Question: Scriptures such as Exodus:34:7 and Numbers:14:18 seem to indicate there is such a thing as generational sin caused by the sins of our ancestors. Shouldn’t we pay more attention to those who have been involved in “deliverance” ministries?
Response: No. We should pay more attention to the context of the scriptures being used to see whether or not someone’s teaching is true to God’s Word. In both Exodus:34:7 and Numbers:14:18, God is dealing with a people according to His covenant of law. His covenant included blessings and curses; obedience brought blessings and breaking the law brought curses. Even though the sins of God’s covenant people would reap destructive consequences throughout generations, nevertheless God’s justice, grace and mercy were made manifest to the individual. The entire chapter of Ezekiel 18 addresses that fact: “The soul that sinneth.... The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon [the righteous], and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon [the wicked]” (Ezk 18:20).
As a basis for their insistence upon the need to “break off” iniquities of one’s fathers in order to free an individual, deliverance ministries lean heavily on Old Testament scriptures. Yet even those Old Testament scriptures look forward to Christ, the Servant who will bear these iniquities (Is 53:11) and pardon all of them (Jer:33:8).
Deliverance ministries (and others who emphasize “generational sins,” “iniquities,” and “ancestral curses” affecting believers) are in danger of putting themselves under a “curse.” The New Testament clearly teaches that believers are not under the law; that “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us...” (Gal:3:13). Therefore, those who impose the law upon believers deny the gospel and become subject to Paul’s condemnation in Galatians:1:9: “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
Finally, “generational curses” are said by many of the deliverance teachers to be the implements of Satan and his demons to create problems for Christians. Supposedly, sins of our ancestors bring about curses for which demons are making us pay today. The primary problem with this teaching is that there is no example in Scripture of demons cursing anyone. God curses, not Satan. And even when Satan’s instruments such as Balak try to have God’s people cursed, it is of no effect (Nm 23:23). So while curses may be the demonically generated devices of fear and destruction in the sorcerer’s world of animists, shamans, witches, voodoo priests and other pagans, where the church is concerned they are simply part of Satan’s scam to deceive—especially experientially driven, and consequently spiritually gullible, Christians.