Recently I found a webpage that all believers in salvation-through-faith should read. It is entitled Do Babies Automatically go to Heaven? The author, K. B. Napier, argues they do not. His argument is simple: One must be born again to go to heaven; babies cannot be born again; therefore babies are doomed.
The implications of his argument are so horrible that most Christians will immediately turn from the suggestion. How could God burn a baby in hell forever for not believing, even though the baby had never reached an age where he could understand? What would one ever say to a grieving mother whose infant was in hell? Napier confronts that problem:
I can partially understand the desire not to increase the burden of a bereaved parent, by saying something soothing...but to claim it to be a part of scriptural teaching is yet another matter, of gravest importance, because it totally undermines the true gospel...In an effort to comfort the bereaved they often say things that are unscriptural. This is particularly so if the dead person is an unborn or young child. What minister has the courage to teach what scripture says in such circumstances? I know of none!
I struggle to think how Napier might comfort the grieving mother whose infant is supposedly screaming in hell.
Napier is quick to point out that babies are sinners and that sinners go to hell. But even he cannot seem to find the words to declare that babies go to hell. He chooses to concentrate on his conclusion that they don't go to heaven. But he clearly infers where infants go: They all burn in eternal conscious torment in hell forever.
But if you reject Napier's teaching, and find that the rule requiring new birth has an exception in the case of infants--and most Christians think it does--are there other exceptions? Are the mentally handicapped also exempted? What about those who haven't heard? What about those who have reviewed the facts, and decided they cannot believe? If babies can be exempted from the curse without a new birth, why can't others enjoy the same exemption? And then why would faith even matter?
If one truly thought that one must believe certain assertions to escape hell, it seems to me he would end up at the barbaric conclusion that Napier reaches.
For a discussion of this topic, see the thread http://www.christianforums.com/t2297811-do-babies-burn-in-hell.html&page=1&pp=20.