Age of accountability

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Chrift, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. Chrift

    Chrift
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    Hello!
    [​IMG]

    Can someone explain the Baptist doctrine on children and sin? My understanding is that you believe that they are without sin. Is this correct?

    Thank you and God bless.
     
  2. Bro. Curtis

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    Any Baptist with kids will tell you Children sin. Sin is willful disobediance. Children need to be saved.

    As far as an age of accountability, I don't believe there is any such thing.

    The first thing Adam and Eve did after partaking the forbidden fruit, is hide their nakedness. When a child becomes aware that they are naked, they start hiding themselves in the bathroom, stop running around in their birthday suit, etc... it may be a good time to talk about salvation.
     
  3. Helen

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    Hi, and welcome to Baptist Board!

    Let me present a scenario for you and ask you about it.

    A two year old goes into a grocery store with mommy. He sees mommy put all the great wonderful things in the basket and then the man at the counter (or the woman) talks to mommy and mommy gives her some paper and the nice lady (or man) helps mommy pack everything up to take home.

    Hey, this is NEAT! So there's that candy bar -- but it's so little no one needs to help pack it up.

    So he takes it home.

    He is guilty of shoplifting.

    He is ignorant of the law.

    Is he to be held accountable?

    Does the bar still have to be paid for?

    You cannot hold a two year old accountable for that, and yes, mommy still has to pay for it when she finds it out!

    So, first of all, sin is different from accountability. We are all born with a sin nature, courtesy of Adam and Eve. Thus we will all sin as early as possible -- and that early as possible thing has been a matter of great dispute on this board in the past! But until the law is known, can the sinner be held accountable for what he or she is doing by nature?

    Some say yes. Some say no. Baptists definitely differ on this one.

    I think you can see from the example I gave where I stand.

    So what would a possible 'age of accountability' be? The only thing I know how to do is go back to Bible. During the sojourn in the wilderness, the Israelites rebelled against God over and over again. Finally He had had it and told them they would die out there and that they could not enter the Promised land, but only their children would. What was the cutoff age? Twenty years old. Evidently the Lord was not holding even teenagers accountable spiritually for participating in the sins of the parents.

    Personally, that age also makes sense in life and humans as I know them (I have raised six and taught for almost 30 years). Kids do not do something because it is right or wrong. They do things to please someone, like mom or dad, or to avoid punishment, or because they just want to. Teenagers are so busy getting their brains re-wired and trying to figure out who they are, that they end up rebelling for the sake of rebelling with almost no regard for actual right or wrong for their own sakes -- and the spend inordinate amounts of time measuring themselves against one another!

    It really does not seem to be until the very late teens and early twenties that a person is settled enough to be able to understand right and wrong for their own sakes and behave accordingly.

    Those were my thoughts after reading about the twenty year old separating point the Lord established and how, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me.

    But please understand, I cannot speak for anyone but myself and there are many, MANY here who disagree -- sometimes almost violently -- with me!

    But at least that gives something to think about. [​IMG]

    Helen
     
  4. Chrift

    Chrift
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    So it is not a belief that all Baptists hold?

    Sorry for my ignorance, Baptists I have talked to talk about this and I assumed it was just something they all believed in.
     
  5. Bro. Curtis

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    I wouldn't call it a fundamental area of the baptist faith. We split hairs on this issue.
     
  6. Chrift

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    Hi Helen you snuck in there as I was responding to Bro. Curtis. [​IMG]

    Thank you both for your answers.
     
  7. Chrift

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    oops... I overlooked your question, sorry Helen...

    I believe that ignorance of the law is no excuse. There would be no need for missionary work because it would actually be better for us to NOT spread the Gospel and keep people in the dark (ignorant of the law). More importantly though, I believe this because of...

    Luke 12:47,48: "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."
     
  8. Carson Weber

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    Consider what Saint Augustine has to say

    "This is the meaning of the great sacrament of baptism, which is celebrated among us: all who attain to this grace die thereby to sin—as he himself [Jesus] is said to have died to sin because he died in the flesh (that is, ‘in the likeness of sin’)—and they are thereby alive by being reborn in the baptismal font, just as he rose again from the sepulcher. This is the case no matter what the age of the body. For whether it be a newborn infant or a decrepit old man—since no one should be barred from baptism—just so, there is no one who does not die to sin in baptism. Infants die to original sin only; adults, to all those sins which they have added, through their evil living, to the burden they brought with them at birth." (St. Augustine of Hippo, Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love 13[41], A.D. 421).
     
  9. Bro. Curtis

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    Doesn't that contradict the New catechism ?

    1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God ... The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.
     
  10. Carson Weber

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    Hi Curtis,

    Nope.

    God bless,

    Carson
     
  11. Bro. Curtis

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    What, no riddles ?

    I believe it does....compare...


    and they are thereby alive by being reborn in the baptismal font, just as he rose again from the sepulcher. This is the case no matter what the age of the body. For whether it be a newborn infant or a decrepit old man—since no one should be barred from baptism—


    with...


    The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.


    Seems to be one there....contradiction, that is.
     
  12. Carson Weber

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    Hi Curtis,

    The first passage is Augustine speaking of the effect of baptism: the same effect is given for the person no matter what the age.

    The second passage is the Catechism speaking of the necessity of baptism. Those Christian parents who have children should have them baptized ASAP for precisely the reason that Augustine speaks of: "they are thereby alive by being reborn in the baptismal font"

    There is no contradiction whatsoever and your continued assertion that there is does not produce a contradiction. This is utterly ridiculous. Good night.

    God bless,

    Carson
     
  13. Bro. Curtis

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    And I believe it is utterly rediculous to say there ain't a contradiction.

    Good night to you also.
     
  14. Chrift

    Chrift
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    No disrespect Bro. Curtis, but I just don't see it. Can you clarify? It is 3:30 am here and my mind can only think of my bed right now [​IMG]

    [ November 24, 2002, 04:45 AM: Message edited by: Chrift ]
     
  15. Bro. Curtis

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    Don't concern yourself with trying to not offend me, I really do have a pretty thick hide, by now.

    The first statement tells me Baptism is good at any age, noone is turned down.

    The second one tells me that if Baptism isn't done shortly after birth, then the parents and the Church have erred, and doomed the child.

    Granted, I will be the first to admit that I look for apparent contradictions like these. They confuse people, and render the document useless to anybody except educated Catholics. That's what I don't like about them.

    [ November 24, 2002, 04:50 AM: Message edited by: Bro. Curtis ]
     
  16. Chrift

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    I understand your arguement now. [​IMG]
     
  17. Bro. Curtis

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    I edited it since you posted.

    How's the weather in Texas. My dad is from San Antonio, and I need to meke a pilgramage down there someday.
     
  18. Chrift

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    I read it just now. [​IMG]

    It has been pretty pleasent lately! Was in the low 70s, but soon (Monday or Tuesday) we are going to drop down into the 50s. I don't know what the over night temps are because I am currently at work.

    San Antonio is a beautiful city. I was just there with my wife a month ago for a FamilyLife marrage conferance. I am in Dallas by the way. If you like heat, you will love TX. I am from Chicago and am glad to escape the ice!
     
  19. Carson Weber

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    Hi Curtis,

    Augustine wrote, "This is the meaning of the great sacrament of baptism, which is celebrated among us: all who attain to this grace die thereby to sin—as he himself [Jesus] is said to have died to sin because he died in the flesh (that is, ‘in the likeness of sin’)—and they are thereby alive by being reborn in the baptismal font, just as he rose again from the sepulcher. This is the case no matter what the age of the body. For whether it be a newborn infant or a decrepit old man—since no one should be barred from baptism—just so, there is no one who does not die to sin in baptism. Infants die to original sin only; adults, to all those sins which they have added, through their evil living, to the burden they brought with them at birth." (St. Augustine of Hippo, Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love 13[41], A.D. 421).

    Augustine's main point is in the center of the passage: "This is the case no matter what the age of the body."

    This in no way whatsoever contradicts the Catechism passage that you quoted, which is:

    1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God ... The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

    In fact, it more than agrees with Augustine.

    You misrepresent the Catechism when you write, "The [Catechism] tells me that if Baptism isn't done shortly after birth, then the parents and the Church have erred, and doomed the child."

    This is not what it says. It says that if parents do not baptize their child, then the child does not become a child of God until he is baptized because it is by baptism that we are incorporated into the Family of God as children of God.

    This Catechism passage in no way says that the child is doomed. The child can always later be baptized, and if this happens, then, as Augustine said, they will be reborn in the baptismal font.

    You are forcing a nonexistent contradiction upon the the two passages, and this is not only unfruitful, but useless and futile. It does nothing but create further confusion and an unneeded headache for the readers of this particular thread.

    I would suggest bowing out, respectfully, and recognizing that you are imposing what is not there. This will help.

    On another note.. [​IMG] I will be back in San Antonio December 9th through January 9th - so if you decide to come down this Winter, I'd love to take you out for a beer - or if you're like the Mormons - for a nice glass of ice water and show you around town. It's the least I could do for my beloved Christian brother. [​IMG]

    I'll be skiing from December 10th through 14th in Colorado w/ my former roommate from Texas A&M (who just returned to Houston from Indonesia), and will be back in town that Sunday.

    And Chrift, I'll be visiting Dallas possibly right before or after Christmas. I have a good friend who is a Senior at the University of Dallas as well as an old Aggie friend who is married and lives on Segovia Dr. in Dallas - he does youth ministry with All Saints: http://allsaintsdallas.org

    God bless,

    Carson
     
  20. Helen

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    I believe that ignorance of the law is no excuse. There would be no need for missionary work because it would actually be better for us to NOT spread the Gospel and keep people in the dark (ignorant of the law). More importantly though, I believe this because of...

    Luke 12:47,48: "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."
    </font>[/QUOTE]I understand what you are saying, but every culture, at every time in the world has had laws based on good and bad, ethical and non-ethical, right and wrong -- and there are some striking similarities in these laws across time. Romans 1 and 2 covers a lot of this, I think. It is not a matter of a learning type of knowledge, but of something God has put into men.

    So it's not a matter of not teaching them, but a matter of not being able to stop them from knowing!

    ITM (in the meantime), the job of a missionary is NOT to try to tell them the law, but to tell them the good news of Christ! Telling any culture that He has completely fulfilled the law and they -- if in Him -- will not be judged according to the law is good news indeed!
     

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