Marriage Divination

One of the most troubling aspects of Nigerian Christianity is the concept of marriage divination. It is now prevalent in Pentecostal circles, and this is what happens: A young man who has been dating a girl realises he needs to take the next step and so he approaches his pastor. The pastor promises to “look into it.” The pastor comes out with a negative prognosis that generates fear. That fear is consonant with the root derivative of such systems – African traditional religion.

In one particular instance the pastor admitted the young lady was a good girl “but there are some powers operating in her family lineage.” Such a statement would strike terror in the heart of any young man, and it did in this instance. Within days the young man began to have fearsome dreams – dreams of extreme poverty, stubborn persistent thematic dreams of impecuniosity in various expressions. Until this pastor made the pronouncement the young man didn’t have such dreams – not one dream over a period of one and half years. Of course he couldn’t discuss the outcome of the spiritual consultation with his girlfriend. You don’t discuss such unless you’re making preparation to bail out of a relationship. Our young man was super conflicted. Mums being what they are, his mum noticed things weren’t okay with him and she weighed in on the issue. HER solution was to consult HER spiritual adviser, her pastor. Well, her pastor gave his spiritual assessment. He said there were a “lot of issues down the road” and advised against the marriage. What these issues are he didn’t specify, just said “issues.” On the strength of the evidentiary weight of two pastor witnesses the young man terminated his relationship. One can imagine the devastation to the young lady.
A critical examination of the issues raises rational queries. First, if for the sake of argument we countenance the possibility of dedicated familial demons and that serves as the basis for matrimonial disqualification, which African is then qualified to marry! Our ancestors worshipped devils and demons. There’s hardly a family without such history. The continent is not called the Dark Continent for nothing and it’s not because there was no electricity. Of course we do not have ANY information from the Bible about such deep state demons and one should be wary about extra-curricular spiritual information. Satan is the master of counterintelligence. Once you go extra-curricular the Bible you’re in another terrain. You’ll be subjected to laws you have no knowledge of, to forces beyond you. With the insertion of fear into the equation that marriage was doomed. If the guy trips and injures a toe on honeymoon it will be ascribed to those ancestral forces. If there’s late conception in the marriage it will be ascribed to the ancestral specialists. It’s an unwinnable proposition for the young lady.
The second issue is the young man’s poor knowledge of the mechanics of dreams. According to WebMD, dreams are basically stories and images our minds create while we sleep. Most vivid dreams occur during deep REM sleep. We probably dream four, five times a night according to experts. We don’t remember most dreams. But the subconscious platform is open architecture, so God uses it to DM information to us in video format, but it’s not his preferred system. It’s a desperate measure. He’ll rather lead you by his Spirit not dreams. Romans 8:14. Dreams are fantastical movies. When we wake up our brains begin to scramble to make sense of them. We begin to do movie reviews, but the truth is, we’re all movie directors at night. We all make movies at night. Now, Satan has access to the platform as well. It’s open after all. He can DM videos too. And he can hack into your system, even inject a virus. Fear is a virus. Clearly this young man is superstitious and Satan preyed on his susceptibility to fear by sending equivalence of YouTube videos to him as dreams. He sent him horror clips, spliced him into the frames.
If you don’t like a dream reject it. The Bible says to cast down imagination and to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5. That you dreamt it doesn’t mean it has to come to pass. As a secondary step to rejecting the dream the young man should simply have called his girlfriend and both of them pray a prayer of agreement concerning their future, standing on God’s word. Matthew 18:19. “There is no spell against Jacob and no divination against Israel.” Numbers 23:23 BSB. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” Colossians 1:13 NIV.
But what is really troubling faith-wise is the syncretisation of African traditional religion with Christianity. The concept of matrimonial divination – the taking of names to a pastor for “spiritual examination” is a repackaging of shamanism. It is neo shamanism. Matrimonial divination is what juju and Ifa priests do but it’s alien to Christianity. There is no scriptural authority for it whatsoever. There’s not one instance of matrimonial divination in scriptures, no instruction on it. And to those who liken marital divination to the Urim and Thummim system under the Law we’re not under the Law. And even under the Law there was no such divination. Besides, we have been delivered from the Law. Romans 7:6. “But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power.” Romans 7:6 NLT. The Spirit of God was not democratised in the Old Testament. Not so in the New Testament. Every believer has the Spirit of God. Romans 8:9. Therefore third party divination agency is abolished. What is interesting is that the Christians of old did all they could to distance themselves from shamanism. For example, Christian converts who practiced sorcery in Ephesus burnt their books of incantation. Acts 19:19. How is it then that some African Christians want to merge Christianity with shamanism? What the young man did was essentially open himself to spiritual influences through his faith. It’s why he kept having those dreams. And there are many unfortunate stories like this.
There have been reported cases of guys who went to introduce their girlfriend to their pastor and the pastor “divines” the girl is not the right bride, introducing another woman into the equation. Without doubt some pastors misuse moral and spiritual authority. In narrating these cases however we must be careful not to condemn pastors in general. That is wrong. There are many, many sound pastors who will never do such stuff. They even condemn such practices. This is not saying a young man or woman cannot approach his pastor for counsel. The pastor has mentoring superintendence. His job is to counsel on life situations. But such counsel is predicated on the word of God not extra biblical resources. Marital divination is ultra vires the authority and legal power of a pastor. It’s not in the Bible. It is alien to Christianity.
But perhaps the biggest issue in the room is that some people don’t want to take moral responsibility for their marital choice. They seek to defer that role to their pastor or spiritual mentor. But when decisions are taken for us life insists our acquiescence is tantamount to agreement. Life credits us with that decision, says we made it. It is why when things go wrong in the marriage we suffer alone, not the pastor. Take responsibility. The central tenet of Christianity is responsibility. Each of us for example will stand on our record before God. Romans 14:10-12. Take responsibility for your life. If anything goes wrong in your marriage you can’t blame anyone. It’s your marriage. And even if you can of what use is that? You have to learn to listen to the Spirit of God by yourself. Read up on it. You have to know the scriptures for yourself. You must mature spiritually. Then you won’t be “blown about by every wind of new teaching.” Ephesians 4:14 NLT.
The Bible does not recommend leading by dreams or signs for the Christian. The Bible says be led by God’s Spirit. It’s the genetic proof of sonship. Romans 8:14. The weakness in dreams is that they require interpretation and Joseph is dead. John 16:13 says the Holy Spirit will give you critical intelligence. God eliminated third party spiritual agency in the New Testament. He does direct messaging. There are beings called familiar spirits. These are spirits of divination. They’re Satan’s counterintelligence agents. In Philippi Paul encountered one. There was a young girl with a spirit of divination. She could tell the future. And she kept testifying Paul and Silas were genuine men of God, said they had come to tell people how to be saved. And yet Paul cast out the spirit. Acts 16:16-24. That a spirit speaks truth doesn’t mean it’s of God. That it testifies of God and preaches salvation doesn’t mean it’s of God either. Acts 16:16-24. Source code matters. Have a discerning spirit. Don’t put yourself under a spiritual controller. If you can’t take a step without consulting your pastor you’re probably in bondage. No sound pastor encourages such dependency. He teaches you how to get your information directly from the Spirit of God by yourself. You are after all God’s child. There’s a titanic struggle between the force of light and the force of darkness. Ephesians 6:12. How then can light employ methods of darkness? Think about that.
If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
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© Leke Alder |