Age of Accountability


Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.

At what point are we accountable for sin? We all know that children sin, But Jesus said we must become as a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven. The innocence and trust in a child’s heart is an extremely powerful thing and actually forms the man or woman that they become. Yes, they sin, but God does not impute their sin to them as a child.

One day they will walk out from under that umbrella of innocence and at that time they become guilty of every sin they have ever committed. Most Christian theologians understand this and yet grapple with an age of accountability. Some say 12 others claim it’s 18.

I can prove to you without a doubt that when God drew the age of accountability, He did so at 20. He called those under the age of 20 children. He judged their parents and those over the age of 20 for their rebellion in the wilderness. He said your bones will bleach out here, but your children Will enter the promised land. In the law, no one under 20 was selected to go to war. Most denominations understood this and held it as sound theology until this generation. Even our government accepted this as the norm, 21 being the age of adulthood until they began to take our sons off to war at 18 years of age.

Back in the day, one could not enter into a legal agreement until the age of 21, you could not drink alcohol until the age of 21, you still can’t buy cigarettes in Michigan unless you’re 21. Our laws were formed around the teachings of that holy book and everyone knew and understood the age of accountability was 20.

In today’s pressure to have perfect children, perfect youth groups, and mature functioning teenagers, we are damaging our youth beyond measure with unrealistic expectations and demands. Christ is the only sinless one, yet we demand performance-based children that got it going on! We put far too much stock in a set of rules and far too little in God’s grace and mercy working in their lives.

I’m not opening some chest of twisted grace that assumes mercy or covers sin, I’m just saying they are going to fail, going to sin, going to fall…. they would be better served if we show them how to get back up and start over. God does not send children to an eternal hell, especially his children.

I have seen legalism and religious tradition destroy a young person faster than meth and pornography ever could. I have seen people demand my children to be perfect just because they are pastor’s kids; you know not what spirit you are of! Jesus said if you offend one of these children, it would be better for a millstone to be tied to your neck and cast into the sea.

Somewhere you better teach that child about relationship versus performance-based religiosity. Cause if you don’t, when they fall they won’t get back up. I have seven children and by the grace of God, they are all living for Jesus, all active in ministry. (Doctors told us we wouldn’t have any children….God said “watch this” ) Marriage, Family, and children are my area of expertise. Let the haters hate… I’m right on this.

Barna research published a study showing 80% of Christian youth leaving the Faith by college graduation. Desiring 100% of my children in heaven with me, I decided to withdraw from the public arena and raise my kids! I left jobs, friends, relatives, denominations, and anything else that got in my way. We chose to home educate them. We tossed the television out the door. I was the watchman on the wall and the gatekeeper of my home. We dressed in gender-specific clothing, dresses for the girls, and pants for the boys. We adhered to biblical teaching of long uncut hair for the females and short hair for the men. (We didn’t see the day coming where such teaching would reprove a generation that considers gender a choice and doesn’t know which bathroom to use.) Jesus Christ was the center of our home. I have never been sorry. I would do it twice over if necessary.

If you’re in a church that has it locked down so tight that kids can’t breathe, my advice is to run. Get out now before you lose your children. Look long and hard at the pastor’s family, if he lost his kids he will drive yours off also. If he is gracious and merciful to his, that’s how he will treat yours. I have seen too many train wrecks to be silent any longer. I want that full period of time with my kids to train them up and ensure they get a great start, and I’m willing to walk away from anything or anybody that tells me different.

I wish you well in your journey of parenting. When you are wrong, apologize to the child. When you drift, repent before the Lord. Raise the children God gives you like the future of the world depends on it… because it does!

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