Age of Accountability

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven... Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:10, 14

We know our God is a God of love, and we should also know that he will not punish someone unjustly. He is not in the tormenting business, but in the salvation business. If a child does not know they sin, then how can God hold them accountable?
-- Thomas Herrin

Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it and they shall possess it.
Deuteronomy 1:39

According to Jewish law, age 12 has always been the age of accountability. Ages 12 and 13 are the Jewish and Christian benchmark for knowing right from wrong but it truly varies from child to child. I was born again and accepted Jesus as Lord, Savior, and Messiah at age 9.

Some believe age 20 is the accountable age due to determinants like:
1. Everyone in the wilderness wandering with Moses ages 20 and above died over time. (Numbers 14:29, 32:11)
2. Levites began training to be priests at age 20. (1Chronicles 23:24-27; Ezra 3:8)
3. Military service began at age 20. (Numbers 1:3, 18)
4. Israelites were counted in a census if they were 20 and above. (Exodus 30:14; Leviticus 27:3)

It’s been the teaching of most Christians especially since the Protestant Reformation that there is an age of accountability. I think it depends on the individual child instead of a set age.

When people brought children to Jesus, He declared, "The kingdom of heaven belongs to these."
Matthew 19:14

Paul said:
Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. Romans 7:9
This would indicate that Paul was not held accountable for sin until he was of age or aware of the law. Thus, God suspends the penalties of sin until the person becomes aware of right and wrong.

“Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25) -- Abraham

Interestingly, I have found that only the Catholic and Calvinistic Christians reject The Age of Accountability doctrine.

Works Cited:
Thomas Herrin

--Jeremy Brown 2004

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