The Unforgivable Sin:

Last week, I had the privilege to sit in on a Q&A with John Piper, hosted by Kevin DeYoung.  The forum was informal, and Kevin did a great job bouncing all kinds of questions from various topics off John's mind.  One of those topics was politics.

Kevin asked John what he would say to the president of the United States if he had just 5 minutes with him.  He said first, "I'd ask him if he thought the Bible was true, and then I'd go from there."  If the president said he DID believe it to be true, John would ask him why he supports abortion and gay marriage.  If the president said he DIDN'T believe it to be true, John would ask him a different line of questions.

So Kevin asked John whether or not he would vote in the up-coming election.  John explained why he WILL indeed vote, but briefly mentioned Thabiti Anyabwile's article about NOT voting.  Simply short, John disagreed with Thabiti's rationale.

But one of John's follow-up comments struck me as odd.  It didn't cause me anger, but instead surprised me John would say what he said...   "I cannot support anyone who endorses that which sends people to hell.  That's not good."

My surprise wasn't one of a political nature.  After all, the vast majority of politicians in some way are in the same sinking ship.  Instead, my surprise was of a theological one.  "What exactly sends people to hell, Dr. Piper?" I thought to myself.  Does homosexuality send people to hell?  Or murder?  Or little white lies?  What about permanently borrowing a pen from an employer?  What sends people to hell?

I was surprised because John has addressed this very issue in one of his books, "The Pleasures of God".  This is no surprise to him; It wasn't a trick question.  I thought, "But John, didn't you say/imply that people go to hell SOLELY because they reject the beloved Son of God, and not for any litany of sins -- no matter how great or small or long -- anyone has committed?"

Just to be sure I didn't miss something, I reviewed in my mind and in the bible what the bible has to say about this.  Did Jesus ever say there was a particular sin or group of sins he would/could never forgive, sins that would send people to hell do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 style?

One place came to mind...ONE!  Oh no!  I hope I haven't committed it.  I don't think I have, but I figured I'd look into that one just to make sure.  I certainly didn't want to offend my Savior enough that I didn't receive his mercy.  I've offended him enough, I can't imagine pushing him over the "edge", so to speak.

So I looked deeper, looked at the most trusted source of all, Youtube.  Just kidding.  Actually, Mark Driscoll (if he's not on your iPod playlist, he should be) came to mind, so I wanted to hear if he had anything to say about the subject, one very particular sin that is entirely unforgivable.  To my delight, a clip existed of him speaking on this very topic.

That one...ONE...sin is "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit".  No, living atheists haven't committed it.  Skeptics haven't committed it.  You and I (if you're reading this) haven't committed it.  Sadly, however, the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Carl Sagan HAVE committed it, if indeed they died rejecting the beloved Son of God. 

To blaspheme the Spirit of God is unforgivable, for it is the Spirit who brings us to a point of deep conviction about our sin and our position apart from God.  To continually reject His conviction and promptings to turn to Christ -- and then die to face God in judgment -- is unforgivable.  The hands of the clock cannot be moved backward, there is no second chance.  There is no purgatory to get things right one last time.  It is finished.

So, why, Dr. Piper, did you say that? 
I'm truly curious.


  1. My, my! Your brain is quite analytical!

    Maybe he just meant that since "no sin can enter in," he couldn't vote for anyone who promotes things like homosexuality and abortion...two hot topics in today's political world.

    I agree with him...I can't vote for someone who endorses those acts, which when there is no repentance, (thus, rejection of God's gift of mercy and forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus) keeps a soul from entering the gates of Heaven.

    1. TBR,

      I agree with you whole-heartedly....that's probably exactly what he meant.

      But it's not what he said. Dr. Piper is a very intelligent, deep thinker. And he is very careful with his words, both in print and in preaching. And that's why it surprised me that he said it.

      I know this may seem like no big deal, but unfortunately there are people in our world who believe as such, and whose thoughts would even be reinforced by what he said. Many people think they can live by a bunch of rules and be good enuf to get into heaven (see Galatians). And there are people who think if they don't do the societally unpardonable sins then they will be good enuf to enter heaven, as well.

      I KNOW Piper doesn't teach or preach that view. My soul wasn't injured by what he said, which is why I say it surprised me that he said it. But it may cause some confusion to others. Maybe, maybe not.

      That said, if we can't endorse Obama because he endorses those acts "which send people to hell" (abortion, gay marriage, etc), then we also cannot endorse Romney, because he endorses Mormonism -- which is "sending people to hell" just as readily. Mormonism does not preach the true gospel of Jesus should we endorse him simply because he's CLOSER to biblical truth than Obama seems to be?

      Here I go analyzing again :-)

  2. I think the reason why you're having a hard time with what he's saying is that you're going in the wrong direction. It would appear to me that he's referring specifically to the issue of abortion. John Calvin was of the mind that unregenerate babies who die go to hell, and it seems that this is what Piper is referring to. For Piper, anyone who supports abortion is supporting something that sends little babies straight to hell. I could be wrong, but that's what it looks like to me.

  3. E-Dizzle! Where've you been, bro! I see you haven't blogged much lately. Thanks for stopping by.

    I don't think I'm going the wrong direction here, based largely on the context of his comment. He specifically mentioned abortion AND gay marriage, as those sins relate to the offenders and not the victims.

    Second, I have never heard Piper say or suggest he believes aborted babies go to hell for unrepentant sin. Could be wrong, but I don't think he supports that view.

  4. Yeah, I've been pretty busy with school lately, though I did manage to get a post up the other day.

    I've never heard Piper state that expressly, though it would be in line with some other things I've heard him say. Being that was Calvin's position, and Piper is about as hard-line Calvinist as you can get, I'd actually like to hear his thoughts on the matter if he differs with ole Johnny boy. :)

  5. In case you're curious, here are Piper's thoughts on that subject...

    "The 'therefore' at the end says that mankind would seem to have an excuse if they had not seen clearly in nature what God is like. And so, because I don't think little babies can process nature and make conclusions about God's grace, glory or justice, it seems they would fall into the category of still having an excuse. The way I see it is that God ordains, for his own wise purposes, that at the judgment day all the children who died in infancy will be covered by the blood of Jesus. And they will come to faith, either in heaven immediately or later in the resurrection. And God will not condemn them because he wants to manifest openly and publicly that he does not condemn those who did not have the mental capacities to put their faith in him. I don't think imbeciles have that capacity, and I don't think babies do. Therefore I hold out hope to parents that the loss of an infant is not their eternal loss."

    I would say that having that view creates other problems for him that he's likely missing due to a compartmentalized view of his theology, but there you have it - John Piper says no babies in hell.

  6. Two of my favorite people - Piper and Driscoll!

    Where were you that you got to sit in on this?

    Are you up for going to the DG pastor's conference in Feb? I think I'm gonna try to go.

    Considering what Piper thinks (via listening to much of what he has taught on so many things) I do not think you should read to much into an at the minute comment. Piper is certainly orthodox and would therefore hold to the orthodox belief in salvation through Christ alone and in the doctrine of hell.

    Great post.

    1. Brother Ben!!

      I agree with you. Please check out the Brown Recluse's comment and my reply. That might help save some redundancy.

      As for DG conference, I'd love to. But it's doubtful. I'll probably still just download the messages....which is nothing like real-time, I know. But I don't think things would be in line for that right now, both home life and work life.

      Hope u r well, bro!