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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

19 August 2005

Cursing in Jesus’ Name

Q: My wife’s pastor recently “cursed” a dog that bit my wife “in Jesus’ name.” Is there a biblical foundation for doing this? He also commented to her about the “power of the spoken Word.” What is he referring to? Thank you for your time. Oh, in case you are curious, my wife reported that the dog did get very sick.

CursingA: I reckon this as a rather frivolous use of God’s holy Name. In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther explains the Commandment, “You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God,” by saying, “We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”

While Scripture references deal more with cursing people (see James 3:9-10 and Luke 9:51-55, where James and John ask Jesus about calling down fire on a Samaritan village), it nowhere encourages the cursing of animals or other things.

As for the “power of the spoken Word,” God’s Word does have power as it is proclaimed — even more reason to not misuse it.

Catechism quoted from Luther’s Small Catechism, © 1986 by Concordia Publishing House.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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