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Lutherans/Concern about unpardonable sin


What is the official LCMS definition of the unpardonable sin or sin against the Holy Spirit?  Foolishly and in anger, I said that sacred relics, the sacraments, Bible, church, worshipping God and everything of and about God are Satan even though I DO NOT truly believe this.  With these sins, I am VERY concerned that I committed the unpardonable sin.  I DO repent of these sins.  Please let me know what the LCMS definition of the unpardonable sin is along with letting me know whether or not saying that sacred relics, sacraments, Bible, church, worshipping God and saying that everything of and about God is the unpardonable sin.  I AM CERTAINLY FRIGHTENED AND CONCERNED.


Thanks for your question.  This topic is one that has troubled Christians for generations, because it can be so difficult to discern precisely what sin it is Jesus is talking about.  

I have written on this for another reader on this site at:

While I do not think there is any "official position" on this topic by the LCMS leadership, LCMS pastors have sometimes published articles in our publications about it.  Two such articles can be found at:


Based on what you have told me in your question, I do not believe you have committed the unforgivable sin that Jesus speaks of.  The unforgivability of this sin does come from its content, but rather because the act of rejecting the Holy Spirit is the same as rejecting Jesus, which then prevents a person from receiving forgiveness for this or any other sin.  The best concise description of this sin I have heard is that it refers to "persistent unbelief."  A person can sin by sexual immorality, theft, gossip, or violence, yet not lose salvation, because they remain repentant and trusting in Jesus, but one who persistently rejects Jesus also rejects forgiveness, and becomes unforgivable.  

It is also important to notice that one quality of this sin is that it is persistent.  So, one who rejects Jesus, speaks all manner of evil against Him, but later believes the Gospel is forgiven.  It is only when one dies while still in this sin that it becomes unforgivable.  

I hope this helps.  I also have a longer, more academic paper I wrote in seminary on this subject, but I find that the shorter article I linked above is usually more understandable for most readers.  


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Rev. Jason P. Peterson


I welcome the opportunity to answer questions regarding the beliefs and practices Lutheran Christians, especially questions comparing Lutherans with other Christian denominations or questions which contrast between various kinds of Lutherans. I am especially familiar with the more conservative Lutheran denominations (LCMS, ELS, WELS, etc.). I also take a great interest in examining new Christian movements and popular trends in Christianity from a Lutheran perspective. In addition, I can answer most questions about the original Greek text of the New Testament and its meaning, as well as questions regarding liturgy, evangelism, and preaching. A special area of interest in my ministry is race track chaplaincy/ministry, and I would love to provide information and guidance for anyone interested in this area.


I have been a pastor in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod for the past six years at St. John's Lutheran Church in Burt, IA. I currently serve as chairman of the Commission on Ministerial Growth & Support of the Missouri Synod's Iowa District West and as Track Chaplain at Algona Raceway in Algona, IA. I also write as a religion columnist for two local newspapers.

Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Algona Upper Des Moines (newspaper) Bancroft Register (newspaper)

B.A. Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI (Biblical Languages) M.Div. Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (Exegetical Theology, Pastoral Ministry & Missions)

Past/Present Clients
Zion Lutheran Church (Columbia City, IN) Zion Lutheran Church (Altamont, IL) St. John's Lutheran Church (Burt, IA) Zion Lutheran Church (Lu Verne, IA) Algona Raceway (IA) Fairmont Raceway (MN) Hancock County Speedway (Britt, IA) Clay County Fairgrounds Raceway (Spencer, IA)

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