Generational Curses Part 1: An Introduction

From the very beginning of time, the wicked have been been attempting to deceive those to whom God has revealed his truth.  Those deceptions have sometimes been blatant, but more often than not they’ve been subtle; somewhat-credible sounding ideas that generally fly under the radar of most folks.  In the last few decades, one of the most widespread errors I’ve encountered is the error of generational curses.

There is no single version of the error of generational curses, but it’s an error that has found acceptance with a lot of people.  For introductory purposes, let’s answer two questions:

1. Who teaches this? 

Well, it’s all over the place:

Beth Moore

Beth Moore teaches a soft generational curse that’s essentially a predisposition towards certain sin; “negative traits or habits in your life that have been in your family line for generations.” Moore further describes what she calls generational strongholds by saying “these areas of bondage are anything you may have learned environmentally, anything to which you may be genetically predisposed, or any binding influence passed down through other means.”

That’s an interesting way of leaving the door open for demons.  Notice how she says environment, genetics or “passed down through other means?”  If you habitually commit a sin and it’s not something you learned from someone else, and it’s not something that has a genetic cause, then it’s gotta be “something else.”  Strangely, that “something else” is never your own sinful desires or willful rebellion against God. is a site that is often quoted on this issue, and they’re nowhere near as subtle as Beth Moore.  They define a generational curse as “spiritual bondage that is passed down from one generation to another” and comment on how people will commit the same sins as their parents, even if they’ve never known their parents, “because they inherited their spiritual bondage.”  When it comes to diagnosing generational curses, they write:

Some common symptoms of generational curses are family illnesses that seem to just walk from one person down to the next (cancer is a common physical manifestation of a spiritual bondage), continual financial difficulties (they continually hit roadblocks in their finances), mental problems, persistent irrational fears and depression. Anything that seems to be a persistent struggle or problem that was handed down from one generation to another may very well be a generational curse.

If only oncologists knew about the “spiritual bondage” roots of cancer, they could avoid all those horrible medical treatments.


Basically, anything that is a repetitive sin is likely a problem because of some sort of inherited spiritual condition from your parents that is not due to your sin nature.

In fact, generational curses likely have the blame ultimately lying with God.  The folks at GreatBibleStudy write: “I believe the reason God would punish the future generations with the sins of their fathers, is because of God’s bitter hatred for sin.”  Because God hates sin so much, he forces your kids to (unwillingly and unknowingly) commit the same sin that you do in order to try to scare you off the idea of sinning.

This hard version of generational curses teaches that demons are passed down from parents to children.  They write, “It is possible for demons to enter a child before he accepts Jesus, then remain dormant or hidden in that child’s life until some time later in his or her life when it manifests (or makes itself known).”  And those demons remain after that person gets saved.  They say, “Sometimes when a person heads for the ministry, it seems like the devil kicks up his ugly heels and causes havoc for that person.”

How do demons remain inside a believer once they’re saved?  Two words: Legal Grounds.  The GreatBibleStudy author writes

If you have involved yourself in any sin or opened any doors in your own life while ‘awaking’ or triggering the spirits, then it’s important that you clear up any legal grounds (or strongholds) that you gave the enemy in your own life relating to the bondage. For example, if you have went to see a demonic movie, and it seemed to have triggered spirits of fear in your life that were handed down to you, then it’s important to repent for going to see such a movie before trying to cast out any spirits. It’s also possible that you picked up the spirits from such a movie without them even being there in the first place, and/or added to spirits that were already inside you. It’s always a good idea to clear up any legal grounds or strongholds in your own life before casting spirits out.


Better stay away from the movies.  You might catch a cold…or a demon.


Getting rid of those demons doesn’t happen when a person gets saved either.  They write,

Just as other demons don’t automatically leave at the time of salvation… neither do the demons that you get from your ancestors automatically leave you either.

Let’s say that you accept Jesus at age 15. Because you were born a sinner and outside of God’s covenant, you were still living under the curses handed down to you and demons can enter you through those curses. Once you’ve accepted Jesus, those curses are broken automatically, but often the demons that entered in before you accepted Jesus still need to be cast out.

This is a common reason for “deliverance” ministries; Christians with demons that never were evicted from their host.

So in a nutshell, soft generational curse teaching involves inherited habitual sins that but hard generational curse teaching involves discussion of inherited demons/demonic ties.

There are lots of other people and websites that teach generational curse ideas:

GotQuestions has an oft-quoted article that’s a soft version of generational curses.

Sid Roth is barking mad on the hard end of the spectrum.  Not only does he claim to be able to get rid of generational curses, he also claims to know how to actually remove original sin.

Sid Roth

Charisma Magazine definitely peddles hard generational curse ideas (big shock…they. love. this. stuff.).

Along with Charisma Magazine, there are a large number of Charismatic teachers that peddle(d) hard or hard-leaning generational curse teaching: Morris Cerullo, Perry Stone, Guillermo Maldonado, Bob Larson, Derek Prince, Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Tony Evans, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, Joel Osteen (though he speaks of generational blessings since saying anything sounding remotely negative results in Osteen going into anaphylactic shock),  and the list sadly goes on and on.

What’s worse is that these ideas have penetrated into non-Charismatic circles too.  One of the most well known books touching on generational curse would be Neil T. Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker.  Martin Bubeck teaches generational curse ideas (and his work is endorsed by Chip Ingram and Warren Wiersbe…?!?).  Also, Bill “laying on of hands” Gothard also teaches generational curse theology: although he’s creepier than a potty-peeker, he’s still impacted a lot of people (I don’t have a digital link for that as my resources are print materials).

Stall Peeker

Before his church went full Chernobnyl, Mark Driscoll taught this stuff too (but the Mars Hill website is now wiped from existence, along with all its content, though remnants still remain…).

This teaching runs wild all over Africa, with prosperity hucksters like David Oyedepo being both open and proud about it (if you have the stomach, watch this).  Here’s some teaching on generational curses form Enoch Adeboye (general overseer of one of the largest denominations in the world; The Redeemed Christian Church of God).  Here’s TB Joshua (one of the 50 most influential men in Africa) as he is addressing the subject.   He’s like the real life version of The National Enquirer.

TB Joshua

I don’t know what it looks like when a demon is possessed by a “Satanic Elephant,” but it’s probably not good…

Sadly, those men are of no small impact on the continent of Africa.

Speaking of men of no small impact, Chris Hodges and the Church of the Highlands teach about generational curses (pg.39 of that pdf)  along with how to break them (pg. 8 of that pdf).  I just thought I’d toss that in there in light of my new fans in Alabama.

Hugs Y’all!

I know this post is short, but as I did with my modesty series, I’ll try to do here.  I’ll aim to keep these posts short and fairly punchy.  It takes no small effort to rein in my own penchant for writing 4,000+ word book-length posts, but I am actively trying to be more reader friendly and accessible.

Next week I’ll explain the textual support for generational curses and in the following week I’ll remove any exegetical foundation that one might attempt to uncover in the Scripture.  Then I’ll spend a week (or two) addressing the positive Biblical teaching relevant the ideas falling under the “generational curse” banner.

Hopefully, I can provide some helpful exegetical material to use against the spiritual rubes that attempt to convince trusting Christians to swallow their ideas.

Dog Toilet

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Don’t drink the water” Unger

24 thoughts on “Generational Curses Part 1: An Introduction

  1. I have recently been listening to Derek Prince on spiritual warfare in general and curses in particular. Try not to worry about this too much, I left that scene over two decades ago, and never was a fully paid up member. I wanted to give him fair hearing.

    Having read around the subject somewhat, what Prince taught and some of the refutations of curse teaching were talking about different things. Deliverance ministry is mostly avoided by traditional sound (all too often sound asleep) evangelicals like the plague, leaving the subject open to ‘experts’ and gurus with fanciful interpretations, that superficially at any rate seem plausible.

    One thing completely new to me was the idea that visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me is seen in, for example, the flood and other OT judgments at the beginning of the bible, where due to the longevity of life the great-grandparents down to the new born were included simultaneously. Far from being the effects of say the sin of a grandparent manifesting in the children and grand-children, the visitation of sin was on all living generations at the same time. This makes sense to me, and I wonder what you make of it. It is fatal to the idea of sins, let alone demons (which aren’t mentioned in this connection) becoming family heirlooms.

    I shall be most interested in what you have to say on this theme, especially in what the bible does teach rather than just refuting what it doesn’t. So be encouraged, you are guaranteed to have at least one interested reader … :-)

  2. Edit: ‘…curses, the write’…should be “they write…”

    Good article, looking forward to more.

    M. Howard Kehr

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    • Well, he teaches a lot MORE than generational curses. It isn’t his main course by any stretch but it is still there in his body of teaching.

      Thanks for the link. It’s definitely an interesting site.

    • I thought the same thing. I have heard nearly all of his on air preaching. He has touched on the subject but not in the manner this article was presented in subject. Dr. Evans is a fine teacher and preacher in my opinion and I’d like to hear what he taught that wasn’t biblical.

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  5. I once watched a clip from a crazy Japanese game show, and was possessed by a Godzilla demon. Fortunately my local witch doctor/AoG pastor was able to summon the Holy Ghost Mothra twins to help drive it back to Demon Monster Island. That was a close one.

  6. About that (creepy!) picture of Beth Moore at the start of your post, I was inspired to offer the following:

    When her seminars come around you,
    She’ll astound you,
    Her teaching will confound you,
    She’s got church ladies mesmerized,
    They’ve got
    Crazy Beth Moore eyes

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist. 😉

  7. Great work on this scary topic. Readers should also be aware that the #3 largest megachurch in America (Robert Morris’ Gateway Church, Southlake, TX) is actively promoting this crazy generational curse idea, teaching classes, holding 2-day seminars on breaking curses, and now, publishing books. by Charisma House.
    Author Linda Godsey is the head of Gateway’s Freedom Ministry program. It’s endorsed by Gateway Apostolic Elder Jimmy Evans, founder of Marriage Today, seen on Daystar and TBN.

  8. Thanks for this post.Am in Kenya and these errors are dominant in many of the charismatic pentecostal movements here having been brought most by preachers from USA.When America sneezes Kenya catches the sad!

    • Pastor Isaac,

      I hope to bring some heavy ammunition to bear against this wretched trash and blow it to bits. stay tuned for the next 3-4 Wednesdays and I’m going to reveal this teaching for what it is; unvarnished paganism.

      M heart burns for the believers in Kenya getting sent all the spiritual sewage from North American Charismatics and Pentecostals.

      If you have questions about any specific practices or biblical texts, please ask and I’ll do my best to help as much as I can.

  9. Pingback: Generational Curses Part 2: The Scriptural Support | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely…

  10. Pingback: Generational Curses Part 3: The Textual Support | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely…

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