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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         33
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Here's Why We Are Against Abortion


DeaconDixon

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The following was penned down by a well respected affiate of one of my ministries.

 

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me." - Psalms 51:5

There has of late been some discussion as to the destination of those who die in their infancy, before they are old enough to understand Jesus. Of course, the feel-good, tree-hugging, whale-loving liberals assert that God couldn't possibly send babies to hell as this would be "unfair" or "cruel", and that by some mysterious loophole in the rules for Salvation God allows those who are too young to be "accountable" into Heaven, no questions asked.

As usual, the position of the lieberals in this debate finds no support whatsoever in the Scriptures. The Bible is clear - EVERYONE who has not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour by the time they die goes straight to the fiery bowels of hell, no exceptions and NO EXCUSES.

Relative to the argument that babies do not go to hell is the false belief that babies and infants are innocent, because they are not old enough to sin. This is utter nonsense. Central to the teachings of Christianity is the proposition that the guilt of Adam derived from the original sin is passed down through the blood through each generation (Genesis 5:3). Our ancestor was Adam - He rebelled against God. That's enough. Since the fall, we are guilty for even existing. You don't know much about Christian theology if you don't know that.

It is not a matter of choosing to rebel against God when we are old enough to drink and drive. If it was a choice entirely dependent on free will, then chances are some people would choose not to rebel. It would probably work out about 50/50. But the Bible says that the whole human race, every individual who has ever lived and ever will live deserves to go to hell (and that even includes you, my esteemed fellow true Christians). As the theologian John Calvin demonstrated, there is nothing whatsoever that we can do by our own free will to get saved. Nothing! The only way to get saved is to get Grace, and you can only get Grace if God decides to give it to you. The sign of having Grace is a compulsion within your heart to accept Jesus and a miraculous ability to believe in every word of the Bible (have you ever tried to FORCE yourself to believe in something? Hold a gun to someone's head and demand they believe that the earth is flat, or that unicorns exist. It is impossible - no matter how hard the person tries. Belief is NOT subject to will power).

We are ALL tainted with sin from the moment of conception (Psalms 24:4) and we need the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins in the eyes of the Lord. So until the born again experience happens, Salvation is not possible. Therefore, babies and unborn babies who die go straight to hell.

You might think that this is "unfair", but it's not unfair at all. Those who do not have the opportunity to receive salvation, who never in their lifetimes hear the gospel preached (eg babies and savages living in jungles), obviously were Predestined by God to go to hell. God makes sure that His elect are able to hear the gospel preached to them during their lifetimes, in order to give them an opportunity which He knows they will take advantage of. But with a lot of the reprobate, He decided not to bother letting them hear the gospel because He had already decided to send them to Hell anyway. God knows everything, so if a baby dies, God obviously allowed that baby to die because He knew that if it had lived it would have grown up to be a sinner.

A liberal so called "Christian" I once conversed with, recounted the Old Testament story of a father who was promised that he would be reunited with his dead son, who died in infancy. But the important point to remember here is that this occured in the OLD Testamant. Before Jesus, the requirements for Salvation were very different. Obviously Moses did not go to hell eventhough He never accepted Jesus as his Saviour - he could not have done, as Jesus had not been born at that stage. In Old Testament times, to belong to the Jewish race (God's chosen people) was sufficient qualification to ensure a place in Heaven, so long as you did not break the laws of the Prophets. But since the New Testament, it is imperative to believe in Jesus to get to Heaven.

Furthermore, one of my associates presented a very simple tongue-in-cheek argument that if death in infancy ensures salvation then it is a very good idea to kill babies. The vast majority of the human race at present is NOT made up of true Christians (Bible-believing fundamentalists), so for a new born, odds are that he or she will grow up to become part of the hellbound majority. Death in infancy, therefore, would guard against that risk, and would be a small price to pay to ensure eternal bliss as opposed to eternal misery and torture.

To suggest that God makes exceptions to the rule that you must believe in Jesus to get into heaven, based on age or any other reason is to make a mockery of the whole notion of Salvation. It is either necessary to believe in Jesus, or it isn't. If God is going to make exceptions then it obviously isn't necessary. If God is going to allow unsaved babies to go to heaven by default then He is just playing games with us and Jesus isn't necessary at all. It would be better, in that case, to go and live in some remote community in some obsure, primitive country and have a great time sinning all you like. At death, you will end up in heaven anyway if God can see that you have never been told about Jesus and the Bible.

Babies, and young children who die before they are old enough to understand the gospels and worship Jesus, unfortunately go straight to Hell. This is a Bible fact, and anybody who disagrees is guilty of heresy.
I trust that I have sucessfully refuted the heresies of the lieberal element that have been smearing the internet with their new-age, pluralist (aka satanic) lies.

On a final note, I would like to add that the thought of all those screaming infants in hell is enough to make you want to avoid the place at all costs, if you needed any more encouragement!

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God does not send those who have not the ability to understand that they're lost nor the ability to understand the Gospel to the depths of Hell.

Then elaborate on this point!

 

Furthermore, one of my associates presented a very simple tongue-in-cheek argument that if death in infancy ensures salvation then it is a very good idea to kill babies. The vast majority of the human race at present is NOT made up of true Christians (Bible-believing fundamentalists), so for a new born, odds are that he or she will grow up to become part of the hellbound majority. Death in infancy, therefore, would guard against that risk, and would be a small price to pay to ensure eternal bliss as opposed to eternal misery and torture.

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Oh, dear. Besides the obvious attention-getting subject, there's so much wrong in this post's soteriology it's hard to know where to start! :(

As far as the idea that one is compelled to salvation, and that belief is not subject to will power..

Revelation 22:17 (KJV)
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Romans 10:13 (KJV)
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

As for the idea that salvation in the OT was ever by anything but faith...

Romans 4 (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath [whereof] to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 [saying], Blessed [are] they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed [is] the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 [Cometh] this blessedness then upon the circumcision [only], or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which [he had yet] being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which [he had] being [yet] uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law [be] heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, [there is] no transgression. 16 Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Deacon, would you please stop posting these volatile posts to get rises out of people? If you wish to discuss the Bible in sincerity, by all means do so. Biblical discussions are always welcome here. Baiting and trolling are not.

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John the Baptist, upon hearing Mary's voice, leapt in his mother's womb.  There was something about Mary's voice that caused the babe to leap. 

I believe that instance is proof that, even in the womb, infants are capable of learning.

This has also been proven by studies at Duke University in North Carolina.  Mothers to be read books aloud up to the time the infant was born into the world.  When the infant would cry, the mothers were told to read different books than the ones they read for months prior to the baby being born. 

Guess what?  The babies continued to cry.  But when the mothers would pick up and read the books she read while pregnant, her reading had a soothing effect and the baby would stop crying.

Clearly, infants are capable of learning.  If  a godly parent speaks of Jesus while that baby is in the womb, there is a strong possibility that that baby may begin to rely on that name, trusting that name to bring peace when it is frightened.  Hearing Scripture while in the womb could have influence on the infant... even in that stage of its growth. 

That said, it is possible that an infant who dies in infancy may go to heaven.  But, if it is never taught of Christ, Scripture never read to it, it is also possible that that infant that dies in that state may end up in an eternal hell.

Jesus said, No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.  I believe that applies for all, man, woman, child, and yes... even infant.

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Many believe David was speaking of meeting his child in heaven when he proclaimed, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

I am not totally convinced David was speaking of seeing his son in heaven.  If that were the case, why get cleaned up and strengthen the body with nourishment?  Why not just continue starving to ensure death and reuniting with the child?

I believe David was saying he would go and tend to the body of the child.  Nothing more.

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No one said infants cannot learn, of course they can learn, & as they get older they can earn even more & understand more things. And at an early age is the time to start teaching them to behave, & not wait till they're teenagers as some do.

 

Yet as for as understanding they're lost & in need of a Savior, no, they cannot understand this. Of course some will be able to understand it at an earlier age than others. And of course God knows when they reach the age that they can understand the Gospel & reject the Savior Jesus & or accept Him as Savior. Of course we cannot know for sure when they reach that age for we are not like God, we cannot read the heart as He can.

 

I see you fail to understand just what David meant, but believe what you want to, but David was saying I cannot bring the baby back, I shall go to him upon my death, & of course David was speaking about Heaven.

 

2Sa 12:23 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.

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As I said earlier...

I do not believe David was speaking of meeting the child after death.  If he were, he could have just continued to starve himself to death.

No, he got cleaned up, ate, and went to the child... just as he told his servants he would.

 

Really??  ..."I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."  David is explaining to his servants that his fasting won't bring the baby back to him so it is pointless to fast anymore.  If he was just going to see a dead body, he wouldn't have to explain to his servants that the baby can't come back to him.  They didn't just finish watching Stephen Kings "Pet Cemetary" and have the need to be told babies don't come back to life.  When you comfort someone who just lost a loved one and you tell them, "you will see them again" do you hurry up and explain to them that you are talking about in heaven and not the dead body at a funeral home?  Or are you talking about the dead body at the funeral home and is this actually supposed to bring comfort? 

 

"I don't need to mourn anymore because that wont bring my child back, but I can get back to my daily duties because I will see the child again and this provides comfort."   Does this statement really sound like someone that is going to see a dead body at a funeral home????

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God is a just God.  He has more love and compassion for young children and babies than we could ever hope to have.  If His eye is on the sparrow, we know His eyes are on the little children and babies and that is comfort enough.  He will take care of them the best way they need to be...maybe unbeknownst to us...but than do we have to know everything?  How arrogant. 

 

We can not go to heaven unless our righteousness exceeds the pharisees.  If we are saved, it does.  Jesus imparts His righteousness to us.  If Jesus wants to impart His righteousness to that of babies and little children, I think it is His right to and that would not go against John 14:6. 

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God is a just God.  He has more love and compassion for young children and babies than we could ever hope to have.  If His eye is on the sparrow, we know His eyes are on the little children and babies and that is comfort enough.  He will take care of them the best way they need to be...maybe unbeknownst to us...but than do we have to know everything?  How arrogant. 

 

We can not go to heaven unless our righteousness exceeds the pharisees.  If we are saved, it does.  Jesus imparts His righteousness to us.  If Jesus wants to impart His righteousness to that of babies and little children, I think it is His right to and that would not go against John 14:6. 

God is a just God.  He is merciful to those who trust His Son, but He is angry with the wicked every day.

Infants do learn from a young age... even while still in their mother's womb.  They are capable of learning evil as well as good.

In the Old Testament He declared that an entire nation of infants would be slaughtered because their parents had done much wickedness.  I am speaking of Samaria. 

Hosea 13:16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Who rebelled against God in the verse above?  The parents alone?  Not just the parents, but the infants as well.  They were learning the rebellious acts of their parents and had to be destroyed..

How can I come to this conclusion?  By allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.  God had already decreed in the Mosaic Law that the children would not be put to death for the sins of the fathers. 

Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

I believe the infants spoken of in Hosea will be in Hell.  God's wrath was upon them, not because their parents had sinned, but because they were learning their parents sins themselves.

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The Reformation Study Bible (formerly called The Geneva Study Bible) claims to be a clear statement of Reformed theology. On page 1664 there is an article on Regeneration. It is a shocking statement relating to infant salvation: "Infants can be born again, although the faith that they exercise cannot be as visible as that of adults." I wrote to R.C. Sproul (General Editor) to ask for clarification of this statement. I received a written response from Sproul’s assistant, V.A. Voorhis (dated 1/6/2000) in which he made the following statement which is even more shocking:

 

According to this teaching a child can be born again or regenerated as an infant and not come to faith in Christ until years later! This may or may not have been the teaching of the Reformers, but it certainly is not the teaching of the Word of God.  Rev. Curtis Crenshaw writes that "John the Baptist was even regenerated while in his mother's womb" [Curtis I. Crenshaw, Lordship Salvation, p. 34]  Born again in the womb!


 

When the RSB speaks in the notes of John 3 of "infants being born again," it is speaking of the work of quickening God does in them which inclines their will to Him. In Protestantism, regeneration always precedes faith and if God quickens them, the person will surely come . . .Often, regeneration and our subsequent faith happen apparently simultaneously but logically, regeneration must precede faith. An infant’s faith may not come until years after God has worked by His Holy Spirit to regenerate him or her [emphasis ours]. Two Biblical examples of infants who were born again are seen in Psalm 22:9-10 and Luke 1:15.

 

For a moment, let’s assume that what the extreme Calvinists are saying is true. If regeneration precedes faith, then what must a sinner do to be regenerated? The extreme Calvinists have never satisfactorily answered this. Shedd’s answer is typical. Because the sinner cannot believe, he is instructed to perform the following duties: (1) Read and hear the divine Word. (2) Give serious application of the mind to the truth. (3) Pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration. [W.G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II, pages 472, 512, 513].

 

Roy Aldrich’s response to this is penetrating: "A doctrine of total depravity that excludes the possibility of faith must also exclude the possibilities of hearing the Word, giving serious application to divine truth and praying for the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration. The extreme Calvinist deals with a rather lively spiritual corpse after all.[Roy L. Aldrich, "The Gift of God," Biblio-theca Sacra, July 1965, pages 248-253].

 

The problem with this position is that it perverts the gospel. The sinner is told that the condition of salvation is prayer instead of faith. How contrary to Acts 16:31 where the sinner is not told to pray for conviction and regeneration. The sinner is simply told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

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Yes, children can learn.  But it takes years to get understanding.  I can get my 2 1/2 year old to learn his sins will send him to hell for all eternity, but if he doesn't understand what 5 minutes means when I tell him no snacks because we are eating in 5 minutes, how will he understand eternity?  He might view the "punishment" of hell like the "punishment" of a smack on the fingers.  In other words, he doesn't have the concept of time so hell might be brief like his other punishments.  He lacks understanding. 

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Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

 

Does a baby in the womb clearly see the creation of the world?  It sounds to me like an aborted baby going to hell would have a pretty good excuse.  I know adults that have trouble "seeing" let alone little babies. 

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Does the Bible say he that has understanding shall be saved?  or does it say he that believeth shall be saved?

Why do people think it impossible for an infant who hears his mother reading the Word of God to trust God?  I don't think it is an impossibility at all.

Matthew 13:19 "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side."
 
1 John 5:20
"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."
 
Ah, yea, understanding is a big part of believing in something.
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Scripture does clearly say that there is only one way to heaven, and that's through Christ Jesus. Scripture also says no one has an excuse, even if they've not heard the Gospel. If someone can go to heaven, at whatever age, without being born again in Christ, what verses speak of this exception?

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Scripture does clearly say that there is only one way to heaven, and that's through Christ Jesus. Scripture also says no one has an excuse, even if they've not heard the Gospel. If someone can go to heaven, at whatever age, without being born again in Christ, what verses speak of this exception?

none that I am aware of.

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      “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
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