accountability age question.

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by zrs6v4, May 19, 2009.

  1. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    I believe the bible states that all small children/infants who pass away go to heaven.

    -I also believe that young kids can be saved, such as a 6 year old

    -I also know the age of accountability is not set in stone, but varies

    -So it is possible for a 6 year old to be accountable, and if this means he/she is accountable enough to understand the gospel, then he/she may also go to hell at that age.

    --- My questions are (and I know there are young converts here and I mean no harm) can a 6 year old really become accountable for sin? I honestly could not see a 6 year old going to hell so how could he/she be saved?

    I dont mean to come across the wrong way, but I hope I can get some clean responses to make this more clear.
     
  2. Marcia

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    The Bible is not clear on an age of accountability, imo, so I don't think there is really an answer. I would say for sure that children younger than 3 or 4 cannot be accountable since their thinking is so unformed then.
     
  3. annsni

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    There really isn't an age of accountability in Scripture so we can't say for sure what happens.

    However, I know that God is just and omniscient so He knows what He's doing. While we can't imagine Him sending a 6 year old to hell (my 6 year old daughter is standing right next to me right now so I can identify), if He does, He has good reason for it.

    The ONLY thing that I can do about any of it? Be sure that my children hear the Gospel from the day that their little ears can hear (even before they're born) and pray for them from the moment I know about them. Beyond that, it's between them and God.
     
  4. Allan

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    I posted this in another "age of accountability" Thread a while back:
    However you will find scriptures that do speak not so much as to a 'specific' age but to a time in every persons life when God reveals His truth to them. That truth is not like some parents try to teach their children (ex doing bad things = sin and doing good things = ?? ) I brought this up in our Sunday school class about term good and bad are perceptions those things acceptable to the one we wish to please. Thus God's terms for good and bad are righteousness and sin.

    All children must understand sin according to its nature and offence to God not mom and dad because then the child will use their parents standard to determine what is sin and not Gods. Part of understanding Salvation is understanding you have 'sinned' against a 'Holy' God and are deserving of hell. Thus also an understanding this aspect as well is needed, indeed necessary that it might be a "Good News to the one whos eyes have been opened.

    There are various verses in scripture which convey this concept.
    For example - Christ illistrates according to John, that accountability is determined when one has an understanding of sin:
    or
    Another verse is when King Davids child dies, David knows that when he dies he will be with his child. David also knew that when he died he would be with the Lord ..."I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever".

    Jesus also talks about allowing the 'Children to come to him for such is the kingdom of heaven". Though it is a direct refernce to humilty and faith (notice all have it ) and thus the example for adults to be like those children and have trust/faith, it is also an interesting reference regarding the acceptance of them all for "of such is the kingdom of heaven". Apparently heaven is made up of such and gives much credence to Davids proclaimation and actions at the death of his son.

    Does this mean children do not have sin - by no means. But they are not held accountable as of yet for them (John 9:41) but as one with no sin.

    The age is different for each person not so much so because they can or can't understand it (though it is a factor in relation to the rational mind) it falls specifically as to when God reveals truth that goes deeper than mans perspective of good and bad.


    Here is that thread

    PS. There is a woman in our church whom we call sister Alma. She was saved at 5 years old and she is up in her 80's now. But she can still remember weeping over her sin even at that age. The grief of sin is not in the amount nor the magnitude but the fact of it and it's result. She knew at 5 she deserved heel - wow.
     
    #4 Allan, May 19, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2009
  5. OldRegular

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    I believe you are incorrect. When the Children of Israel refused to enter the Land of Promise GOD punished those 20 and older by keeping them wandering in the wilderness until all died. Those under that age were allowed to enter the Promised Land.

    The Apostle Paul discusses this historical occurrence in Hebrews 4:16ff in the context of belief, unbelief, and Salvation stating:

    Hebrews 4:18, 19
    18. And to whom sware He that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not.
    19. So we see they could not enter in because of unbelief.

    It appears that the Apostle Paul is using His Rest as Heaven or Salvation.

    Hebrews 5:3a
    3a. For we which have believed do enter into His rest, as he said,

    It is my opinion that parents and pastors are guilty of teaching children that their sense of guilt for disobeying parents translates to knowledge of sin against God. The consequence is that we have children from the age of 3 and up making professions of faith. They walk the aisle tell the pastor they love Jesus Christ and are voted into the church. We therefore wind up with an unregenerate church membership. What child raised in a Christian home will not say they love Jesus Christ if asked?

    I do not know what the age of accountability is at present. I believe it is much closer to the age of 20 than the age of 6. The only reference in Scripture, as far as I am aware, is the one cited above from the Old Testament and elaborated on by Paul in Hebrews. As a parent and grandparent I understand peoples concern for their children. I have one granddaughter who when asked: What makes you so pretty? responded: Jesus up in the sky. For some people that would suffice as a profession of faith.

    We must also understand that Scripture teaches that children belong to God. I believe that people completely misunderstand and misapply that Scripture where Jesus Christ states: Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.[Matthew 19:14] If we say that some young children are able to profess true faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for salvation then we are saying that all children are accountable to God for sin.

    Some years ago I read a compilation of certain articles dealing with this problem of taking unregenerate children into the church. As I recall the position suggested was that instead of bringing children into the fellowship they would be brought under the watch care of the church until they did reach that age of accountability. That is basically what some denominations who practice infant baptism do. In my opinion there us no difference between baptizing a newborn infant and baptizing a young child.
     
  6. Marcia

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    Allan, I don't think those verses you quoted mean that. Otherwise, this would mean people in other religions who don't understand biblical sin or have no concept of sin are not accountable.

    Re John 15.24, one commentator says:

    http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/john/jfb/john15.htm

    Gill says:
    http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/john/gill/john15.htm
     
  7. Allan

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    Actually they do.

    And no, people in other religions are still held accountable for their sins, because God reveals truth them just as he does to others. Rom 1 is a prime example of God doing this - showing them sin, righteousness and judgment to come just through nature itself not to mention any other means that God brings to them - but all will be held accountable for the truths that which God has revealed. They are condemned because they refused to accept these simple truths that "God" revealed to them and those who know more stand in the greater condemnation yet all are still condemned.

    First, Jesus came that He would 'reveal' their sin so they could not mask it. He did what he did so that their sin would be known to them. That is exactly what I am saying. They will be judged because they continued IN their sin.

    Secondly notice I did not say they have NO sin, I stated they are not held accountable for their sins because they do not yet know that they ARE sins.




    This again points out exactly what I am saying:
    Notice they knew the truth and rejected it and therefore sinned. Thus they were accountable to the truth revealed to them.
     
  8. Marcia

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    Thanks for clarifying! :wavey:
     
  9. Allan

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    No problem. :thumbs:
     
  10. Allan

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    See OldRegular, we do agree on some things.
    With respect to OT account of them 20 years and above not entering the Promised Land, I agree is a good 'illistration' of what the 'age of accountability' implies. What you give can also be referred to exegetically as the or their (Jewish) 'age of service' whereby those reaching this age can serve most anywhere in Jewish culture. And for those both of and in service to God (like in the passage you refer to) they are accountable for their sin because they were supposed to go in and take the land but everone of 'age' (with the exception of 2) said No Way and determined not to for fear. Therefore they were all judged (those over the age of 20) for their sin (disobedience) since they all knew what was good in the sight of the Lord God in this and to not obey God, they all knew it to be sin. All those 19 and younger (down to the infants) had no sin in the matter however since it was not something they were to be accountable for because they had no choice in the matter and thus most likely didn't even know what was to be done. The sin laid squarely upon those who know what the Lord desired and choose otherwise.

    And this is why I stated you point is a good 'illstration' of what the age of accountability is. And thus by the age of 20 one has had to have already reached such an accountability. So you could state that all above the age of 20 (of a competent mind, thus able to serve) were fully accountable for their sin having attained by now such an understanding.

    Again we agree :)

    We need to be very careful in relation to children and understand that at all times with all people and ages - it is about the knowledge of good and evil before or according to God, not an understanding of right or wrong according to mommy and daddy or even civil governments. It is about sin and righteousness before and according to God. No man can teach another these things for they are revealed by God to man (all men). Right and wrong are perceptions of good and evil and the definition (of that commonly accepted right and wrong) is derived from those in authority. Like fathers and mothers and another is civil governments, all of these display rights and wrongs from a certain perspective but these are not true representation of godly righteousness and sin. They are only shadows or illistration of them. The ultimate and only absolute however is that which is defined by God. A child knows what is right and wrong in relation to what his parents desire and is accountable once he understands that which is good and bad to them. So it is with God and the AOA.


    No, only those who have come to understand what sin is, has done, and it's consequences by God's revelation to them. However God does not reveal His truths to all people at any certian age nor all at the same time (I'm sure you agree with this). Thus some children 'can' be saved at a young age and some God waits paitently for His appointed time to reveal His truths to them.

    No, on this we differ (well it couldn't last forever) :)

    Baptizing a child who understands and can tell you what they understand, and has stood under the convicting power of God over their sins is the Churches mandate. We as believers had better baptise them. HOWEVER, there must be decernment and judgment taken into account. I have denied many young ones who wanted to be saved but didn't know what in the world sin was much less why they were bound for hell if they weren't saved. But then again there are those few whom I shared the doctrine of baptism with due to their heart and conviction and answers.

    I think we need to tread carefully with the hearts of children and listen with spiritual ears to them and to God when it comes to salvation. To deny them just because 'we don't think they can understand' is to deny that God can bring them to understanding at any time He so chooses, but let us not go silly and take it to the extreme both you and I agree is out-there, and seemingly doing fairly well.
     
  11. OldRegular

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    Allan

    Believing in the Biblical Doctrines of Grace as I do I will have to agree with W. T. Conner, a professor at the Southwestern Baptist Theological seminary early in the 20th century who writes as follows [Christian Doctrine , page 155]:

    “It [Election] means that God has decreed to bring certain ones, upon whom His heart has been eternally set, who are the objects of His eternal love, to faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour. When a man is saved he is not saved as a matter of chance or accident or fate; he is saved in pursuance of an eternal purpose of God. God saves man because He intends to. He saves a particular man, at a particular time, under a particular set of circumstances, because He intends to.”
     
  12. Allan

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    Regardless of the how we see the mechanics operateing (doctrine of grace or otherwise) the point is still that 'what and when' these thing transpire is due to God and His revealing and man believing - whether a 6 year old or 60 year old.
     
  13. Jim1999

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    I see mention of all kinds of sins or commitable offences, but not one mention of the sin that condemns all humanity to hell; Adamic sin; original sin. If we do nothing, we have already carried the burden of sin that merits hell, but for the grace of God in election.

    There is no biblical teaching on the myth of age of accountability. ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If an infant or child dies at an early age and they merit eternal life in Christ, it is at the grace of God and nothing short of this.

    When Jesus equated the kingdom of heaven to children, it was reference to the mental and "childlike" attitude and not the age.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. Me4Him

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    Suppose God never gave Adam/Eve the law not to eat of the tree, would sin still have been imputed to them???

    Not according to scripture.

    Ro 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

    Sin is a knowing/willful transgression of the law.

    Ro 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

    1Jo 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

    Adam/Eve's sin condemned their own souls, and all "FLESH" but their sin "did not" condemn any other soul, each soul only gives account for the sin "IT COMMITS".

    Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, (adam/Eve)

    Satan told Adam/Eve if they violated the law their "EYES" would be "OPENED" so they would "KNOW GOOD/EVIL".

    Of course if you don't know the law, you're "Blind to what is sin", but Adam/Eve knew the law, "Don't eat", and when their eyes were opened they knew they were "naked" and ashamed.

    Joh 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; (Eyes opened) therefore your sin remaineth.

    Infants have no "knowledge of the law", sin or "Good/Evil", and they are not ashamed of their "nakedness",

    sin is not imputed to them until they become aware of law/sin, once they reach that "Age", and then "willfully" transgress the law, sin is imputed to them.


    I agree.
     
  15. Bob Farnaby

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    I agree with Jim, the salvation of anyone, adult, child, infant, unborn, genius, imbecile, Australian, Indian, American, European, white, black, pink, whatever - depends on the miraculous work of God.

    I do not doubt that God will do what is right, His wisdom is far greater than any mans. As for if all children will be saved ... the scriptures do not say they will be, they do not say they will not e. It is all in God's hands. If it were not then all would be lost. God is a gracious God.

    Regards
    Bob
     
  16. RAdam

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    The proof of original sin is in this statement:

    Romans 5:14 - Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    Death reigned in between Eden and the giving of the Mosaic Law over all flesh. It even reigned over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. I believe he is talking about infants here. Many infants have died, as we see abundantly today due to the sad fact that our country allows the murder of many infants while still in their mother's womb. The infant has not yet committed a personal sin of disobedience toward God, yet he/she still can die. How? Death came by the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden (vs. 12). The infant then is a sinner by nature, conceived in a state of being dead in trespasses and in sins and needing salvation by Jesus Christ. It is my personal belief that all of these infants that die are saved by Christ, but they are still sinners needing salvation by nature.

    Now I would like to express one thing that I read in this thread that I totally dislike, and that is the idea that the child can't understand his or her condition and thus have a true profession of faith in Christ. The child can understand the things of God when He teaches them.
     
  17. OldRegular

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    That question is at what age does God teach them or call them.
     
  18. Allan

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    That is up to God is it not?

    I believe that it is up to God when He chooses to reveal truth/work on the heart of the individual, some younger some older. But we as believers are to be ready and sensitive to His working so whenever that moment presents itself we are able to help them understand what is being done and what needs to be done (if they do not yet understand fully).
     
  19. preachinjesus

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    Age of accountability is a tough one, but one which I believe in.

    I agree with many of the above cited passages and conclude that often God is far more gracious than I expect Him to be. :)
     
  20. Jerome

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    "Some people expect almost infinite wisdom in a child before they can believe him to be the subject of divine grace. . . . I never could see anything in Scripture to support this theory, but then Scripture was not so much cared for as the judgment of the deep-experienced people, and the general opinion that it was well to summer and winter all converts before admitting them into the sacred enclosures of the church. Now, if any of you still have an idea in your head hostile to the conversion of children, try and get rid of it, for it is as wrong as wrong can be." ---Charles Spurgeon

    "but to convert children as children, and to regard them as being as much believers as their seniors, is regarded as absurd. To this supposed absurdity I cling with all my heart." ---Charles Spurgeon

    "I will say broadly that I have more confidence in the spiritual life of the children that I have received into this church than I have in the spiritual condition of the adults thus received." ---Charles Spurgeon
     

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