Hell Is for Children


Brad over at The Broken Messenger takes Steve Camp to task for his curious post about children and salvation (or the lack of it.) I have to be honest in that I scratch my head when I read these kinds of conversations. I wonder if we have bound God by the very theological systems we hold so dear.

Hell Is for ChildrenI seem to be reading more than my share of tortured arguments lately. Sadly, this argument reminds me of the title of an old Pat Benatar song. While I will be accused of ascribing to "the sentimental model," I have to ask anyone who has children, "Which of your children are you willing to consign to hell and be satisfied with that result?"

I'm not sure if I'm okay with saying that a three-year old is doomed by his or her lack of understanding the Gospel and that there's nothing that can be done about it should that child die in an accident. It seems that Steve is saying we should be glad in this! I wonder if he extends that same thinking to his own children.

I hear some people saying that a particular child was assigned by God to perdition and is just fulfilling her role as a child of wrath. Still, did Jesus say, "Suffer some of the little children to come unto me?" If we are to receive the Kingdom as a "little child," then is it possible that little children have a covering of grace through Christ's finished work on the cross that in adults has been outlived because we have heard, understood, and now have no excuse? It appears that Steve would answer in the negative to this (and possibly Brad, too, though he disagrees with Camp's ultimate answer), but I'm not so certain.

So, I come to the end of Camp's rationale and am left with with no more answer than when I started. The stillborn child of this couple goes to heaven while this couple's SIDS child goes to hell? Camp would argue this position based on predestination and election, but a case like this makes such certainty seem capricious. God may indeed be no respecter of persons, but something about the conclusions we are coming to on this topic are unsettling to me by nature of their complete helplessness and the shrug we must toss in as a result.

The salvation of my child could not possibly matter to me more, but I don't know when his statements of faith are what someone would call "saving faith" and what others would consider the default childhood interest in things relating to God.

What do you believe the Holy Spirit is saying to us on this topic?