Author(s): Adam Harwood; Paige Patterson
What is the spiritual condition of infants? According to the Augustinian-Calvinist view, all people inherit from the first Adam both a sinful nature and his guilt. The result is that all infants are subject to the judgment of God against their nature before they knowingly commit any sinful actions. But is this the clear teaching of Scripture? In The Spiritual Condition of Infants, Adam Harwood examines ten relevant biblical texts and the writings of sixteen theologians in order to clarify the spiritual condition of infants. Although no passage explicitly states the spiritual condition of infants, each text makes contributions by addressing the doctrines of man, sin, the church, and salvation. If this biblical-historical analysis exposes the traditional Augustinian-Calvinist view to be inadequate, then is it possible to construct an alternate view of the spiritual condition of infants? Such a view should remain faithful to the biblical emphasis on humankind's connection to Adam and his sin but also recognize the guilt and condemnation of an individual only in the manner and time that God does in Scripture. That is the aim of this book. ""Through extensively examining relevant biblical and historical sources, two major questions with profound pastoral consequences are answered in this important book: Do infants inherit a sin nature from Adam? Although utilizing different models, most theologians agree that infants inherit a sin nature. However, are infants, therefore, guilty before God? In answering this second question, Adam Harwood challenges the dominant systematic discourse and properly reorients our understanding of infant salvation. Harwood's careful thesis will stand."" --Malcolm B. Yarnell III Associate Professor of Systematic Theology Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ""This is a first-rate treatment of a knotty problem. Since the Scripture does not settle this issue, Harwood has mined the Church's best thinkers for their insights."" --Charles White Professor of Christian Thought and History Spring Arbor University ""Harwood addresses thoroughly a significant pastoral and family issue by examining the pertinent biblical texts and representative theologians. Although some readers will hold to alternative understandings of Augustine and Luther and may question why Arminian theologians are not examined, such factors do not diminish the tenability of Harwood's exegetically based argument or the great usefulness of the book, as it points, especially in its conclusion, to the companion issue, the salvation of infants. --James Leo Garrett Jr. Distinguished Professor of Theology, Emeritus Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ""Dr. Harwood has written a wonderful book that will be of great benefit to the academic world as scholars struggle with the theoretical implications of the issue of infants and salvation, but more importantly, it will be of greater benefit to those who not only struggle with the theoretical issue, but are on the front lines ministering to grieving people who have lost beloved infants. This book lays out in a clear, intelligent, and accessible manner the issues surrounding the eternal destiny of those who die in infancy. Dr. Harwood is to be commended for his work."" --Rustin J. Umstattd Associate Academic Dean and Assistant Professor of Theology Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Adam Harwood is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at Truett-McConnell College at Cleveland, Georgia.