Book Review: Safe In The Arms of God
Safe in the Arms of God is described on the cover as “truth from heaven about the death of a child.” In this short, but intense book, John MacArthur answers the question of what happens to children - those unborn, stillborn, or youngsters - when they die. This is a question that has perplexed Christians since the days of the early church. While most Christians have held the view that their children are in heaven, the majority have believed that without being able to adequately defend their position. In this book MacArthur provides a Biblical examination of the issues and ultimately provides a satisfying answer.
In this short review I will not examine the issue itself, but MacArthur’s handling of the issue.
MacArthur’s position is that all children who die, regardless of the era they were born in, their nationality or the religion of their parents, are immediately ushered into heaven. When Larry King interviewed him in the aftermath of September 11, he asked MacArthur what happened to any children who lost their lives in the tragedies. His answer was (and remains) “instant heaven.” While that answer was all King wanted, inquiring minds are intrigued by the Biblical grounds for such a view. The author spends several chapters carefully crafting his argument. He gives examples from the Bible which show that there is some assurance that children can be taken to heaven (David’s son is the common example) and provides a mountain of other important evidence. Most of this, while it helps build the case, does not prove anything on its own.
Essentially, though, the argument comes down to this: salvation is by grace, damnation by works - most notably the action of rejecting God. Infants are incapable of rejecting or accepting God, and thus God chooses to extend His mercy to them. It is important to note that God saves them not on the basis of justice but on the basis of His grace.
After making the argument, MacArthur spends several chapters speaking about whether parents will see and know their children in heaven, why the child had to die and what others can do to help grieving parents. The book is interspersed with the stories and testimonies of parents who have suffered a loss and have taken comfort in God’s promises.
MacArthur makes a compelling, Biblical argument to support the idea that all children who die in infancy are saved by the great mercy of God and are safe for eternity in the arms of a loving God. I give it my recommendation.