Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Deaf, mute and blind too

A few moons ago, I had a discussion with a couple if internet friends who happened to be Reformed Baptistic on the topic of infant baptism and regeneration. In our discussion I threw out what I view as a real situation, that of a person who was functioning well but perhaps due to an accident went to coma. I presented a situation where the person had never been baptized but the parents wanted the comatosed son/daughter to be baptized. In fact I made it even sharper when I threw the situation of a person who was born deaf, mute and blind who in no way can profess faith. Needless to say the RBs would not administer baptism to such an individual. One of the argument was - "well, what good would it do to the comatose"? Smack of pragmatism, I noticed.

Now I normally listen to the broadcast of Dr. James White mainly to follow his issues with Dr. Ergun Caner. and what do you know? In this broadcast towards the end (approximately at the 48 min mark) a caller called up regarding the issue of baptism for his down syndromed daughter. I listened to JW's answer and sadly I have to say that the answer was a diplomatic waffle that dodged the issue. The answer was further muddled by a smoke screen redirection towards the issue of paedo communion. I was not impressed. Sorry. The answer was not satisfactory to me and if the caller would be honest , I believe it was not satisfactory to him either.

Of course it is a difficult problem for RBs like JW, he did admit that - it would have been a bit more honorable if the answer was flat - I do not know what to do. Fortunately this is not one of those that is a problem for us. On our side of the fence, there is no doubt what we would do to a deaf, mute and blind person whose parents wanted baptized.

9 comments:

Steve said...

When one starts with the position that Holy Baptism is nothing more than a symbol, then Holy
Baptism is just baptism and the focus moves from Christ to the individual. If one rejects that Holy Baptism saves a person through the power of water and the Word of God, then they limit how one is saved. If salvation is the result of a human action, that is "accepting Jesus as your savior", then baptism cannot save since the individual is completely passive and God is the active player in Holy Baptism.

Also, many of those who don't beleive that infants or young children cannot be saved through baptism have created the teaching of "age of accountability", which has no biblical support.

When Jesus commanded the disciples to baptize all nations, he wasn't excluding anyone. Likewise, St. Peter told those at Pentecost that baptism removes sin and that this gift was for both the adults and their children to whom he was proclaiming the gospel.

L P Cruz said...

That is absolutely right Steve, I hear a lot of theories about this age of accountability. In other aspect, John MacArthur, I heard declared all those babies aborted or dying from birth are all elect. So at what point is a baby none elect? Again he may not realize it but John MacArthur does not escape that he also has to wind down the path of age of accountability too. Or declare other babies elect or none elect.

Kelly Klages said...

Weird-- how could MacArthur presume to know which babies are elect or not?

I once had a pastor (Baptist) who suggested that the reason that Israel had to kill all their enemies' infants when they overthrew them was really one of mercy for the infants themselves. If they were killed before really accountable for their pagan-ness, they'd be sent straight to heaven-- isn't that nice! *gulp*

The reality of sin and its consequences for humanity may not be easy to accept. But people sure have gotten creative in trying to make God into their image of "fairness."

L P Cruz said...

Hi Kelly,

I used to be a staunch baptistic Pentecostal myself by the way, and I am now ashamed of being proud of it at one time.

It really goes into infinite regress to say that babies that die go straight to heaven. Because we can ask the question, if a baby dies after 5 days of birth would that baby be still elect? What if after 3 months? After 12 months? After 24 months? Is the baby still elect? Ok, now we ask, how about after 360 months? Is the baby still elect if it dies (of course probably no more called a baby)... But I hope my point is clear. So the best things for babies is to be aborted so they go straight away to heaven? So those also killed by Herod are all in heaven?

Steve said...

Ask your RB friends this quesition:

If a baby is aborted does that baby go to heaven? If yes, then is it better of the child to be aborted and go diretly to heaven then to be born and go to hell if they die after reaching the "age of accountibility" without "accepting Christ as personal savior"?

I don't know the anwser to what happens to a child who is aborted. I can only rely on God's mercy. I do know that every infant is born into sin and is a sinner. I don't see God creating exemptions for infants. This is a cold reality that many Christians don't want to deal with. Holy Baptism is the only way by which an infant can be saved.

Kelly Klages said...

Actually as far as Herod goes, I think it is largely assumed by most Christians that the murdered children *did* go to heaven, because as Bethlehem infants they would have been circumcized and brought into God's covenant-- part of God's people. Likewise, I think it's safe to assume based on the promises of God that a baptized infant who dies is saved for the same reason.

A strict Calvinist, of course, would not believe that a baby that is elect would ever stop being elect. Would MacArthur teach otherwise?

Steve said...

If I am a parent of an infant who dies, can a strict Calvanist comfort me that my child is now in Heaven? If the child was baptized, can the strict Calvanist provide me with any assurance?

I do know that a Lutheran could say that since the child was baptized, we have the hope in the promise of God.

There is assurance of salvation in a Calvinist view of salvation. If they that I am to look inside, what do I see but a sinful man. I see nothing that is good if I really compare myself to God's demand. The only hope that I can have is in the promises of God in Christ.

L P Cruz said...

Kelly/Steve,

Firstly I think JMacA's point is that babies by the fact that should they die, they go to heaven whether baptized or not. This is by default ie he considers babies that die are in heaven because babies that die by the fact that they are babies, they are elect. Their fate of being killed, gets them to heaven.

I have no evidence that such is the case but to carry his logic, the most compassionate thing to do to ensure that humans go to heaven is to abort them before they are born or terminate them etc. Can you see where I can go with this?

In MacA's point, baptism is not a factor in the election process. It functions nothing.

Now, I did have his sermon on CD about this and I would have to look this up - it is somewhere in the house, I do have babies that died, my wife had 2 miscarriages. The example by the way that he gave was the baby he had with Batsheba.

However,without baptism there is no objective fact we can hold on.

Jeff Tan said...

The Scriptural reference to this problem that I have read used a few times is that of the paralytic in Mark 2, who was brought down through the roof to the Lord for healing. Obviously the paralytic could not come to Christ by himself, but that does not stop his friends and family from bringing him to the Lord. Nor does that stop the Lord from healing him -- both of his sins and of his paralysis. And all despite the paralytic's inability to confess his faith with his lips.