A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Churches are sinfully honouring reprobates—Eli and his reprobate sons. The unpardonable sin.

UPDATE  Sept 2021:  Barbara Roberts has come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches.  He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


What is a “reprobate”? Esau was a reprobate. Pharaoh was a reprobate. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, were reprobates. Scripture tells us that there are indeed people who are beyond God’s mercy, for whom it is in fact too late, for whom repentance is now impossible. Let us consider how they ever got to such a point and why their sealed condition serves as a sobering warning to all who are continuing to reject Christ.

We can find numerous examples of anemic, erroneous theology in people who claim to be teachers in Christ’s church. It is a repeated refrain – “No one is beyond God’s mercy. It is never too late for anyone.” These kinds of falsehoods are frequently presented to us when some person who has claimed to be a pious, model “saint” is found out to be what they really are – a wicked, evil, deceiver guilty of the most horrendous sins.

What does the reprobate look like today?

  • He claims to be a Christian.
  • He has heard the gospel and the truths of Scripture for years and years.
  • He is often quite “religious” in appearance.
  • But behind all of this lies an evil, unbelieving heart as evidenced by his real life of walking in evil, of refusing to repent, of having no fear of the Lord.

Hophni and Phineas, Eli’s sons, were reprobates.

What were the sins of Hophni and Phineas?

  1. They were “pastors.” Ministers. Priests. Church leaders of their day.
  2. They did not know the Lord.
  3. They stole from the offering plate (by force).
  4. They fornicated with women who were at the tabernacle, apparently setting up a kind of temple prostitution ring.

And so it was the will of God to put them to death. Not to redeem them. Not to plead with them to repent.

Eli the priest was the father of Hophni and Phineas. Eli’s guilt was in pleading with his sons to repent. Many pastors and Christian counselors today would want to “fix” Hophni and Phineas. Many, many church leaders and professing Christians today are guilty of Eli’s sin.

Reprobates, sinning with a high hand and the sin that leads to death (the unpardonable sin)

Ps Jeff Crippen explains about reprobates and the sin that leads to death in his sermon Today if You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Heart. The main text of the sermon is 1 Samuel 2:22-36 but it also discusses Hebrews 3:17-19; 6:1-8; Numbers 15:28-31; Matthew 12:31-32; Jeremiah 7:13-16; 14:10-12. It is an excellent coverage of the doctrine of the reprobate, what it means to sin with a high hand by intentionally and persistently resisting the Holy Spirit, and how that is the sin that leads to death — the unpardonable sin.

1 John 5:16-18  If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.


The text of this post is a shortened version of  Part 1 of this 2-part sermon series by Jeff Crippen:

Today if You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Heart, Part 1.

Today if You Hear His Voice – Do Not Harden Your Heart, Part 2  This discusses the doctrine of the reprobate more, and explains the difference between an apostate and a reprobate.


For Further Reading

Can someone be saved, yet remain immature, lazy & eventually lose their salvation and return to their sinful ways?

The “Christian” Abuser and Hebrews 6:4-8


  1. Jennifer

    Does the reprobate ALWAYS have to be someone who’s already heard the truths of Scripture? Aren’t there plenty of unchangeable monsters out there who DON’T claim to be Christian?

    • Hi Jennifer, Jeff will answer your question when he gets time.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Jennifer – Yes, to answer your question. Take Pharaoh for instance who we know was reprobate (see Romans 9). Now, think about how much he knew about God. The Lord had revealed Himself powerfully to Pharaoh yet Pharaoh repeatedly hardened his heart. And even those as you say unchangeable monsters out there who make no claim to be a Christian, well we know that God has revealed Himself to them as well. Romans 1 lays that out for us. In other words, there is no human being ever who has not had the benefit of hearing God’s “voice” and as a person repeatedly hardens himself / herself to that voice, he steps closer and closer to the time when God’s gavel falls and that’s it.

      • Jennifer

        Ok, thanks a lot Jeff.

  2. Dale Ingraham @ Speaking Truth In Love Ministries
  3. M&M

    Jonah resisted God for a time and didn’t become reprobate. If I see someone straying I don’t assume they are Phineas when they could be Jonah. However, I still side with the victim because I don’t have to diagnose someone as reprobate to think they are dangerous.

  4. Helovesme

    I heartily agree with this post. I remember reading about Eli’s sons and how Eli did not participate in his son’s sins, but did not do much else. There was no confrontation, discipline, removing them from leadership, etc. There was no protection for the women they preyed on. I would just “throw in” these verses from Ezekiel for food for thought:

    Say to them, ‘As I live’, says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?’ (Ezekiel 33:11)

    “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)

    There certainly is a point where prayers for the wicked are pointless. There is no point to it. I have unsaved loved ones that I am still praying for, but I won’t stop until the Lord tells me to. I prayed for 5 years for someone I know to repent, and I only stopped when the Lord told me that there was no point to it anymore. I was relieved in a way, b/c I was exhausted from all that hopeful praying — but I was also heartbroken.

    Jeremiah was told to stop praying, because God had seen enough (Jeremiah 14:11, 7:16, 14:11). But as Ezekiel demonstrates, God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; He’d much rather they repent. While my heart leaps with joy that God put Eli’s sons to death — because that means the flock was finally protected–I also take no pleasure in it, either. Two souls were lost for good. The priesthood was exposed to be corrupt and evil. I am positive that while the Lord delights in justice, it is also sad that the wicked miss out on salvation — though no one’s fault but their own.

    • Thanks, Helovesme. 🙂

    • M&M

      Thanks for bringing up the Ezekiel passages. I find them comforting because they mean that God doesn’t want me to die for past sins either. When I think of all the many forms of abuse, I wish for a moment that the perpetrators would just drop dead and then I wonder if God has ever been angry enough to kill me for something. Then the Ezekiel verse makes me feel better about myself, but also reminds me to forgive abusers in the sense of leaving vengeance to God (not in the sense of being friends). This also reminds me of Psalm 10 “break the arm of the wicked” because that could mean “stop him from doing what he’s doing.” Therefore, I pray that God would stop abusers from causing more harm whether through genuine salvation or through jail or some other means.

  5. Still Struggling

    Excellent article! Thank you fur the links to the sermons. Such good teaching.

    In your second sermon you mentioned the man you met that stated he liked his megachurch because he could attend the earliest Sunday service then get on with his day. Pastor Jeff, I think you must have met my husband!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, yes I have met “him” many times. 🙂

  6. CeeKay

    Is there a way to follow a post and the comments without actually having to make a comment oneself?

    • twbtc

      Hi CeeKay,

      The only way to follow comments is to comment yourself on the post you want to follow and tick the little box. But it’s fine when you comment to simply say “I’m ticking the box”.

      We have other readers do this, so we will know what you mean.

      • CeeKay

        Thank you. 🙂

    • Jeff Crippen

      CeeKay – I will check with TWBTC and see.

  7. everydayBRAVE

    I really learned alot from this post and the sermons were very good. Thank you!

  8. MoodyMom

    A quote from George MacDonald:
    (An unrepentant sinner would say)

    ‘I thank thee, Lord, for forgiving me, but I prefer staying in the darkness: forgive me that too.’ – No; that cannot be. The one thing that cannot be forgiven is the sin of choosing to be evil, of refusing deliverance. It is impossible to forgive that. It would be to take part in it.

    Thank you for these two sermons. They really blessed me and convicted me. I needed this!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Top notch quote!!

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy

    All too often, the de facto definition of “reprobate” is “Thee, NOT Me”
    and “the Unpardonable Sin” is “Whatever you do that I don’t”.

    During my time in-country in the Seventies, I got so sick of Christianese One-Upmanship games…

  10. Finding Answers

    Pastor Jeff wrote:

    Scripture tells us that there are indeed people who are beyond God’s mercy, for whom it is in fact too late, for whom repentance is now impossible.

    ……and God knows if these people are capable of true repentance.

    Helovesme quoted:

    Say to them, “As I live”, says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11)

    “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)

    But then….

    Helovesme wrote:

    Jeremiah was told to stop praying, because God had seen enough (Jeremiah 14:11, 7:16, 14:11).

    The difficulty I encounter is accepting the necessity of living through the faint hope leading to “But then…”.

    Colossians 4:2 (NMB)

    (2) Epaphras, the servant of Christ who is one of you, greets you, and always labours fervently for you in prayers that you may stand perfect and full in all that is the will of God.

    Segueing from Ezekiel to Jeremiah required me to walk unknowingly through Colossians.

    I waited until the Holy Spirit said it was time to act like Jeremiah.

    Acceptance has been a hard, hard road to travel. Life would have been far more bearable without the faint hope.

    In the end, obedience became my only hope.

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