In the first post in this series, I gave a general overview of the idea of generational curses and took a quick look at some of the proponents of the teaching. In the second post, I gave a quick look at one specific example of the teaching and gave a large list of texts used to attempt to make a biblical case for the existence of generational curses. In this post, I’ll start what will become a multi-post response and refutation of the whole idea of generational curses.
Why do I feel like I need to make a multi-post response?
Haven’t others done that already?
Well, surprisingly few have taken the subject on with any sort of serious response.
Interestingly, the Assemblies of God actually have a shockingly good, albeit short, response to the problem of generational curses…but that only breeds some serious questions. One has to wonder why is appears that many AOG pastors don’t care much about what the AOG theologians have to say. In fact, I’d dare say that the AOG could go as far as requiring official & honest theological *fine print* disclaimers for every “revival” and people would still flock by the thousands to every new revival, outpouring, or other assorted “move of the Spirit.”
Just in case some think I’m being a little too mean to those nice and faithful Assemblies of God brothers, Todd Bentley (among a few dozen others) was rocketed to international fame in an Assemblies of God church and yes, he’s still around and misleading the masses. For those that oppose my use of Mr. Bentley as an example of what happens in AoG churches, I plead 1 Timothy 5:22.
There are also other folks that have attempted a response to generational curse theology.
Hank Hanegraaf has a confusing response (why positively mention inherited sin & Rom 5:12-21 in an article rebutting generational curses without explaining the difference?).
John Piper has an uncharacteristically weak response, where he pits one batch of inspired texts against another and then simply trumps the texts he doesn’t like with a greater number of texts he does. I cannot think of any other issue where he does that so blatantly. This gives the impression that the Bible doesn’t have a consistent and unified teaching on the subject and makes sorting through the issue seem absurdly difficult.
The best response I’ve read online is Bob DeWaay’s response, which is here. It’s good and true, but not necessarily thorough enough. I don’t want to see generational curse theology rebutted with some vague theological principles or a few contrary proof-texts. I want to see it ground into dust and then torched…because it’s such utterly damnable and life destroying heresy. In order to grind and torch, one should respond to the main exegetical support and then give a positive exegetical treatment of the subject. So in preparation to do that, I’m going to list the common proof-texts by category and address them categorically. Here’s the common texts used to support generational curse theology:
Category 1: God directly visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children: Ex. 20:5-6, 34:6-7; Num. 14:18; Deut. 5:9-10, 7:9; Jer. 32:18.
Category 2: Children indirectly suffer for the sins of their fathers: Lev. 26:39: Deut. 23:2; 1 Sam 2:27-34, 3:11-14; Lam. 5:7; Matt. 27:24-25.
Category 3: Generational curses are broken by “calling out” to the Lord: Judg. 3:9; 1 Sam. 12:10-11.
Category 4: A person needs to repent of the sins of their predecessors: Neh. 1:5-6; Jer. 14:20; Dan. 9:16.
Category 5: Children are blessed for the righteousness of their fathers: Prov. 13:22.
Category 6: Generational curses were broken, at specific times in the past, for Israel: Ez. 18:2-3; Jer. 31:29-30.
I apologize to those of you who think I’m going a little overboard, but the difference between passionate opinion and biblical conviction is doing the necessary work. There are lots of people who label things as “unbiblical,” but that sadly means nothing these days. Most of the time, people who call something “unbiblical” will follow up that sort of broad statement with a list of loosely-related-to-the-topic verses as if that is a sufficient rebuttal, without actually showing what those verses prove. The internet is full of people who produce lists of verses to show how their insane ideas are apparently found in the Bible. What the internet is not full of is people who have passionate conviction born from carefully sorting through all the relevant scripture in order to come to a comprehensively biblical and exegetical conviction.
Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do…over the next several posts (though given my current pace, it will be well into 2017 before this series is done). For those of you who face this theological trash (and it’s everywhere), this won’t necessarily be light reading. I do hope that these posts will become a resource that you return to in the future. Whenever time allows, I’ll do my best to compile them into a single indexed page, like I did with my study on modesty.
In order to keep this shorter and more readable, I’ll cut it off now and address the texts in category 1 in the next post, with the following posts possibly dealing with multiple categories of texts.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “Still going but not blogging much” Unger