H E L P ! ! !

What is Blaspheming the Holy Spirit?

Jesus talks in Mark 3, , about blaspheming the Holy Spirit as being the "Unpardonable Sin." Many people have been worried about committing this sin. Many preachers have wrestled with this. So I'm not going to say that I have the definitive answer!

The best we can do is to answer the question in the context of what Jesus said, and then follow this up with some examples of what it is not.

The Context

Jesus is just starting out his ministry, and his name spreads like wildfire. Some from the religious establishment in Jerusalem, who come to check him out, say he is casting out demons by Beelzebub, a god who was one of the powers under Satan.

Jesus explains that Satan cannot cast out Satan, but only one stronger than Satan can do this work. And he cautions His critics that to attribute his power to any other source than the Godhead is to lie against the Holy Spirit.

By extension, it covers ...

By extension, when a person is genuinely healed by miraculous power, it has to be God at work. Therefore, we should not criticize preachers with a miracle ministry, should we?

Don't be too quick to bite this one. Remember, Jesus speaks of those who will say, "Didn't we heal in your name?"

To which Jesus will say, "Be gone, I never knew you."

Which just means that preachers who invoke the scare line of blaspheming the Holy Spirit could be in trouble on Judgment Day.

What it is not


Some have believed they blasphemed the Spirit because they have been so stubborn about an issue in their Christian experience that God stops making them uncomfortable. This is not the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is God in His wisdom withdrawing the heat. God knows our frames, and sometimes He knows that it is just better to withdraw from us a little bit, so we get missing His presence.

Swearing at or getting mad at the preacher

If we get angry at the preacher, or even at God, that is not the sin of blaspheming the Spirit. We are not lying about an event of the Spirit!

When you are worried about blaspheming the Spirit

It is almost by definition that if you are worried about blaspheming the Spirit, then you haven't. Why can I say this? Because if a person is still sensitive enough to the presence of the Spirit that they notice His absence, then they are not trying to deny the Spirit exists.

It is important to realize that questioning miracles performed during healing services is not wrong. We have to look at the evidence. If we are to be faithful stewards, we need to ensure that charlatans are not sucking our money for their own gain. And we need to be careful about what teachings we believe.

A preacher can say a lot of good and true things, but still have an inflated sense of his own ministry. If it sounds like he's telling you to not criticize him, that is indeed what he is doing.

Some churches are effective because they are run by a dominant person. In fact, some of the biggest churches are run by these kind of people.

Some ineffective churches are also run by dominant people.

The difference is the person's ability to sense what is right for their ministry. Which is not the same as being more spiritual. It is just that effective people enlist effective prayer. Prayer can cover a multitude of sins! And we realize that we are not without fault ourselves.

So when are you at risk of this sin?

Let's face it, if you are denying God and go so far as to turn off the nudges of his spirit, you are in trouble. You are the kind of person who argues that God doesn't exist. Then God starts to do things to show himself to you. But you feel threatened by his presence. Your power is at risk. Your pocketbook is at risk. And God is speaking to you, but you harden against him.

Obviously, not your average person who just rides out life without turning to God. Of course, they don't make it either. But I envision those who see themselves as among the rich and powerful, like the Pharisees of Jesus' day. Now that is what could lead to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

What I have not said

I really haven't said what constitutes the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. I really cannot envision what this really is, except in the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, found in Acts 5: 1 - 11.

This is probably where we can get a clear picture of this sin. Events like that leave me in awe of God.

But as for someone using the threat of blaspheming the Spirit to get his own way, well, judge for yourself. You can judge a Christian by the sum total of all their fruit, not just by the fact that they do miracles.

And if you are worried that you have blasphemed the Spirit? Your biggest concern is learning to forgive yourself. Stop pretending that you can make yourself good, accept that you cannot survive without crutches, and get up and walk as Jesus gives you strength. Right?


May God bless you with the sensitivity to admit when you are wrong, the humility to come to Jesus just as you are, and the peace and joy of knowing that you are safely in His hands.

And may He do the work of cleansing and making you whole. May you be complete in Him.

copyright, Rick Galbraith, Winnipeg, Manitoba and Dryden, Ontario, 1998
12:26AM 1998/6/8 12:05AM 1998/7/24