This question showed up in my Facebook feed and Nathan Jones replied with a link to his article answering that very question.
First let me share with you my reply to Nathan:
Nathan Jones thank you for this. My daughter is 15, autistic, and cognitively challenged. She is still doing Kindergarten work. She has been baptized, by her own request, but it is clear she does not really grasp the idea of sin and needing the Savior. She was raised in church and when her brother confessed and asked to be baptized, she said she wanted it too. We were not going to deny her, even though we suspected she didn’t understand. She talks, but struggles in real conversation so only God knows what she truly understands. I cannot help but agree with your assessment, and for the same reason.
Now here is an excerpt of Nathan’s article. The full article can be read at the link below. Maranatha!
One of the most frequently asked questions coming into my Inbox involves the role of children in the Rapture. Will children be raptured? What about babies? The unborn? That question can extend as far as covering anyone who is mentally incapable of making a decision to accept Jesus as Savior. In essence, the question extends even further than that, for the ultimate destination of the Rapture is Heaven, and people are wondering about the eternal destiny of these tender people if they die, regardless of the Rapture. Even graver, hanging onto the answer by a thread are people’s views of the justice and loving nature of God.
I admit I wince every time I’m asked if children will be raptured. It is a question that hits very close to home for me.
I have three elementary-age children. My older two have asked Jesus to be their Savior and have proclaimed it in baptism. As a father it brings me great joy to see their love for the Lord expressed in cute prayer requests, joyful singing, surprisingly deep questions and an outpouring of love which are all fruits of the Spirit that have me convinced their acceptance of Jesus is genuine. Sure, I know they’ll have some bumps along the way as they walk with Christ, and they may even fall away for a bit, but they are His and as Jesus said in John 10:27-29, “no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
My youngest boy, though, has autism. At age five Zachary still does not speak. While his gross motor skills are almost olympic in stature, he lacks the finest motor skills to put even his hands together to wash them. The simplest concepts grasped by a one year old seem to be beyond him. And certainly, there is no way that he could comprehend his need for a Savior, much less understand the words that explain that concept. Unless his brain is miraculously healed, Zachary will never “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,” and so be saved (Rom. 10:9).