age of accountability

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by chickenlady, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. chickenlady

    chickenlady
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    I'm real curious about this topic. I have no opinions about it and would like to learn more. Adam and Eve knew wrong and right before they ate the fruit. Were they still unaccountable?
     
  2. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    There is no such thing as "age of accountability" found in Scripture. Man has come up with the concept. That does not mean it is a bad or wrong concept, just not found in Scripture. I am sure there will be varying ideas on the board.
     
  3. Helen

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    While we teach our children to learn to be accountable from a very early age, and thus there is no 'age of accoutability' per se where parents are concerned, there well may be a spiritual age of accountability. If you look at Exodus, remember where all the people are rebelling time after time in the desert? There finally came a time when God said (loosely translated), "I've had it, you guys! You will all die here and your kids will inherit the promised land."

    The age God chose to divide those He was holding accountable in the rebellions and those he was 'excusing', or not holding accountable was twenty. That was also the age for the census.

    That struck me several years ago. Surely those teenagers joined with their parents in rebelling. But they were not being held accountable.

    I had raised six kids and fostered others and taught others and I was a kid once myself. So I ran it all through my mind and realized something. The reason a little kid does something is out of curiosity, or to get a bigger allowance, or to please friends or to avoid punishment, etc. It is all, if you will, for 'horizontal' reasons. I looked at myself as a teen and then at my kids during their teen years and then recalled my hundreds of students. Why did they do what they did? To be part of a group, to get good grades, to avoid punishment, for money, etc. etc. Again, 'horizontal' reasons, having to do with their own human worlds.

    But about the age of 20, give or take a year or two here and there, there is a massive change. First of all, the brain is finally, biologically, mature. It has not been for the first 20 years of life. Second, the reasons for doing things start to change. A young man or woman starts wrestling with God -- is He real, is it all a joke, were my parents/pastor/rabbi/teachers right? Choices are starting to be made which take in the concept of right and wrong for their own sakes. Think of this as 'vertical' choices. No longer is a person only doing what he does for reasons relating to other people in his or her life (or monetary reasons and such). The spiritual eyes are looking both up and down now, thinking a lot more through that what to wear the next day.

    When I put all this together, I began to think that God was showing us that there is an age of spiritual accountability. It is somewhere around twenty years old. In the New Testament Jesus makes the flat statement that the children are His. I know from memory and watching my own children that the teenage years are incredibly confused. Brains are physically, actually, being rewired. Old connections broken and new ones being formed. "Who am I?" is a theme reverberating through the teenage years.

    It is during the twenties the beginning 'most important' choices are made.

    Looking at all this, it is my understanding now that there is an age of spiritual accountability and that it is, roughly (depending on the individual) about 20.

    About Adam and Eve: they were created fully-formed adults, so there was no time at which they were not accountable. However it is interesting that Paul indicates that man's sin nature descends from Adam, not Eve, even though she ate that fruit first. He says that she was deceived. Adam was not deceived. This gives us the interesting possibility that a number of those in cults who are honestly deceived and think they are worshiping the Jesus of the Bible may actually end up in heaven!
     
  4. Pipedude

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    I suspect that most of us were saved before we were twenty.

    When I came under conviction at age twelve, I knew that I was on my way to Hell if I died lost. I had hardly been to church much in my life and had heard no strong preaching. But I heard the gospel message, God spoke to my heart, and I stiff-armed him for a year, purely from the enmity of Ro. 8. And I knew that it was wrong to do so. I finally surrendered and the burden rolled off.

    Helen, does my (supposed) experience contradict your position?
     
  5. StefanM

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    1) God's choice not to punish did not mean that they were not responsible for their actions. Christians are saved through undeserved grace, but we are indeed responsible for our sins. God's choice when and how to punish or to show mercy in one instance does not establish a normative pattern.

    2) At what point a person begins to wrestle with God does not determine an age of responsibility. Another possible reason for the selfishness/immaturity common in teens: corrupt human nature. Also, to think that teens think only about shallow issues with no real significance seems somewhat demeaning. Sure, there are teens who are shallow, but there are also middle-aged people who are just as shallow. Shallowness does not make anyone less responsible for one's actions.
     
  6. yeshua4me2

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    i was 23 when i got saved....didn't even know about salvation until 23....was a drug dealer till 23.....but there is truth in Helen's assesment, for i never thought about life or death things, just where the next "fun" was comming from. I can remember having the fear of God come upon me......hell for eternity, i cried when i burned my finger, the thought of eternity in hell STOPPED me cold in my tracks. when one knows he's a sinner (second only to paul) the Gospel is indeed "Good News", before my realization of hell, the Gosple was foolishness. I think the age of accountability is probably close to 20, but i have heard arguements before for the age being about 13. God knows when a person is accountable, and He is Just.

    thankyou and God Bless
     
  7. Marcia

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    What do you all think about this passage? I've heard this verse referred to by those who believe there is an age of accountability:

     
  8. StefanM

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    I think that passage illustrates a point at which one is capable of moral action. I would consider this to be the age of accountability/responsibility, though I think it varies depending on the person.
     
  9. shannonL

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    What do yall think of this verse "Whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved" The verse doens't read "Whosoever shall call upon the Lord at age... shall be saved?

    The verses mentioned don't really have anything to do with salvation.

    It probably helps if a child can read the Bible and understand what it says. Yet, when the Holy Spirit convicts one of sin He convicts and that is that. Each person is different. There is no particular starting point when it comes to the "age of accountability" some kids know right from wrong and understand the consequences sooner than others.

    The age being twenty is makes no sense. All the people before the age of 20 that got saved didn't need to because they weren't of age yet? No way.

    Kids are smart enough to cheat in school, murder people, hack in on computers, steal, lie etc... but they don't reach the age of accountablity until 20? Whether we want to admit it as parents or not our young people are sinners and fully understand what sin is. Yea were all confused in our teenage years that is why mom and dad take us to church and teach us the Bible so on and so forth so our kids can get saved Lord willing.
     
  10. chickenlady

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    How could we be saved before we were 20? God says NONE is richeous. So how can we be richeous before we're 20? Would a just God overlook sin?
     
  11. JamesBell

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    No, a just God would not overlook sin. But, the same hypothesis can be put in other places. We are all born with original sin, correct? Thus, if no sin can be over looked, what happens to a child that is two days old and dies? Would a just God allow a baby to spend an eternity in hell?

    Here we have the problem of not understanding God's nature. While, as humans, we see a contradiction in the two above statements, we know that God is just. We know that He is able to make sense of the two different situations.

    I think 20 may be a bit old for the age of accountability. I personally believe that every person reaches that age differently. It is when you are capable of making decisions, it is when you have the ability to choose to follow God. For some, it could be as early as five or six. For others, it may not be until much later. Regardless, at some point, we will all "come of age" and have to make our decision.

    But, God chose not to tell us how it works. I will trust that He knows best.
     
  12. David Mark

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    It is interesting that Adam and Even were embarrased to be naked after they gained knowledge of Good and Evil.

    Dave
     
  13. webdog

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    I believe the age is when one "consciously" sins, meaning they know their actions are more than just bad and good, but rather their actions will result in them spending eternity separated from a very real God.
     
  14. Petrel

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    What about people who've never believed God exists?
     
  15. Helen

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    Everyone knows God exists. Those who claim they don't are INTENTIONALLY 'ignorant.'
     
  16. webdog

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    They should read Romans 1.
     
  17. chickenlady

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  18. JamesBell

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    The article is wrong, but well written. I don't know what else to say about it. The view that everyone, regardless of age, must come to salvation flies in the face of Jesus' own words. Then trying to explain away those words? It simply a false teaching.

    Further, the article gets things wrong. I don't know of anyone that has ever tried to explain the doctrine of age of accountability by quoting the 10 Words (Commandments), and that is what is being done in Matthew 19:19.

    Mark 10:14 is clear. Jesus said to let the little children come to him, because the Kingdom of Gld belongs to them.
     
  19. Marcia

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    But I didn't believe this until the moment I was saved and that was at quite an, um, slightly older age. Before that, I did not believe in hell but I was certainly accountable!

    You don't mean people are not accountable until they realize what sin is, do you? Because I didn't believe in sin until I was saved.
     
  20. JamesBell

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    I don't think the issue is what you believe. Rather, it is what you are capable of believing. I don't believe things that I am capable of understanding. That doesn't make these things false or less real. For instance, I do not believe that the rapture will happen after the tribulation. However, I am capable of understanding it. Also, if I am wrong, I won't be taken before the rapture just because of my belies.

    This is a poor attempt to convey the point, but I think it gets the message across. There are countless people that die without Christ. This does not make them unaccountable. However, if one dies before they are capable of making a decision for Christ, we believe they will have eternal life. I think it boils down to the same argument I have against calvinism. God said that He doesn't want anyone to perish, but for all to come to salvation. Thus, He would not make it impossible for a person to come to salvation.
     

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