[CF Devotionals] 2009-04-28 - The False Doctrine of Inherited Demons

The Spiritual Warfare Series, Part 2

  • One major problem then is an inconsistent and illogical approach to the use of scripture.

    Powlison identifies two factors involved with the poor handling of scripture. He describes them as: “Fragmentation” and “Flattening.” He defines them as follows:

    “Fragmentation occurs when context is lost. … Contexts are significant: Scripture is composed of passages within books within an Old and a New Covenant. … God’s speaking embeds particular comments and incidents within larger interpretive themes. …”

    “The second problem - flattening - occurs when the distinctives of the particular passage are lost. What a passage means to teach us becomes obscured; some lowest common denominator blinds us to its details. … Flattening can also occur when something is imported from outside the Bible. For example, many (deliverance) books teach that the human heart can become a haunted house of demons inherited from sinful ancestors, which is not what the Bible itself says about the human heart. The notion of ancestral spirits is a bit of occult theology read into the Bible, not out of it.” 3

    Another example of this poor use of scripture is a passage that is frequently used as a “proof text” for transgenerational demon possession. The passage of course is Exodus 20:5:

    “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me …”

    The problem here is that nothing is being said about demons here, or anywhere in scripture, regarding transgenerational demons. In fact, the principle here would seem to be best understood as saying that if there has not been repentance by the third or fourth generation, sin is so ingrained that destruction is inevitable. This truth can be observed throughout the books of Joshua and Judges. So a teaching of transgenerational demon involvement leads to saying there is bondage,where none actually exists.

  1. Powlison, David, Power Encounters–Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, pp. 44-46.

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