Saturday, April 21, 2007
The day I was born, the cradle roll at Bethany Baptist Church added my name. I have been Baptist ever since. I have been indoctrinated in Southern Baptist doctrine. So, I've never believed the Catholic concept of a "limbo", or purgatory. Are the two concepts the same thing? I don't know.
Yesterday, I read this article in AOL news. Here is an excerpt:
Pope Benedict XVI has reversed centuries of traditional Roman Catholic teaching on so-called limbo, approving a Vatican report that says there were "serious" grounds to hope that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven.
Theologians said the move was highly significant - both for what it says about Benedict's willingness to buck a long-standing tenet of Catholic belief and for what it means theologically about the Church's views on heaven, hell and original sin - the sin that the faithful believe all children are born with.
Although Catholics have long believed that children who die without being baptized are with original sin and thus excluded from heaven, the Church has no formal doctrine on the matter. Theologians, however, have long taught that such children enjoy an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, a state commonly called limbo, but without being in communion with God.
This is an issue about which I've long been undecided. We (and by "we", I mean Baptists) have been taught that man is born in depravity. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Isn't that what the Bible says? Babies come into this world sinners.
So, do babies who die before they are saved go to heaven?
God is a loving God, this is true, but we must not forget that God is a just God. He has pronounced that the unrepentent sinner has consigned himself to Hell. If a child does not accept Christ's offer of eternal life, does the child go to Hell?
On the other hand, if God is indeed just, does that mean He has compassion for lost children who aren't old enough to understand how to attain salvation? I would like to think He does. I would like to think that innocent children who die before they reach the so called age of accountability go to Heaven.
But I don't know. In my minimal human understanding of God and His infinite wisdom, I think it would be cruel for God to allow these innocent children to go to Hell. But He is the omniscient One, not me. I can only see things as a fallible human being can. I cannot presume to know the mind of God.
What does the Bible say about this?
In Psalm 51:5, David wrote, "I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me."
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" - 1 Cor 6.9a
"The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies." Ps 58.3
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Rom 3.23
This would appear to support the idea that babies are sinners and as sinners, would go to Hell.
On the other hand, perhaps the strongest passage in the Bible that would seem to support the idea that babies go to Heaven is this:
"And he (David) said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." - 2 Samuel 12:21-23
David is saying that he will go to where his child (now dead) is, which is Heaven.
Also, there are these verses:
"Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it (the Promised land)."- Deu 1.39
"For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings." - Isa 7.16.
In doing some research for this post, I came across a couple of websites that used scripture to support the idea that not only do babies go to heaven, anyone under the age of 20 do, also! This I cannot accept.
What about babies that are aborted before they are even born? Surely God would bring these poor unwanted souls into His bosom. Why wouldn't He? And, are unborn babies already sinners, as babies who die within minutes are, according to the Bible? Or, are they excused from judgment because they had no chance to sin?
Personally, I don't believe that preborn babies go to Hell. But then again, that may be because I think like mortal man, and not like God.
And so, I remain confused. What are your thoughts?
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I have no problem with colored eggs and the Easter bunny and special dinners and Easter sales and all the secular trappings associated with our celebrations of Easter.
Photo courtesy of Poison Pero
As long as we remember why we celebrate Easter:
Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Savior.
Waiting the coming day.
Jesus my Lord.
Up from the grave, He arose!
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes!
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign!
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah, Christ arose!
I serve a living Savior. He's in the world today.
I know that he is living, whatever men may say.
I feel his hand of mercy. I hear his voice of cheer.
And just the time I need him he's always near.
He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today.
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart.
You ask me how I know he lives.
He lives within my heart.
Have a blessed and wonderful Easter, and may the Glory of the Living Christ manifest itself in you and yours.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
In one week from today, Christians will celebrate Easter Sunday, a day historically commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. I believe His resurrection was bodily. That is, I believe he physically rose from a very real mortal death. I do not believe He ever died spiritually. He was, and is, immortal.
However, Easter has, in recent years, become a time when Atheists and Agnostics, and so-called Theologians begin to blast away at the foundations of Christianity. They seek to discredit everything the Bible presents as fact, with their wild leaps of logic and theologically unsound arguments.
The Bible tells us, in Romans 1:18-22: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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 men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools."
The Bible also clearly says: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" ~ Isaiah 5:20
Pay special attention to those words in bold red, "[W]hat may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them" And yet, "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools."
This means these atheists and Theologians have no excuse, other than they presumably see themselves as smarter than God, and if so, they have classified themselves.
I read a story on AOL news this morning (which I can no longer find) about a book someone wrote several years ago that claimed there was another gospel of Mark which claims that Jesus held possible homosexual rituals with partially clad young men.
The writer of the article nearly begged for CBS or one of the television networks to produce an Easter special on the subject.
I can just see God, the Creator of the Universe, The Alpha, and the Omega, the First and the Last, sitting up there in His heaven and looking down on these so called theological experts and laughing, as the Scripture plainly says, in Psalm 2, how God sits in His heaven and laughs at the vain practices of the heathen down here.
The wonderful thing is someday, they will all discover the truth. The really sorrowful thing is for most of them, when they finally discover the truth, it will be too late.