Age of accountability? A question

Many feel comfort in holding to an age of accountability in that they believe any child below that age is totally free from God’s wrath due to their innocence. Usually it’s brought up against those mean ole Calvinists because many say that if a child dies it is God’s electing grace that saves the child not because of any “innocence” of the child. None are innocent. Then usually a strawman is built and the anti-Calvinist says that we say child who die go to hell. However, if these anti-Calvinists would ever actually listen maybe they would stop this nonsense.

So my question is one that makes sense given to ask those who build the above strawman and try to escape using the “age of accountability” argument. If one believes in a particular age of accountability which, for example is age 8, then once the child reaches age 9 and still has not become a Christian is that 9 year old automatically doomed for hell?


Let's connect!

tagged as in Christianity,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tim Challies January 22, 2005 at 7:39 pm

I haven’t found any satisfactory answer to this question. Even Calvinists are divided on the question. It seems most prominent Calvinists, even of days past, believe that all who die in infancy are saved.

John MacArthur covers the topic in Safe in the Arms of God, which I’ve reviewed here.

I wrote an article on this and the ensuing discussion was far more beneficial than the article itself. You can read it here.

The bottom line to me is that it doesn’t really matter. Parents who take refuge in the notion that their children are with God may be taking refuge in the wrong thing. Regardless of what we believe on this issue, our comfort should be that God is in control, that He knew it was going to happen, and that somehow it all will work for the good. Our comfort should be in His sovereignty.

But to be honest, if one of my children were to die, I have little doubt that I would believe them to be in heaven, despite myself.

2 Gayla February 19, 2005 at 3:30 pm

Isn’t the only answer really, “we don’t know?” This “age of accountability” notion is simply made up theology so that we can “feel better” about God. It’s certainly not biblically based.

Tim, you’re right in that we should rest in God’s complete sovereignty over all things.

What parent doesn’t want to believe their child would be in heaven if they died? None, I’d say. But ultimately, we are in God’s plan and purposes, not the other way around.


Previous post:

Next post: