By Keith Thompson
A heretical youtube Pelagian sinless perfectionism cult led by people like Jesse Morrell and Kerrigen Skelly make videos in which they mislead people on the issue of sin. Biblical Christians recognize according to God’s perfect standards, the nature of sin and man’s imperfection, men sin every day in thought, word and deed. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.” This is not a defense of sinning but a biblical reality which is why men need Christ’s perfect sacrifice.
The believer hates sin and strives to conquer it but nevertheless slips up and needs Christ’s sacrifice because the flesh of the believer is corrupt. In Matthew 26:41 Jesus said, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Also, in Romans 6:6 Paul mentions “the body of sin.” Indeed, in Romans 8:3 Paul speaks about the “sinful flesh” and the law being weakened by the flesh. In Galatians 5:17 Paul notes “the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.” This is because the flesh is corrupt (i.e., the reason believers inevitably sin at times and are not perfect). Although the nature of the Christian is new, the flesh is still fallen and corrupted. This is not to be confused with the Gnostic notion that all matter is corrupt. This is not our claim.
Now, God’s Law is so perfect and sinning is so easy to do that to claim to be able to obey God’s Law perfectly every day, as Skelly and Morrell do, shows an improper view of God’s Law and sin. In order to claim they are sinless, such men have to redefine sin (i.e., make it so sinning is less easy to do). Morrell claims a person is only sinning when there
“is a conscious, intentional violation of God’s Law” (Jesse Morrell youtube video: Christian Perfection 2 - What Sin is Not).
So if someone is not going around thinking “I am going to break God’s Law and sin,” then it is not sin according to these men. That’s how they claim they are sinless. If a person does not know the will and Law of God and yet violates them, then they are not guilty of sin according to these heretics. Morell states,
“If a person commits an ignorant action, that’s a mistake. That’s not rebellion. If they did something they genuinely and truly didn’t know was wrong, that’s not a blemish on their moral character. . .” (Jesse Morrell youtube video: Christian Perfection 2 - What Sin is Not).
In this essay it will be biblically demonstrated that all violation of God’s Law is sin, no matter if the person is ignorant or not. This is why Christ’s sacrifice is so necessary.
Old Testament Evidence
The fact that God considers unintentional or ignorant iniquity as still being sin which is punishable is seen in Leviticus 4:1-3:
“1And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2"Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the LORD's commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them, 3if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering” (Leviticus 4:1-3; cf. 13-14; 22-24; 27-29).
Here we see God considers unintentional sins to still be sins which require blood sacrifice. Numbers 15:27 likewise says “If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering” (Numbers 15:27). Ezekiel 45:20 likewise says, “You shall do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance; so you shall make atonement for the temple” (Ezekiel 45:20). Thus, Morrell is wrong when he claims God does not view unintentional sins as sins which bring guilt. Morrell has to deny God’s view on this since he wants to claim he is sinless, something he can’t be if unintentional sins count as real sins. In response to these texts, Morrell tries to brush them aside stating,
“The Bible does talk about, in Leviticus, that if a man commits a sin of ignorance. But of course this was dealing with the Levitical Laws. They had so many Levitical Laws and those laws were not written on the hearts of men. Those types of Laws were not written on the conscience. An Israelite who didn’t memorize all three hundred laws that they had was therefore capable of committing a sin or a transgression of ignorance” (Jesse Morrell youtube video: Christian Perfection 2 - What Sin is Not).
However, unintentional sins in such Old Testament texts applied to all sins in the Law, even common ones (i.e., Laws concerning morality etc). Hence, this objection is specious. It is not limited to only Laws Jews had. It includes common laws all men are under. This is why Leviticus 4:2 refers to breaking “any of the LORD's commandments.” Thus, if a Jew or Gentile unintentionally coveted a thing for a second due to really liking it (Exodus 20:17), even though they were not intentionally trying to rebel against God, that counts as an unintentional sin man is guilty of since unintentional laws are all inclusive as v. 2 shows, contrary to Morrell’s claims. Morell discards v. 2 and claims,
“This is not something we see carried into the New Testament or dealt with in relation to the moral law” (Jesse Morrell youtube video: Christian Perfection 2 - What Sin is Not).
Again, we proved unintentional sins do relate to the Moral Law since Leviticus 4:2 refers to breaking “any of the LORD's commandments.” Moreover, nowhere does Scripture make the argument Morrell does, i.e., “this only applied to Israel because it had so many laws which are not written on the heart of Gentiles.” Scripture nowhere qualifies these Old Testament texts with that kind of rhetoric. This is Morrell’s heretical read in eisegesis.
Thus, the fact remains that God considers even unintentional sins to still be worthy of guilt and punishment. Thus, since we all sin unintentionally every day, e.g. by mistake not loving God with all our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37), at every waking moment, we are guilty of that and hence require Jesus’s perfect sacrifice to wipe away that sin. Morrell and Skelly are not sinlessly perfect. And since they do not rely on Christ’s sacrifice for all their sins, or even acknowledge they have sin, they are under God’s wrath and not forgiven.
New Testament Evidence
Morrell falsely claims in the New Testament God changes His mind and no longer considers unintentional sins to actually be sins. This is heretical. He says:
“this is not something we see carried into the New Testament. . . ” (Jesse Morrell youtube video: Christian Perfection 2 - What Sin is Not).
To claim God softened up on sin is an attack on His holy character and his attribute of justice as the perfect judge who judges sin. To say now all the sudden God overlooks unintentional sin is an attack upon His holy throne.
In Luke 12:47-48 Jesus says, “47And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating” (Luke 12:46-47). Hence, just because the one servant was ignorant of his master’s will, that does not mean he is not guilty and will receive no punishment as Morrell’s false theology claims. Although he receives a lesser punishment he is still guilty and punished. He is not off the hook as the cultists teach.
Moreover, in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 the apostle Paul affirmed that even though the gospel is veiled or hidden and not understood by unbelievers because they are blind (hence they are ignorant of it), they will nevertheless perish in rejecting it: “3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Ignorance of the gospel or being blind to it does not excuse someone. This is why Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:18 can speak about God destroying those who did not obey the gospel.
Also, the apostle Peter affirms people can be destroyed for talking foolishly about things they are ignorant about: “But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction” (2 Peter 2:12). Hence, just because such people were ignorant that does not mean they were not accountable for what they were doing. Plus, in 2 Peter 3:16 the apostle affirms ignorant and unstable people twist Paul’s writings to their own destruction. Their ignorance did not excuse their sin.
In Romans 10:3 Paul says “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness” (Romans 10:3). Just because the Jews were ignorant of God’s righteousness and on that basis tried to establish their own does not mean what they did was not wrong. It clearly was wrong. The theology of Morrell and Skelly is false. These guys are in a heretic cult.
New Testament Texts Morrell and Skelly Twist
“Jesus said: ‘If you were blind you would have no sin. But now that you see therefore your sin remains [John 9:41].’ (Jesse Morrell youtube video: Christian Perfection 2 - What Sin is Not).
However, Morrell has no clue what this text is talking about. It’s not teaching people are innocent if they are ignorant of their sin. We have already proved Luke 12:48 refutes that since the servant who didn’t know the master’s will was still punished for his errors. John 9:41 is deeper than Morrell understands. As J. Ramsey Michaels notes,
“In asking ‘are we blind too?’(v. 40), they [the Pharisees] had implied that of course they were not, and Jesus calls them on it, rephrasing their puzzled question as an explicit claim that ‘We see’ (v. 41). . . . To ‘see’ is to recognize who Jesus is and worship him, as the blind man finally did. In saying ‘We see,’ therefore, they are lying, for they have not believed in Jesus. The likely point is that everyone is ‘born blind’ in the sense of being unable to ‘see the kingdom of God’ or enter it without a second birth (see 3:3, 5). This in itself is not sin. Nicodemus, for example, was never accused of sin. The sin comes in the lie that ‘We see,’ and that consequently no new birth is needed or wanted. . .” (J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John, ed. Gordon D. Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2010], p. 575 brackets mine).
Indeed, if someone is unregenerate and does not believe in Christ they are not condemned as people who claim to believe in Christ but actually do not. That’s the point. The point is not that unregenerate people are not condemned at all. Although the unregenerate is guilty of his sin, he is not guilty of the specific sin of claiming to believe in Christ while actually not believing. We know those who are blind and reject Jesus are still guilty and not off the hook because John 12:37-40 teaches God blinds people to fulfil Scripture so that they are condemned unbelievers and can not come to Christ and be saved:
“37Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" 39Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them’” (John 12:37-40).
Thus, this idea that if you are blind and do not trust Christ you are off the hook is totally incorrect. Morrell just doesn’t understand John 9:41.
“The Bible says ‘to him who knows to do right and does it not, to him it is sin [James 4:17]” (Jesse Morrell youtube video: Christian Perfection 2 - What Sin is Not).
Morrell is arguing those who do not know right are not guilty of sin. But again, Luke 12:48 says even the servant who did not know the master’s will was accountable and punished for his errors. So his understanding of James 4:17 is false. What this text is actually saying is that Christians know they are not only to avoid wrong but that they are also to go and do right. Therefore, since we know we are to go and do right (e.g. helping your neighbor) and we don’t, we are guilty. It is not saying anything about those who are ignorant. That’s not the point or context.
In sum, Skelly and Morrell can only claim to be sinless if unintentional sins or sins done in ignorance don’t count. The fact that according to Scripture sins of ignorance do count, proves these guys do sin even while claiming not to. Thus, the Westminster Shorter Catechism is vindicated when it says everyone sins daily in thought, word and deed. This is why we need a savior and should not rely on ourselves while claiming to be sinless. 1 John 1:10 says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). Sadly, Morrell and Skelly are liars and God’s word is not in them. If you or someone you know is involved with these guys, tell them to “get out!” before it is too late, since, even though they may be ignorant about Morrell and Skelly being satanic heretics, they will still be punished for following them. As Ezekiel 14:10 says,
“And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him” (Ezekiel 14:10).