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The Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

In 2007, I was blessed to sit at the feet of Dan Winkler at the Huntingdon Church of Christ. I served there as a Youth Minister for a short time, but was blessed to hear many great sermons from brother Winkler. He once preached a sermon on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and it really changed the way I view the subject. In my youth I could only remember one minister of the gospel that was willing to tackle this topic from the pulpit. His name was Elvis Denney from Seymour, MO. I've probably learned more about the Holy Spirit from these two men than any other throughout my life.

Dan Winkler once said, “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit always bothers me, though I have been assurednot to worry if you are worried.’ What the Bible says about this sin seems to contradict God’s forgiveness. I was frightened by this as a child. I heard a preacher say, ‘I don’t know what this means but I would not play with it.’ That set off obsessive concern over what it could be.”

What I have learned about this subject I want to share with you. First, you need to know that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a concept mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The passages that address this issue are Matthew 12:22-37, Mark 3:23-27 and Luke 11:17-22. In these passages, Jesus confronts the religious leaders who accused him of performing miracles and casting out demons by the power of Satan. In response, Jesus warns them about the seriousness of their words and actions, specifically their acknowledgement of the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Each gospel adds a little more context to the story and the doctrine of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

In the account recorded in Matthew 12:22-37, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. After the healing, the crowds were amazed and began to wonder if Jesus was the Son of David, a reference to the expected Messiah. However, the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the time, reacted differently. They accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons.

Jesus responds to their accusation by pointing out the inconsistency of their argument. He explains that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and if Satan were casting out demons, it would be working against itself. Jesus then warns them about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, saying that all kinds of sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, “except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

The controversial part of this story is that Jesus declares that whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. This emphasizes the severity of their rejection of the Spirit's work and their malicious attribution of it to Satan. Can it happen today? If so, how can we avoid this problem?

In our blog next week, we will discuss additional details found in Luke 11:17-22. I will also attempt to reveal what was taught to me by Elvis Denney. I can still his voice asking me two specific questions. I look forward to sharing those thoughts with you. Have a great week!

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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