Phil Johnson has written an excellent article on the issue of making distinctions between primary & secondary truths, what Christ differentiated as camels and gnats.
John MacArthur has written an excellent op-ed piece called ‘Read the Gospels: JC is not PC‘.
Would Jesus receive a warmer welcome from world religious leaders, the media elite, or the political gentry today? Anyone who has seriously considered the New Testament knows very well that he would not. Our culture is devoted to pluralism and tolerance; contemptuous of all absolute or exclusive truth-claims; convinced that self-love is the greatest love of all; satisfied that most people are fundamentally good; and desperately wanting to believe that each of us is endowed with a spark of divinity. Against such a culture Jesus’ message strikes every discordant note.
A new website by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals takes Matthew Henry’s classic book “A Method for Prayer” and organizes it online for easy access and reading.
John Taylor Gatto was a school teacher in the Manhattan Public School system, and is a past New York State Teacher of the Year. After 30 years he quit and has since become one of the most vocal critics of the public school system.
Mary Pride, of Homeschool World, interviews Gatto about his views, his arguments and his experience. The interview is fascinating, with a lot of meat to work through.
You have to develop a kid’s comprehensive imagination. And throughout history, although for most of human history this was legally reserved for elites, the way that’s done is through literature, poetry, history, philosophy, and theology. All those disciplines require that your mind take in a complex comprehensive panorama and figure things out. It isn’t the kind of primitive thinking that we call “problem-solving.” Advanced thinking is, “Is that problem worth solving?” or, “If I solve that problem, and take my time and resources doing it, what exactly am I losing overall?” You’re not supposed to be allowed to think that way.
Phil Johnson has written a great article on the state of contemporary evangelicalism. Phil writes:
Evangelicalism regularly comes under attack from all sides, and let’s face it: a lot of the criticism leveled against evangelicals is well deserved. Although I hold firmly to historic evangelical doctrine, I thoroughly despise what the contemporary evangelical movement has become. That’s an important distinction. Evangelical doctrine and the evangelical movement are not the same thing. Nowadays they often look like polar opposites.
In fact, post-modern evangelicals don’t really have any clear doctrinal identity….I’d be inclined to say that the singular characteristic that stands out most among contemporary evangelicals is their distaste for drawing any clear lines between truth and error. They don’t like to handle doctrine in a polemical fashion. They especially don’t want to be thought “negative” when it comes to declaring their doctrinal convictions. They don’t want anyone to think they are “against” what someone else teaches.
Phil also quotes Martyn Lloyd-Jones who spotted this illness decades ago:
One of the first signs that a man is ceasing to be truly evangelical is that he ceases to be concerned about negatives, and keeps saying, We must always be positive….The argument which says that you must always be positive, that you must not define the man in terms of what he is against, as well as what he is for, misses the subtlety of the danger.
Evangelicals largely wear indifferentism as a badge of honor, and are quite offended when anyone would dare draw absolute distinctions. This is the only way that the Robert Schullers and Joel Osteens can find an audience in evangelical churches–and those are just the obvious big offenders.
Below are quotes from a number of great preachers and theologians who believe that all infants who die go to heaven. They reject infant damnation and the “Bible is silent” position.
Martyn Lloyd Jones
The other argument is that about children, especially about infants. Now we all believe, do we not, that there are infants and children who have gone and who will go to heaven and spend their eternity in the presence of God. Now how can a child be saved? Obviously every infant needs to be saved. If you believe in the doctrine of the fall and in the doctrine of original sin, you must believe that every child is born in sin and ‘shapen in iniquity’ ( Ps. 51:5 ); every child is dead in trespasses and in sins ( Eph. 2:21 ). They all inherit original sin and original guilt from Adam, every child that is born. How, then, can any child be saved? How can any child ever go to heaven?
Now, if you want to insist upon the fact that regeneration always follows upon hearing the word and believing it and accepting it — how can an infant be saved? The infant cannot receive truth, it does not have the ability; it does not have understanding, it has not awakened to these things. So is there no hope for any infant? We do not believe that, we obviously reject such a suggestion. And the answer is, of course, that a child is regenerated in exactly the same way as anybody else, because it is the action of this almighty being, of God Himself through the Holy Spirit. He can implant the seed of spiritual life in an unconscious infant with the same ease as He can do it in an adult person. Therefore you see why it is important for us to consider whether regeneration is something that happens indirectly through the word or whether it is indeed the direct operation of God upon us. And I am teaching again, as I did in the last lecture, that it is immediate, direct, it is God creating anew as He created the world out of nothing at the beginning. (From Great Doctrines of the Bible, Effectual Calling and Election)
On what ground, then, do we believe the child to be saved? We believe it to be as lost on the rest of mankind, and as truly condemned by the sentence which said, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” It is saved because it is elect. In the compass of election, in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we believe there shall be found written millions of souls who are only shown on earth, and then stretch their wings for heaven. They are saved, too, because they were redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He who shed his blood for all his people, bought them with the same price with which he redeemed their parents, and therefore are they saved because Christ was sponsor for them, and suffered in their room and stead. They are saved, again not without regeneration, for, “except a man”—the text does not mean an adult man but a person, a being of the human race—”except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” No doubt, in some mysterious manner the Spirit of God regenerates the infant soul, and it enters into glory made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. That this is possible is proved from Scripture instances. (From his sermon ‘Infant Salvation’ No 411)
“I do not doubt that the infants whom the Lord gathers together from this life are regenerated by a secret operation of the Holy Ghost….to say that the countless mortals taken from life while yet infants are precipitated from their mothers’ arms into eternal death is a blasphemy to be universally detested”
I am convinced that those who die in infancy and early childhood–along with the severely cognitively impaired–go to Heaven when they die. That is quite a claim, but it stands within the mainstream of orthodox Christian theology throughout the centuries, and I believe it is biblically and theologically sustainable. (from his article “In the Shadows of Death — The Little Ones Are Safe With Jesus.”)
We could conclude from that alone that since God is by nature a Savior and since God is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance and since God would have all men to be saved, there’s every reason to believe, just from that alone, that a caring God who created that life to begin with, who superintends and guards that life, who knows intimately everything about that life–should that life perish physically in its infancy, there would be every reason from that Psalm alone to trust the grace of God, who is by nature a Savior, in behalf of that life. (from, ‘The Salvation of Babies Who Die‘ part 1)
The point for us is that even though we human beings are under the penalty of everlasting judgment and death because of the fall of our race into sin and the sinful nature that we all have, nevertheless God only executes this judgment on those who have the natural capacity to see his glory and understand his will, and refuse to embrace it as their treasure. Infants, I believe, do not yet have that capacity; and therefore, in God’s inscrutable way, he brings them under the forgiving blood of his Son. (from “What Happens to Infants Who Die“)
B. B. Warfield
If all that die in infancy are saved, it can only be through the almighty operation of Holy Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases, through whose ineffable grace the Father gathers these little ones to the home He has prepared for them….The doctrine of infant salvation can find such a place in Reformed theology. It can find such a place in no other system of theological thought
All who die in infancy are saved. This is inferred from what the Bible teaches about the analogy between Adam and Christ. (from Systematic Theology, Children of the First and Second Adams).
C. S. Lewis
As God spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion. But the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them, and for us this is the end of all stories and we can say most truly that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world had only been the cover of the title page. Now at last they were beginning chapter one of the great story, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before! (from the book ‘The Last Battle’ describing what happened to the Pevensie children who died in a train accident.)
All our children who die in infancy or who die professing Christ with a faith agreeable to their age and ability, have gone directly into heaven, because of the grace of God who numbered all their days and brought them safely to heaven in Jesus Christ. (from “Is There An Age of Accountability?” at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals)
It is my conviction that Scripture gives us every reason to believe that babies who die go to heaven….It’s not because their ‘innocence’ merits them heaven….It’s because God’s grace extends in a special way to infants. (from the sermon, What Happens to Infants Who Die, 2005-01-30, mp3 here.)
We believe that Scripture does indeed teach that all persons who die in infancy are among the elect. This must not be based only in our hope that it is true, but in a careful reading of the Bible.(from an article ‘The Salvation of Little Ones‘, co-written by Al Mohler and Daniel Akin)
I will argue that all children who die in infancy and all mentally handicapped persons whose intellectual and moral judgment cannot exceed that of children are saved (from his book, When A Baby Dies, Answers to Comfort Grieving Parents)
The Westminster Divines, who authored the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Al Mohler says this about the Westminster Confession:
Even the Westminster Confession, the most authoritative Reformed confession, states the matter only in the positive sense, affirming that all elect infants are received into Heaven. It does not require belief in the existence of any non-elect infants. Those who insist that all we can say is that elect infants are saved while non-elect infants are not, confuse the issue by assuming or presuming the existence of non-elect infants and leaving the matter there.