|"Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have|
prepared praise." (Matthew 21:16, ESV)
To summarize Ptr. Griffin's argument (the way I understand it), the unborn and born babies who die will not go to hell because they can't be liable for the sin of our first parents. While they are, as all humans, conceived with a sinful nature, they are still somewhat worthy to enter heaven in that they haven't done any actual sins, and for this reason the notion of baby-faith (i.e. that saving faith is mysteriously infused by God in the unborn and dying babies before their death) should be regarded as unnecessary.
His own words (original emphasis replaced with mine):
To be sure we are not born neutral or innocent or pure. We are born sinners by nature. But are we, as preborn/born babies, sinners by choice? That is, do babies enact their wills to transgress God’s law? “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Do preborn/born babies willfully transgress the Law of God? Are they immoral when they awaken their exhausted parents just because they’re hungry or startled? Are they being sinfully selfish?
(Please note: I am not speaking of children who have the mental/moral capacity to lie, disrespect/disobey their mommy and daddy, or hurt others; I am referring to preborn/born babies.)
Hence, I think it germane to our conversation to distinguish between sinful nature and sinful behavior. Because of Adam’s sin we are born with a sinful nature, a propensity for evil. We are born sinners. But is the sinner damned to hell because of Adam’s sin? It seems the sinner shall be judged, not for the sins of Adam, but for his own transgressions of the law.
“And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12). What evil works have preborn/born babies committed? It would seem the answer to that question is “none.” (In so saying, we are not denying or even addressing our sin in Adam per Romans 5:12; again, c.f. Romans 9:11).Ptr. Griffin denies that humans are damned merely on account of Adam's original sin, but what of Romans 5:18 which says that Adam's "trespass led to condemnation for all men"? (see also Romans 5:12). The traditional interpretation of this verse (see Council of Orange AD 529, Canon 2) is that all of mankind are actually one with Adam when he sinned, and so we are as much as liable (and worthy of condemnation) for his transgression. This is why Ephesians 2:3 says we are "by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." If we cannot be condemned for Adam's sin, then what is the basis of this wrath which is upon us by nature/birth?
It is true and I agree that all men will be "judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books" (Revelations 20:21), but in so far as Adam was mankind's federal head and representative of the human race (just as Christ is the federal head and representative of the race of the elect - Romans 5:12-19), his sin was also OUR sin. It's as though we have actually committed the same sin ourselves. According to the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), under the 6th Chapter, acrticles two and three:
2. Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them. For from this, death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
3. They being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and their corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation. Their descendants are therefore conceived in sin, and are by nature the children of wrath, the servants of sin, and the subjects of death and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus sets them free.I'm not sure if Ptr. Griffin's a subscriber of LBCF. But I assume he is, since he claims himself to be a reformed baptist and that I saw some of his posts where he also quotes from the confession.
Anyway, the Bible is clear that in Adam we all sinned. Actual sins increase our guilt, but we are deserving of condemnation on account of original sin alone. This does not excempt unborn humans and those who die in infancy. Yet of course I believe none of those little ones really end up in hell by God's mercy. Though I admit I can't find any explicit statement from Scripture which says so, nonetheless I believe God is able to save them. While Ptr. Griffin believes dying infants can go to heaven without being born again and having faith, I would stick with what the Bible says in John 3:3 and Hebrews 11:6. Nothing is impossible with God, and this is clearly seen in Luke 1:41.