Monday, April 23, 2007
Not In Limbo Anymore
While growing up as an RC kid, I was well aware of the RC teaching that babies who die un-baptized go to limbo - an unknown place, a question mark spot, neither heaven nor hell. Of course, there is no official teaching about this - not in the sense that there is a document signed by the Magisterium, but RC pius folks and priests followed this line of thought.
Now the RCC is stating through its Vatican International Theological Commission that babies that die un-baptized go to heaven, or atleast we should have a hopeful expectation that they are there. You can read about it here.
Modern evangelicals have always believed that babies that die go to heaven. For them it did not matter wheather or not these babies got baptized, besides, they do not baptize babies anyway. They go there because they are innocent by default - I remember John MacArthur teaching that babies that die are by default elect because they go to heaven straight away. This new position or a bit official position (I do not know what to call it) complies with the modern evangelical teaching.
So the RCC is lining up closer to the modern evangelical view. Though this official document by the RCC commission carries no official dogma, it is pre-cursor to future official teaching pronouncements by the Pope. Realizing that this weakens their doctrine of baptism, the paper was quick to assail such possible implications.
My evaluation is that their attempt fails. It does indeed weaken their doctrine of baptism. So could being aborted the best thing that can happen to a person since it brings them to heaven? I am being cynical as usual. Then there is another question - the same question that can be hurled at modern evangelians -- at what age when an un-baptized baby or child dies is it dis-qualified for heaven? When is a child no longer a child or a baby stop being a baby, at what age? If they changed their traditional mind on this, I am not surprized if they change their minds in other things too. Perhaps one day they can canonize Luther, that way one day the Lutherans may well burn their BoC.
Lutherans believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, though it is not absolutely necessary. However, there is no sure place we can stand on, and baptism is that place where sure hope is found, for there the promise of God is sealed. Hence, we dare not weaken the gift that God gives. Excuse my lack of pius speech - but there you can hold God's feet to the fire.