The doctrine of ancestral curses, which is the staple in the diet of many preachers today, has come under criticism from the president of Godâ€™s Kingdom Society (GKS), Brother Oseghale Emmanuel Aighalua, who described the teaching as a grossly misleading and dangerous latter-day invention formulated by some church leaders for the purpose of generating easy money.
According to some church leaders, peoplesâ€™ misfortunes by way of frequent accidents, deaths, chronic illnesses, persistent financial troubles and so on, are due to inherited curses from their forefathersâ€™ alliances with demons, possessing of stolen property, or even because one is living in a house or environment that had been cursed due to the evil that had been committed there.
Speaking during a Watch and Pray Viewers Forum organised by the GKS at her service hall in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the GKS president said the teaching that the sins of forefathers were visited upon the children, independent of the moral conduct of the latter, was as absurd as it was Scripturally unsustainable.
He said that even the law as stated in Exodus 20:5 which states that God Almighty visits â€œthe iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generationsâ€ still contained the proviso that the law only applied to children who also hated God as their fathers did.
Aighalua said the doctrine of ancestral curses was akin to the proverb prevalent among the Jews of old that it was because the fathers had eaten sour grapes, that the children’s teeth were set on edge, a belief which God debunked pointedly in Ezekiel 18.
He said at the Forum which was an opportunity for viewers of the GKS TV Service programme to ask questions on the church teachings, that it had always been God’s principle to punish only the guilty and that every individual was responsible for his sins, hence the categorical statement in verses 4 and 20 of Ezekiel 18 that: â€œBehold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die… 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 him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.â€
He also quoted Deuteronomy 24:16: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither the children for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin,” adding that God gives â€œto every man according to his ways.” (Jeremiah 32:18-19).
â€œIt is evident therefore that God is no fiend who will store up punishments for the children of those who had broken His laws when the children had done no wrong. He does not punish the righteous with the wicked,â€ the GKS leader said, citing Philippians 2:12 where Apostle Paul exhorted Christians to work out their own salvation â€œwith fear and trembling.â€
Brother Aighalua said that even if oneâ€™s forebears had committed themselves in any way, the consequences of their actions would not have effect on the children who hadÂ become new creatures through faith and belief of the truth and who had placed themselves under the protection of God Almighty and Jesus Christ, pointing out: â€œThose who believe they are under the protection of God and still fear ancestral curses are guilty of unbelief and such could be easily deceived into spending thousands of naira for prayers for breaking such so-called curses.â€
Asserting that pastors should refrain from inviting people to come to them for deliverance or prayers to break ancestral curses, since in any case people could pray to God and be heard by Him, the cleric enjoined Christians to take warning from Peterâ€™s exhortation that they should beware of false teachers who â€œthrough covetousness shall…with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.â€ (II Peter 2:3). The church leader believed that some of the problems people faced were due to their own wrongful actions or character defects or as a result of oppression from the devil as was the case with Job.
Each person, he said, has to examine himself and if his troubles are due to his own failings, he should have the courage to make the needed changes.Â If it is from the devil then he should continue to look to God for His mercies. â€œThose who are lazy, who waste money on personal pleasures and neglect their basic needs, who fail to plan for their future, should examine themselves and put their houses in order, by working hard, living according to their means, saving for the future with faith in God, rather than covering up their mistakes by blaming their woes on ancestral cursesâ€, he declared.