Identificational Repentance

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Identificational Repentance
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Identificational Repentance differs from repentance in general in that it has nothing to do with salvation. Rather, it deals with the effects past sins (usually from past generations) still have today. It is based on the biblical examples of Nehemiah 9 and Daniel 9 where we find long confessions of the sins of the fathers, with the assertion "We and our fathers have sinned".

Identificational Repentance is usually part of initiatives of reconciliation, such as can be found in North America between blacks and whites, native Americans and whites, but also in Europe where Christians confessed the sinfulness of atrocities committed in the context of the Crusades, the Reformation/Counter Reformation, or more recently, the evils committed by Germans and Austrians during the Nazi regime of the twentieth century.

Some Christians believe that there are negative spiritual influences which linger in places where great evil has been committed, that Satan has some special hold on such places. Confessing these great evils as sinful breaks this hold and permits God to act in a greater way.

Even Christians who do not hold with "territorial" spiritual influences recognize however that the collective memory of great injustice done to our forebears, as well as the collective memory of the heroic acts of our forebears, are at the foundation of many of today's conflicts between nations and peoples, as well as between churches and denominations. By recognizing that our forebears "heroism" was perhaps not as innocent as our patriotic historians present it, we open the way to forgiveness and healing.



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