Friday, January 30, 2015

Will God Save My Kids? A Response

This post was originally sparked by this article, titled "Do you believe God will save your kids?" It's written by blogger Tim Challies, who happens to be a Calvinist, as is evident from his article.

Challies pulls out all the stops on this one. He opens by stating that "There are few things I pray for with greater frequency or intensity than the salvation of my children." And he doesn't just pray for it...he believes it. "I believe God will save them. I believe he will save them because that is what he does—he saves. I believe he will save them because that is who he is—he loves to save."

And he continues believing and praying, all through the post. And in the end, "I entrust their souls to him. I put my confidence in him, and in his character, and in his Word." And again, at the closer, "And I pray—I pray that the God who graciously extended favor to undeserving me, would extend it to my undeserving children as well."

Now, there's a lot in between those statements: About trusting God, about how God "uses" prayer and the Bible and the Gospel to save his people. But in the end, it ultimately comes down to trusting that God will save them.

And I thought...How absolutely horrifying it would be to read this, as the parent of a child who had died un-saved.

Don't get me wrong: It's good to pray for the salvation of your children. And it's good to trust in God. And it's good to believe that God is the God who saves, who desires and loves to save people. All of that is good and true...but in the Calvinist scheme, that's only one side of the coin.

The other side, of course, is that God is the one who deliberately doesn't save everyone. That God is the one who desires and loves to save some people, and desires and loves to damn the rest of them. That God is the one who takes many kids from Christian families and deliberately withholds the grace they so desperately need. That God is the one who created billions of people for the express purpose of not saving them...and that your child could easily be one of those people. 

That's the other side of the Calvinist coin here, and it's just as necessary as the first side. And one necessary consequence of this is that in the case of non-elect children, the parents will love their children better and more fully than God ever did. Love is, after all, to desire the Good of the beloved, and while the parents will pray, will desire and work towards the good of their children, God will actually do the exact opposite: God will so order the universe as to render their salvation impossible. That may well be justice. That may well be his right as the supreme ruler of all. But it is not loving...not to the reprobate.

That's horrifying to me. That's unacceptable. I don't understand how you could read the Bible and arrive at an understanding of God whose love towards the reprobate is surpassed by the love of human friends and family. And I can't comprehend what that would be be the parent of a dead child, knowing that somehow, you loved your child more and better than your God ever did.

Anna and I are trying to get pregnant. Every day, the enormity of that hits me a little more. Every day, the possibility that today or tomorrow could be the day when we discover that two-become-one has actually become three...that possibility is awesome: It is awe-inspiring. And when it comes to the question, "Will God Save My Kids," I only have a few thoughts:

I believe that God will desire to save my kids, and consequently, I reject any notion that he desires, or plans, or ordains, or decrees for them to be damned.

And I also believe that since God desires them to choose him, he will leave them the possibility of not choosing him - although I reject that he gets any pleasure from the agony of those who reject him. 

Finally, I believe that he will create them with the express purpose of having them consciously choose to follow him, and to have them join him in paradise, and that despite our rebellion and captivity, he has already affected their rescue, and beyond that, he will woo and call them in various ways throughout their lives.


  1. You state my thoughts on this - and state them well.

    I would propose a further thought experiment:

    1. Should Calvinists have children? Challies believes his kids' salvation rates will be 100%. But in a global sense, it is less than that. Could one ethically bring a child into the world knowing he or she might be destined to be damned? I sure would hate to have that on my conscience.

    2. If one is a Calvinist who believes that children who die before the "age of responsibility" are damned, then this goes double, doesn't it? One can see where infant baptism gained a following...

    3. If one is a Calvinist who believes that children who die before the "age of responsibility" are saved, couldn't one justify killing one's children while they are young? You know, just in case?

    Just taking things to the logical conclusion. BTW, if you haven't read Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, you should. Tolstoy got a bit sideways on the issue of sex in his later years, and makes the bold statement that the extinction of the human race would be a small price to pay for abolition of the evil of sex. Perhaps the Calvinist argument should be that the extinction of the human race would be a small price to pay to keep more souls out of hell.

    1. Unfortunately, the Calvinist, by necessity, sees the damnation of the reprobate as an unqualified GOOD, worthy of celebration and praise, not something to be sorrowful over. After all, what else are the Reprobate there for?