• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Age of Accountability

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Iffy

    Iffy Member

    206
    +1
    Protestant
    Hi coolhand luke, there is scriptural support regarding salvation of say people who have never heard the gospel...eg those ethnic groups living in africa who never heard of Jesus. scripture says God will judge accordingly. God will be fair. God will judge according to the that group's own moral law or something like that. ( i have to check)

    So, there are verses indicating that God is just....and judges according to whether that person has heard of God. Not just in a blanket way..where all who never accept Jesus are condemned to hell.

    Likewise we can apply these to kids. Have they heard of Jesus? Are they able to understand? Each child is individual. All people are individuals. God will judge 'accordingly'.

    Will look for those verses later.
     
  2. Caedmon

    Caedmon kawaii Supporter

    +538
    Catholic
    US-Others
  3. Iffy

    Iffy Member

    206
    +1
    Protestant
    coolhand luke, book of Romans is good to read to understand about God's plan of salvation. hmm i don't see my earlier post. maybe this thing refreshes later.

    Anyways i said earlier that God judges accordingly. Romans aided in my understanding when I read half of it two months ago.

    Romans 5
    12Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned - 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world.
    But sin is not taken into account when there is no law
    14 Nevertheless death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses
    even over those who did not sin by breaking a command as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

    Where there is no law, no knowledge of God's law, and no knowledge of God's grace, there can be no 'sin' (as in the way God judges), but death still reigns because sin has entered the world.

    So, for people before Moses, God judges differently..
    eg Abraham..
    Romans 4
    13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world but through the righteousness that comes by faith
    14For if those who live by the law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath (iffy:judgment).
    And where there is no law there is no transgression

    Abraham was credited as 'righteous' (saved) because of his faith.

    After Moses, they were judged according to the law.

    So we have ppl who have never heard of God, ..there is no 'law' for them and hence 'no sin'..but there is sin in the sense that sin has entered the world and we are all born into sin. But 'sin' in terms of God judging...it depends on whether that person has heard of God, His way of living and His offer of grace. If not, God judges accordingly.

    I'll have to find that more specific verse which would apply to ethnic grps in Africa who die without ever hearing about Jesus.

    But do you see the relevance with kids?

    If they do not know about God, God will judge them differently. And it is not for us to comment because ONLY God knows. But we must have faith that our God is a JUST God. Amen?
     
  4. Iffy

    Iffy Member

    206
    +1
    Protestant
    just in case my post was too rambly, my point is..

    God judges differently for some 'special' groups of people.

    And children is one of them.
     
  5. Job_38

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

    +1
    Thanks, because I was basically at a point of not knowing, so I went with what I knew. Humility, hard to learn.
     
  6. supermagdalena

    supermagdalena The Shrubs and the Flan.

    +25
    Non-Denom
    Thanks for the scripture Iffy.
     
  7. Slave2SinNoMore

    Slave2SinNoMore Active Member

    477
    +15
    Christian
    Yes, iffy, excellent post!

    Also, let's not forget the words of Jesus to teh pharisees in John 9:39-41:

    Then Jesus told him, “I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind
    The Pharisees who were standing there heard him and asked, “Are you saying we are blind?”
    “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty ,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see .

    Babies and children up to an age that differs for each individual are blind to the truth, so they are not guilty.
     
  8. PNJai

    PNJai New Member

    40
    +1
    Christian
    Married
    I always though it was 13....but it would make sense in my opinion that that age would be different depending on the child (whatever age they were when they made a conscious choice to accept or reject Christ)...u'd be suprised how many small children are proud atheists and things of that nature....
     
  9. Sophia7

    Sophia7 Tall73's Wife Supporter

    +373
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Romans 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
     
  10. CaDan

    CaDan I remember orange CF Supporter

    +2,623
    Christian
    Married
    [size=+2]RUN![/size]

    It's a zombie thread! It hungers for brains!​
     
  11. Tonks

    Tonks No longer here Supporter

    +665
    Eastern Orthodox
    US-Libertarian
    Clearly, Romans implies understanding. Further, a substantial case can be made that the "all have sinned" bit is speaking of Original Sin, not actual sin (which are two entirely different things).

    The bit in the beginning about children being sanctified through the faith of their parents is patently ridiculous.
     
  12. BigNorsk

    BigNorsk Contributor

    +754
    Lutheran
    Married
    There is one place that the Bible talks about an age of accountability, it is in reference to the nation of Israel when they were in the wilderness.
    Numbers 14:28-33 NET.
    (28)
    Say to them, 'As I live, says the LORD, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing.
    (29) Your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness — all those of you who were numbered, according to your full number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me.
    (30) You will by no means enter into the land where I swore to settle you. The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
    (31) But I will bring in your little ones, whom you said would become victims of war, and they will enjoy the land that you have despised.
    (32) But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness,
    (33) and your children will wander in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your dead bodies lie finished in the wilderness.
    Also referred to in this passage.
    Deuteronomy 1:38-39 NET.
    (38)
    However, Joshua son of Nun, your assistant, will go. Encourage him, because he will enable Israel to inherit the land.
    (39) Also, your infants, who you thought would die on the way, and your children, who as yet do not know good from bad, will go there; I will give them the land and they will possess it.
    That as far as I know is the only place an exact age of accountability is taught in the Bible. We know exactly what age it was, 20. The Anabaptists follow that concept pretty closely with their customs of baptism and becoming an adult and a member of the church at about that age.

    There are those who believe the Bible teaches the salvation of children of believers and not of unbelievers. That is largely based on this passage.

    1 Corinthians 7:14 NET.
    (14)
    For the unbelieving husband is sanctified because of the wife, and the unbelieving wife because of her husband. Otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
    I can sure see the interpretation and it could be correct. Notice the children would be unclean but the believing spouse makes them holy. The conjecture that that means they will be saved is certainly a possible interpretation, and if that isn't the proper interpretation we are left with the question what difference is there? But is certainly isn't something strongly and clearly taught.

    Then we run into the "normal" age of accountability doctrine.

    It's basis is that it is impossible for a small child or an infant to believe; therefore, it would be unjust for God to condemn such a person.

    Well first of all, let me agree that God is not unjust, I hope we don't need to go through a whole study on that, it is actually the area where everyone seems to agree.

    Since they start with the idea that someone so young can't believe, a doctrine needed to be manufactured to fit in with a theology that salvation depends on the person being capable of making a decision to accept Christ. They need the doctrine to make things kind of work because I think everyone agrees that God doesn't condemn all infants. The bible teaches that those who believe will be saved but the age of accountability doctrine teaches those who don't believe because they can't will be saved. That just seems very contrary to scripture to me, even if it's conclusion, that all infants are saved, might be correct.

    First of all, I can't find the idea anywhere in scripture that God makes someone with a mind that is unable to receive him. I can't find any place that says infants or mentally retarded people cannot have faith in God. What we do see is that infants can indeed believe.

    For instance, we have John the Baptist who believed before he was even born. He had already received the Holy Spirit.
    Luke 1:15 NET.
    (15)
    for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.
    Luke 1:43-44 NET.
    (43)
    And who am I that the mother of my Lord should come and visit me?
    (44) For the instant the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
    Clearly John recognized Jesus, that is believed in God, before his birth.

    We also have the very words of our Lord.

    Matthew 18:1-6 NET.
    (1)
    At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
    (2) He called a child, had him stand among them,
    (3) and said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!
    (4) Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    (5) And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me.
    (6) "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea.
    There are a couple of things important to the issue in that passage. First of all Jesus says that little ones believe in him, unlike those who teach that little ones cannot believe. And we can argue a little about the age of the child but the word translated child is used in another place where we know an exact age of the child.

    Luke 1:59 NET.
    (59)
    On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father.
    You see the same term used for an eight day old. So we see that it is of children of age much lower than many teach can and do believe in God.

    Now some may object saying that since the children haven't heard the message and can't comphrehend it that is impossible. Well, God wrote the Bible for us who can and do comphrehend it. I don't see that he necessarily wrote it directly for infants. He clearly has other ways of revealing himself when he so chooses. We do know this:

    Luke 12:48 NET.
    (48)
    But the one who did not know his master's will and did things worthy of punishment will receive a light beating. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.

    Now if we go back and go on a little further in Matthew, the strongest verse I know of for all infants being saved occurs.

    Matthew 18:12-14 NET.
    (12)
    What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray?
    (13) And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.
    (14) In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.

    Does it absolutely mean all infants are saved? I don't know, we know that there are passages in the Bible that says Jesus died for the sins of the world and that it is God's will that everyone be saved, yet we don't generally interpret that as universal salvation for all so I'm not so sure that we should just accept this as teaching all infants are saved.

    So, in conclusion, I see there a few positions that can be supported from scripture.

    First, God will do what is right. That's the real foundational truth, and I don't see that as open to debate.

    Secondly, that infants can be and are saved. Again this is pretty universally agreed upon.

    It is possible to support and believe that children of believers are saved and children of unbelievers are not. This fits pretty well within covenantal teachings. Which goes beyond the space and time I want to devote. I would refer you to Calvin's position on infant baptism which lays it out pretty clearly in his "Institutes" which you cand find and read online.

    It is also possible to support universal salvation for children. It is based on that it is God's will that none be lost, but is open on debate whether that is God's absolute will or if it is referring to his will in a lesser degree.

    But that neither position is strongly taught.

    The ideas that children cannot believe and that those who don't believe or can't believe are saved, both seem to me to be in direct conflict with scripture.

    In the end I believe that those children who believe are saved and those who don't aren't. I don't think God is limited to revealing himself to an infant in the same way he normally reveals himself to those of us who are older.

    We tend to think pretty highly of ourselves as adults, but God doesn't tell us that children have to become like adults in order to be saved, he tells us that adults need to become like children, as we already saw in Matthew.

    Hope that helps.

    Marv
     
  13. Sophia7

    Sophia7 Tall73's Wife Supporter

    +373
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Romans makes it clear that sinful acts are conscious transgression against God's law and that those who do not understand the law are judged by what they do understand. At the same time, no one has an excuse to be completely ignorant about God (Romans 1:18-20).

    All of us (except for Jesus) are born with a sinful nature, but we do not immediately commit sin at birth. How could a newborn baby make a deliberate decision to do wrong? There has to be some age or stage of development at which a child is capable of determining right from wrong.

    I have three young children who know that Jesus died on the cross, but they are not old enough to really understand what that means. I do think they are capable of loving God inasmuch as they understand that concept. They sing songs like "Jesus Loves Me," and they love to pray, but are they saved in the same way that an adult who accepts Jesus is? They are incapable of understanding fully what being a Christian means. They sometimes do things that are wrong, and they understand that certain things are wrong although their sense of morality is limited. Still, I believe that as long as their hearts are being guided in the right direction, they will continue to grow in the grace of God until they can make more informed decisions and fully accept Jesus as their Savior. I believe that if they died now, they would be judged on what they understand of God, not on what they haven't had an opportunity to learn yet.

    On the other hand, what about God's destruction of everyone except for Noah and his family in the flood? The Bible says that the Lord was grieved that he had made man because "every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" (Genesis 6:5). Are we to think that there were no babies killed in the flood? Didn't God judge the innocent children along with the evil adults because He knew that they had no chance to grow up without becoming just like their parents? And what about the babies of Sodom and Gomorrah? Did God destroy them because there was no hope for them or because they were sinful, too?
     
  14. BBAS 64

    BBAS 64 Contributor Supporter

    +740
    Christian
    Married
    Good day, Marv

    That post is well done!!

    Peace to u,

    Bill
     
  15. CaliforniaJosiah

    CaliforniaJosiah Well-Known Member Supporter

    +1,226
    Lutheran
    Private
    US-Republican

    Could you explain?

    I don't see that this passage has anything whatsoever to do with the concept of "Age of Accountability." Perhaps I'm missing your point...

    If I'm not mistaken, the concept of "Age of Accountability" says that prior to a certain chronological age (there's considerable debate on what that age is), God does not count a persons sin or rejection against them. Some who buy this concept teach that they are "saved" by virtue of their parent's faith.

    What I've seen in this thread is a lot of "I trust the grace of God in that matter" which I suppose is what most of us do, but the question of the thread is for the biblical support for the concept.


    I pretty much agree with the point Marv raises above.
    I furthermore believe that sin is more a disease or state or condition - that eventually has symptoms (sins of comission and omission) but the symptoms are just that - it's the disease that's the problem. I also believe that faith (trust, reliance) is a function of the heart (not head) and a gift of God (not intellect) and so I have no problem with children believing - as the Bible seems to indicate they can and often do.


    Anyway, I suspect the supporters of this concept of an "Age of Accountability" must have some Scriptures to support the teaching, and while I recall some being offered in previous discussions, I can't remember what they are.


    Blessings!


    - Josiah


    .
     
  16. Tonks

    Tonks No longer here Supporter

    +665
    Eastern Orthodox
    US-Libertarian
    You need to read the passages around that bit from 1 Cor.

    As the apostle responds to questions from various members of the church at Corinth the question of marriage between a believer and unbeliever arises. Sanctification, in this sense, means to be "set apart" as in - away from the total and extreme godlessness of the world. If such santifying action imputed some sort of salvific action Paul would not continually make the distinction between the believer and the unbeliever. The union holds spiritual influence on the possiblity of actual conversion. Belief such as the "passing on of grace" or other salvific properties would be somewhat contradictory to the rest of the Bible when it speaks of one's personal obligations and obedience.
     
  17. BBAS 64

    BBAS 64 Contributor Supporter

    +740
    Christian
    Married
    Good Day, Katie

    There are none that I am aware of :(

    Sorry I could not be of more help...

    Peace to u,

    Bill
     
  18. Tonks

    Tonks No longer here Supporter

    +665
    Eastern Orthodox
    US-Libertarian
    I guess it all comes down to what capacities / faculties are required in order to actually sin.
     
  19. BBAS 64

    BBAS 64 Contributor Supporter

    +740
    Christian
    Married
    Good day, Tonks

    That "could" be, but for the sake of the OP it is secondary in nature. That would make a good thread in and of it's self.

    Peace to u,

    Bill
     
  20. BigNorsk

    BigNorsk Contributor

    +754
    Lutheran
    Married
    To lay out the whole convenantal position is a bit beyond what I'm going to do here. That is why I referred people to Calvin's "Institutes" for a good explanation of that position. It is Book 4 Chapter 16, his defense of infant baptism. If you don't have a copy, it is available online in many places, HERE is one.

    Not everyone is going to agree with the covenantal position, but he also covers the fact that infants can and do believe, and so on. Though speaking directly to baptism, the entire chapter directly speaks to the question put forth here.

    Marv
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...