"Age of Accountability"

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Berean, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Berean

    Berean
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    Since childhood I have heard the term or expression Age of Accountability. Since then I have often wondered if this term has a passage of scripture that it is based on or is this just a deduction that has evolve over a period of timel. What is the age?, Does it vary?, To what extent does it vary?, Does the Spirit convict persons who have not reached the AOA?, Does a person who is mentally challenged have an AOA?
     
  2. mont974x4

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    Scripture does not give us a specific age.

    The earliest age I can find where God judges someone as righteous or unrighteous is here:

    2Ch 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the LORD. (NASB)


    We should note that it does not say that 8 years old is the age of accountability. This verse means that he was 8 years old, he reigned as king a short time, and God held him accountable.


    Many people look to this verse in order to answer the question regarding those unable to make moral decisions on their own whether it is because of age or physical or mental disability:

    2Sa 12:22 He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.'
    2Sa 12:23 "But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (NASB)

    This was David's response when the child Bathsheba bore him died. Many people, myself included, believe that God's grace (as it does for all who are saved) covers these situations. We see in these verses David's conviction that his baby went to paradise, where David will join him later. Others, of course, disagree with that understanding.
     
  3. Iconoclast

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    There is no "age of accountability". This is a false idea that leads to false conclusions.

    All are conceived in sin and guilty in Adam. God knows each person,and saves those he purposes to save.Not one is lost,and no sin goes unpunished.
     
  4. Jerome

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    http://www.albertmohler.com/2005/01/05/in-the-shadow-of-death-the-little-ones-are-safe-with-jesus/

    "The Bible does not reveal an “age” at which moral accountability arrives, but we do know by observation and experience that maturing human beings do develop a capacity for moral reasoning at some point. . . .I most often speak of a point or capacity of moral accountability. At this point of moral development, the maturing child knows the difference between good and evil–and willingly chooses to sin."
     
  5. OldRegular

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    There is only one place in Scripture where accountability is associated with an age.

    Numbers 14:26-35
    26. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
    27. How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
    28. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
    29. Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
    30. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
    31. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
    32. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
    33. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
    34. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
    35. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
     
  6. Gina B

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    I believe the passage already posted (from Numbers) is a very strong indicator for an age of accountability. Combine that with medical knowledge about brain development and it seems to be a very logical conclusion that those not mature enough to make their own decisions are under grace until they are able to think for themselves.

    Most children I've met simply go with what their parents believe and will defend it very strongly as children, but turn their backs on those beliefs once they reach adulthood. That goes for ANY religious beliefs a parent raises a child with. If that wasn't so, we wouldn't see the vast majority of children following mom and dad's religious beliefs, whether mom and dad are Christian, Buddhist, Mormon, Satanists, or any of the other belief systems out there!
     
  7. saturneptune

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    OR,
    I would be interested in seeing if you think Romans 7:8-9 might apply to an "age of accountability." Since retiring from my career job, I have worked in an adult day care and teach life skills, basic education, and go with these folks into the community to teach interaction. It is my opinion that most, not all, but most of these wonderful people can grasp the essence of the Gospel. They might not understand the depths of theology that some of the theological geniuses spend 24/7 letting us know about, but they do understand sin, conviction, repentance and the death, burial and Resurection of Jesus Christ.

    For those who do not or cannot grasp, I know He is a good and merciful God, but He is also sovereign. While God is sovereign, how He effects election is not fully understood by man, and that includes those who spend all of their life on Calvin-free will threads. This is where faith comes in. Why not have faith in God's judgement? No, what advanced theologians do is come up with man made interpretations of the Bible to explain away God being unfair in their opinion.

    Have faith, obey the Lord, study Scrpiture, and let God take care of the rest. He does not need BB Calvin threads for Him to understand Himself.

    By the way, good verses from Numbers.

    Actually, even if AOA is not in Scripture specifically, it makes a lot more sense than sprinkling babies to cover sin under the cover of the Christian parents.
     
  8. awaken

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    A few more verses to consider...

    John 9:41: "Jesus said, "If you were blind [tuphlos], you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.""

    Deuteronomy 1:39: "And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad --they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it."

    Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
    Isaiah 7:15: "He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right."
    Isaiah 7:16: "But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste."
     
  9. Allan

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    It is a biblical idea in which the phrase refers NOT to a specific 'age' but a time when that person comes to know what sin is before a holy God. When is that time? That is up to God as each person comes to know this truth at different times in their lives.

    It is simply an easy phrase to use which describes a time in your life when God revealed this truth to you and you 'knew' what sin was in relation to God's righteousness... not Mom and Dad's good and bad.
     
  10. Yeshua1

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    Seems to be inferred from How Jesus approached children, how David thought would see His dead son after his life, and that God said that he would show compassion towards large numbers of persons in Ninevah who were too young to know right from wrong!
     
  11. HeirofSalvation

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    I am open to the possibility that I am somewhat mistaken here....But I cannot shake the notion that the correct answer is that there is indeed somewhat of an "age of accountability" (dependent upon cognitive capacity and not an arbitrary timeline of course). But I have come to the conclusion that the answer is rather simple. We are all "sinners" which is to say imminently corrupt and corruptible at conception, and will in all points ultimately defy the law and therefore be guilty in all points, I will call that "Original Sin"...as in God, "created man in his (God's) own image....but Adam "begat" Seth in HIS own image". This implies an inherent bent towards corruption for which all men will ultimately become accountable.

    I believe though, a mistake is made when this original status of corruption or corruptibility is extrapolated into an original "GUILT". An infant possesses absolutely no capacity to do either Good nor Evil, and is literally no more able to sin nor do well than a cockroach or a butterfly. Infants need no (saving) grace...infants have not sinned. Infants are simply guiltless. There are no passages I can find in Scripture which ,properly understood, teach that infants are guilty of any actual transgressions of the law.....

    If one were to accept the premise (that some accept) that infants are by default "guilty" and in need of grace, and that that grace is automatically provided to ALL infants...then it behooves us as Christians to support all forms of abortion and infanticide in order to guarantee the salvation of as many as possible. The more infants one could possibly guarantee die prior to any cognitive accountability....then the more souls in heaven...Sixty million U.S. abortions since Roe v. Wade...sixty million guaranteed saved souls, a 100% success rate!!!!! The harvest of eternal souls in eternal adoration of
    God in post-modern China becomes a blessing. This, however, is obviously an untenable conclusion.

    If, however, one were to believe that it is of no consequence whatsoever whether one were an infant or not at the point of no return...(i.e. death) and that for no knowable purpose God has simply selected some and not others, and that some infants are secure and others damned...then one is now confronted with the reality that one worships an utterly abominable and despicable Deity. If we accept that life begins at conception (for instance) then at the point that conception occurs...an unconcious being (who does not yet posses a hearbeat) is now guilty of immense wrongs, and were that morally guilty being unfortunate enough for God to have decided to either cause it to be a victim of mis-carriage, or it's mother to be murdered causing it's imminent demise, (an historically far more actually probable occurance than the modern American often comprehends) than it is statistically most likely doomed to eternal torture for the vile sins and crimes and transgressions that it obviously committed via proxy? This also is an untenable conclusion IMO.

    More probably, I think...the Bible teaches that we "die" PHYSICALLY, in Adam, and we "die" SPIRITUALLY when we choose to sin, and we "choose" to sin when we are also "accountable" for sin.....and they are basically one and the same idea.

    This question is ultimately much more resolvable and simple if one rejects for a second the false tradition of "Original Guilt", and reads the Scriptures at face value:

    Rom 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead.
    Rom 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
    Rom 7:10 And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death.
    Rom 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].


    This passage seems so clearly to teach that one is only "guilty" when one is possessed of the "Law" and one then disobeys.....This, of course, includes all "natural" law spoken of in chapter 1 which renders men sufficiently guilty and in need of grace, even if they transgress without a "special" revelation of God's oracles. All men, even the most reprobate have a fundamental notion of right and wrong, and are imminently aware of their failure to abide by natural laws.

    Rom 1:18 ¶ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
    Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.
    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
     
    #11 HeirofSalvation, Oct 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2012
  12. Winman

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    The age of accountability is easily shown in scripture.

    Deu 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

    God did not punish the children of the Jews who sinned in the wilderness, because they did not know between good and evil in that day.

    Isa 7:16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

    This verse shows that children are not born knowing to refuse evil and choose good, but at a certain point mature and have this ability. This verse also refutes Total Inability and shows even a child can refuse evil and choose good.

    Jon 4:10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
    11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

    In these verses God implies that he made the children of Nineveh, and that he SHOULD spare Nineveh, that is, it was JUST that he should spare Nineveh, because there were 120,000 small children there that could not discern between their right hand and left hand. They were no more guilty of sin than the cattle that were there.

    Rom 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
    10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
    11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

    Paul said he was alive without the law once. He did not say he mistakenly "believed" he was alive as many falsely teach. NO, he said he was alive without the law once. When could this be? the law was written around 1500 years before Paul was born. The only reasonable answer is that Paul is speaking of being a child and ignorant of the law. When he matured and understood right from wrong, he was convicted by the law of his sin and spiritually died.

    Why was Adam blamed for the sin in the garden and not Eve? Because Eve was immature, she was naive. She was fooled or deceived like a little child. Adam was more spiritually mature and understood the law, therefore he was held accountable.

    1 Tim 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    This may sound terrible, but the scriptures do seem here to imply that men are more spiritually mature than women, and therefore women should not teach the men in church.

    But the age of accountability is absolutely shown throughout the scriptures.
     
    #12 Winman, Oct 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2012
  13. Yeshua1

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    We are ALL conceived in sin, born as sinners, confirmed by actions and deeds!
     

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