The title’s question mark gives away my conviction concerning this popular teaching.
It’s too long a message for a blog entry, so I’ve put it on my Other Writings page.
Here’s how it begins:
Let me lead into this subject by sharing my personal experience with a fellowship that used the term “familiar spirit” to refer to evil spirits that (according to this fellowship) entrench themselves in the families of mankind. For example, if Grandpa and Uncle Bill and cousin Jack are alcoholics, this is the work of a “familiar spirit,” and inevitably the new generation will grow up and be victimized by the same. Or, if Great Grandma and Grandma and Dad have heart disease or Alzheimer’s, this is no doubt the work of a “familiar spirit.”
The elders of this fellowship would sometimes visit the fellowship I was part of, bringing this teaching with them—to the point that just about every sin and problem and sickness in our midst was credited to the evil working of familiar spirits. Prayer times were invariably filled with their loud declarations binding the familiar spirit in So and so, and the familiar spirit over Such and such a family, or breaking the curse of a familiar spirit over this one who was sick… and so on….
Those interested can read the full message here: Generational Spirits?