Christian Apologetics - Lesson 26

When a Baby Dies

Salvation is totally the work of God and all children who die in infancy are elect of God.

Ronald Nash
Christian Apologetics
Lesson 26
Watching Now
When a Baby Dies

When a Baby Dies


I.  Introduction

A.  Sequel to "Is Jesus the Only Savior?"

B.  Reformed presentation of the subject


II.  Response to criticism

A.  All children who die in infancy are elect of God.

B.  Salvation is totally the work of God.


III.  Pastoral Response


IV.  Implication for Arminianism

  • Introduction to Apologetics.

  • Apologetics involves finding evidence and presenting arguments to defend the Christian faith.

  • Two prominent worldviews are Christian theism and naturalism.

  • The law of non-contradiction states that A cannot be B and non-B at the same time and in the same sense.

  • Explanations and responses to different worldviews.

  • If God is good and all powerful, then why does evil exist?

  • Discussion about how the existence of evil is consistent with God's character.

  • Your noetic structure, presuppositions and view of epistemology are important elements in the formation of your worldview.

  • Discussion of deductive presuppositionalism vs. inductive presuppositionalism.

  • Objections to inductive presuppositionalism.

  • Arguments for and against evidentialism.

  • Arguments for and against foundationalism.

  • Discussion of natural theology.

  • There are valid, sound and cogent arguments for the existence of God, but no coercive proofs.

  • Discussion of different arguments for God's existence.

  • One version of the cosmological argument for God's existence emphasizes God as first in time, another emphasizes God as first in importance.

  • A possible world is a way the real world could have been. Modal logic, propositions, state of affairs and eternal entities are some of the considerations when discussing a possible world.

  • Something is logically possible if its description does not include a logical contradiction. The existence of the laws of knowledge refute the system of naturalism.

  • Middle knowledge is a form of knowledge attributed to God by Molina.

  • Miracles are a dividing line and central to Christianity.

  • David Hume's rational arguments against miracles and responses to those arguments.

  • Two miracles central to Christianity are the incarnation and resurrection.

  • The question of whether or not Jesus is the only savior touches on pluralism, inclusivism and exclusivism.

  • Pluralism is the view that all religions have salvific value.

  • Inclusivism is the view that even though the work of Christ is the only means of salvation, it does not follow that explicit knowledge of Christ is necessary in order for a person to be saved.

  • Salvation is totally the work of God and all children who die in infancy are elect of God.

  • Discussion from a biblical perspective of God's character and attributes.

  • Open theists believe that God does not have a perfect knowledge of the future.

  • Divine omnipotence and divine omniscience are two attributes of God.

  • When contemplating life after death, remember, Jesus has been there and come back. Will you commit your life to him or reject him?

These lectures were given at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida during the fall of 2001.


Dr. Ronald Nash

Christian Apologetics


When a Baby Dies

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:02] The following lecture is provided by biblical training. The speaker is Dr. Ronald Nash. More information is available at WW w dot Biblical training dot org. A little bit about the baby book, and I'll just throw out various points. Number one, as I said, it is a sequel to the book. Is Jesus the Only Savior? I suppose in the back of my mind I'd had the idea of doing a book like this for a long time, largely because I discovered no one had really published a serious book that is, you know, lots of popular things. No one had really published a serious book on the subject of infant salvation and so on since 1910. That's incredible. That's incredible. Now, there's been junk published, Right. And some of the authors of that junk may listen to this tape, and that's fine. May they listen and repent. Okay. Secondly, I wanted to do a book that brought up to date what I regard as the great reformed presentations on this subject that were published in the 19th century. Based on my research, all of the great books published on this subject that were faithful to Scripture were written by reformed authors. And in in most cases, they were Presbyterian. My book represents the definitive 19th Century Presbyterian answer to the question What happens when a baby dies? And let me tick off the names of the Presbyterian authors whose position is reincarnated in this book. All right. Charles Hodge, Princeton Theological Seminary. For my money, the greatest theologian of the 19th century. Okay. If you never read Hodges three volumes, Systematic theology. Shame on you. You're not ready for the real world. That book is still a great book. B.B. Warfield, Princeton Theological Seminary, when Princeton was a Christian school.


[00:02:47] Okay. That's not been the case for 80 some years. Bebe Warfield and lots of other people that I name. So, you know, when when I then discover that a large number of students here dismiss my position as heretical. Hmm. That means, of course, that they're dismissing Charles Hodge, B.B. Warfield, the historic Princeton Seminary, as also heretical. Now, that puts me in pretty good company. I've also been frustrated when I see what I used to do is is ask students to write book reviews of this and so on. And what I began to find is that a large number of students somehow can't understand my position. It looks very much as though a lot of students here approach this book with a grid in front of them. And that grid filters out so much of the content of the book that they end up attributing to me not only positions that are heretical, but that are outlandish and are clearly in contradiction to things that I state. Say, for example, various students and their responses to this book have said that teachers, that all children are say false. Anybody who's read the book knows that that's that is not what I teach. That is not what Hodge or Warfield taught. What we teach is this, that when you approach scripture with an open mind and you're not, you know, reading stuff through a filter, the historic position of American Presbyterians who are conservative and who believe the Bible is that all children who die in infancy, not all children, but all children who die in infancy, are all act of God, and their death is proof of their election. Their death is proof of their election. So people you know, I get students who say to me, You deny original sin.


[00:05:13] No, I don't. You deny total depravity? No, I don't. You hold some aberrant view of salvation. No, I don't. The position of Warfield and Hodge is that children who die in infancy are saved in precisely the same Calvinist way that everybody in this room has been saying. And that is to say that the salvation of you and me is and was exclusively and totally the work of God. And that includes that includes the five points of Calvinism. That includes the fact that God chose us. He draws us. He gives us the faith that saves. A lot of people say, how can an infant and this includes infants who die before birth or early in in their lives, how can they have faith? And the answer is God gives them that saving faith in the same way that he gave you and me, that saving faith. If you doubt that God, the Almighty God can do that in the case of children, then maybe your view implies that he can't do that. And in the case of adults either. Okay. Now to other points. When people and I'm talking here about reformed people. Okay. When people repudiate the position of Hodge and Warfield than that. Okay. That tells me the following. Okay. That. Tells me that when they become pastors and a mother and a father in their church or under their care comes to them and says, our little baby just died, or we had my wife had a miscarriage. Will, our baby is our baby in heaven? And the answer of people who reject the Hodge Warfield Marsh position. The implication of that is that pastors of parents who have lost children, who are then asked by those parents, Is my child with Jesus? The pastor can only answer.


[00:07:44] I don't know. Oh. Oh, my goodness. I think that is that is tragic that our school is graduating reform pastors. Who, when asked if a child who dies through miscarriage or in infancy is with Jesus, can only answer. I don't know what. Finally. This book argues, and here I clearly follow or feel this. There's a direct quote from Warfield somewhere in the book that if one child, just one. Not millions. Just one. If one child who dies in infancy ends up being saved. Who is unable in our many in terms to understand the gospel and to believe the gospel. Then are many in ISM is a dead duck. The salvation of children who die in infancy is the Achilles heel of our many. And as a. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Your prayers and financial support enable us to provide a biblical and theological education that all people around the world can access. Blessings. As you continue to study and live out your faith and as you grow in your relationship with the Lord.