Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Papa was a rolling stone

It's been a while since my last theological rant, so I've decided to delve back into the world of heresy, blasphemy, fallacy, and outright silliness. Today we look at Generational Curses. To those of you in mainstream denominations, this may be an unfamiliar concept to you. The basic idea is that the sins of your forefathers bring a curse upon your family that will cause them to either commit the same sin or suffer a related malady due to the sin. This belief pops up in here and there in some pentecostal charismatic groups but has mostly been supported by the Word Faith movement. The proof texts for this are: Exodus 34:7
'The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.'

Leviticus 26:39-42
Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers' sin they will waste away. But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers.

As well as Exodus 20:8; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9; 27:15-26; 28:58-59 and several other similar verses that all pretty much say about the same thing. Let me begin my discussion of this issue by saying that I am in no way denying that generational curses have or continue to exist. I will not go into what form they take or how they work in this particular post, but what I will say is that Christians cannot be afflicted with generational curses. This notion that is going through certain channels of the church of repenting for generational sin is based on OT verses read out of context, a seemingly complete dismissal of the New Testament and that Jesus fella' we all like so much, and a smorgasbord or logical fallacies. We'll first take a look at the OT.

Generational Curses are from God
It is important for this discussion that we remember that generational curses or any curse mentioned in the books of the Law are God's just and righteous judgement upon his people. They are not from the devil or demons. Every scripture that supports the concept of generational curses makes it clear that it is God who has issued them. "Cursed be anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by observing them." All the people shall say, "Amen!"
So if curses are from God, why would he continue to curse those whom he has washed white as snow? Why would he punish people for their sins after He has justified and sanctified?

Generational Curses are not inevitable

Even in the OT we see the prophets dealing with the question 'what about children who uphold the law, shall they be punished for their fathers?' There are several places in the OT that answer a resounding "NO!" such as 2 Kings 14:6; Jeremiah 31:29-30; Deut. 24:16, and most notably Ezekiel 18:14-20 which says, "
"But if this man has a son who sees all the sins that his father has done, considers, and does not do likewise, who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife, does not wrong anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment,
withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no advance or accrued interest, observes my ordinances, and follows my statutes; he shall not die for his father's iniquity; he shall surely live.
As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, he dies for his iniquity.
Yet you say, "Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?" When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own."

Christ's atoning death removed all curses

Galatians 3:10-14, 23-29 clearly show us that the curses of the law no longer hold us.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for "The one who is righteous will live by faith." 12 But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, "Whoever does the works of the law will live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith... Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise"

In verse 10 Paul quotes Deut. 27:26 and 28:58 both of which directly deal with generational curses. He makes a two fold arguement in this chapter against generational curse. 1) Christ's death atoned for all sin thus freeing us from the curse of the law. 2) We are now adopted sons and daughters of God! He is our Father and I can guarantee that there won't be any inherited sins from Him (he's done pretty good at keeping the law, you know, being perfect and all).
Some might argue that they agree that Christ's death frees us from curses, but that we must ask for deliverance, refering to Lev. 26 where God called for people to confess their sins and the sins of their father. This is problematic for several reasons. First, it disregards what confession meant in the old testament. This is not confesion as Christians know it to be. These people would have had to perform a sacrifice to atone for the sins. But we no longer need to atone for our sin since Christ was a perfect sacrifice. To apply this verse to Christians just because it uses the word "confess" is hammering a square peg in a round hole. Secondly, the theology of the generational sin proponents taken to its inevitable conclusion would claim that it is our confessions that justifies us. But Paul addresses this directly in Galatians (as well as many other places) and tells us that it is faith that justifies us. Through faith we are reunited with God and made holy. Once we are reunited with God we are filled with the Holy Spirit and from the Spirit we cry 'Abba, Father' andgive our confession. Christian confession is not an atoning act, it is a sign of our love for God that comes from the Holy Spirit.
In the end, the teaching of Christian generational sin defiles God. To say that God will give us the gift of grace that will save us from eternal damnation and ushers us into His Holy Kingdom but He won't take away that pesky curse is foolishness. It's like someone forgiving your debt of $1,000,000,000 but leaving your $1000 debt just for the heck of it. It makes no sense!!! To also say that regular your faith in Christ isn't enough but that you have to go through a special deliverance turns God into a fickle god reminiscent of the pagan myths. As if God is listening to our prayers asking Him to heal us and he shakes His finger and says "You didn't say the magic words!" That certainly doesn't sound like a God whose heart was so broken for His people that he took on flesh and bone and suffered the worst possible death to be with us again.
Dan, 10:37 AM


Wow, you took a hard line there at the end. Preach it, broseph.
Blogger Miss Sara, at 6:19 AM  

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