From what I understand, the age of accountability doctrine is as follows: if a child dies before the age of accountability, then that child automatically goes to heaven. However, if a child reaches the age of accountability, then free will comes into play, and that child must accept the responsibility for their choice to either accept or reject Jesus. The problem, however, with this doctrine is that:
- Denominations are unclear on the exact age when someone becomes accountable;
- There is very little biblical support for this idea. Advocates of this doctrine appeal to only a few verses (Deut 1:39 and 2 Sam 12:23); and
- It is inconsistent with Christianity’s response to abortion.
I will focus on the third point. If the age of accountability is true, and unborn babies do in fact go to heaven, then why – in the Christian view – is abortion wrong? If 100 souls are born in a country where abortion is illegal, then through their respective lifetimes some will choose Jesus and go to heaven, while others will reject the gospel and go to hell. However, if 100 souls are aborted in a country where abortion is legal, then all 100 souls go to heaven.
Although abortion – seen in the light of the age of accountability doctrine – results in a kind of de facto salvation, it can be argued that the process of abortion has a higher ‘soul winning’ success rate than conventional evangelism. Abortion clinics around the world are ‘saving’ more souls that most successful evangelists. If abortion is resulting in a more crowded heaven, then why are Christians against abortion at all? Isn’t God’s primary desire that every soul be saved?
Note that I’m not arguing for either pro-life or pro-choice in this article. In fact, I have not yet fully made up my mind on the topic of abortion. I’m just pointing out what I see as an inconsistency between mainstream Christianity’s response to abortion and the theological doctrine of salvation.