Posts Tagged "Age of Accountability"

The Age of Accountability (Children’s Ministry Think Tank)

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The latest Children’s Ministry Think Tank was just published over at Ministry-to-Children.com. I contributed my thoughts to the question again this installment along with several others involved in Children’s Ministry.

The question for this installment was:

“What do you teach about concerning a child’s condition (sometimes called age) of accountability for responding to the Gospel? How would you counsel a parent who is concerned about a preschool aged child who seems disinterested in learning about Jesus? If you had to estimate (and you do), what is the chronological age that most children become fully accountable for their decision about Christ?”

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Of Such Is The Kingdom of Heaven (Synopsis of Come Ye' Children – Chapter 5)

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In this chapter, Spurgeon tackles three of the most often asked questions when it comes to children and the kingdom of God.  They are:

  1. When Jesus says of children that the kingdom “belongs to such as these,” what does he mean?
  2. At what age can a child be saved?
  3. Do babies who die go to heaven?

That’s not a bad lineup of questions for one short chapter, so let’s get started!

1. When Jesus says of children that the kingdom “belongs to such as these,” what does he mean?

In Luke 18:16, Jesus says:

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” [Luke 18:16]

Some argue that Jesus is speaking figuratively in these verses and is in essence saying, “in order for adults to be saved, they must have faith like a child.”  He may indeed be implying that with this statement, but the clear and simple reading of the text is that there are children in the kingdom of heaven.  Indeed, not only are they there, but “to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  Spurgeon explains:

“There are children in all kingdoms, and there are children in Christ’s kingdom; and I am not certain that John Newton was not right when he said that the majority of persons who are now in the kingdom of God are children. When I think of all the multitudes of babes that have died, who are now swarming in the streets of heaven, it does seem to me to be a blessed thought that albeit generation after generation of adults have passed away in unbelief and rebellion, yet enormous multitudes of children have gone streaming up to heaven…They give tone and character to the kingdom; it is rather a kingdom of children than of men.”

In the following verse, Jesus explains that we gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven simply by receiving it.  It is by no work of our own:

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” [Luke 18:17]

Spurgeon further explains:

“Now, if this entrance into the kingdom depended upon something to be fetched out of the human mind by study and deep thought, then very few children could ever enter it; but it depends upon something to be received, and therefore children may enter.”

Indeed if entrance into the kingdom of heaven required human intellect or deep thought, very few children and very few adults would be qualified to enter.  Rather, entering the kingdom of God is based simply on receiving the free gift of Christ’s death on the cross.

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