Eternal Sin

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by American Anglican, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. American Anglican

    American Anglican New Member Anglican

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    I was listening to someone today who mentioned something called "Eternal Sin" or a "Sin Against the Holy Ghost" and although I have heard of it before, I had never put much thought into it. I know that the Roman Catholics name several specific types of Eternal Sins, but I was wondering if there has been anything written on the subject by any Anglicans or whether the Anglican church has a specific opinion on the matter.
     
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  2. Will_

    Will_ Member

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    Article XVI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion does mention "the sin against the Holy Ghost" so you will see some discussion of this in commentaries on the Articles. An example would be these paragraphs from T.P. Boultbee on Article XVI:

    "The doctrine of the Sin against the Holy Ghost has been the subject of many anxieties and much reasoning. Bishop Burnet at once dismisses its present possibility by limiting it to the original occasion recorded in the Gospels. Bishop Beveridge thus deals with it: 'It shall therefore only never be pardoned by God, because never repented of by us. For if it could be repented of by us it could not but be pardoned by God, the promise of pardon to repentance running in general terms, that if a man do confess his sins to God, God will pardon his sins to him.

    This seems the only treatment of the subject in harmony with the whole of Scripture. When we have marshalled and considered the grand array of Gospel promises, and asked ourselves what it is which excludes from a share in them, the answer cannot well be any other than this. It must be a spiritual state incompatible with the conditions of those promises. In other words, it must be a finally impenitent state, since the promises to repentance are so full and free. And since the Holy Ghost is the source of all true spiritual life and feeling, we may well understand why such a desperate condition is described as the result of the sin against the Holy Ghost."

    Of course, other commentators on the Articles might define it differently, but that is indeed one place to look - commentaries on the 39 Articles.
     
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Maybe see also

     
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  4. Jenkins

    Jenkins New Member Anglican

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    As far as I know, the closest Anglicanism has ever come to having an official position on the matter was in the 16th (‘Blasphemie against the holie Ghoste.’) of the Forty-two Articles of 1553. It read,

    ‘Blasphemie against the holie Ghoste is, when a man of malice and stubburnesse of minde, doeth raile upon the trueth of goddes word manifestlie perceiued, and being enemie therunto persecuteth the same. And because soche be guilty of Goddes curse, thei entangle themselues with a moste grieuous, and hainous crime, wherupon this kinde of sinne is called and affirmed of the Lorde, vnpardonable.’​
     
  5. American Anglican

    American Anglican New Member Anglican

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    These are very helpful answers. I appreciate what Will said about the "final impenitent state," because it seems to me that the Sin Against the Holy Ghost is more of a passive response to someone's relationship to God, as in "I'm going to be saved, so why do I need to ask God's forgiveness (or even try to be less sinful)?" rather than an action that someone can commit that would condemn him. Thank you.
     
  6. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Final impenitence is the grave sin that can only result in damnation
     
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  7. realdocphil

    realdocphil New Member Anglican

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    yes Here we go again whether we hold to the Scriptures about the “ Sin unto Death” . Or go by what church fathers and teachings have said down through the centuries. By the way from what I understand if the Bible is silent on any topic then one cannot argue from any standpoint.
     
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  8. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Just to help out here is the passage that is probably relevant.

    “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matt 12:30-32.
     
  9. Lucas Hernandes

    Lucas Hernandes New Member

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    Hi, I am catholic, and in for the catholics, Saint Augustine of Hippo is very important. I want know if you think the same thing.
     
  10. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Such discussions always bring to mind the Calvinist/Arminian debate. If Calvinism were true, then there is no possibility of one of the elect committing the unpardonable sin and being damned. Since such a sin could only be committed by one of the non-elect, what difference would it make; they are damned already any way. Just an observation.
     
  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Hi Lucas, Welcome aboard. I hope God richly blesses your time here.

    I would say yes, St Augustine has had a big influence traditionally among Anglicans as well as for most magisterial protestants from what I know. Augustine had a big impact on Calvin. And I would say Anglicanism's definition of sacraments mirrors Augustine's almost exactly. But I would defer to some of the Priests on the forum for a more informed response.
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Member Anglican

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    I find it usually even more enlightening to get the full context in which this statement appears. Matt.12:22-32.

    Jesus had been accused by the Pharisees of healing someone by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. Jesus then rebukes them, refutes their illogical argument, declares his own reluctance to judge miscreants at all but warns against opposing The Holy Spirit.

    It seems that what prompted this warning was primarily the fact that the Pharisees had set themselves in opposition to Jesus, but were additionally in danger of going further, by declaring that the "Deliverance from Evil" Jesus had just performed, was somehow "An Evil Act, enabled by Evil". Thus it would be impossible to repent (i.e.turn back) from such a judgment, since if "Good is declared Evil" and "Evil declared Good", a fundamental shift has occurred in the human psyche of the accuser, from which it may be impossible for them to recover. If one can no longer recognise one's own wicked deeds as wicked, but declare them to be good, and furthermore perversely regards other's good deeds as 'evil', one has by then, completely lost the moral compass by which to navigate back to any understanding of righteousness. The human spirit is then 'adrift on an ocean of lawlessness, without compass, stars, or even dead reckoning for guidance'. The conscience is 'seared' 1 Tim.4:2. No navigable way back. Repentance impossible. Forgiveness would by then be regarded by them as a hostile act.

    My guess is that this condition must be extremely rare, when I see the grace of God actively in operation in the most hopeless states of human sinfulness. But if Jesus warned against it for some, it must, I suppose be a possibility.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018 at 6:01 PM

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