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Age of Accountability

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by coolhandluke, Aug 10, 2002.

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  1. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke *a princess*

    551
    +9
    Calvinist
    What is the biblical basis for the age of accountability theory? I'm not looking for a debate. This is just something I'm studying right now, and I want to know from people that believe in this, to help me understand why, biblically, they believe this. I also would prefer no "I can't believe the loving God I know would send innocent children to hell..." and those type, emotional, answers. I'm looking for some examples in scripture where it says children go to Heaven.

    As of now, I'm leaning more towards the thought that children of Christian parents go to Heaven if they die, because they are sanctified through their parents faith, and children of non-Christian parents are not sanctified. That's what the verses I've found so far have led me to believe, but I have no clear opinion on it. And I'm not unwilling to believe that God sends babies to hell, because God can do whatever he pleases, but I'm also more than willing to believe in the age of accountability. Basically I'm trying to say that I have no sure opinions as of now on the subject, so I'm pretty open.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    -Katie
     
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  2. pax

    pax Veteran

    +94
    Catholic
    Single
    In Catholicism I know that children are not morally responsible for their actions until they reach the Age of Discretion (which the general consensus says is around 7 years old). I would doubt that God sends anyone to Hell without looking at all sides of a situation. A newborn (or unborn) child can't really be held accountable for their actions, and though they have the stain of original sin, they have no personal sin in them. Basically trust in the mercy of the all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God. He will make a just decision.
     
  3. Job_38

    Job_38 <font size="1"> In perfect orbit they have circled

    +1
    Basically a child is accountable when they are born, because we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. A just decision would result, in my understanding of the Bible yet could be flawed because I am human, the child do be forever in Hell.
     
  4. heydeerman

    heydeerman "Bow Huntin' Fool"

    143
    +0
    I used to believe in an age of accountability and wasnt sure why because I could not find anything in the Bible to support it. I simply believed it because that was taught in the church I first started attending. I now see no basis for this belief and I think it came about as a way to disprove infant baptism. That seems logical but I am not sure. I do know that this "age" is not taught in churches that hold to Covenantal Theology and infant baptism. There is a book I read some time ago that deals with this in one of its chapters. It was "Putting Amazing Back Into Grace" by Micheal Horton. I would recommend getting that book and it might help you out.
     
  5. Nick_Loves_Abba

    Nick_Loves_Abba Bulls On Parade

    +45
    Christian
    People reach accountability when they are mature enough to decide for themselves whether there is a God or not. (Or I could be way off base here). In some cases, such as mental retardation, the age of accountability isn't ever reached.

    Again I could just be way off base.
     
  6. Nick_Loves_Abba

    Nick_Loves_Abba Bulls On Parade

    +45
    Christian
    Not to&nbsp;be rude at all... but I find that just plain sick.&nbsp; :cry:

    I find it extremely hard to believe that God, an ever compassionate and understanding God, could send a newborn to burn forever in a fiery torment despite the fact that he/she was unable to speak or even comprehend anything of that magnitude.&nbsp;
     
  7. heydeerman

    heydeerman "Bow Huntin' Fool"

    143
    +0
    &nbsp;

    Your mistake is assuming the child is sinless until it reaches a certain type of knowledge of sin. The fact is that we are born with the sin nature that we inherit from Adam. A baby is a born sinner. If you have children, there is a good chance the first words spoken by the child were "no". We have to teach our children to do&nbsp;right because they do the wrong naturaly. We think it is cute when a child tells dad no the first few times but the child is acting naturally sinning. You also assume that God has mercy on everybody until the reach this age. Remember the words of Paul..."ALL have sinned and FALL SHORT of the glory of God" this includes everybody no matter what age.

    &nbsp;

    God is just and will judge everyone justly and fairly. We are all born condemned. We all deserve hell for rebellion. Read Romans 5:12-21.
     
  8. Annabel Lee

    Annabel Lee Beware the Thought Police

    +1,100
    Christian
    US-Others
    My children's first words were Mamama, actually.

    Children do not do wrong naturally. They certainly test their environment and their boundries but a child is born innocent.
    And a child who is brought up with love and security usually tries to do the "right" thing. Being a child and still ignorant about the way society works they do fall short. That is to be expected and is a part of learning. Parents are the teachers. It's up to us to teach right from wrong. I think it's a cop out to blame it on the "sinful nature" of the child.
     
  9. pax

    pax Veteran

    +94
    Catholic
    Single
    &nbsp;

    Actually I think you are taking that text out of context.&nbsp; In this letter Paul is basically telling the Jews that they are not superior to the Gentiles.&nbsp; In Romans 3:10 we see

    To say that "All have sinned" and say it so that it is all-encompassing for everyone that ever lived, Jesus himself would be included and, obviously, he never sinned.&nbsp; Paul is saying that none of them, neither Jew nor Gentile are free from sin so the Jews should not think that they are superior.&nbsp; Don't forget, Jesus said "Let the Children come to me."&nbsp;

    Yes, unbaptised children do not yet posess sanctifying grace in their souls, but God can do anything.&nbsp; The depravation of original holiness from Adam is not a sin that the person has committed, rather one contracted whose effects cause death and suffering.&nbsp; I do not believe a child before being able to make use of reason is able to know God's law well enough to&nbsp;be held accountable for their transgressions.&nbsp; IMHO a just sentence could not be rendered in this situation because it is almost impossible for an infant or an unborn child to really have a sense of right and wrong.

    I am no Biblical scholar, and I don't think I articulated this as clearly as I meant to and am not sure how to fix it, but I think you get my gist.

    Pax
     
  10. heydeerman

    heydeerman "Bow Huntin' Fool"

    143
    +0
    Annabel Lee,

    are you aware of the doctrine of Total Depravity? It states that man is totally lost in every way. He is at war with God in totall rebellion against Him. Man in himself can do nothing to please God. he is lost physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Children are born into this war and rebellion. My thoughts are that God will save infants because of His mercy but the fact must be stressed that God is just and He saves who He will.I hope I did not offend other parents out there.
     
  11. supermagdalena

    supermagdalena The Shrubs and the Flan.

    +25
    Non-Denom
    So...let me get this straight.&nbsp; A two-year-old dies of some random illness, or even a 7 month old.&nbsp; They go to Hell?

    I second that opinion.&nbsp; That's sick.&nbsp; At a point when a child isn't even capable of making a decision for Christ, they won't be burning in Hell because they couldn't talk yet.
     
  12. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    Well... The Catholic Church is pretty big on Covenant Theology (Scott Hahn is currently the most prolific teacher on it in the Church) and infant Baptism, and it holds the age of accountability as being true.

    It does not, however, declare one way or the other whether children who die before they are Baptized go to Hell. Granted children are born into sin, but Original Sin is different than personal sin. It teaches its followers to pray for those who have died and recommends that we all trust in the Mercy of God in these instances.

    I feel God will save infants. I will have my children Baptized because I am not certain, but I feel that through my faith, my child will be accounted a member of the Body of Christ until such a time that he/she accepts the Faith on his/her own. Let's all say a prayer for those children born today, that they grow strong in the faith of Jesus Christ.

    God Bless,

    Neal
     
  13. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke *a princess*

    551
    +9
    Calvinist
    So...does anyone have any real biblical backing? All I seem to be getting so far is emotional responses. Please refrain from making comments unless you have some biblical evidence to support your opinion. Comments claiming it's sick to think otherwise, is not helping anyone to come to a better understanding, and I would disagree with you there, anyway. I'm not trying to be rude, but this is not what I'm looking for. I didn't want a debate, just some passages that show the biblical basis for the age of accountability. Thanks.

    -katie
     
  14. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    Was Paul alive here before his knowledge of the Law caused his spiritual death? I believe he was. Before he knew what sin was, through the Law, he wasn't held accountable. When he knew what sin was, he was then accountable.

    God Bless,

    Neal
     
  15. Caedmon

    Caedmon kawaii Supporter

    +538
    Catholic
    US-Others
    For churches that believe in OSAS to have an "age of accountability" is totally indoctrinal. An "age of accountability" implies that a baby is saved from birth, and at a certain age loses his salvation, and then gains it back when he is regenerated.

    As far as whether or not babies go to Heaven is concerned, that is the Sovereign decision of God. It is my belief that the Elect are predestined for Heaven, and the Reprobate are predestined for Hell, regardless of age, action, etc. Personally, I am inclined to believe that babies go to Heaven, but it is up to God.
     
  16. Job_38

    Job_38 <font size="1"> In perfect orbit they have circled

    +1
    Notice that I said I may be wrong. Why is it sick for a baby to go to Hell? If they do, are you calling God wrong?
     
  17. supermagdalena

    supermagdalena The Shrubs and the Flan.

    +25
    Non-Denom
    If there's Biblical evidence I'll buy it.&nbsp; Have any?
     
  18. Job_38

    Job_38 <font size="1"> In perfect orbit they have circled

    +1
    Sigh, if my post was only read and not skimmed. Becasue I said I could be wrong and my standing comes from Romans, where we are said to sin apart from the law, and that none are righteous. To say it is taken out of context is just rediculous, because it still has the same meaning.
     
  19. supermagdalena

    supermagdalena The Shrubs and the Flan.

    +25
    Non-Denom
    Just asking to see if you had any.&nbsp; It was worth a try, I'm curious as to what the Bible says on the subject.
     
  20. Job_38

    Job_38 <font size="1"> In perfect orbit they have circled

    +1
    From what I have found(remember, I have only begun the study, so I am subject to being wrong) is that we are considered sinner before we know it. Are we to think that the people in the Amazons who never hear the law are not accountable?
     
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