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!



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