Do Babies Go To Heaven If They Die? A Critique of Calvinism's Answer

Okay ... so I am going to do my best to contain my anger with Calvinism on this one.  (But I'm not gonna do a good job of it!)  This will be long, messy, and a little rambly.  But there's a lot to say about this issue.  

For the record, I believe that babies and mentally-handicapped people are not held accountable for being unable to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I believe that in their innocent state, God covers them with His saving grace.  As we age, though, we learn about right and wrong, and we become capable of making conscious decisions.  And it is then that we become accountable for our decisions.  

But Calvinism doesn't - can't - agree.   

(I do not claim to know for sure what the Bible teaches about this issue.  This is just the best I understand it, based on what I believe the Bible says.  Also, please know that I've never lost a child, so this isn't coming from a place of emotional distress.  It's coming from a place of anger - righteous anger - for what Calvinism does to God's character, the Word, people's hope and faith and their relationship with God.) 


A little backstory ...
Recently, my Calvi-pastor gave a sermon where he basically flat-out denied that there's an "age of accountability."

[For those who don't know, an "age of accountability" (or maybe more accurately, a "condition of accountability") involves the idea that there's an age where we become mentally capable of making decisions, where we know right from wrong and that we need to reject the wrong and choose the right, and where we are now accountable for our choices, particularly our decision to accept or reject Jesus.  And so children who die too young to be able to make conscious decisions are covered by God's grace and go to heaven because they haven't yet reached that age/condition.  They are not held accountable for their sin, for being unable to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  This would include mentally-handicapped people who are incapable of making decisions regarding faith.]  



What my pastor basically said was (paraphrased, but not really):

"Christians love to believe there is an age of accountability.  But nowhere in the Bible does it say there is an age of accountability for babies or children.  No one gets a free pass!  We are all wicked sinners from conception - sinners by birth, by choice (my note: funny for a Calvinist to use this word!), and by nature, being cut off completely from God.  This is clear in Romans 3:23 which says 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,' and in 1 John 1:8 which says that whoever claims to be without sin is a liar.  All of us are sinners, from babies up to adults, and all sinners are required to repent in order to get into heaven.  (My note: the obvious implication is that since babies died before they could repent then they aren't saved.  They are in hell because they were predestined to go there, so the Calvinist would say.)"


This is a pretty definitive statement that there is no age of accountability, that if a baby dies, it dies as a wicked and rebellious sinner who is cut off from God, and therefore they go to hell.  

(Umm, can babies "claim" anything about themselves?  Can they consider their moral condition and make a declaration like "There's no sin in me!"?  1 John 1:8 simply would not apply to those who do not have the mental capabilities to evaluate their conditions or make declarations about themselves.)  


And it's not just my ex-pastor.  I have recently read of others who said their Calvinist pastors said the same thing.  That they look right at women who've lost children and tell them there is no age of accountability, no saving grace for those who die before being old enough to respond to the Gospel.  That babies and young children who die are in hell.


My goodness, this makes me want to cry!  And as I said, I never even lost a child.  But my heart breaks for those who did, for those who have to listen to pastors like these, who had to listen to my pastor essentially tell parents that their deceased baby was predestined for hell.  Even if he seriously believes this crap, what the fudge (only I don't mean "fudge") is wrong with his head that he would say this ... to mothers ... on Mother's Day!?!  

Yep, that's right ... this was his Mother's Day sermon! 

He may as well have said "Happy Mother's Day!  I hope you know your deceased baby is in hell.  Now let's give God some glory!"    

(And no, I am not sorry for my harsh response.  When I say it like this, I really mean it.  And for the record, there are Calvinists who say that all babies DO go to heaven, but I'll address later why this is a contradiction to their theology.)




It Comes Down to "Sovereignty"

Calvinists believe that God is fully sovereign.  And I don't disagree.  But they define sovereignty incorrectly.  And that's their problem from the very beginning.

I say that being sovereign means He gets to choose when to act and when to not act, how to intervene and when to not intervene, which prayers to answer and how, and which prayers to not answer, when to cause things and when to allow us to cause things.  Being sovereign means that He is the highest authority there is, and that He can use or not use His power any way He wants to.  


And actually, as evident in the Bible, He has chosen to not use His power all the time to control everything. He has to chosen to restrain Himself in many ways, to give mankind and Satan a certain level of freedom and power, and to work with and through mankind in many ways.  Just because He doesn't always use His power to control everything doesn't mean He doesn't have the power to control everything.  He has just chosen not to control everything.  This is a absolutely, unmistakably seen all throughout the Bible. 

But Calvinists insist that if God is sovereign then it means He has to totally control everything and be the cause of everything that happens, even our sin and rebellion, even whether we believe in Him or reject Him.  They believe He pre-plans and causes everything that happens, for His glory and His plans and His pleasure.  They do not believe we have control over our choices because that contradicts their idea of God's sovereignty (*see note below).  They believe that if we had the ability to make choices then it means there's something God doesn't control, which means He is not really a sovereign God like they think He is.


Therefore, according to honest and consistent Calvinists, if a baby dies, it's because God planned it to happen and caused it to happen, for His glory and pleasure.  And since that baby (according to them) was born morally-depraved like they say all people are, completely rebellious towards God and in a state of being completely cut off from Him, and since they were never able to repent, then naturally they are in hell.  And so this means God predestined them to never repent because He predestined them for hell.  And by golly, you'd better just praise God for being the holy, glorious, sovereign God He is and stop questioning His decisions!  After all, He is the potter and we are the clay.  And if He wants to make a tiny clay pot simply so He can destroy it and let it burn eternally in hell, then that's His prerogative, being a holy, just, sovereign God and all.  

It's bullcrap!  

And I'll say it again ... It's frickin' bullcrapola!

(Not sorry!)


[Actually, I've stumbled across various ways Calvinists view this issue.  Some say that if a baby dies, it proves it was one of the unelect, and therefore it's in hell.  This would be consistent with their "total depravity" teaching.  But those who don't want to say babies go to hell might say that all the babies who die are elected.  That no unelect baby will die too young.  So if a baby dies, it proves it was elected.  How convenient, seeing as there's no way to know if a baby is "elect" or "unelect" because they never were able to make a profession of faith!  In this post, I am considering a consistent Calvinist, like my ex-pastor - those who say we are totally depraved from the moment we're born, separated from God and under His judgment, babies included.]    



But as I said, the problem here - from the very beginning - is their idea of what sovereignty means.  They assume that God has to control everything.  Because if there's one thing He doesn't actively control - one piece of dust floating around out there that He isn't controlling, one thought we have that He doesn't plant in our heads - then it means He doesn't control anything.  If there's anything He doesn't actively cause or control then it means there's something He can't control, which means that He's not God.  According to them.  (A huge, foundational fallacy from the very beginning!  They decide this is what a sovereign God has to be like, and then they build their whole theology on it.  A big problem with Calvinism is that it defines, according to its own ideas, how God has to be and act in order to be God, even when it clearly contradicts how He is in the Bible.)  

But instead of rethinking their erroneous view of God's sovereignty, they vehemently defend the idea that God is the kind of God who would punish random people in hell - people who never had a chance to believe in Him because they died too young or were mentally-handicapped, and people whom He caused to be unrepentant but then punishes for being unrepentant.  Because He wanted it to be that way.  Because it brings Him glory somehow.  


It's absolute nonsense.  

And it does such damage to God's character and people's faith!



The thing is ... they have to cling to this idea.  Or else they'd have to admit they're wrong in their view of God.  

An "age of accountability" would mean there's an age when we are accountable for our choices ... which would mean we have the ability to make choices ... which would mean that the Calvinist's belief in "total depravity and total inability" (of mankind being so totally depraved that we are so totally unable to even think about, want, or choose God unless God causes us to do it) and in God electing whom He wants to save and in God "sovereignly causing and controlling all things" would be completely wrong.  

If Calvinists admit there's an age where we are held accountable for our choices then they are admitting we can make choices, and this would destroy the whole foundation of their theology.  No wonder they have to cling to the idea that God predestines babies who die to go to hell, for His pleasure and glory.  It's the only way they can spin their horrible beliefs into something that sounds "God-glorifying"!

It's sick and twisted!  It truly is!  




[FYI, you won't be able to convince an educated, dogmatic Calvinist to see it any other way.  They believe they are honoring and glorifying God by upholding such difficult teachings.  "Look how humble I am to trust in God's sovereignty despite such unpleasant teachings!"  Plus, they have an "answer" for everything, a Bible verse to defend every erroneous view they hold, regardless of whether it's taken out of context or not.  They are far too "educated" to consider they might be wrong.  

You know who else had that problem?  The Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law in Jesus's day.  I'm just sayin'.]




[*Note:  Actually, some Calvinists will say "Of course we make real choices.  We freely make our own choices according to our natures and desires."  

But what they hide is "But God determines which nature we get.  And our God-given nature will determine what we desire.  God decides whether we get the repentant 'saved' nature He gives only to the elect ... or if we get the rebellious 'sinner' nature He gives to everyone else.  And we can't change the nature He gives us.  And so if He gives you the rebellious 'sinner' nature, then you will always want to sin and choose to sin because all you can do is sin.  So if you sin, it's not because God 'forced' you to; it's because you wanted to and chose to, according to the sinner nature God gave you."     

And they truly believe that this bullcrap can still be called "freely making our own choices" ... and so therefore, Calvi-god can "justly" punish us for "our" choices ... even though we can only make the kinds of choices that go with the natures Calvi-god predetermined we'd have.  (I have to say "Calvi-god," because it's not the God of the Bible.)

(Actually, if they want to further downplay Calvi-god's involvement in "causing" us to sin, they'll simply say that Calvi-god doesn't "give" people the sinner nature, but that we start out with it.  They'll say that Calvi-god doesn't give the sinner nature to anyone; he simply chooses who to give the saved/repentant nature to, and everyone else is stuck with the sinner nature they started out with.  More nonsense to hide the fact that "Calvi-god causes us to sin and then punishes us for it.")  

Be very wary about what Calvinists say, because they will always only say half of half of what they really mean.  They will only say the part that sounds good, that we can all agree on.  And so if you aren't aware of the word games they employ and of what they hide, and if you don't press them for deeper answers, you'll end up thinking they sound biblically on-track.  And you'll get sucked in more and more, until it's too late to discern the errors, too late to get out.  

Honestly and sadly, you almost have to think of them (of the educated, dogmatic Calvinists, that is) as pathological liars who spin everything they say and who always hide part of the truth.  And it's the part they hide that makes all the difference!  See "Confronting Calvinism's Deceptive Nonsense."  

But you know what the most dangerous part is?  They're not trying to lie.  They truly believe this stuff.  They've surrounded themselves with Bible verse after Bible verse to support it.  And because they believe it so thoroughly themselves, they are very convincing and persuasive, and no one considers that it might be a pack of cleverly-disguised lies.  When they tell us that they are teaching only from the Bible and that we have to agree with it, we tend to agree with it.  We fail to keep our radar up, to question what they're telling us.  

Because ... after all ... they just said they were teaching only from the Bible.  And since they said it, it must be true.  Right!?!  (See "Predestination Manipulation")  

Moral of the story: If you hear something that sounds questionable to you, even if you're not sure why, write it down and research it and figure out what the Bible says about it.  Be a Berean (Acts 17:11).  Don't trust any other person to teach theology accurately without checking for yourself.  That's how I started, before I even really knew what Calvinism was - by writing down every little thing my pastor said that didn't sound quite right, every verse that seemed out of context, and by looking into the Word myself to see what God says.  (But be careful about which sources you get your information from.  There are lots of Calvinist theology websites out there that will lead you astray before you realize it.)  

Once again, no, I'm not sorry for saying all this.  I mean, I have some wonderful friends who are Calvinists (or maybe more accurately - "Calvinists," in quotes), and so I know that many average Calvinists are just trying their best to honor God as best they know how, as they've been taught to do by the dogmatic, wolf-in-sheep's-clothing, Calvinist theologians.  And I am not coming down on the many wonderful, godly, humble "Calvinists" out there.  But I am coming down hard on Calvinism itself, and I'm not going to apologize for it.  Because once you really understand what Calvinism does to God's character and grace and love and justice, to Truth, to Jesus's sacrifice, and to people's faith and their relationship with God and their hope of salvation, you can't help but come down on it with all you've got, not tolerating it one tiny bit.  (See "If Calvinism is true, then God is a liar!" and "Why is Calvinism so dangerous?"  And remember, they will deny that they believe what I say they believe.  But what I am doing is simply exposing the deepest, core, foundational beliefs they hold to, cutting through all the deceptive, "nice sounding" layers they disguise it with.  All the ways they try to rationalize their twisted theology.)  

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it:  If you don't see the damage that Calvinism does to the Gospel, how contrary it is to the Gospel, how much it destroys God's character, how it disguises lies as truth, and how it uses God's Word against God - if it doesn't break your heart - then you either don't really understand Calvinism or you don't really understand the Gospel!  

There's no other way to say it.

And so when this much is at stake, when Calvinism is sneaking unnoticed into so many churches, doing terrible damage from the inside out ... then, no, I'm not sorry for my harsh words!  Not!  Sorry!  If this kind of destructive theology isn't worth pulling out the big, harsh words over ... then nothing is!]





Verses against their views?:

I'm not going to try to convince you of how to interpret these verses, but I hope that by putting them all together, we can get a good idea of God's heart for the very young.  His view of them.  And I believe that, considered as a whole, these verses show us that our God is not the kind of God who would condemn children to hell when they've done nothing wrong.  (Calvi-god would!  But not the God of the Bible!)

Ezekiel 16:20-21"And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to idols.... You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols."  God says that their children - the ones they sacrificed - were His children.  Why would He call them His children if children are born as and die as wicked, depraved, rebellious sinners, wholly separated from Him, under His judgment, and on their way to hell?  If God has predestined to hell those who die too young, shouldn't He instead say something like "You deprived those young ones of the chance to become My children by killing them while they were young"?  Or more accurately, "I caused you to sacrifice your children because I never chose them to be one of the elect anyway"?  But God doesn't say anything like this.  He calls them "My children!"  (The Calvinist, of course, might say that God was referring to the Jewish nationality of those children, that in saying "My children," He meant "My people."  Or maybe He meant all people can be considered "His children" simply because He created us all.  Or maybe He was saying that the sacrificed children were "elected children" only.  If so, interesting how all of those who were sacrificed happened to be elected!  What are the odds!?!  Or did God just make sure that the people only sacrificed the elected ones?  How thoughtful of Him!) 


Also regarding child sacrifices is Jeremiah 19:4-5"For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods ... and have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.  They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as an offering to Baal - something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind."  This is a big one!  First off, what does God call the children who were sacrificed?  He calls them "innocent."  (Or once again, did God simply make sure only the innocent "elected" children were sacrificed?)  But Calvinists call children "wicked, morally-depraved, in rebellion against God, and completely cut off from Him."  They call innocent babies "vipers in diapers," saying that if babies had the chance, they'd kill their parents in their sleep.  But what does God call them?  Innocent.   (Yes, this video is cute and funny, but don't overlook the theology he's teaching here, that children are depraved "born sinners" who deserve hell.)  Secondly, if God predestined those children to die early, as Calvinists would say, why does God Himself say that He never even considered that child sacrifice should be done?  How can God preplan or cause something He never even thought about?  But a Calvinist would say God preplans and causes everything.  And consistent Calvinists would have to say God preplanned those children to be sacrificed ... to die as depraved sinners, cut off from God, under His judgment, on their way to hell.  Yet God says they are innocent and that He never thought about requiring them to be sacrificed.  Interesting!


In Deuteronomy 1:39, God talks about "your children who do not yet know good from bad."  There is a distinction in God's mind between older people who know right from wrong ... and little children who don't.  And in this case, the Lord treated the innocent children differently than the adults who rebelled against Him.  He allowed the children to enter the Promised Land, but He caused the adults to die off in the desert as punishment for their rebellion.  God did not hold the children accountable for the rebellion of the parents.

Likewise, Isaiah 7:16 refers to an age when a child is old enough to "reject the wrong and choose the right."  This sounds like there's an age (or more accurately, a condition) when you become accountable for your choices, that even God recognizes a difference in those too young to know better, too young to make decisions.  


[Also, I think it's important to note that God, in the Bible, constantly warns us about rejecting or denying Jesus.  We are punished for rejecting or refusing Him, not for not hearing about Him or for being unable to comprehend Him.

“Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.”  (1 John 2:22)

“But he who disowns me [Jesus] before men will be disowned before the angels of God.”  (Luke 12:9)  

"This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God."  (1 John 4:2-3)  

How can a baby or mentally-handicapped person deny, reject, refuse, or disown something they had no knowledge or understanding of?  I believe there is a difference between those who never had a chance to hear/understand the Gospel and those who knew about it but rejected it.  

The Word doesn’t say that we are condemned for being incapable of comprehending the Gospel (such as a baby or mentally-handicapped person), but it says we are condemned if we reject Christ, implying that it is referring to those of us who have heard of Him and are able to respond to Him, because you can’t reject someone you've never heard of or can't comprehend.

Consider Romans 1:20"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that people are without excuse."   

This verse is saying that we are accountable for what we know of God, that we are accountable for being able to see God in His creation.  And since God is evident to all, there is no excuse for not seeking Him, for not believing in Him.  We are accountable for our thoughts about Him and for our response to the truth we see of Him in creation.  

I do not think this is referring to those who are unable to see, unable to comprehend, and unable to make decisions.  It's referring only to those who can comprehend the things around them and make decisions based on it.  It says we - those who can see and understand Him in His creation (which would be all of us with adequate mental capabilities) - have no excuse for not turning to Him.  And I believe the innocent - those who can't comprehend yet - are excused, precisely because they can't comprehend.

When a person becomes old enough, they reach an age where they know they need to reject the wrong and choose the right.  And then they will be held accountable if they don't do it.  But before that time, they have no knowledge of right and wrong, are incapable of making a choice, and so they are considered innocent.  They didn't reject Jesus; they just didn't have the chance yet to comprehend Him and their need for Him.  And for this, God does not hold them accountable!  This is what I believe the Bible teaches.]
    
     
In 2 Samuel 12:23, David says that his deceased baby shall never return to him, but that David shall eventually go to his deceased baby.  Sounds like David understood that his baby will be waiting for him in heaven.  (Calvinists might say, "Of course David expects to see his baby in heaven.  Because that child was one of the elect!")


Matthew 21:16: "From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise."  How can wicked, depraved, rebellious vipers-in-diapers who are born separated from God, who are under His judgment, and who would murder their parents in their sleep be said to be "praising God"?  If so, then why wouldn't He also ordain praise from older - from all - wicked, depraved, rebellious people who are separated from Him, living under His judgment, and who have murderous hearts?  And aren't we all then - true believers and wicked, depraved, rebellious, murderous unbelievers - standing together, side by side, praising and honoring the same God?  Talk about unity!


Matthew 18:10 talks about the angels seeing the face of the Father when they look at the little ones.  How can the angels see the face of the Father in wicked, depraved, unrepentant, separated-from-God, on-their-way-to-hell sinners?  If that's what the Father looks like to the angels (as Calvinism would have to conclude), then maybe He's not as loving and good as we think He is.


In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to "such as these," the children.  How can this be if no children would be allowed to enter heaven because they are depraved, wicked, unrepentant sinners?  (Consistent Calvinists might say that this is simply a metaphor, meaning that people who are as trusting and innocent as children get into heaven.  Yet, once again, if babies are really depraved, wicked, rebellious sinners - not innocent at all - then why would Jesus encourage us to be like them, saying that being like them is how we get into heaven!?!  Weird!)


"So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish."  (Matthew 18:14Consistent Calvinists would have to say that babies who died never repented, and so dying as unrepentant sinners means they are in hell, that God willed them to go to hell.  But this here says it's NOT God's Will for them to perish.  If it's not God's Will for little ones to perish, then saying babies go to hell means saying that God causes the exact opposite of His Will.  (Calvinists have no problem saying God wills one thing but causes the exact opposite.  And they use "it's a mystery that we can't understand" to shut down any opposition to their contradictions.)  

[FYI, Calvinists would say (have said) that Matthew 18 refers only to elected babies - that the angels see the Father's face in elected children, that God will punish those who cause an elected child to stumble (Matthew 18:6), and that He doesn't want the elected ones to perish.  

First off, it's interesting that God called the children of wicked, idolatrous people (in Jeremiah 19:4-5) "innocent."  But here, in Matthew 18, the Calvinist says only the elected babies are innocent.  So then, are all children of wicked people "elected"?  Interesting!  

And secondly, notice again the strong warning (Matthew 18:6) about causing one of these little ones to stumble.  Jesus said it's better for someone to be drowned than to cause one of them to stumble.  This doesn't sound like it's warning about a normal, insignificant kind of "stumbling."  It sounds like it's about the kind of stumbling that causes someone to fall away from the Lord.  Especially since just a few verses later, God says He doesn't want any one of these little ones to perish.  God is talking here about a kind of stumbling that leads to perishing.  But how is this possible if these are "elected" babies?  According to Calvinism, the elect can never lose their election, their salvation.  They are never at risk of stumbling so badly that it leads to perishing.  And so why would God need to warn people to not cause elected children to stumble if stumbling wouldn't have any effect on their election anyway?  This doesn't make sense, if Calvinism is true.]  


Yes, we are all sinners.  We all sin.  But I believe the Bible also shows that there is an age - a time - when we become accountable for sin, for not doing what we know we are supposed to do, for doing what we know we are not supposed to do, for rebelling against God, for refusing or rejecting Jesus, for our decisions.  And before that age, we are covered by Jesus's blood, who paid for all sins of all time of all people.  

How could the Bible say that His death covered all sins of all people, if it didn't also cover the sins of those who died too young?  Shouldn't the Bible then say "Jesus died for all people, except for the very young or the mentally-handicapped"?  (Most Calvinists, though, believe that His blood only covered the sins of all the elect.  Not all sins of all people.  That alone should be enough to reject this theology from the very beginning.)

It's no wonder so many people reject Christianity ... with all the Calvinists out there sharing their warped view of God!  Calvi-god is not the God of the Bible!  It is a horrible, twisted, destructive misrepresentation of our holy, loving, gracious, just God!



Here's are some more posts on this from other people: "Total (Hereditary) Depravity" ... another by the same name "Total Hereditary Depravity" ... an 11-minute video (watch it!) called "Consistent Calvinism - Babies Go To Hell" ... "The Damnation of Infants".   





Problems with the Calvinist View:

As I said, there are some Calvinists who would say that babies who die go to heaven, which I fully agree with.  But this causes some problems for them and their theology.

As I pointed out, they believe we are all born totally depraved, totally unable to come to God unless God causes us to, totally separated from Him unless He draws us (the elect) to Him.  And so according to their theology, babies would also have to be born this way - totally depraved and separated from God (as my pastor claimed).  And since repentance is required and since babies couldn't repent before they died, they would have to be in hell (as my pastor alluded to, but stopped just short of actually saying).

Yes, I believe we are born separated from God because of our sin.  And yes, I believe we need to repent of our sin.  But the difference is that I believe salvation is an offer that God makes to everyone, because of Jesus's death on the cross for all sins of all people.  And where we go - heaven or hell - is determined by our choice, by whether we accept or reject Jesus as Lord and Savior.  

I believe that God has made salvation a choice, that He expects us to decide between right and wrong, between accepting or rejecting Jesus.  And He holds us accountable for our choices, meaning that we are not held accountable before and until we can make choices.  And so God's grace covers those who died while they were still "innocent," unaware of their sin and their need to repent and to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  They never rejected Jesus; they just couldn't yet comprehend their sin and their need for Him.  And so they are considered innocent.


But a Calvinist doesn't believe that salvation has anything to do with our choices anyway, or that we can even make our own choices.  (They will still call them "our choices," while hiding the fact that they believe we can only make the choices God predetermined we would make.)  They believe that God decides for us if we will be saved or not.  They believe that Jesus only died for the elect, not for everyone.  They believe that we are born as either one of the elect or one of the unelect, whatever God pre-decided for us at the beginning of time.  And there's nothing we can do to change it.  We can have no effect on our salvation.  

According to a foundational belief of Calvinism, it has to be all God's doing and choice, with no influence from us or from circumstances outside of Him.  Or else He isn't really God.  

In Calvinism, it shouldn't matter in the least if someone died too young or if they lived longer.  It shouldn't matter if they could comprehend the Gospel or not.  Because God has already predestined where they will go, based on nothing but His own desires.  And nothing can change it.  Not even dying too young or living longer.  Not even understanding the Gospel or not understanding the Gospel.  Because that would mean our salvation hinges on us, on our choices, on our mental capabilities, on circumstances outside of God.  And they do not allow for that.  

(Besides, according to them, salvation is bestowed on the elect before they ever even heard the Gospel.  The elect are chosen/saved first, then the Holy Spirit regenerates the hearts of only the elect to make them want/seek God, then He causes them to understand and believe the Gospel.  The Gospel has no effect on whether a person is saved or not, because election happens way before hearing the Gospel.  Understanding the Gospel (believing in Jesus) is the result of God electing us to salvation, not the cause of our salvation, according to them.)   

Any Calvinist who tries to include an age/condition of accountability is denying their fundamental belief that God alone determines our salvation, that nothing outside of God can affect it or influence it.  Because an age of accountability implies that our age, the timing of our death, and our mental capabilities affect whether we are saved or not.  



And to say there's an age of accountability - an age where a person goes from automatically saved ("elected baby") to potentially unsaved ("non-elected older person") - also contradicts another foundational belief of theirs:  That election is totally secure, that an elect person can never lose their election, no matter what.  (I agree that true believers can't lost their salvation, but not in the way they say.)  

I
f Calvinists say that all babies who die go to heaven, then all babies are "elected."  But if those innocent "elected" babies lived long enough, they would essentially lose that so-called "secure election."  Because if we can't lose our election and if all babies are elected, then that would have to mean that all of us - having once been "elected babies" - would still be elected, that we are all predestined for heaven.  

But we know this is not the case.  

And so therefore, babies have to lose their election as they grow.  So then ... how secure is Calvinist "election" really?  If our age can alter it?  (Of course, Calvinists would say there was no chance of those babies living longer because God planned for them to die early.  Once again, did God plan for the children in Jeremiah 19 to be sacrificed?)

And if, as Calvinists say, we are all born depraved, wicked, rebellious, and separated from God, then what happened to that depraved, wicked, rebellious, separated-from-God nature for the baby who died and went to heaven?  Did it disappear?  Did they magically become "righteous" just because they died too young?  Did God overlook that depraved nature because they died early, meaning that the timing of their death had an effect on His choice of where to send them, meaning that circumstances had an effect on God's choice, meaning that it wasn't all God's doing and that things do affect His choice (something Calvinists deny)?  

Are we or aren't we all born depraved, wicked, rebellious, and cut off from God?

But if we are all born in this condition, like Calvinists say, wouldn't that mean we all start out as unelected?  Doesn't "cut off from God" amount to being unelected, which is simply being eternally cut off from God?  How then - if our election can never change - can any unelected person become elected?  

Calvinists say we are elected or not since before the beginning of time and nothing can change it.  Wouldn't this mean then that the elect have to be born in a different condition than the unelect, especially since righteousness and eternal life were credited to them from before time began?  They can't be born as depraved, wicked, rebellious, cut-off-from-God sinners, like the non-elect are, because if we can't change our eternal status, then they could never go from being "cut off from God" to "not cut off from God."  We would have to be born as one or the other, with no chance or hope of changing it.    

But this would contradict their view that we are all born as depraved, wicked, rebellious, cut-off sinners who are in rebellion against God.

Calvinists want to have their cake and eat it too.  But it just ends up making a mess of their own theology!  (I have tried to make what I'm saying as easy to understand as possible.  Sorry if it's still confusing.  I know what I'm trying to say, but it might not be coming across so clearly.)  



So an "age of accountability" contradicts a Calvinists belief that we are all born totally depraved, that nothing can affect or influence our salvation except God alone, and that election is always totally secure.

So if you get rid of the "age of accountability," what options are Calvinists left with?

1.  God only kills elected babies.  (But then, once again, what about the depraved, separated-from-God nature?  And if these children were destined to die as elected babies, does this mean they never had the chance to live any longer?  Or that if they did grow, they would have always been elect?  But then, once again, wouldn't that mean that all of us should still be elected, since Calvinists say our election status can't change?  But if God determined they would die early with no chance to grow up, does this mean that God causes, say, all abortions?  Did mothers who aborted their children have no choice but to abort?  Were they unable to change their minds because God willed that they would kill the elected children so that they could go to heaven?  And I'm also wondering why - if Calvi-god himself causes unelected people to be unbelievers - why he would punish them but then give "innocent" babies a pass.  What's the difference between an unelected person who can't control their choices and a baby who can't control their choices?  Aren't the unelect and innocent babies in the same boat, the same condition?  If Calvinism is true, neither of them had any control over their ability to make decisions, to choose or reject God?  Yet Calvi-god supposedly gives the babies a pass, but holds the unelect accountable?  I don't get it.)  

2.  God only kills non-elected babies.  (But if babies end up in hell, why would God call those sacrificed children in the verses above "innocent"?  Why would He call them "My children"?  Why would He say it's not His Will that children perish, when He Himself predestined them for hell?  Oh wait, that's right ... He only wills that the elected babies don't perish.  But the non-elect?  Let 'em burn!  What a just, righteous, loving God we serve!  To sovereignly decide that babies and mentally-handicapped people and people whom He caused to be unbelievers should burn in hell for all of eternity for something they had no control over!  That's the wonderful Calvi-god in action!  Now let's give him some praise!)

3.  Some babies are elected and some aren't, but we can't know which is which.  

Honestly, the only choice an honest, consistent Calvinist has is to say that we don't know whether the child was elected or not, and so therefore they cannot tell anyone for sure that their child is in heaven.  Or in hell.  Like when it comes to anyone, they have to say, "I'm sorry, but I don't know if Calvi-god really loved your baby enough to save them.  I don't know if Calvi-Jesus died for their sins, because He only died for the elect.  And we can't know if your baby was elected or not.  Calvi-god may have taken them to heaven, or He may have made them simply so that He could destroy them in hell for all of eternity.  For His glory.  Now, stop questioning Calvi-god, and just praise Him for being the holy, just, loving Calvi-god He is!"

Hogwash!

I believe salvation comes down to choice, something Calvinism totally denies.  And so I believe the Bible teaches that babies or mentally-retarded people - those incapable of making choices - will not be held accountable for their choices.  Because they didn't make any choices.  Because they couldn't make any choices.  

We are not held accountable for being unable to consciously make choices.  We are held accountable for failing to do the right thing that we know we need to do, for choosing to do the wrong thing, and for failing to seek and believe in God when He's given us (those with adequate mental capabilities) so many opportunities to do so and so much proof that He is real.  

Until a person is old enough to know right from wrong, to choose right from wrong, to consciously reject Jesus, they are considered innocent and not held accountable for their inability to make choices.  This is a foundational principle of justice - not punishing people for something they had absolutely no control over.  Yet Calvi-god is so fond of doing exactly that, punishing people for the things he made them do, the things they had no control over.  




Inconsistent Calvinists:

Read these comments about mega-Calvinist John MacArthur's attempts to mesh an age of accountability with his Calvinism.  It's from the comment section of the post "Age of Accountability" on the website Soteriology 101 (a blog by a former 5-point Calvinist who is speaking out against Calvinism).


Phillip's comment (edited slightly for clearer understanding):
John MacArthur says this in “The Salvation of Infants Who Die”:

“What is that age?  You often hear that question asked.  That’s really not the question because we’re not talking an age of accountability – get this in your mind – we’re talking about a condition of accountability!  Get the word “age” out of this discussion.  We’re talking about a condition of accountability, not an age.


Who qualifies then, in our discussion, as an infant or a child who, dying, is saved – who dying, instantly goes to heaven?  Who are we talking about?


Answer: those who have not reached sufficient, mature understanding in order to comprehend convincingly the issues of law and grace, sin and salvation.  I’ll say it again because I thought about it a long time and this is the way I want you to hear it.  We are talking about someone who has not reached sufficient, mature understanding to comprehend convincingly the issues of law and grace and sin and salvation.  This is certainly an infant in the womb, this is certainly an infant at birth, this is certainly a small child, and this is certainly a mentally impaired adult at any age!  Anyone in the condition who cannot sufficiently understand and comprehend so as to be fully convinced of the issues of law and grace and sin and salvation.


It’s not an age; it is a condition.  From child to child, it varies, and, as I said, you have to include in this those who grow up mentally disadvantaged, mentally disabled, mentally retarded so as never to be able to have a sufficient, mature understanding and a convincingly comprehensive grasp of law and grace and sin and salvation.  This is not an age; this is a condition.  That’s who we’re talking about: people in that condition where they cannot, in a mature way, understand and comprehend convincingly these issues.  We’re talking about those people.”

……………………………..

(Phillip's response to the MacArthur quote he just gave:)  Funny how all these disabilities are proof positive that you are among the elect.  Mentally retarded/impaired/disabled?  A sure sign of election.  Babies who experience crib death?  A sure sign of election.  Babies aborted by the millions?  Elect.

But here’s the kicker brothers (sisters)... Doesn’t MacArthur believe/teach total depravity/total inability?  Is this not a “condition” of the worst kind?  According to their own teachings, the Lost are completely unable to understand or grasp or comprehend any spiritual truth.  The Lost are in essence “never to be able to have a sufficient, mature understanding and a convincingly comprehensive grasp of law and grace and sin and salvation”.  They teach that lost man is “spiritually dead like a corpse.”


Why would God (Calvi-god) be gracious regarding one condition (babies who aren't capable of understanding) while completely overlooking an even worse condition (the unelect whom Calvi-god causes to be permanently unable to understand)?  Especially considering that in divine determinism, Calvi-god is the cause/source of all these conditions.  I mean, if you can’t comprehend, you can’t comprehend.


[My - Heather's - note: I would also point out that MacArthur, who believes in Calvinism and total depravity/inability, keeps talking about an age of being able to comprehend the Gospel.  

What the heck does it matter if we comprehend the Gospel or not, if God alone determines whether we will be saved or not!?!  If He alone decides who will understand the Gospel and who won't, who gets saving grace and who doesn't ... and there's nothing we can do to change it!?!  


There's no use in appealing to our ability to understand the Gospel if (as Calvinism says) we have no control over our ability to understand because God Himself decides who will and who won't understand and be saved.  It's nonsense to talk about the importance of understanding the Gospel if we are regenerated/saved (according to Calvinism) before we even hear the Gospel anyway.  (In that case, understanding the Gospel comes after salvation and regeneration, after being chosen, and therefore it has no affect on whether we become saved or not.  Calvinism is a pile of nonsensical, illogical, contradictory garbage.)  


MacArthur is being a very inconsistent Calvinist, trying to mesh a "condition of accountability" with a theology that doesn't allow for it.  The very fact that MacArthur talks about a condition of accountability - that our ability to understand the Gospel has an effect on whether we get saved or not - contradicts Calvinism's view that salvation is fully by God alone, that it's not based on us or our decisions at all.


And I find it interesting that MacArthur claims that babies who die go to heaven, yet the "founder" of Calvinism itself said the opposite.

See John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Section 7: "I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God?"

From what I can tell, this "seemed meet to God" seems to mean (according to others who quoted this passage) that it pleased God to have Adam's sin lead to the eternal destruction of most people, with no chance of being saved, including their "infant children."  Calvin is attributing the destruction of infants in hell to God.

15 Thou shalt surely smite. ...  If any should object that the little children at least were innocent, I reply that, since all are condemned by the judgment of God from the least to the greatest, we contend against Him in vain, even though He should destroy the very infants as yet in their mothers’ womb.  When Sodom and the neighboring cities were swallowed up, we doubt not but that in the mighty multitude many infants and pregnant women also perished; and whilst our reason struggles against this, it is better rather to look up reverently to the Divine tribunal, than to subject it to our own laws.  The same may be said of the destruction of Babylon; for when the Prophet exclaims: “Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,” he assuredly eulogizes the just vengeance of God.  (Psalm 137:9.)  So also in this passage, if it does not appear to us agreeable to reason that the whole race of evil-doers should be exterminated, let us understand that God is defrauded of His rights, whensoever we measure His infinite greatness, which the angels themselves admiringly adore, by our own feelings.  Although we must recollect that God would never have suffered any infants to be destroyed, except those which He had already reprobated and condemned to eternal death.  But if we admit God’s right to deprive of the hope of salvation whomsoever He sees fit, why should the temporal punishment, which is much lighter, be found fault with? ...


Okay, wait ... I want to look at this again, with my comments and interpretations added, in bold:


15 Thou shalt surely smite. ...  If any should object that the little children (who were killed in the Old Testament times) at least were innocent, I reply that, since all are condemned by the judgment of God from the least to the greatest (Read: "Babies aren't 'innocent' like we like to believe they are, because we are all born depraved and under God's judgment, babies included"), we contend against Him in vain, even though He should destroy the very infants as yet in their mothers' womb.  (Read: "Who are you to question God's right to kill babies, when we all deserve death anyway!?!") ... So also in this passage, if it does not appear to us agreeable to reason that the whole race of evil-doers should be exterminated, let us understand that God is defrauded of His rights, whensoever we measure His infinite greatness, which the angels themselves admiringly adore, by our own feelings.  Although we must recollect that God would never have suffered any infants to be destroyed, except those which He had already reprobated and condemned to eternal death.  (Read: "God has a right to do whatever He wants to, even kill babies.  Besides, remember that the only babies who die are ones that God has already predestined to hell anyway.  So it's all good and fair!")  But if we admit God’s right to deprive of the hope of salvation whomsoever He sees fit, why should the temporal punishment, which is much lighter, be found fault with?  (Read: "If we admit that God has the right to predestined to hell anyone He wants to, even babies, that He has the right to deny salvation to anyone He wants to, then what does it matter if He brings death and disaster on anyone while they are alive, even the young!?!  After all, if God decides whom He's sending to hell, with no chance to be saved, then He can also decide how and when they die.") ...


So ... despite contemporary Calvinists' denial that Calvinism teaches infant damnation, we see here the John Calvin himself believed that the babies who die are only the eternally-damned babies.


And may I point out something else Calvin believes?  That if a mother can't provide enough milk for her baby, it's because God was pleased to make it so.  So it's for God's pleasure that babies basically starve to death!?!  Well, only the unelected babies, of course.  See his Institutes, Book 1, Chapter 16, Section 3:  David exclaims (Ps. 8:3), that infants hanging at their mothers breasts are eloquent enough to celebrate the glory of God, because, from the very moment of their births they find an aliment prepared for them by heavenly care. Indeed, if we do not shut our eyes and senses to the fact, we must see that some mothers have full provision for their infants, and others almost none, according as it is the pleasure of God to nourish one child more liberally, and another more sparingly


Anyone else want to throw up?  Oh yeah, he's got some great theology, doesn't he?  Painting God in a great light?  Who wouldn't want to love and worship a God like that!?!


FYI: I don't have a problem with God having the right to allow people to die and to even determine the timing of our deaths.  I have a problem with Calvinists saying that God determines who goes to hell, that Jesus only died for the elect, that all babies who die are predestined to hell, and that, by golly, we should just humbly accept this garbage because if we don't then we are denying God's right to rule as He wants to.

It's garbage!  It's Calvinists telling us how their "sovereign God" acts - even when it contradicts Scripture - and then manipulating us into accepting it by accusing us of denying Scripture, of fighting against God, and of dishonoring God if we disagree.  Frickin' Bull-Shih Tzu!  (Told you I wouldn't do a good job containing my anger.)

You know what?  There was a little boy, 5 years old, who was murdered by his parents a few months ago, deliberately beaten to death, about a block from my house.  And as I think of that and of Calvin's teaching that all youngsters go to hell and of my pastor's teaching that there is no age of accountability, I want to cry and scream and throw up!

How dare anyone say that God is the kind of God who doesn't truly love all little children, who would deliberately create innocent little children to be born, to suffer under abuse all their lives, and to die a violent death, only so He could send them to hell for His glory, for His good pleasure!

What kind of frickin' sick and evil god would that have to be!?!  (My eyes start to tear up every time I think of that little boy, every time I see the blue ribbons that are still up all over town in his honor.)

But Calvinists worship that kind of god!  They love and defend that kind of god!  And they don't even realize how frickin' sick and evil their own theology is!

As my son and I sat at a candlelight ceremony for that little boy, I overheard the woman next to me talking to two men.  And she was saying something about "Oh, but He can do whatever He wants.  Because He is the potter and we are the clay!"  That's about all I could hear, but I could tell that she was clearly a Calvinist, defending her view that every bad thing that happens is because God causes it and that we just have to worship Him for it anyway.  The two guys simply raised their eyebrows in skeptical pity for her.

I pray to God that she wasn't trying to tell people that God had the right to cause this little boy to be murdered by his own parents, to create him for this tragedy and for hell.  I so wanted to jump in and say something, but it wasn't my conversation.  And debating this didn't seem appropriate at a candlelight ceremony for a murdered little boy.  Yet, it certainly wasn't appropriate for her to bring up what she did at a ceremony for a murdered little boy.

But this at least demonstrates that this theology isn't just lofty mental garbage that they compartmentalize and keep to themselves.  It affects real lives, real people, real hearts.  These Calvinists are out there spreading this crap.  And in some of the worst ways and at the worst times!  And it's growing at an alarming rate.  If you haven't come into contact with it yet, you will soon.  Learn what the Bible says forward and backward, so you can be discerning and spot the errors when you hear them!  Be a Berean!  (Acts 17:11)]

Phillip goes on to talk about MacArthur's arrogance (from the same article):

MacArthur says “If you survey reformed Calvinistic literature over 450 years since Calvin, you’ll find that the vast majority of all the writers believe that all infants who die are taken to heaven….. Now, let me kind of expand on that for this is very, very important.  You see, it’s only pure, true, reformed soteriology – salvation – only pure, true, reformed soteriology can account for the fact that fallen, sinful, guilty, depraved children who die with no spiritual merit, die with no religious merit, die with no moral merit of their own, can be welcomed by a holy God into eternal glory! Only pure, reformed theology can allow for that because only the purist theology believes that salvation is all by grace!”

[Heather's note: MacArthur's talking about his theology - Calvinism - being the only "pure, true, reformed soteriology" that so graciously believes children go to heaven.  Hogwash!  Calvinism believes all people are depraved to the very core, unable to even want God unless God causes them to want Him, and that God has predetermined to not save most people.  And as we saw, Calvin himself said that only babies predestined for hell die.

Question: Aren't the unelect also "fallen, sinful, guilty, depraved, with no merit of their own"?  If Calvinism wants to be consistent about this, they should say that God lets all "fallen, sinful, guilty, depraved, no-merit-of-their-own" people into heaven, whatever age they are.  This would be all of us!  


But once again, for a Calvinist to allow this only for the babies and not the unelect shows that there is some kind of condition based on the person, on our understanding of the Gospel and our ability to make decisions.  And this flies in the face of their theology.  


They try to say "it's salvation by grace alone" (meaning that God alone determines who gets to be saved and who doesn't, with no input or influence from us) while also trying to say "but salvation is still affected by our ability to understand the Gospel and to make decisions based on our understanding of the Gospel."  


But you can't have it both ways!  Either it's all God's doing, based on absolutely nothing about us, not even our age or mental capabilities or our understanding and comprehension ... or else (as I believe) our salvation is affected by us somehow, meaning that we are responsible for our choices, for our sins, for whether we accept or reject Jesus.  I believe babies and mentally-handicapped people, being unable to comprehend the Gospel, are not held accountable for their unbelief because they had no chance to believe.]


Phillip quotes more from MacArthur (same article), where MacArthur tries to mesh his Calvinism with the biblical truth about God covering babies who die with His grace, not holding them accountable for their "sins":

MacArthur says: “So here’s a final summary: all children who die before they reach the condition of accountability, by which they convincingly understand their sin and corruption and embrace the gospel by faith, are graciously saved eternally by God through the work of Jesus Christ, being elect by sovereign choice, innocent of willful sin, rebellion, and unbelief, by which works they would be justly condemned to eternal punishment.  So, when an infant dies, he or she is elect to eternal salvation and eternal glory.  So, dear one, if you have a little one that dies, rejoice!  Count not your human loss; count your eternal gain.  Count not that child as having lost, but having gained, having passed briefly through this life, untouched by the wicked world, only to enter into eternal glory and grace.  The true sadness should be over those children of yours who live and reject the gospel.  Don’t sorrow over your children in heaven; sorrow over your children on earth, that they should come to Christ.  This is your great responsibility, your great opportunity.”


Phillip's response:  So, again, nothing says “elect” like infant fatality.  And when MacArthur writes “The true sadness should be over those children of yours who live and reject the gospel,” does he mean the reprobate?  Those whom it pleased God to pass over?  Vessels of wrath created for destruction all for His glory?  And what's this about "responsibility"?  "Opportunity"?  What opportunity do the lost have?  Isn’t that number eternally fixed?
(Heather's note: If Calvi-god predestined them to be lost, they will be lost, and nothing we can do will change that.  If Calvi-god predestined them to be saved, they will be saved, and they never even have the remotest chance of being at risk of hell and damnation.  So like Phillip, I ask ... "What 'opportunity' is MacArthur speaking of here, when nothing we can do (according to Calvinism) has any effect on anyone, including us?"  This is a Calvinist trying to incorporate anti-Calvinist truths into his theology to soften it up and make it palatable, easier to swallow.)


Then another commenter, fromoverhere, replies to Phillip's comment:

MacArthur is late to the party. He became a Calvinist when the wave hit So Cal in the late 70’s.

He, like so many, preaches and lives like a non-Calvinist while trying to associate with the Sproul gang ((did you see them go at it over infant baptism?)). He is not a true “let’s just admit what we believe” Calvinist. Making all unborn the elect! How wonderfully gracious of him!! Just go the whole mile to Universalism, John!

According to the quote you gave, the best thing a parent could do is let his child die in infancy and insure election. Why “risk” him getting older and “deciding against Christ”?

You nailed it….There is no responsibility or opportunity…… for them. That fixed number is all set. Double-minded speaking at work…. and he really has polished it!

Phillip's response:  For some of our reformed brothers, Planned Parenthood is “Election Headquarters”.


If Calvinists were truly honest:

Okay, so now that was a dishonest, inconsistent Calvinist, trying to mesh biblical truths with his contradictory Calvinism.  But what would an honest Calvinist sound like?

Wanna see?  

Take a look...
In the same post at Soteriology 101 as above, commenter "fromoverhere" shares some quotes from Calvinist Vincent Cheung (regarding Infant Salvation):

Cheung says: “The popular position that all infants are saved is wishful thinking, and continues as a groundless religious tradition.  Those who affirm the doctrine of election have never been able to establish that all those who die as infants are elect.  Their arguments are forced and fallacious.  And those who reject the biblical doctrine of election lacks even this to fabricate a doctrine of infant salvation.  Thus the invention deceives the masses and offers them hope based on mere fantasy.  The way to comfort bereaved parents is not to lie to them, but to instruct them to trust in God.  Whatever God decides must be right and good.  It may be difficult due to their grief and weakness at the time, but if the parents cannot finally accept this, that God is always right, then they are headed for hell themselves and need to become Christians.”

Fromoverhere responds: The cold heart of a consistent Calvinist.

And then fromoverehere goes on:

Cheung says, a little further down in that article: “But whether a fetus, infant, or adult, if you can read this and understand this, then I am telling you that you must believe in Jesus Christ to save your wretched soul.  [Heather's note: Interesting that he would plead with people to believe when he believes that God alone determines whether we believe or not, and our decisions have no effect on it because we aren't really even allowed to make any decisions that God doesn't make for us.  So says the Calvinist.]  As for my critics, yes, even obnoxious morons like you can be saved.  My concern is not so much about whether embryos can exercise faith, but that as annoying and unintelligent as you are, whether you can exercise faith….. As for the embryos, if they perish, they will go where God decides – if they all burn in hell, they all burn in hell; if they all ascend to heaven, then they ascend to heaven – but if they live, I will talk to them in a few years.”

But wait… there’s more…

Cheung says: “Perhaps the same applies to those who are mentally retarded, although there seems to be no biblical evidence to say that some mentally retarded people are saved, since there seems to be no equivalent examples in Scripture.  Their salvation is only a possibility.  It is also possible that all mentally retarded people are damned.  If this is the case, it would be misleading to complain that they are punished for being mentally retarded; rather, on the basis of the doctrine of reprobation, they would be created as damned individuals in the first place.  There is no theological problem either way.”

Fromoverhere replies:  There’s that Doctrine of Grace!  They are not being impeded from salvation by being handicapped… they were created to be damned anyway!!  Comforting!  So… if you spend 40 years taking care of your mentally-challenged child who will never have the mental capacity to call on Christ, at least you can be comforted to know that it was not because he was mentally slow…. it just cuz he was damned all along.  I am sure this will comfort all those parents.

[Heather's note: Seriously, people, if this doesn't anger you, to see what Calvinism does to God's character and Jesus's sacrifice and people's hope of salvation, then you need to look into it some more.  Trust me, Calvinism is coming to a church near you.  Know what they teach.  Know their tricks and their double-speak.  And know why it's so very wrong!]

Fromoverhere continues:  But just in case Cheung was not clear enough…

“In itself, I have no problem with the idea that for anyone to receive salvation, in the absolute sense and without exception, he must exhibit a conscious faith in the gospel.  This would mean that those who are unable to exercise faith are all damned to hell, and this would include infants and the mentally retarded, if we assume that they cannot exercise faith.  I have no misgivings about this.”

Fromoverhere: Phew… I wouldn’t want him to have misgivings about that!


I then gave my response to fromoverhere:

"The quotes from Cheung make me want to cry. Those kinds of teachings are when my blood starts boiling and when I pull out my stronger language and, yes, when I start calling Calvinism “heresy.’ (I try not to do that often, but when they start condemning people to hell that Jesus came to die for … when they start denying salvation for those whom God loves and whom Jesus came to save … when they deem anyone out of reach of God’s grace and forgiveness … well, then I WILL pull out the “heresy” card! Because it doesn’t get much more wretched and vile than that.)

And yet, it’s refreshing to hear a Calvinist be so honest with what they believe. If only all Calvinist preachers were this honest, there’d be a lot less people getting sucked into it, sitting in the pews tolerating the questionable teachings, unaware of what the Calvinist preacher really believes because they dress it up so well. If only all Calvinists were this honest, there’s be a lot less “Calvinists” out there!"




My ex-Calvi-pastor's backpedaling:
Two months after his sermon, my ex-pastor (I say "ex" sometimes now because we officially left the church in May) wrote a post, saying that since the Bible says basically nothing about an age of accountability, we cannot make any definitve statements about it.  But ... he says (paraphrased) ... "I lean towards saying that babies do go to heaven."  

Hogwash!  

He just gave a Mother's Day sermon where he definitively said the opposite thing.  

I got so angry at his attempts to mislead people about what he really said, to pretend he didn't say what he did, as if he's pulling some sort of hypnotic brainwashing trick:  "Ohhh, you didn't really hear me say what you thought I said ... pay no attention to what I said earlier ... you must have misheard me ..." that I had to write a comment back.  (I wonder if he got flak for what he said in his sermon, and so now he's trying to backpedal.)  

But then I erased it before sending it, thinking "Oh well, it's not my church or my problem anymore."  

But then I read what he said again and I watched it online again, and I just got so angry again.  How deceptive to now try to pull the wool over people's eyes, after clearly saying the opposite just a couple months ago!  I was afraid that those who didn't hear the sermon or who didn't listen closely enough would be left thinking that his post about "babies might really go to heaven" is his official stance.  

Calvinists seem to do this a lot, saying something wrong or unbiblical in one place but then saying the opposite in another, or right next to each other, expecting you not to notice the contradictory, double-messages they're giving you.  

But I noticed.  And I couldn't leave it alone.  I know they won't post the comments on the church blog (they stopped allowing comments because of all the comments I left where I contradicted his view of predestination), but I at least wanted him to know that some of us are really listening to what he says and that we notice the contradictions, and that we can't all be manipulated into thinking he didn't say what he did.  And I wanted him to know that someone is willing to call him on his crap.

And here's my comment, since it won't show up on the church blog:  

Interesting!  Because you gave a sermon – on Mother’s Day! – where you basically said “Christians love to believe that there is an age of accountability.  But nowhere in the Bible does it say there is an age of accountability for babies or children.  No one gets a free pass.  We are all wicked sinners from conception - sinners by birth, by choice, and by nature, being cut off completely from God.  This is clear in Romans 3:23 which says "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," and in 1 John 1:8 which says that whoever claims to be without sin is a liar.  And we are all required to repent in order to be saved."

Yet now you say you lean towards saying babies go to heaven.  Strange!  Those who carefully listened to that sermon knew exactly what you were trying to say.  And I was horrified that you would give that message … to mothers … on Mother’s Day!


It’s no wonder Calvinists can’t accept an age of accountability, because that would imply there is an age where we have to make a choice about Jesus.  And Calvinists can’t have us running around thinking we can make choices about Jesus, because that contradicts their whole theology.


Do not respond to this email.  I just want you to know of the contradictions you are teaching.   




Ultimately, in conclusion ...
In conclusion, I want to leave you with my response to a staunch Calvinist (from the comment section at Soteriology 101) who defends God's right to send babies to hell and who backs it up with Bible verses.  I think this comment best gets to the heart of this issue:

 

This issue of "age of accountability" will never be able to be proven conclusively.  I believe it's an issue that God has decided to veil on purpose.  Because can you imagine what kind of ritual child slaughters there would be by religious zealots if God clearly spelled out what the age/conditions of accountability were?  If God has chosen to not teach it clearly, then no one can prove it conclusively.

Therefore, we have to look at what we know of God and at other things He's said in His Word for support for an age of accountability, which this Soteriology post has done.  Ultimately, though, our belief about this will rest on our view of God's character.


A Calvinist chooses to view God as someone who has pre-decided the eternal fate of all people, who did not cover all men's sins with Jesus's death, who has ultimately not given man a choice in accepting or rejecting Him, and who has predestined most people to conscious, eternal torment for the sins they had no choice about committing and the unbelief that God "forced" on them.  And this "elected to hell" idea extends to innocent children also.  And so for them, the Matthew 18 verse about God not wanting little ones to perish means only that He doesn't want the "elected" little ones to perish.  (Yet, if this passage is only about the elected little ones, then why the stern "you deserve to die" warning for anyone who causes an "elected" little one to stumble?  Are those elected little ones not eternally secure?  What kind of stumbling could they possibly do that would warrant such a warning, if they are elected to heaven and nothing can change it?  Not even their stumbling?  And also, why would God say that it's not His Will for the little ones (the "elected little ones") to perish, when Calvi-god really Wills that NO elected person perishes, little or big?  Why single out the little ones here?)


I, however, based on His Word, see God as someone who truly loves all people, who covered all people's sins (even babies) with Jesus's death, who gives all people the chance for salvation and who blocks no one from salvation, who instructs us to seek Him and choose Him but who leaves the choice up to us, and who has a heart especially for children.  And so I see this Matthew passage as being not about elected children only, but about all children.  I believe Jesus is saying that all children have a natural willingness to believe in Him, in childlike trust.  And He is instructing us to be like them, to willingly trust Him and believe in Him.  And because children are natural-born trusters who will easily believe in Him, He is warning anyone against causing one of them to stumble (I would say "to fall away from Him").  He doesn't want any child to perish, to fall away from Him.  It's not His Will for children to perish or for people to fall away from Him.  (Therefore, God doesn't automatically condemn babies who died to hell, because there is no such things as "elected" or "nonelected" babies.  If a person hasn't reached the age to be able to choose the right and reject the wrong, then they are covered by God's grace.  It's not God's Will for them to perish.)


Our view of God will strongly influence our view on this issue.  I believe in a truly loving, gracious, merciful, fair God who will not punish those who could not make a choice about Him.


Calvinists, on the other hand, believe God can and does elect people (babies included) to hell, based not on any choice of theirs but merely on His own whims.  And they will say that it's for God's pleasure and glory.  If a Calvinist wants to believe this, then that's their problem.


But I will err on the side of not accusing God of causing sin/unbelief but then punishing people for those things He caused.  I will err on the side that says God is gracious to those who are incapable of making a decision, that He doesn't hold people accountable for things they had no control over ... instead of, as the Calvinist would say, that He gave man no choice about believing or not believing in Him and that He has predestined the "non-elect" to conscious, eternal torment for some sick pleasure or glory-hunting of His.    


And so ends my long, messy, rambling look at this issue!  (Have I mentioned how much I hate Calvinism!?!)

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