Monday, September 15, 2008

Salvation by grace without faith?

I was catching up with some of Mr. Muehlenberg’s latest posts when I read something surprising in his comments section. A non-Christian commenter asked Mr. Muehlenberg about the fate of unbaptised infants. This was Mr. Muehlenberg’s answer:

Thanks Chris

It is a good question. The general reply from Christians would be yes, they do go to heaven. Similar questions are raised about the death of infants, etc. The normal line is they are certainly covered by the grace and mercy of God, and they not have yet reached an age of accountability, wherein they would then have to get right with God.

So while their eternal destiny is secured, there is still the major ethical issue of killing innocent human beings, and depriving them of life in this world. We treat animals better. Or at least we seem to make more of a stink about whales or baby seals, than we do our own unborn.

Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Other commenters backed Mr. Muehlenberg up on this. I found this surprising because I thought Mr. Muehlenberg was a Baptist, and that Baptists thought (like Catholics) that the cleansing away of original sin was necessary for salvation. Now it could be that, just as some conservative Catholics might say (wrongly) that, in general, the unregenerate still go to Heaven, so might some conservative Baptists. But given that it was the Baptists who gave rise to the term ‘Fundamentalist’, one might have hoped for something better! Furthermore, Mr. Muehlenberg is himself a theology lecturer.

It was ironic, then, that it took a Catholic, Mr. Michael Webb, to set them straight. Ironic, since Protestants would tend to disagree with the the Catholic belief in salvation by faith joined with good works, yet these Protestants seem not even to belief in the necessity of faith with or without good works!

Reginaldvs Cantvar

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