Lewis' salvation belief, age of accountability, and neo orthodoxy

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by APuritanMindset, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. APuritanMindset

    APuritanMindset
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    In another thread, Dunamis XX said,
    He also said,
    The doctrine of age of accountability holds that a child who dies before the time he reaches this age, goes to heaven (or, is saved). This child, as this doctrine states, belongs to Christ "without realizing it or explicitly knowing Him". If the logic holds that Lewis is "neo-orthodox" because he believes this about grown adults, does that mean that those who hold to age of accountability are "neo-orthodox" as well?
     
  2. canadyjd

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    Where is the "age of accountability" taught in scripture?

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  3. Helen

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    This has been consistently and widely argued here. It is my belief that there is an age of accountability indicated in the Exodus from Egypt. When God becomes disgusted with the Israelites for continued rebellion, He tells them they will die in the wilderness but that their children will enter the Promised Land. The age line God establishes for the difference between the adults and the children is twenty years old (or 19, since everyone 20 and older will die in the wilderness).

    In other words, although of course we are to discipline and train our children, holding them accountable for their ACTIONS, God evidently did not hold them spiritually accountable for any way they may have partaken in the rebellion.

    The age of military service was 20. The age at which males were considered men was 20 in terms of census-taking.

    Just a thought.
     
  4. APuritanMindset

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    Assuming it is true, though, wouldn't it be no different than Lewis' view that people can be saved apart from explicitly knowing Jesus? In which case, would Lewis be Orthodox or would the rest be neo-orthodox like him?
     
  5. Helen

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    Jesus was the one sacrifice for all, right? In the Old Testament we find that there was a sacrifice for unknown/unintentional sins. Jesus would have been this sacrifice, too. Thus, any sins children commit would be covered by Jesus from the start and, if the age of accountability were to be considered true, then it would not be until their adulthood that they would be sinning as a matter of choice rather than a matter of nature, and it is this which would require an additional choice to accept or reject Christ's work at that time. I know I am putting it awkwardly, but there is no salvation apart from Christ at all. However, it is not sin which condemns a man to hell, but belief. Or, rather, refusal to believe. So the fact that children sin is not the issue. It is the fact that it may not be until young adulthood that God Himself allows a separation from them (spiritual death) because of their refusal to believe in Him. It would be after this that they must be born again into a new life with Christ. But Jesus said the children are His, so, sinners or not, He has claimed them and they are not yet spiritually dead, or separated from Him.
     
  6. APuritanMindset

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    But is this view orthodox or neo-orthodox? If it is orthodox, then we have no right to say that Lewis is neo-orthodox because of his view that people can be saved without explicitly knowing Christ. That is, in essence, what the age of accountability is.
     
  7. Helen

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    I am only trying to tell you what I see in the Bible, not what anyone else believes or how it can be labeled. Christ saves all. If a tiny baby does not 'know' Christ and Christ says, "that baby is Mine", are you going to argue, "but that baby doesn't know you!"?
     
  8. Johnv

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    My personal beliefs tend to concur with Helen on the topic, for the same reasons Helen posted.
     
  9. APuritanMindset

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    We say that about people in other countries who never hear of Jesus or have a chance to hear about Jesus.

    I am not saying that I believe infants go to hell. I tend to think they go to heaven. I ask this question, though, because it seems that Lewis is called "neo-orthodox" on the grounds that his view of salvation goes beyond the express teachings of Scripture. To some extent, the same is true for the age of accountability issue. I just want to know, if it is orthodox to believe that there are people (infants) who go to heaven without realizing it or explicitly believing in Christ, why Lewis is neo-orthodox because he carries that view beyond the baby to the person who never hears the gospel.
     
  10. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Helen

    I believe it is a stretch to see an "age of accountability" with relation to salvation in the Exodus story.

    I could just as easily use 2 Kings 3:23-24 (the prophet Elisha) to say children are held accountable.

    "Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, 'Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!' When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number."

    These "lads" were held accountable.

    If the age of accountability is as you say, why are we pushing are children to "make a decision" and "accept Jesus into your heart" and "pray to receive Jesus into your heart" and baptize them when they are little more than infants.

    Surely if they cannot make a deliberate decision to sin, they cannot make a deliberate decision to
    follow Christ. Why would they need to? Far better to die young than to live to 20 and suddenly be accountable before God.

    You said "Christ saves all". Does that mean you believe all people, everywhere and at all times will be/have been saved?

    I still do not see the "age of accountability" taught anywhere in scripture. Therefore, I would not see it as orthodox teaching.

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  11. Helen

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    I understand your point and I am not going to argue it. But I do want to clarify that I am not a universalist. My wording was too ambiguous. All who are saved are saved by Christ and only Christ. Better? [​IMG] That is what I meant. Thank you for the chance to clarify.

    One more point -- the Catholics call their teaching 'orthodox', and various others call their teachings 'orthodox' and as far as I can see 'orthodox' is another word for 'traditional'. So I'm not worried about orthodox. I am concerned with what the Bible says.

    Your 2 Kings passage was a good rebuttal, by the way.

    And, since I can't seem to shut up yet, I do disagree with asking children to 'decide for Christ' by whatever terms are used. My youngest daughter 'accepted' Christ at least fifteen times before she was eight. She loved the attention and new Bibles and candies she was given each time! She is also the one who, later in life, was kicked out of Bible college for lying, stealing, and cheating...

    I strongly agree with teaching children from the minute they can understand anything ABOUT Jesus and the Bible and all the Bible stories, etc. By the time my kids were preteens we were reading the Bible through cover to cover every two years (it took that long) and discussing it. They knew it well. But each of them still had to do their own wrestling with God in their late teens and early twenties. At least then they knew who God was!

    But kids tend to do things because other kids are doing them, or because there is a reward or attention, or to escape punishment, or maybe just to make mommy or daddy happy. Teens are not far different, bowing to peer pressure and the 'bribes' of good grades and privileges or trying to avoid punishments or consequences. It is not until a person is in the late teens or early twenties that the brain is even fully developed and the neuron disconnects which occurred during the teen years have all been replaced by new, adult connections.

    And this is the time when mom and dad are pushed aside a little or a lot in order for the kid to 'find himself'. It's a time when philosophical and theological questions START to get asked very seriously. It is a time of the first major decision making in a person's life which is NOT a result of peer, parental, or teacher pressure.

    It is because I raised six children and taught hundreds more that I started to recognize these patterns and the material in Exodus struck home from everything I had seen.

    Thinking about it, the only thing I would think about the passage you referred to is that it is presented as a singular incident while the Exodus is considered a picture of leaving sin, dying to self, and entering a new life as a new person. If that picture holds, then there may be something to the age of accountability.

    My faith does not depend on it, but I think the faith of a lot of parents who have lost children might.
     
  12. canadyjd

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    Helen

    The only place in scripture that I can find any hint of what happens to infants/children who die is in 2 Samuel 12:15-21. David's child by Bathsheba, which she concieved while the wife of Uriah the Hittite, became gravely ill and died. Prior to his death, David mourned and fasted and prayed. So much so that the attendents were afraid to tell David the child had died, fearing he might harm himself.

    After the child died, David washed and went to worship. Afterward, he ate. They were astonished at his behavior and asked him about it. David said, (v.22-23) "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.' 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."

    David expects to see his child again, presumably in heaven, since going to the grave/death shouldn't give anyone hope or appease their mourning.

    I don't believe this passage teaches an "age of accountability" for children. I would see it there, however, before I saw it in the Exodus passage, and wouldn't argue with you if you found it there.

    I lost my first born son while he was an infant. Based on this passage, I expect to see him in heaven, however, my faith does not depend on a correct understanding of this passage.

    I am sorry to hear of the troubles your youngest daughter encountered in school. That must have been difficult for all of you.

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  13. Marcia

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    But babies can't be saved by faith because their ability to believe and understand is so limited. They have no way to look at nature and conclude there is a Creator (God holds man accountable for this -- see Rom. 1). Babies cannot refuse to believe like those who can reason.

    So I think the analogy is invalid. Therefore, to believe that a baby can be saved apart from saving faith (and I am not arguing for or against this) is not the same as saying those who have not heard of Christ can be saved when you mean those who are not infants or very young children.

    And since there is no orthodoxy about the age of accountability, one cannot say Lewis is orthodox because of his inclusive views. His view that non-infants can be saved outside of Christ is neo-orthodox, imo.
     
  14. canadyjd

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    If I remember right, Martin Luther was insistent that infants could have saving faith. His argument was that salvation is a work of God from start to finish; all of grace. If God put faith into an infant's heart, whether the infant could express it in a way that we could understand is not relevant. The Spirit groans with our spirit. The infant could, so the argument goes, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, express faith in a way God understands, but we do not.

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  15. TCassidy

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    "Age of accountability" does not equal Neo-Orthodoxy.

    "Age of accountability" equals heterodoxy.
     
  16. APuritanMindset

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    Not to sound cold, but if anyone's faith is dependent on something other than Christ, there is a serious spiritual issue that needs to be dealt with.

    Marcia said,
    Who says they can't have saving faith? We don't think they can because we don't think their brains are developed enough. But, if God is sovereign in the salvation of all people He saves, then the development of the brain is not going to make them without excuse before God. Paul says that "As in Adam all sin" and David says "Indeed, I was guilty when I was born, I was sinful when my mother conceived me". From our birth we are seperated from God, and to believe that we are born good is a position condemned as heresy a long time ago.

    Marcia also said,
    I don't know that this distinction can be made. Scripture doesn't say that saving faith is a conscious decision, that is something that we've come up with fairly recently.

    The last thing Marcia said,
    Thank you for answering my question. I appreciate it. [​IMG]
     
  17. APuritanMindset

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    I honestly tend to agree with this statement.
     
  18. Pipedude

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    Anyone whose doctrine disagrees with mine is, by definition, going "beyond the express teachings of Scripture." But neoorthodox isn't merely a synonym for "wrong." It is a specific term for a specific school of theological thought.
     
  19. Marcia

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    Good point. It brings to mind the account of John the Baptist as a babe in the womb leaping with joy in recognition of the pre-born Christ. Of course, John the Baptist was a prophet and perhaps we should not take this as a norm, but I think you make a good point.
     
  20. Marcia

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    I agree!
     

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