Question: What is your opinion of “generational sins” as supported by Bill Gothard? This teaching is splitting our church. Can you help?
Answer: A number of popular authors and speakers, such as Neil Anderson and others involved in “deliverance” ministries, promote various forms of this teaching. Part of the so-called “deliverance” process involves probing the past to find “connections” and “delivering” the person from alleged occult involvements among his or her ancestors.
Simple logic says that probing into the past to uncover “lost memories” of former traumas, as in psychotherapy or the Christian brand known as “inner healing,” is a vain pursuit for two reasons: 1) one can never be sure of the accuracy of such memories, due to a lack of objective verification; and 2) if one “lost memory” could have such a heavy influence upon the person’s thinking, emotions and conduct, who can say that there may not be other “memories” of equal or greater importance that likewise need to be recovered and “worked through” endlessly? Moreover, this practice clearly violates the biblical injunction, “forgetting those things which are behind” (Ph 3:13), and inhibits pressing “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 14).
So it is with generational curses. If these actually exist, then we face the hopeless task of digging them all out. How far back does one attempt to go? Surely there are hidden sins in the ancestry of everyone. My father was from England and my mother, though Canadian, had similar ancestry. Who knows what involvement with Druids lies hidden in my genealogy! My father’s mother was from Norway, so the worship of Nordic demons must also permeate my background. I could never uncover it all. And to pronounce a generic “deliverance” over that which is unknown seems both bizarre and phony.
Furthermore, the violation of Scripture is just as clear here as in inner healing. To search for occult influences in the past as though they had some power over which one needed to be delivered is the same violation of “forgetting those things which are behind.” In addition, all of the above deny the basic fact that the Christian’s sins were laid upon Christ and paid for by Him; he has been born again by faith in Christ, “old things are passed away...all things are become new” (2 Cor:5:17). Let us therefore “go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works....” (Heb:6:1).