Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Luther On the Faith of Infants and the Place of Reason

Let us look at the reason why they hold that children do not believe. They say since they have as yet not come to use their reason, they cannot hear God’s Word. Children have not come to the use of their reason, you say, therefore they cannot believe. What if you have already fallen from faith through this reason and the children had come to faith through their unreason? My friend, what good does reason do when faith and God’s Word are concerned. Is it not a fact that reason resists faith and the Word of God so that because of it, no one can come to faith or put up with God’s Word unless reason is blinded and put to shame? A man must die to reason and become a fool, so to speak, yes, and must become more unreasoning and irrational than any young child if he is to come to faith and accept God’s grace, as Christ says (Matt. 18:3) “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of haven.” How often Christ points out to us that we must become children and fools and how often He condemns reason!

Again, tell me, what sort of reason did the little children have when Christ caressed and blessed and assigned to heaven? Surely they, too, were as yet without reason. Why, then, does He order that they be brought to Him, and why does He bless them? Where did they get the faith that made them children of the kingdom of heaven? The fact is that just because they are unreasoning and foolish, they are better fitted to come to faith than the old and reasoning people whose way is always blocked by reason, which does not want to force its beg head through the narrow door.

What Luther Says, 142 Objection: Unreasoning Infants Cannot Believe, p51.

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