In American Presbyterianism and Reformed theology more generally, one of the controversial issues has been the fate of children dying in infancy. The Westminster Confession of Faith reads:
Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ (10.3)
The Confession thus leaves open the possibility that some infants are not elect and therefore not saved, and historically this has incited significant debate. In 1903 the PCUSA adopted a declaratory statement affirming universal salvation of those dying in infancy, against the opposition of "old school" theologians like B. B. Warfield. But Warfield only opposed making the position a confessional standard; personally he actually agreed with it:
For myself, I believe with all my heart that all dying in infancy are saved, and I believe that I can prove it from Scripture. ("Does the Confession Need Revision?" II)
To me this view seems problematic because Reformed theology typically holds that adults who never hear the gospel are unsaved. So universal salvation of deceased infants would mean that some of the children of these adults go to heaven, despite neither the infants nor the adults ever having the opportunity to hear the gospel. Why do Reformed theologians think they would be treated differently?
Other questions here deal generally with the question of infant salvation, so I'll be very specific here:
- According to Reformed theologians, what is the biblical basis for the idea that all those who die in infancy are saved?
- Reformed theologians could include the Presbyterian opponents of Warfield, but I'm most interested in the arguments made by conservatives like Warfield.
- I'm looking for biblical basis. Saying "it wouldn't be fair" isn't going to cut it, unless the Bible is used to make this argument by these Reformed theologians.
- I'm not interested in the basis for some dying infants being saved – I want to know the basis for all dying infants being saved.
- I'm not interested in the "how" – whether dying infants have faith or not is not relevant; only that they are saved.
Related questions (and why they aren't duplicates):
- What do Protestant churches teach about the fate of deceased infants?
- This is an overview question, not a biblical basis question.
- How is the view of guaranteed salvation for infants justified?
- Similar, but is wider in scope, allowing for non-biblical and non-Reformed answers. For example, the conclusion of the accepted answer is extremely questionable from a Reformed perspective.
- What is the Biblical basis for asserting that infants can have faith in Christ under a Calvinistic framework?
- Similar, but two key differences: (1) there is a difference between infants having faith vs. simply being saved (my question is more general in this sense) and (2) my question refers to the idea of all infants being saved, while this question does not address that point.