Clinton Arnold is, quite possibly, *the* expert on Pauline theology regarding the "principalities and powers." Additionally he has written studies on Ephesians and Colossians on the subject pointing toward an interpretation that accords reality to demonic entities and away from the "demythogizing" tact taken by Walter Wink and others. Additionally, Arnold is familiar (perhaps too familiar) with the leading lights of "deliverance ministry." The questions he deals with are indeed "crucial." And I find his answers both convincing and exegetically sound.
He criticizes the lack of biblical basis for SLSW and censures it's excesses. Likewise he deplores the tendency to concentrate on "the Devil" to the exclusion of "the flesh" and "the world" and the obsession with many in the movement with Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) and an secret, underground satanic network. The problem is that he keeps his criticisms general and the fact is that many of the movement's pioneers like Charles Kraft fell hook, link and sinker for the SRA craze and still maintain it exists. He deals with disgraced Mike Warnke, but doesn't mention other flim flam men like Bob Larson.
On the issue of "generational curses" he punts. On the one hand, stating that their is "no direct biblical support" for their existence and robbing them of "3rd and 4th generation" text which is their main proof-text, while on the other, holding out the possibility (a very slight one at that) that there may be "indirect biblical support."
[The "indirect support" is practically non-existent. One of the demoniacs, jesus excorcises is mentioned to be demonized "from childhood." From this Arnold, reasons that the boy couldn't have been responsible, hence it might have been something a relative did. That putting it mildly, is stretching things. Secondly, "from childhood" is not the same as "from birth" or "from infancy." The other instance are the Kings of Judah "committing the sins of their fathers" as possibly lending support. This fails to account for righteous kings like Hezekiah and Josiah being the sons of wicked kings--still less does it explain who Manasseh the most wicked king of all would have the longest reign.]
The fact is that "generational curses" at least as understood by the "power evangelism/spiritual warfare" types is utterly new. Nothing in the Bible. Nothing in the Early Church even remotely hints at anything like it. The problem was when some missionaries like Charle Kraft and Ed Murphy went over to africa and found the belief in generational curses as well as malevolent entities generally. Kraft & Co. rather uncritically took this belief and mixed it with all sorts of western psychobabble.
Add to that the unfortunate tendency of Wagner and others to interrogate entities and think they can put any credence in what they say. The history of "deliverance" is full of demons claiming to be the spirits of the dead. That is no reason to believe them! My guess is that entities know that they won't be believed if they claim to be spirits of the dead so they claim to be "familial spirits"
The devasting consequences of this teaching is such that you have people running around worrying over what their grandparent or great grandparent might have done. Every illness, every setback is the product of demonic attack. (In many ways this is the flip side of the "name it and claim it" teaching. If the Lord don't buy you that Mercedes-Benz, then it must be satan mucking up the business)
With all this going around, Arnold only gives it one paragraph. He's too honest to say there direct biblical support but too embarassed to say that it's a crock. (After all "virtually all" practitioners in deliverance ministry "assert the reality of familial spirits.")
While recovering the NT teaching on evil spirits and the need for deliverance, the Spiritual Warfare movement has a lot of kooky ideas and what's need is for someone like Arnold to grasp the nettle firmly and start namimg names!