Children of Believers

"The issue is how do we treat baptized children, growing up in the church? Where is the burden of proof? Do they still, at some future date, have to produce some other evidence (other than their baptism and covenant status) in order to be accepted into the Church? The Southern Presbyterians said yes, and we say no....

"How are we to treat those children who have been brought up in the realm of the church?

[Wilson now quotes Thornwell, whose view he opposes:] 'They are born unto her as children, and as children, the great duty she owes to them is to educate them. But in heart and spirit
they are of the world. In this aspect, how is she to treat them? Precisely as she treats all other impenitent and unbelieving men -- she is to exercise the power of the keys, and shut them out from the communion of the saints. She is to debar them from all the privileges of the inner sanctuary. She is to exclude them from their inheritance until they show themselves meet to possess it.'

"The emphasis added is mine. This is certainly a recognizable form of the "vipers in diapers" doctrine, and while I honor Thornwell as a great man in the history of the church, and I follow him on many other issues (along with Dabney) this particular understanding of his is one that I reject with whole-hearted detestation. This rejection really is a central player in the FV controversy."

Doug Wilson

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