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The unforgivable / eternal / unpardonable sin

What is the unforgivable sin?
Interpretations 13 to 24, all different.

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Interpretations 1 to 12 are located elsewhere.

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Interpretations 13 to 24 of the unforgivable sin, in random order:

bullet 13. Those who reject Jesus as Messiah: Hank Hanegraaff writes:

"The Pharisees mentioned by Matthew militantly hated Christ and attributed His miracles to Beelzebub, the prince of demons. ... with premeditation and persistence, they willfully blasphemed the Holy Spirit’s testimony that Christ was the Son of the living God. ... "

"Passages like Matthew 12:22-37, Mark 3:20-30, and Luke 12:10 all have one thing in common. They consistently portray people who knowingly persist in rejecting Christ’s messianic mission despite His miracles and the ministering power of the Holy Spirit. ... Therefore, their rejection of Christ epitomized the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit." 1

bullet 14. Believing that Jesus was possessed by a demon: Grantley Morris wrote:

"Verse [Mark3:]30 is crystal clear: those whom Jesus warned about the danger of committing this sin genuinely believed that Jesus had a demon. Imagine knowing the Scriptures inside out and yet being so spiritually blind as to be convinced that Jesus’ miracles were evil and that the Savior of the world – the One on whom their eternal destiny hinges – is demon possessed!" 2

bullet 15. Worshiping in churches. The Bible and History web site explains that the unforgivable sin is to turning away from the Word of God by worshiping in churches. "Piney" writes:

"Jesus said 'don't go looking' where the people are pointing because the Kingdom is within you. He insisted that you cannot worship in houses built by human hands or by the works of human hands. He said that you MUST worship the Spirit God in the place of your human spirit as it is devoted to the Spirit OF truth." 3

bullet 16. Playing religious music: "Piney" also writes:

"Is Replacing The Word of Christ with "Music" The Unforgivable Sin? It is in the Oldest Traditions That Instruments Came From the Devil. The book of Enoch along with the book of Jubilees and many ancient views of the Jews is that God will come with ten thousand of His saints and the explicit sin is refusing to obey the Word of God and replacing it with mixed-sex choirs and instrumental music to seduce the holy people into the valley of the Cainites. ... This has the effect, as in many Old Testament examples, of telling Christ: 'We do not want to hear from you.' This is a claim that He and His words are destructive for our religious systems. And this is the unforgivable sin." 4

bullet 17. The New Age movement: Nick Goggin of writes:

"I am also equating the unforgivable sin to the sin of the rapidly growing New Age movement today who's tentacles are even now reaching into the Christian denominations and drawing out the spiritually baser fellows among them, wherein man presumes himself to become as God." 5

bullet 18. Rejection of Jesus' offer of salvation: Mary Fairchild of writes:

"I believe, the only unforgivable sin is the rejection of Jesus Christ's offer of salvation, His free gift of eternal life, and thus, His forgiveness from sin. If you don't accept His gift, you cannot be forgiven." 6

bullet 19. Interchanging God and the anti-Christ: An author at Christian Clarity Review defines the Unforgivable Sin as calling God anti-Christ and calling the anti-Christ God. She/he concludes:

"Even their best ‘literal’ caricature of Christ Speaking to the storm is to go out in a hurricane and yell: Stop it!, neither believing in the real existence of what they speak toward nor in the power of the Word of God –and then laughing at God because of their own failures as if their powerless, non-creating speech of sin were the Same as Himself as Word of God–and then saying their ‘literal’ is not an alternate literal of spelling and pronunciation of God as being anti-Christ/non-creating speech of sin."

"That is the only unforgivable sin." 7

bullet 20. Inability to differentiate between good and evil: Austin Cline, writing for the Agnosticism/Atheism section of, says:

"A broader interpretation argues that the sin doesn’t lie in attributing Jesus’ power to demons but the inability to properly distinguish good from evil or God from Satan." 8

bullet 21. Taking a critical attitude towards speaking in tongues: Don McCullough of The Rest Stop writes:

"... the gifts of the Spirit are from the Holy Spirit. There are some people who come on very negative about some of the gifts of the spirit, especially speaking in tongues. ... It is my opinion that if you go around saying a bunch of negative things about tongues, or of the other gifts, you are getting close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. So, my advice is DO NOT BADMOUTH THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT." 9

bullet 22. Accepting the mark of the beast: Don McCullough suggests a second unforgivable sin. He quotes Revelation 13, 14 and 20 which discusses end of the world events. The author says that the beast will give people two options: to accept the mark of the beast on their forehead or hand, or to have their head chopped off. If they choose to live, then after death, they will be tortured in Hell in the presence of Jesus and angels.

It is not clear in Revelation 14:10 whether Jesus is supervising their torture, or actually torturing the inmates, or acting as an observer. McCullough concludes that those who accepted the mark have committed the unpardonable sin. 9

bullet 23. Falsely recanting one's beliefs: Geoff Thomas wrote about Fritz Spiera, a Roman Catholic, who lived at the time of the Protestant Reformation. Spiera became convinced that the Catholic Church's teachings were wrong. He became a Protestant. However, his heresy was detected and he was charged with undermining the pope's authority. Faced with the alternatives of recanting his new beliefs or being burned alive at the stake, he denied his new beliefs and returned to Catholicism. He believed that he had committed the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit and lived in agony. 10

bullet 24. Being a homosexual: "Kevin D" asked a question of Yahoo! Answers: "Is being gay an unforgivable sin?" Unfortunately, he did not define whether "being gay" meant that having a homosexual orientation, or being sexually active with a member of the same sex. Results were:

"No": 33 responses. Two typical comments were:

bullet "It's not a 'sin' at all -- it's human nature. How can being what God made you (if there is a God and if he made us) a sin?

bullet "No, while of course it is a sin, it is not unforgivable."

"Yes": 1 response.
bullet "Yes. God meant for men to be with women. its in the Bible, no matter how much you want to deny it. its there.

"Undecipherable": 2 responses.11

The question was asked on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender section of the Society & Culture section of Yahoo! Answers. So, the responders might have been biased.

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Interpretations 25 + are located elsewhere.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Hank Hanegraaff, "The Unforgivable Sin," Christian Research Institute, at:
  2. Grantley Morris, "Unforgivable!," at: The quotation by Grantley Morris requires the following statement:

    "Not to be sold. © Copyright, 1997, 2002, 2006 Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site Freely you have received, freely give."

  3. "Piney," "The Unforgivable Sin," at:
  4. "Piney," "The Unforgivable Sin Two," at:
  5. Nick Groggin, "The Unforgivable Sin," Watchmen Bible Study Group, at:
  6. Mary Fairchild, "What is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?", at:
  7. "The Unforgivable Sin is Against the Spirit/Speech/Word of God," Christian Clarity Review, 2006-APR-17, at:
  8. Austin Cline, "Was Jesus Crazy? The Unforgivable Sin (Mark 3:20-30),", at:
  9. Don McCullough, "Is there an Unforgivable Sin?" The Rest Stop, at:
  10. Geoff Thomas, "The Unforgivable Sin," Grace Magazine, at:
  11. "Is being gay and unforgivable sin?" Yahoo! Answers, at:

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Copyright © 2006 to 2013 Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2006-OCT-24
Latest update: 2013-JUN-08

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