Archive for April, 2015

Age of accountability?

Have you ever pondered why it is that in (what I term loosely) civilized countries, human beings under the age of 18 or 21 are considered juveniles? And, that juveniles are usually treated much more mercifully for crimes committed before they reach maturity? I find it remarkable that so much of what we take for granted in the normal order of things is actually based on the Bible.

For instance, every nation on earth marks time by 24 hour days, 7 day weeks, and 12 month years. These all have their beginning in Genesis, chapter 1. The age of accountability also seems to be indicated as being less than 20 years of age, based on God’s own consideration of those under twenty not being condemned to die in the wilderness because of unbelief (Numbers 14:29).

A recent article in the Washington Post made me think about this. This article reports on a book that was written by Frances Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt about how the teenage brain is NOT completely developed, contrary to earlier theories. One of the more significant things they discovered is that teenage brains are much more easily damaged and addicted by exposure to drugs and specifically marijuana. In fact, the marijuana effect is that it stunts brain development and causes what appear to be lifelong learning abilities.

This makes me question the idea of kids under the age of 13 being able to actually comprehend the gospel sufficiently to make a lifelong commitment to living as a Christian. I know quite a few people who claim to either have become a Christ follower at a single digit age or (incredibly) say they have “always been a Christian”.

Thoughts?

Okay, it’s been a while…

I have been remiss in writing any posts here for quite some time, but I’m thinking it’s time to tackle some things I’ve been thinking about since I quit posting. Mind you, I do not know it all, nor do I consider myself the epitome of a Christ follower. But, it bothers me (perhaps too much) that people claiming to be Christians believe things the bible absolutely does not support.

Since I last posted, I have parted ways with the theology of the churches of Christ as regards their human ideals about forbidding music in worship, making communion mandatory each Sunday, and declaring a person unsaved prior to baptism. I have not changed my mind about the necessity for any believer to obey the commandment to be baptized and that it involves immersion. What I disagree with is the emphasis on baptism being the exact moment a person is forgiven of their sins and born again.

I used to emphasize the words of Jesus in John 3, when He told Nicodemus that “unless a man is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven”. However, I noticed recently that Jesus reiterates the emphasis is on the Spirit and not the water in the next few verses. Especially, Jesus declares, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

If the water part truly refers to baptism, and baptism to being born again, why doesn’t Christ reiterate that in verse 8?

I like Spurgeon’s answer the best to the question of “Should I be baptized?” He simply said, “You mean creature! So you will do nothing that Christ commands, if you can be saved without doing it? You are hardly worth saving at all!” The point is that baptism must follow conversion or the conversion is false.

Note, too, that while Jesus was forgiving sins of people He met and interacted with during His sojourn on earth, not once do we have a record of Him directing that person to be baptized. And we know that His disciples were baptizing, at least at the beginning of His ministry. I’m not saying this excludes the possibility it occurred, but I do find it strange that after His conversation with Nicodemus this was not emphasized at any of the recorded conversions of people who came to Jesus and were pronounced clean, forgiven, etc.

A good reason for my re-examination of this is the work being done (from afar) to convert Muslims to Christianity, yet requiring these Muslims be baptized and no one can be found in that part of the world willing to perform this sacrament. Very troubling for me.

I’d like to know if anyone else has thoughts on this who felt baptism was essentially when a person was truly “born again”.