Beyond Mercy Part 2

In our last installment, we learned what the unpardonable sin is. Now we are going to learn how to avoid it, and whether or not we have committed it. Spoiler alert: we haven’t.


Doug starts telling us about Biblical people who committed the unpardonable sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit (HS).

1. Antediluvians(sp)

This is why God had to send the flood.

2. Pharaoh. This is why God killed the firstborns.

But if our hearts, like Pharaoh’s, are hardened*, if we see evidence of God’s work in our lives but consistently and repeatedly stifle the conviction that evidence brings, it’s not likely that we are going to repent or confess of anything. How could we?

I’m going to argue that “the evidence of God’s work in our lives” is a heck of a lot more subjective than Doug thinks, but let that pass.

Blasphemy against the holy spirit is rejecting and refusing to respond to the leading, teaching, and conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is closing the only door through which we can receive forgiveness. That is why this sin is unforgivable. **

Now that we know that this unpardonable sin is, we need to make sure we don’t commit it. I think that is obvious by the definition given above, but apparently we’re going to spend the next 58% of the book talking about how to make sure we repent when we need to.

Which, um, OK? I mean, this isn’t that hard. When one is a Christian, one is constantly finding things to repent of and feel guilty about. And if we don’t have anything to repent of and feel guilty about, then we need to repent of and feel guilty about the fact that we can’t seem to find anything to repent of and feel guilty about.

This, by the way, is the number one reason people go up for altar calls.

Ways we commit the unpardonable sin

1. A person says, “I do not want to be saved. I don’t want to be bothered with god and the bible.”

Doug says it’s not often that you find a person like this. They’re a rare species. Most people want to be saved. ***

2. A person may want to be saved, but is waiting for the right moment. The right moment never comes, and eventually the person is paralyzed by indecision.

Has this ever been anyone’s experience? I feel like this is a suspiciously straw man sounding argument.

3. This group of people are those who go to church every week, but are Christians in name only. They’ve been baptized, but they think that that’s the end of their spiritual journey rather than the beginning. This is the largest group of people who have committed/are in the process of committing the unpardonable sin.

So, about 98.5% of church members, then.

A person can get so used to committing a certain sin that they no longer feel guilty about it at all. This is the person rejecting the Holy Spirit’s pleadings to feel guilty and therefore repent.

Yes, in case anyone was wondering, the words “Holy Spirit” and “Conscience” are mostly synonyms on Planet Adventist.

Have I committed the unpardonable sin?

No. No you have not committed the unpardonable sin. We know this because you are reading this book.

See, people who have committed the unpardonable sin don’t care that they’ve committed the unpardonable sin. They also don’t read the Bible or books like Doug Batchelor’s or look at Amazing Facts study materials. 

We can’t have a book like this without ending it with an appeal. If you, gentle reader(He didn’t say “gentle reader” I added that) recognize in yourself that you are pushing away the Holy Spirit, don’t delay, get right with God today!

You may think the wicked are content, but they’re really not. They only seem that way because, in some small way, they are still listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The unpardonable sin may seem like it is a relief, because your conscience shuts up. But really, this is a terrible sign. These people are like turkeys being fattened up for thanksgiving. They think they live the good life, but they are doomed. Doomed. Dooooooooomed!

Take a drink, because I just threw the book across the room. This book is so insidious. Now, not only does one have to worry about feeling guilty for stupid shit, one has to worry and feel guilty about not worrying or not feeling guilty about stupid shit. What a mind fuck.

The last line of the book is “If you hear the HS calling out to you, do not harden your hearts, for if you do, by this time tomorrow you could have crossed over the point of no return.

Fear mongering much?

This is the end of the book. Well, not really, there’s about 20 more pages, but it’s basically a bible study outline Of the information we’ve just read. There’s no new stuff there, So, were not going to go over that.

My take on this book is that, while it’s trying to be reassuring, it also is very fear mongering. It’s reassuring you that you are not beyond repair, but it is also telling you that you must beware, because you may already be heading down the road toward the point of no return.

If any Christians are reading this, my advice to you is not worry about any of that. Live a good life. Follow the Golden rule. Do all of the good things Jesus said to do and chuck the rest. Pray, read your bible, and develop a relationship with your silent invisible being if you so desire. Do all you can to make the world a better place, to make people’s lives better. Any God who wouldn’t let you into heaven after all that is not a god you want to be worshiping.

This has been Adventist Book Club With Abby. Tune in next time, for…. I don’t know, I didn’t plan that far in advance.





* It was GOD who hardened his heart, Doug, not Pharaoh

**At this point, however, my cat thinks it is unforgivable that I am typing on the computer instead of petting her.

*** It’s not clear here whether this refers to people who believe in God but just don’t care, or if this refers to actual atheists. Of course, Doug probably doesn’t believe there’s a difference between the two, so maybe I should spend too much time analyzing it.


Beyond Mercy Part 1

May 22, 2016

Alright Exers, you asked for it. It’s the Ex SDA Snarky Book Club.

Beyond Mercy
By Doug Batchelor
Copyright 2006
Country of Publication: The Good ‘Ol US of A

Normally I like to go through books chapter by chapter, but this book is pretty short, so we’re just going to tackle it in like one or two blog posts.

We are also going to play a drinking game. Here are the rules. You’re to take a drink when:

1. Doug tells a story meant to strike fear into the hearts of his readers

2. Doug says something that makes me throw the book across the room

3. Doug quotes Ellen White (surprisingly, this alone will not make us plastered.)

4. Doug says something I agree with. (This won’t make us that drunk, but I’m adding it anyway.)

It is my secret evil plan for you all to die of alcohol poisoning as you read this. Or for me to get really really drunk.*

The introduction starts out with a story about a sign on a beach in Scotland that says “If you go any further you will die when the tide comes in.” Of course, the man in our story ignores this sign, and when the tide comes in, he dies a horribly painful death as innocent beach goers watch on in horror. (Drink!)

Seriously, people, if you’re going to do something colossally stupid that could get yourself killed, for the love of all things holy, DON’T do it where other innocent people can see you! Nobody wants to watch you die a terrible death.

Doug compares this sign to the unpardonable sin. Both are The Point Of No Return(tm). See, a human can be living, heart beating, lungs pumping, and yet, their soul is doomed. Insert dramatic scary music here.

Doug then spends a few paragraphs telling us about how Jesus loves us so much and is willing to save us and is just and merciful and forgiving and bla de bla de bla. You all know the drill.

Matthew 12:31 Is where we get this idea of an unpardonable sin.

“Every sin shall be forgiven, except molestation, rape, or any other form of sexual assault on a minor.”

No, sorry, that’s not what it says, that’s just what it would say if I were God.

Matthew 12:31 “Every sin shall be forgiven, except Blasphemy against The Holy Spirit.

The verse is repeated in Mark 3:28,29, and Luke 12:10

This raises two questions:

1. What exactly is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

2.How can we make sure we don’t do it

3. Why should we care.

Actually he didn’t say that last one, I added it.

What the unpardonable sin is not

1. Murder

Examples cited here of biblical creatures who literally got away with Murder (Moses, David.)

Doug then tells us that, apparently, the Serial Killer Ted Bundy converted to Christianity after he got caught. Dr. James Dobson visited him in prison, and came away believing that his confession was genuine, and marveled that God could forgive someone who did such horrid things.

This is one of the things I hate about Christianity. Someone like Ted Bundy can do all kinds of wicked things, repent, and go to heaven, yet someone like me is going to burn in hell just because I read the same book they did and came to a different conclusion.

2. Child sexual assault/murder***

Because God is an asshole.

If anything is an unpardonable sin, one would think it would be harming an innocent child.

Oh Doug, if only you had stopped right there. You might actually have demonstrated a redeeming quality. But he doesn’t. He goes on to talk about some guy named Manasseh who sacrificed his children to Satan and got forgiven. I’ve never heard this particular Bible story before.

3. Denying Christ publicly

We know this is not the unpardonable sin because of Peter. I’m not even sure why he brought it up, because this one is so glaringly obvious to half his audience. 

4. What about Suicide?

I’m not going to get into this too much, because I can’t deal with it. I’ll just say that Dougie says “having one’s last act be self murder doesn’t bode for well for their eternal future.”

At which point, I may or may not have hurled the book across the room, but don’t worry, I missed the cat by a few inches.

Spoiler alert: suicide is not the unpardonable sin. Because even God isn’t that much of an asshole.

Doug’s supporting text for this one (Samson) is a bit weak. I’m not sure why he included it. Couldn’t he just leave it at “we can’t judge people’s’ hearts?” Because he did say that, and I feel like that would’ve been a good place to end the section.

Edit: I was recently informed that Doug doesn’t want suicide to be the unpardonable sin, because a close relative of his committed it. Fair enough. Can’t really blame him for that one.

Take a drink, because I not only agree that suicide is not the unpardonable sin, I actually had a moment of sympathy for Doug Batchelor.


5. Blasphemy against the Son of God

We know that this is not the unpardonable sin because Jesus said so. (All manner of blasphemy against the Son shall be forgiven, but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.)

Doug doesn’t spend too much time belaboring the point.

Doug starts telling stories of people dying, who had no hope. (Drink!) He compares people dying on 9/11 to people who committed the unpardonable sin. They are both doomed, even though they didn’t die right away. He tells the same story about a submarine, but in this case it’s unclear why rescue was not possible.

What is the Unpardonable Sin(tm)?

So, now that we have a list of what the unpardonable sin isn’t, what exactly is it? What does it mean to “Blaspheme the Holy Spirit?”

First, let’s look at what the Holy Spirit does.

1. Teaches us about God

2. Convicts us of sin

3. Guides us into truth****

When we allow the Holy Spirit to do these things, we are fine and dandy. But when we start rejecting the HS, then we are…. ummm –checks– “approaching the deadly parameters of the worst sin on record.”

Which, apparently, isn’t anything done by Ted Bundy.

This book is like 65 pages long, and at this point I am starting to wonder why. It is clear by now that Blasphemy against the HS is “hardening one’s heart,” ie, ignoring their conscience. (At least, according to this book.) It should be obvious by now how we avoid this. Why is Doug still talking?

We are on page 27 out of 65, which, since I learned to math this last semester, I know is

x           27

100        65

42% of the way through the book. L0Ok @ meeeeee I haz skilz evry1!










*Just kidding, I had to quit drinking. My liver was threatening to move out**

**No, I don’t mean that literally

***Doug doesn’t actually say anything about child rape and molestation. He seems to lump them all in with child murder and thinks we won’t notice.

**** It’s official, everyone, the Holy Spirit made me an atheist!