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    November 16, 1882

    “A Criminal Theology” The Signs of the Times, 8, 43.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The American Baptist Flag recently contained the obituary notice of an infant, to which the following lines were appended:-SITI November 16, 1882, page 511.1

    “Asleep in Jesus,
    Oh so young.
    Yet the Lord has said
    ‘Suffer them to come.’”
    SITI November 16, 1882, page 511.2

    We have no disposition to criticize the so-called “poetry,” but to call attention to the implied comment on the well-known words of Christ, “Suffering little children, and forbid them not to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” It has never occurred to us that there could be more than one meaning attached to this verse. In it Christ shows his care for the children, and indicates that even the little ones may believe on him, and he will receive them; that they are nearer the kingdom than any others, for all must become as little children before they can enter therein.SITI November 16, 1882, page 511.3

    But now a new idea is presented. A little one has died; it is, as the writer says, “asleep in Jesus.” In the popular mind, however, the Bible never means what it says, and when it says that the dead are “asleep,” it is taken for granted that it means that they are alive and more acutely conscious than they ever were on earth. According to this writer, people “come to Jesus,” only when they die.SITI November 16, 1882, page 511.4

    Paraphrasing Matthew 19:14 to express the view thus taught, it would read, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to die,” etc. No one can deny that this is a legitimate rendering, according to popular notions. The idea expressed in the lines quoted is, Do not prevent the children from dying, for Jesus has invited them to come to him, and that is the only way they can get there. And then the inference might easily be drawn that it would be a pious deed to quietly help them off, or in other words, to kill them.SITI November 16, 1882, page 511.5

    This is written with no irreverence, except for the false doctrine which makes such an interpretation of Scripture possible. To be sure, natural affection causes the majority of people to take care of the children as much as possible, and there is implanted in the natures of all an instinctive dread of death, which no amount of false teaching about the benefits which death confers can eradicate. Still there are instances where persons of weak minds have been led to destroy their children, in order that they might sooner enter upon the bliss of Heaven. And who that believes as the writer of that obituary notice does, could say that they were not right? Believing that the ten commandments are abolished, and that death “is but the voice which Jesus sends to call departing friends to his arms,” why should they hesitate to enter upon a war of extermination, and slay all the righteous? We are glad that people are often more consistent in their practices than in their theories otherwise the scenes of the papal persecution would be outdone by an immolation from love of the victims.SITI November 16, 1882, page 511.6

    We have no sympathy for a doctrine which makes Herod a benefactor of the race, and gives to Satan the key of Heaven. The word of God is pure, and the one who strictly follows it cannot be guilty of inconsistency either in faith or practice. But error is always inconsistent with itself, and the man who adopts one error, is driven to the acceptance of a hundred more. E. J. W.SITI November 16, 1882, page 511.7

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