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Want to know how we Papists will bring that mass of fundamentalist, sorta-evangelical, sorta-Baptist, ‘accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior‘ kids back into the loving arms of the Church? Because you are relatively good-looking and follow my blog, I’ll tell you: Babies, babies, babies.
You see, babies are cute. Let’s be as honest as we possibly can, and let’s agree with our man, Gilbert Keith The Freaking Chesterton, when he said
“[it is] the humorous look of children [that] is perhaps the most endearing of all the bonds that hold the cosmos together. . . [They] give us the most perfect hint of the humor that awaits us in the kingdom of heaven.” That’s right. Not only are babies beautiful, rolling balls of joy, but they are prophetic images of what heaven is like.
For an idea of what we will therefore experience in heaven:
So – you may ask, sipping bemusedly from a caffeinated beverage and idly scrolling through this (likewise caffeinated) post – why will these infant delights bring the fundamentalists back to incense and holy water? Well, because type A American fundamentalism is currently in the business of damning unbaptized babies to hell.
It’s simple logic folks. If the only way to get to get to heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, then those who cannot will not get to heaven. Babies aren’t good at making personal declarations of faith, so if they die before they are baptized – or I suppose, if you were really hardcore, if they die before they stand up in front of the congregation and accept Jesus – then they’re on their way to hell, without even a Purgatory to fall back on.
Now I imagine a few of you “we put the FUN in fundamentalism!” folks are up in arms, and as well you should be. For I have not yet met an individual who, when confronted with the above logic, has said, “Yeah! Let ’em burn! Stupid babies, up and dying before baptism.” No. That would be categorically insane. The constant response is, “Well we don’t know what happens to them, we cannot fathom the mercy of our God, so we can hope that in his great mercy he has prepared a place for them in heaven, and when I’m raptured there next weekend I’ll see.” And all in all, that’s not a bad response. Besides the rapture part. That’s just stupid.
But it is here where you really, really ridiculously good-looking Papists need to slam them on the head with a miter. What is the difference, you should ask, with a face caught between vast intelligence and humble reasoning, between an unbaptized baby and someone who has no knowledge of Christ? Neither the baby nor the Muslim who has been constantly taught to reject Christ is to blame for their lack of knowledge. Neither unbaptized babies nor the millions of people who have not heard of Christ are to blame for their inability to accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior. In my experience, this is heresy-talk to your average Baptist. “You see, Jesus is the way the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the father except through Him!” they’ll cry, deflecting your miter with their King James Bible. But what happened to all the “God is merciful” talk? As soon as a human being stops being cute and tiny, God is no longer merciful? You no longer trust the mercy of God? And so you dig at this incongruity, this odd teaching that would damn all unbaptized adults but save all unbaptized babies.
You might even mention that, indeed, no one comes to the Father except through Christ, but this is because Christ’s sacrifice opened the gates of heaven to the whole human race. Whether you are a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Christian, if you get to heaven, it is because of the cross. It is through Jesus Christ. This does not mean that Hindus are obliged to show up at altar calls in Mississippi. That kind of thinking – so prevalent in the states – effectively limits God’s ability to save. So the fundamentalist is left with two options. Damn babies to hell, or deny the teachings of fundamentalism in favor of the incense-laden Church’s. That, my friends, is the position we should hope every Baptist finds himself in, for as I have found, even in the face of being a hideous apostate, humans will be human, and defend the eternal happiness of babies.
I speak specifically of a gentleman who, after I had this discussion, said, “Well, before Christianity people were judged by the law, by their obedience to the ten commandments…”
“Is it not possible,” says I “that the same can be said of many people of other religions? That for them – in a real, personal sense – it is before Christianity, and that we can trust God’s mercy that he will judge them as such? That Paul’s words, that ‘since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so men are without excuse’ apply to those who have not yet heard of Christ?”
“It’s possible.” concedes he, adding, “God knows.”
Indeed He does. And thus a Baptist concedes to a Papist point, the angels rejoice, babies laugh, and a seed is planted in the Baptist’s/Average American Born Again Christian’s heart. Because if salvation isn’t always about a “one-time assent” then maybe Paul was right when he said to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” – maybe faith without works really is dead
. Then the possibilities are endless because frankly, the fundamentalist has just rejected the fundamental of fundamentalism. Gotta love babies.