The damaging teaching about spiritual husbands and wives

A quick browse of the net will show that TB Joshua has a bit of a reputation for delivering people from “spiritual husbands and wives”. Those of you from a western background might find this idea baffling, but thankfully Zambian Pastor Conrad Mwebe has covered this issue in an enlightening blog post. For those unfamiliar with Conrad Mwebe, he is recommended reading and has been covered twice before on this site in “The state of African Christianity” and “Touch not the Lord’s anointed“.

A TB Joshua Watch reader who has suffered multiple miscarriages recently contacted us by email. Her husband is a SCOAN supporter and on a recent visit had been told by TB Joshua that the reason for the miscarriages was that his wife had a “spiritual husband”.

Pastor Mwebe explains this bizarre diagnosis:

The belief is that when your marriage is breaking up due to a husband who seems to have lost interest in you, or you have serious gynaecological problems, or you are having miscarriages, then it is because you have a spirit called a spiritual husband causing all this in the spiritual realm. It is also the case if you are getting on in years and no man is seriously approaching you for marriage. It means you have a spiritual husband blocking other men. You need deliverance in order to have a wholesome marriage or for your body to function normally.

All of this is nonsense, says Mwebe. He gives 4 reasons summarised below (we recommend you read the full article too):

  1. It’s not biblical. “We have gone right back to the dark ages where we believe everything that “priests” say without checking it with what the Bible says. As in the dark ages, stories doing their rounds are becoming larger than life.”
  2. It involves a superstitious view of dreams, in reality “dreams simply live out the wishes and fears of our lives”.
  3. There is a failure to handle moral issues the way the Bible handles them. Those involved in sexual sin are being told that the blame is on spiritual husbands or wives and all they need is deliverance. Responsibility is shifted from them to some powerful forces.
  4. There is a failure to counsel people with biblical principles of marriage, instead people are just told they need deliverance.

You may now be wondering about the videos of positive testimonies telling of deliverance from spirit spouses. Pastor Mwebe touches on this important issue too:

As usual, there are many benighted souls who are ready to testify that they went for such deliverance meetings where the “man of God” prayed for them to be delivered from their spiritual husbands and since then their dreams have returned to normal and their marriages are supposedly back on track. For those who were not being proposed, after the deliverance sessions they have found spouses and are now married and are living happily ever after! Sadly, there are many, many more whose marriages would have been salvaged if they had gone through proper Christian marriage counselling. These are the ones who suffer quietly and are told that they lacked faith or they did not have a breakthrough.

We believe that this teaching is not only wrong, but damaging and should be vehemently rejected. The consequence of this teaching is that it creates a spirit of control, where people are led to believe they are helpless against their marital issues, and instead must seek “deliverance” from the “man of God” who diagnosed their condition. This focus on deliverance, or a spiritual “quick fix” draws people away from solutions that require hard work, self control, or facing the facts. Worst of all, it draws attention away from Jesus, the one and only mediator between us and God, who every believer can pray to directly for help in the situation they find themselves in.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)