Whether referencing our confession of faith or the Scriptures themselves, that seems to sum things up.
We just don’t have a great deal of authoritative data to work from in forming our convictions about what happens to the infants of believers who die in infancy.
The confession takes a position, for sure, in chapter 10 on Effectual Calling, paragraph 3:
Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when and where and how He pleases. The same is true of all elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called through the preaching of the gospel.
It lists only John 3:3,5, 6, & 8 as proof texts.
Honestly, I don’t find the statement all that helpful. Election lies within the sovereign decree of God. That Christian parents who lose their infants can only wonder whether or not their child falls under that category seems to me to offer little or even no comfort at all.
The Bible says more, but in some ways not as much as we might hope in specific to settle the matter. Rather we must draw theological inferences from texts that can help inform our thoughts and encourage our hope that someone like Annabelle went to be with the Lord on Saturday and that her folks will see her again some day in heaven.
I could rehearse those texts and thoughts in my own words, but frankly I have a memorial service message to write between now and Friday. Furthermore, Desiring God published a blog post some time ago that summarizes the question supremely well.
Here is a significant section from the article by Matt Perman:
It is important to emphasize that, in our view, God is not saving infants because they are innocent. They are not innocent, but guilty. He is saving them because, although they are sinful, in his mercy he desires that compassion be exercised upon those who are sinful and yet lack the capacity to grasp the truth revealed about Him in nature and to the human heart.
To read the entire post click here.
A memorial service for Annabelle Walton will be held at Orlando Grace this Friday, June 22, at 7 PM. Visitation with the family will take place from 5:30 to 6:45 PM. Refreshments will be served.
Please continue to pray for the Waltons and their extended family as they walk through the valley of the shadow and reckon that even in staggering loss Jesus is enough.