Age of Accountability--Biblical or Mythical??

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Frogman, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Frogman

    Frogman
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    Ok brethren. I want to get to the Biblical bottom of this question. I want an honest and sincere discussion of what you believe and why from Scripture. If you want a few days to study for support go ahead.

    Everyone knows my stand. I do believe in Spiritual Regeneration, but I have not embraced the full belief of that position in all things. But in this question I believe all who are born are born in sin because they were conceived in iniquity as David said of himself is true of me and everyone else.

    Note Ps. 51.5
    I have heard some say iniquity is not sin, but David does not stop with iniquity, he continues to say in sin did my mother conceive me.

    Others say this is referring to the sin of Davids mother. So, who is 'in' sin referring to, David, or his mother.

    Are babies born innocent of sin and not accountable until they do sin and understand what sin is?

    If so, is this decisional to say they must understand?

    What are your thoughts? Please as much as possible use scripture. I don't intend to degenerate this into the typical argumentative based disicussion.

    I believe all are conceived in sin and thus are born sinners.

    May The Lord Bless your studies.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  2. Frogman

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    Following are some things for your consideration taken from TP Simmons' A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine

    My conclusion:
    Bro. Dallas
     
  3. Jim1999

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    I believe that we are all born in sin and trespasses, and all we need do to merit hell is nothing.

    Having said that, David talks about seeing his dead son, the infant, in the beyond. The evidence points to David's salvation, so we must assume he is talking about seeing his infant son in heaven.

    Early in ministry I was confronted with a loving couple who lost their infant child and they asked me directly where their child would be. I did not have time to rationalize an answer and my immediate response was: I believe that God's mercy and love was great enough to cover the sins of infants, up to the nebulous age of accountability, and they would, like David, see their infant child in glory.

    After much study, I have not changed my view on this. Scripture to support it? None. There are some things in the Christian experience that go beyond my understanding, and I leave it at that.

    There are some who can be very certain that they know the answer. I cannot do that, and I should imagine that I have studied the question as much as anyone.

    This is not a definitive answer, but it is an answer....I rest my case with David's words.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Jacob

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    For many of us, it is enough to know that Christ said of children, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost" (Matthew 18:10-11). And that "of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). These verses do not directly answer the question, but they imply that God will accept them. Though they are not "saved" in the sense that they have not had a conversion experience, yet they are "safe," for the blood of Jesus Christ is shed to cleanse their sin.

    Do you any of you strong Calvinists place the salvation of an infant in terms of whether they are elect or not? Just wondering.

    Jacob.
     
  5. Frogman

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    Thanks Jim,
    I thought Simmons agreed with your statement. I certainly do, though I find the 'age of accountability' unnecessary. It assumes that men are not born dead in trespasses and sins. I raised this point to determine the validity of whether scripture is right to conclude all in sin, if infants, not yet at an age of accountability are exempt. While I agree with you, I also agree with scripture that all are concluded in sin. [I know you agree with that also].

    Jacob,
    That is a good question. I don't know any Calvinist that would disagree with what Jim wrote. I don't think any are prepared to go so far as to say who is and is not the elect. At least, I have not met a Calvinist to make any kind of distinction concerning infants. BTW, I do not disagree with you that all evidence points toward infants enjoying the presence of the Lord. I disagree with blanketing it under the guise that these are not accountable. Either we are born dead in trespasses and sins or we are not. I believe scripture shows we are born in this condition because we are conceived in this condition.

    Thanks for responding.
    Bro. Dallas

    BTW, I am not in full agreement with Simmons on the image of God in man. Just so you know.
     
  6. Jim1999

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    Jacob, as a five-point Calvinist, of course, I would include these infants under the category as elect from before the foundation of the world.

    I go on to say, that these infants are a special case not covered by the norms we develop called theology. I think that there are some things that beg a definitive answer, but we will only know of certainty in glory.

    I know that some will speculate and say, if they are elect and they live and continue in their sin, what of the elect? I answer, they did not live, they died...End of story. All the elect WILL be saved. These infants underwent the action of redemption, a secret act by God...our act is repentance and signs of deliverance, but it is God who redeems, is it not?

    All of God or none at all.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. Frogman

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    I would say Amen to that Bro. Jim, not that it would make a difference. It neither denies the need of the new birth, nor makes a special different way for infants.

    Of even the elect it is said, ye must be born again.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  8. Jacob

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    I just looked up this issue in RC Sproul's book, "Now that's a good question". He seems to say that only children of believer's would be saved. I know RC is a strong Calvinist - is this the typical belief of Calvinists?

    Again, just wondering...

    Jacob.
     
  9. Me2

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    mankind exists in death. when Jesus went "into death". where did He Go...Planet Earth.
    where did he come from...heaven.

    He entered into what you and I call "life".
    He calls "death".


    Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.


    is anyone excluded from these statements of "all die" or "all dead" or "death passed upon all men".

    1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

    2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

    Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    "Age of accountability" is a myth..

    Me2
     
  10. Frogman

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    I don't know the reference. Never read it. Maybe brother Jim could give more information about that. But I do want to say something here:

    Last summer I was teaching an adult Bible class in our church and a similar question came up. It seems that I have heard this before as a youngster, or read it and it was enough make me consider it then. Either way I remember considering this long ago. The limited understanding I have follows:

    The question: Will only the children of the elect be saved? The question I was faced with in the adult class I was teaching was similar to this but restated. A man married to a Catholic woman whose children all are adults now asked this question. Does the Bible teach that the children of Christians will be saved? Here is the scripture he referenced us to:

    1 Cor. 7.13
    For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now they are holy.

    Is this vs. teaching that such children are holy? First we must ask ourselves what is sanctified?

    The first biblical record of this is in reference to the Sabbath: Gen. 2.3. This should direct our thinking on this subject.

    Again, what is sanctified? we can infer from scripture above that sanctified is referring to holy, and when we read 'thou shalt remember the Sabbath to keep it holy' our thoughts once again would latch onto the idea of holiness. But is this sanctification as is used in 1 Cor. 7.14?

    According to Young's concordance it is 'hagiazo' that is 'to separate, set apart'. So to be sanctified is to be set apart, note it is not to be separated, but 'to separate' thus I would conclude first here that it is the Providence of God in setting apart this unbeliever to the hearing of the Gospel by a continual living witness in his/her spouse.

    But remember the scripture says the children are holy. Ok. Again according to Young's we find:

    hagion---'Separate or set apart object' I would say then this is speaking in the same line. Rather than of particular holiness of the child it is rather speaking of the child being that [forgive me] set apart object also by the Providence of God separated to the continual witness of the Gospel. Does this mean they will be eternally saved? Only God knows the answer to this question.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  11. Jim1999

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    Jacob, I would be somewhat hesitant if the infant were parented by unbelievers, but even then I would lean more to compassion. If I am deemed irrational in relation to theology, then I am prepared to be condemned by humankind. God is my judge and I shall answer to Him in the end, and my conscience in the interim. My conscience is clear.

    You will find that many theologians tend to avoid this question, or they follow the Reformed concept of believers only. They would base this on the sprinkling of the infant and the covenant relationship all who are so sprinkled enjoy.

    I was 21 years of age when this couple approached me. Fresh out of college and serving in my first pastorate. Let me ask this question: What would you have said to this sobbing couple who were grasping at straws for any hope. This loving Christian couple from whom I still receive correspondence. They have never forgotten the tenderness I shared with them, and they are dedicated believers and church workers in England.

    After 57 years, I would behave the same, and without guilt of compromise.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. Taufgesinnter

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    As the apostle Paul taught in Romans 7, I believe we are spiritually alive until we become accountable for sin, and then we die and are in need of grace through faith. Prior to that we are covered by the atonement, as Paul wrote in Romans 5--the extent of Christ's atonement is the same as the extent of Adam's fall.
     
  13. Frogman

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    Me2, I believe Biblically you are correct. That is why I brought this up. My wife and I have three children, which of these are we able to save? Does this mean we do not want them saved? My wife has suffered a miscarriage, eight years ago, do I believe this child is in heaven? Yes. Is it because this child was not born and thus not born in sin? No. This child was shapen in iniquity thus at conception of human life I believe sin exists and the individual being born into the world possesses the self same accountability to a Holy God as any other. To simply say they are covered because they did not understand presents two problems, at least IMHO:

    • others living to older ages, but not able to understand
    • they don't require the new birth

      If the first is the case, how do these ever get saved? the answer of course is only by quickening of the Spirit of holiness that raised Christ from the dead.

      If the second is true then men are not born either totally depraved, nor depraved. They are born without the sin nature of Adam and must enter into that nature of themselves.

      I simply believe the age of accountability is unscriptural and ought not be taught. Does this mean that I believe some babies are not quickened by the Holy Spirit? No. This only means that the foundation of God standeth sure the Lord knoweth them that are his. I simply rest in the Grace of God.

      This may be confusing to some. But scripturally it is easier for me to see this than to see a blanket of 'they are taken care of until a so-so age'.

      How are men saved? By Grace through faith and that not of yourselves. How are men saved? Ye must be born again.

      Bro. Dallas
     
  14. Jacob

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    Jim, I would have given them hope. I would have given them this hope because I truly believe their child would be in heaven - see my first post in this thread.

    I would not differentiate between an unbelievers child and a believers child.

    Jacob.
     
  15. tnelson

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    I think John MacArthur wrote a book that covers this topic. "Safe in the arms of God"


    mike
     
  16. John Gilmore

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    In all of scripture, there is not one instance of a person, either before or after the so-called age of accountability, being saved by making a decision for Christ. People, before birth/the age of accountability or as adults, are saved when they believe they are received into grace:

    Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.

    That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ's sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake.


    Augsburg Confession, 1530

    [ October 11, 2003, 07:56 AM: Message edited by: John Gilmore ]
     
  17. Jim1999

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    John Gilmore, what do you make of 2 Samuel 12:23:

    But now he is dead (the infant), wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

    David can go to the dead infant. Does he mean simply that he will die also? That is hardly going to him. It would appear that this infant will benefit something more...salvation?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. ILUVLIGHT

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    Hi everyone;
    This thread has been an intresting read.

    Wasn't Christ bar-miztvahed in the Bible?
    For our lord to take part in celebrating of his comming of age. Shouldn't we assume that he wouldn't have done this if it wasn't proper?

    The coming of age was the age of accountability
    May God Bless You.
    Mike
     
  19. Jim1999

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    An important life cycle event for a young Jewish boy or girl is the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah respectively. A boy is Bar Mitzvah when he reaches his thirteenth birthday, while girls are Bat Mitzvah when they are twelve. However, the girl's ceremony can be postponed to their thirteenth birthday as well. The literal meaning of Bar/Bat Mitzvah is "commandment age" or age of majority.
    ===============================================

    Must confess, I never even thought about this Jewish ceremony.

    Thank you and cheers,

    Jim
     
  20. Abiyah

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    I have a real hard time with using ANY of the words
    and thoughts of David when considering this
    subject. There are, that I know of, no other
    Scriptures that back his conjectures, and that
    leaves any conclusions drawn upon them on
    extremely precarious ground.

    As human beings, we seek comfort, we seek
    answers, we seek reasoning, but as far as I know,
    the Bible is silent on this issue, not giving a
    supposed "age of accountability" or any
    assurances. In my opinion, we know our God to
    be sovereign and all-wise; therefore, while we
    may speculate, this is an area of trust, and we must
    trust Him to do the absolutely right and righteous
    thing.

    While we do bat (daughter) and bar (son) mitzvot
    (covenant, command, instruction) at ages 12 and
    13 (most of the time), this does not set a precedent
    for any age of accountability.
     

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