Repent!!

Alligator @MerrittIsNWR 29Dec07 LAH 562Do we need to repent?

The blogosphere is all up in arms over Cindy Jacobs telling Native Americans and Mexicans that they need to repent for the idolatry of their ancestors. You can read various takes on it here, here, and here, for starters. Or you can go straight to the source and watch the video on Vimeo. Yes, I watched the entire ten minutes.

Naturally, this video has caused quite a ruckus. Maybe that’s because of some inflammatory statements, such as:

If you have in your bloodline any animus, any Native American blood, for instance, not all Native Americans worshipped the serpent or crocodile, many did, but you might want to renounce that and repent for the generational iniquity.

And:

If you are—perhaps you’re Mexican and you might have indigenous blood in you or Mayan blood—those who have Aztec blood in any way, you need to repent for the sin of animism before you begin to deal with this [Leviathan] spirit.

Actually, her teaching is not on generational repentence, but on the “Levianthan spirit”:

Our culture is stalked by a territorial spirit that works to twist, undermine and otherwise pervert the truth. This spirit, known as the Leviathan spirit (Job 41), is usually cloaked in deception and often at the root of many kinds of division and strife.

You can agree or disagree with her interpretation of this passage as referring to a Crocodilian or snake-like demon. I’m not going to go there. Rather, I want to address the outpouring of articles screaming about her decision to single out Native Americans and Mexicans as peoples in need of repentance. You can just hear the blood boil.

When I saw the headlines, my first thought was, “Oh no, someone is making Christians look intolerant and stupid again. How embarrassing!” Then I realized that all the news sources were secular at best, if not clearly anti-faith. That’s when I decided to avoid the hype and watch the original video.

Is there a problem?

Yes and no. There are numerous verses in the Old Testament supporting the idea of repenting for the sins of our ancestors. Here are a few:  Leviticus 26:39-40, Nehemiah 9:2, Jeremiah 3:25, Jeremiah 14:20. The secular world won’t understand this concept, but it is certainly Biblical.

However, I do see two major issues. First, I don’t think we need to run around looking for demons to stomp on. Yes, I believe in demons. They’re mean and nasty and more powerful than we are. But this continual focus on spiritual warfare isn’t healthy. It may sell tapes and CDs but it leaves a believer constantly on edge, seeing demons lurking behind every unkind thought or family squabble. We aren’t to live in fear, focused on evil. Rather, we need to keep our eyes on God. If there’s a demon to be dealt with, He’ll let us know!

The second problem is that I don’t think Jacobs went far enough!

Why single out Native Americans and Mexicans? We all come from bloodlines that once worshiped spirits of various sorts. What about Greek and Roman mythology? Or the European tribes who worshiped the Teutonic gods? Or the Celts and Druidism? No matter what heritage you claim, someone in your past worshiped some unsavory characters. Yet, I don’t see any videos telling the Germans, or the Swedes, or the Italians to repent on behalf of their ancestors.

I guess I assume that those converting would have renounced their past idolatry when they embraced the Trinity. Unless God specifically tells me to do so, I don’t feel a need to repent for an ancestor’s devotion to Wodan, for example. On the other hand, perhaps I do need to repent for my parents’ disbelief. I’ll have to think about that.

What do you think? Is Cindy Jacobs right?

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