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Age of Accountability?

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Is it right to witness to young kids? I think so. Christians believe in an “age of accountability.” This is supposed to be some God-determined age where God holds people responsible for their sins. My question: Where is this in Scripture? If it can’t be conclusively determined that there is a specified age, should we not tell everyone, regardless of how young that they will also be held accountable for the things done while in the body (using discretion and age-appropiate language, of-course)? My daughter D.D. is really starting to understand Christ’s suffering on the cross in a new way after watching the end of the DVD, “The Gospel of John.” She said that she doesn’t want to go to Hell and we explained to her about sin, repentance, righteous and Judgment—and she’s only seven-years-old. Though she asked Jesus to forgive her at age three, we aren’t taking any chances; we will continue to bring up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord.

What do you think? Read the post below to get fired up about the urgency of spreading the gospel to all ages.

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  1. Simple answer YES. Although because of passages that talk about Jesus’ relationship to small children there may be an age of accountability. The problem is I do not think you can pin it down. I think it is a personal thing when a child understands the message and responds. Therefore I think children need to hear the Gospel starting at a very young age.

  2. How cute! A three year old asking Jesus to forgive her. 🙂 thats darling. I adore how little kids respond to Jesus.

  3. Adults can be held accountable for their sinful actions only after they have come to the cross via the law or in other words, they have come to the point of recognizing their sin, repented and accepted Christ as their saviour. They come to have an understanding that children do not (and often times can not fathom), which is why many churches set “age limits” as far as baptizing children. Children are accountable to their earthly parents in that they should honour their parents with obedience. If they honour their parents, they honour God. If they do not, they experience God’s correction thru the parents over and over and over again. Yes, children should be taught the gospel from day one: but they can not really be held accountable the same way an adult is until they understand what it means to come to the cross via the law, repent of sin and be baptized as were their parents – and make a total committment to following Christ. Until that day comes, they can and should seek Jesus and he will cleanse and prepare their heart for the day of baptism. There are many people who have never been baptized, but who continue to seek Jesus in their lives for answers. They fail to be fully cognizant of their own sinfulness, the need for repentance and baptism. If a 6 year old were to come to me and explain to me about the law, sin, repentance, committment to following Christ, how he died for our sins etc and personalize it all … I would probably baptize the child. I would recognize that the Spirit gave the child understanding. Each is an individual case.

  4. Linda,

    That is a very key point. Even though the Bible does NOT specify a certain age of accountability, it does deal with the issue of “understanding”…

    In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13/Luke 8), Jesus tells us about the seed that is sown in four different types of soil…

    The first is the hard ground, and when Jesus explains the parable he says that the seed is ‘snatched away by the devil, because the hearer does not understand…”

    There must be a full comprehension of the gospel before their is a proper response to it…

    Otherwise it will end up like the next to seeds as well (no root-no fruit/ choked out by weeds)…

  5. Just keep telling the kids, I say!

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