One minute we can’t know what God will do with the still-born, and the next minute some still-born infants are suffering in hell. In one sentence we ought to be careful to avoid making assertions where God is silent, and in the next sentence non-elect children are damned. One moment Borgman (and others) are guilty of committing eisegesis and should be ashamed, but in the next moment you seem to be doing the same thing.

    Lastly I’m a bit surprised by your assertion about my beliefs. What makes you think you know what I believe about this subject? Where have I written on it? What case have I set forth? All I’ve done thus far is make observations, and ask questions about your stated position.

    In Him,
    CD

  14. CD,

    Nothing in the Bible declares that we should teach babies (or Borgman’s larger group called “infants”) is automatically saved. I’ve never posited that – I’ve restated Borgman’s position. Show me my quote where I contradict myself about still-borns, please. I’ve looked and don’t see it. Maybe it’s here. It seems to me you are putting phrases in my mouth – that’s what prompted my last comment.

    God is not silent about who is damned – all would be if He had not chosen some. The Scripture is explicit about what saving faith is and is silent about what God does with people who cannot comprehend (either die to age or mental capacity). My point is – Why state a clear doctrine the God saves babies when He hasn’t done so? It matters not to me what arguments man has – I’ve read Spurgeon’s and couple others since listening to this message. They are all inference – same as the paedobaptsit’s arguments. We reject that speculation – why embrace this?

  15. God will save whom He will save.

    What kind of a God do we have? We pray that He would be merciful to infants who die without having been baptized. Those He baptizes, “have put on Christ” (Gal. 4)

    Some may be saved, and some may not. We cannot know the answer since only the Lord knows the hearts of men, and that includes babies.

  16. My baby son died in 1973 at 14 months from a ruptured aneurysm. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I could listen to anything on where babies go. Some believe they go to hell, others believe heaven. It really doesn’t matter what men say as I know my heavenly Father is just and righteous and His judgement stands and is right. I rest in this, that He is sovereign that His ways are above our ways and we cannot know the mind of God. One day we will all know the answers to these questions but until then I am assured in what He has chosen to reveal to us Blessings

  17. Manfred said: Show me my quote where I contradict myself about still-borns, please. I’ve looked and don’t see it. Maybe it’s here. It seems to me you are putting phrases in my mouth – that’s what prompted my last comment.

    Perhaps I misunderstood your example when you said: “Folks with no committed sin (the still born) would be punished less than those who fail to recognize the general revelation of God, who would be punished less than those who see the general revelation and spurn it, who are punished less than those reprobates who wage war against the church.”

    By making this statement you seemed to take the position that some still-born infants will suffer hell to some degree, but you later clarified that this was just an example of lesser and greater punishments in hell, not a suggestion that any still-born infant will actually go to hell. Based on your most recent comment it seems that your position is that God may justly send all infants to hell, or he may mercifully bring all infants to heaven, or he may choose to send some to hell, and bring some to heaven, but the Bible is silent on this point, therefore believers ought not be dogmatic on any particular potentiality, is this correct?

    In Him,
    CD

  18. CD,

    I think we have closed the gap :-)

    I was indeed making the point that all sin (including inherited from Adam) merits death – something Borgman denies – and that greater sin carries greater punishment.

    However, as you closed your last comment – that is my position. We can’t KNOW what the Lord does with each infant. We should, therefore, not be dogmatic as was Borgman in this message. We can comfort one another by showing from Scripture how compassionate God is, must not do so at the expense of implying He winks at certain sin.

    Either Christ has paid the debt for hell awaits. We can point to John the Baptist and have some reason for claiming he was regenerate in the womb – but that is a conclusion, not a revealed truth and – if true – not normative. As Jonah put it while in the fish – “Salvation is of the Lord!”

    Blessings in the risen Lord of all creation.

  19. I’m just wondering this: The Bible teaches that God chooses and predestinates according to His own pleasure, and that He does this before the foundation of the world, before the earth was created and before any human physically existed. Those He chooses for salvation He always brings safely through to a completed work, because what He begins in election He will bring to pass in final redemption of our physical bodies. So, it seems to me, that if one is chosen, including still-born or aborted babies, or children who die before the “age of accountability” are no less in God’s predetermined plan than those of us who walk the earth and live out our lives. It doesn’t depend on us now, and it doesn’t depend on babies either. I would say that my God is able to regenerate any life He chooses to regenerate, and how He might do so in the heart of an infant, or in the heart of, say, an autistic person, will remain a mystery, but He most certainly is able to redeem and bring to salvation ANY He sovereignly chooses, and even death cannot thwart Him. CD?

  20. Manfred,

    Thanks for your patience!

    Kaydee,

    Apart from your allusion to the “age of accountability” (although it’s a common reference, I don’t see a Biblical case for the concept), I think we’re in substantial agreement on the topic. Our God is a God of perfect grace, mercy, love, compassion, righteousness, justice, judgment, and wrath. Will not the judge of all the earth do right (Gen. 18:25)? The expected answer to this rhetorical question is, of course, a resounding YES!

    Because God is who He is, we can rest assured that His judgments are always going to be right, in the fullest sense of the word.

    In Him,
    CD

  21. As for my mention of “the age of accountability”–the reason why I put it in quotes is because it is not my concept, and I don’t see it either in the Bible, but I included it only because I’ve heard it mentioned by others. Infant death, abortion, mental impairment, “age of accountability” have ultimately no bearing on God’s Sovereign election. He is able to do what He intends to do, and all to His glory. That’s what I believe.

    This is my own idea, but I would personally like to ascribe to the thought that since life and death are in God’s hands, when you consider a still born infant, or one who dies in infancy, perhaps it is His saving mercy at work categorically. It is better to be with Him than to suffer the trials of this earth, and so maybe infant death is a designation of a company of souls whom God determined before hand to keep for Himself and spare them the trials and temptations of life here. I’m just ruminating, I know. I am saying that it is possible that all children who die in infancy do go to heaven, but only because God is able to regenerate those whom He choses, and maybe they are all chosen? I know this cannot be proven, but David apparently believed that he would see the son whom God took from Him, so it might be suggested in that instance. Sorry, I run off too much…

  22. I understand, Kaydee.

    Here’s my take on things, for what it’s worth: I can’t explain what God may choose to do in his hidden counsel insofar as still-born and aborted babies for example, because the things that are revealed to us are for us and our children, but the deep things of God are for Him and Him alone. Our critics would wish to take this position and accuse us of hypocrisy by insolently asking, “Then why can’t God depart from His standards of faith, repentance, baptism for Pygmies in Africa who have never heard the Gospel, or a Muslim or Buddhist who has done the best he could with the light he had?”

    At this we would point back to the hidden/revealed counsel of God and state authoritatively with the voice and full testimony of Scripture that He has revealed that all men everywhere are commanded to repent and believe, and after that to receive the sacraments in obedience to His revealed will. As far as Muslims, or any false religionist, or any Pygmy in Africa who has never heard the Gospel, according to Scripture they will be judged by their works, by which no man can be saved.

    We can only build binding, authoritative doctrines upon revealed truth, not upon the hidden counsels of God. I think this was Manfred’s point all along.

    In Christ,
    CD

  23. The Bible is written by the Holy Spirit and this doctrine of infant salvation is not clearly taught in the pages of scripture for a reason. 1.If the Bible taught clearly that all infants are saved then sinful man would kill as many babes in saving them from the fires of hell. (Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?)
    2.If the Bible taught clearly that all infants are not saved because they cannot respond by repenting and faith. I think many would abandon the faith, many would lose hope.
    But as Kaydee has so well said it’s in God’s hands and Coram Deo has said “Will not the judge of all the earth do right (Gen. 18:25)? The expected answer to this rhetorical question is, of course, a resounding YES!”
    Just on a personal note I’m the one who comments usually on the sermon of the week and I will allow some of you to comment here, but keep your comments brief. ;) <———-Joke

  24. papa,

    Regarding your point #2, people who would abandon the faith, losing hope if the Bible taught clearly infants are no saved were themselves not saved. Hope must be in Christ – not doctrines or a god who does what we think right.

    Agreed – we are to trust God; regardless of whether He does what we want. Our aim is to have our “wants” changed to align with His.

  25. I agree with you manfred with my #2 point on “abandon the faith” is not correct, losing your salvation shows you did not have it in the beginning.
    We need hope, Hope in God, Hope in the one who judges rightly.

  26. papa – Amen and amen! As Steve Farrar put it in a book, as in the days of Noah, the only safe place will be in the ark. But this time, the ark is Christ.

  27. Lets be frank.

    Scripture is silent on this issue. So all the best trying to write up your thesis!

    But my personal conviction is that God does not have babies go to hell. I think we need to take in the complete and total character of YHWH, the LORD when we look upon these issues.

    And from what I see in Scripture it would be contrary to the overarching character of God to throw babies into hell.

    We must be very careful that we dont throw our personal convictions around as biblical convictions.

  28. Alright. Here’s my million dollar question.

    If God predestines His elect, does it matter when the un-elect die?

    Say twins are born named Billy Bob and Joe Bob. Billy Bob is elect and Joe Bob is not. They both live to be 80. When they die Billy Bob goes to Heaven, Joe Bob goes to Hell.

    We understand and accept that.

    Now what if these same two twins had died in infancy? Does it now make their fates unacceptable and unfair?

    You’re either elect from the foundations of the world or you’re not. So does the timing of your death (i.e. your age) have any affect on something God has already decreed before He formed the world?

    I’m asking out of a genuine curiosity as I do not know the answer to what happens to infants when they die. I am just taking predestination and applying it evenly across the board.

    Thanks for your consideration, I am learning much from this discussions.

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