The other day, I was having a discussion with another Christian on how we are saved. He being Southern Baptist and I Lutheran, we had a bit of disagreement. Nothing heated, but he did bring out a list of things he believes, one of such being we are not born into salvation. Now, I wasn’t quite sure where that one came from as I am not sure of any denomination that believes we are born saved, but it did get my gears turning and brought me to realization about another doctrine Southern Baptists and other denominations hold. Age of Accountability.
The Age of Accountability is a self defeating doctrine because it’s very nature denies other doctrines. Let’s just ignore the fact that there is nothing Biblical about it whatsoever and examine the whopping contradiction that it is.
The Age of Accountability right off the bat automatically claims you are born into salvation for if you cannot go to Hell until age fourteen (or whatever age your denomination holds to), then you are by default saved. If children get a pass, they are literally born into salvation. In a strange and funny way, this turns Jesus into the parent who kicks their child out of the house when they become an adult. What’s the difference between , “Alright son, you’re an adult now. It’s time you got a job and found your own place to live” and “Alright my child, you’re old enough now to decide for yourself. If you want my continued protection, you’ve got to make a choice.” This, in turn, leads to the next two contradictions.
For one thing, it directly denies (for at least a few years, anyhow) the decision theology these denominations so cling to. You have to choose to follow Jesus? Not if you’re eight. Jesus has brought you into salvation by nothing that you do. In a strange and twisted way, this is actually closer to the Gospel than what they believe the adults have to go through because at least with the child, there is nothing that they can do to be saved. It rests entirely on Jesus. Until you’re old enough that is, then you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. But at least for a brief time, it’s not about you; it’s about Jesus for you.
And finally, it denies their false doctrine of once saved always saved, because if children get a pass until they’re old enough to make a decision, than that means not only can they lose their salvation, but there’s a clear cut off date that it’s getting taken away unless they do something before it’s too late. If they miss the deadline, well, sucks to be them. They’re going to have to try harder to get back into God’s good graces. Thankfully, once they pass the arbitrary I Chose Jesus test, they’re set for life. I think they should really start calling it Once Saved Again, Always Saved. It’s much more honest that way. I don’t think they realize it, but the whole once saved (again) always saved doctrine is like a free pass to go all heretical. Age of Accountability technically gives children a free pass to be as heretical as they like for a limited time only.
In reality, there is no Gospel in the Age of Accountability. For the children, it gives them a false sense of security. As they get older, towards that age in which they shall be held accountable, it can potentially give them an unwarranted sense of anxiety. And then, beyond that, once they’re saved again, either a sense of self-righteousness or constant worry of if they’re good enough. The fact of the matter is, Jesus died for you sins on the cross and you are called to believe his promise that he will rescue you from sin, death, and the devil. How are you called to believe? Through faith and faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of God. You don’t make a decision. You don’t invite Jesus into your heart. You don’t do anything except for hear the Word and believe.
If you can think of any other ways the Age of Accountability is self-defeating, I’d love to hear it in the comments below. There may be more, but these were the three examples that I could immediately think of.