Thursday, January 05, 2006

Age of Accountability?

In his book Safe in the Arms of God, John MacArthur argues that infants, young children and some mentally challenged persons are innocent before God. They do not have the moral ability to distinguish right from wrong. He provides many examples and proof from the Bible to support his premise. He writes:

“In certain church circles, the question is often couches in this way, “what is the age of accountability?” The issue is not truly one of “age” but rather of “condition.” I have baptized young people who have told me that they believe they were saved at age ten, or twelve, or eight. There is no one age at which every person suddenly becomes accountable for knowing the difference between sin and righteousness, judgment and forgiveness, and understanding the gospel. All children are unique in their development and exposure to the truth. There is no one age in the Bible at which all children are declared to be “accountable.” Neither is there one chronological age in a person’s life which a person suddenly and automatically knows right from wrong or is capable of understanding God’s plan for salvation.” (MacArthur, 2003, 36.)

1 comment:

John said...

Interesting. I am still a little amazed that John MacArthur wrote a book on the subject. Here is a question I had with age of accountablity. Its seems like the case is young children do not go to hell because they can not make moral chooses therefore cannot be punished for sin and thus avoid God's punishment for sin. Ok but what about the the doctrine of imputation of sin? The main passage of course being Romans 5:12-21 and especially v.18 showing how all of the human race is condemned in Adam. And since we are imputed with Adam's sin we get judgement. Does MacArthur or you know away to get around the imputation of sin which also brings judgement. Its something I always wondered because I difinately do not want babies or anyone to go to hell but do not see how any of the human race can get around the imputation of Adam's sin without Christ's imputed righteousness.