Skip to comments.Polygamy rights is the next civil rights battle
Posted on 12/12/2005 3:28:02 PM PST by sionnsar
Check out the Organization for Christian Polygamy (WARNING! HIGH STRANGENESS LEVEL!)
They advertise themselves as Continuing the Reformation. Gee whiz, I guess so, although I know a lot of Reformed-type guys who might dispute their claim. I have a feeling this is an inevitable outcome of the interpret-it-yourself-with-no-recourse-to-tradition approach to scripture that can be found on the outermost wacko fringes of Evangelical theology.
They seem to go to great lengths to make themselves sound mainstream:
"Polygamy is in the Bible. Polygamy is found throughout history. These facts prove that marriage's definition includes plural marriage. Polygyny is a far older traditional marriage than anti-polygamy.
Well, if its not about redefining marriage, then why do they make such a point of riding in on the coattails of gay marriage? And if its all about love, then what difference does it whether if its recognized by the state? Is it really all about health insurance? And I have to ask so what if polygyny is a far older traditional marriage than anti-polygamy? Hunting bears with rocks is a far older tradition than hunting bears with rifles. You go first; Ill be right behind you. And so what if polygamy is in the bible? The last time I checked, so was passing your children through the fire to Moloch. Are we going to have an Organization for Christian Human Sacrifice? Never mind; forget that. I don't want to start something.
I wonder how they find a pastor to marry them? Deacons, priests, and bishops are all supposed to be the husbands of one wife, if I remember Paul in the Pastorals correctly. One suspects that their ministers are all self-apponted.
There is a reasonably good biblical argument for the acceptability of polygamy, if one really wants to make it.
By contrast, there's no argument at all for gay marriage.
So, if our frontier-pushers had decided to get things in the right order, they would have pressed first for polygamy, and pointed to the endless Old Testament accounts of it, and the lack of SPECIFIC condemnation of it by Jesus. One can INFER monogamy from Jesus, but it's not explict, not like his condemnation of divorce is.
By contrast, that there's no such thing as gay marriage is OBVIOUS. Curious, then, that so many liberal churches, such as the American Episcopal Church, have embraced gay civil unions, etc., with a will, but shun polygamy. NORMAL male desires (to have bunches of women), are to be tempered by restraint and reproved, but lecherous buggery is to proclaimed from the episcopacy.
Right before the Flood a strange race of sons of God is described in Genesis. They were very much after daughters of men, of whom they "took to themselves wives of all which they chose". They did not do well. The next chapter explains how orderly the couple-by-couple process of loading the Ark was to be. Male and female, male and female, about a dosen times, in case Noah (monogamous one) and his three sons (ditto) missed the point.
No, there isn't. Polygamy was never part of God's design. It was one of the corruptions of men. The OT patriarchs who practiced it did not receive God's blessing until they gave up that particular sin.
I'd want to see some proof before I buy that one. Even if you only use Genesis as a source, the earliest recorded polygamists were 7-8 generations down the line.
Solomon did not receive God's blessing?
Abraham did not receive God's blessing?
I don't think that position is sustainable.
They received God's blessing after they returned to monogamy.
Go read your Bible.
I forgot to add, Solomon did not repent and was destroyed.
A Mormon acquaintance once pushed Mark Twain into an argument on the issue of polygamy. After long and tedious expositions justifying the practice, the Mormon demanded that Twain cite any passage of scripture expressly forbidding polygamy.
"Nothing easier," Twain replied. "No man can serve two masters."
And Abraham's "mistake" is still trying to claim its birthrights when God clearly gave them to Isaac (from the blessed union).
Next it'll be, "Me and my dog are in love. Why can't we get married?"
What is the world coming too?
1Ti 3:12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.
Tit 1:6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.
Caveat: I am not a supporter of polygamy. (Read twice then rince and spit) :)
Having said that, those particular verses refer to leaders in the Church.
The overseer you cite in 1 Ti 3:2 is an episkipos, bishop
The deacon you cite in 1 Ti 3:12 is a diakonos
The Titus citation refers back to the word "elder" (kjv), or presbyteros, which means priest.
(note, in the Church, the order of bishops is called the episcopate, the order of priests is called the presbyteriate, and the order of deacons is called the diaconate...from the original usages as reported in the Bible)
Anyway, the fact that the word "one" is a translation of the Greek word eis, it clearly leaves points out that these classes should have one wife, as opposed to several wives. By implication, this would tend to imply that potential candidates might have more than one wife...this would show that more than one wife would be acceptable, otherwise it wouldn't have been mentioned in the first place. The word 'eis' highlights this distinction.
Having said that, I do agree with your conclusion...just not your proof-texts.
I think you make a good point. I neglected to look at Titus 1:5 which shows verse 6 is about elders. I also agree with your conclusion that scripture indicates some people in the Church had multiple wives (as well as slaves).
What is significant is Paul makes a distinction that lay people in the service of the Church (elders or deacons) must set a good example and that good example includes being the husband of "one" wife. Under Paul's definition a polegamist could never become a leader within the early church. Why would a true Christian want to be a polygamist knowing that he could never be in a leadership position? Where is his heart? Paul cleverly never condemns or offends anyone but backhandedly makes the case that polegamy is wrong.
If I recall, the gentile cultures of the time allowed polygamy. When they converted to Christianity, what would happen to this kind of a family? I believe those were the roots of its tolerence in the early Church.
I think if you were to look at Matthew 19:4-6, the will of God in the matter is abundantly clear:
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
The above text is then re-iterated by the Apostle in his letter to the Ephesians:
So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
Again, we can see that the concept is one husband, one wife and that in marriage they become one flesh. If polygamy was within God's plan, all two, three, four, or one thousand wives would have to become one flesh with not only the husband but also with each other (otherwise they couldn't be truly one flesh with the husband).
And then the analogy St Paul points out is very apt in this discussion, as well. Christ only has one bride: His church. There are not many churches, but only one. Elsewhere, where the Church is analogized to Christ's Body, it doesn't refer to multiple bodies...just one.
In light of these scriptures (which I consider to be far superior as proof texts), it is apparent that any tolerance for polygamy must have simply been a grace afforded to converts from the gentile races.
That's already happening. There is a guy in Maine who has a suit in the court system there demanding that he be allowed to "marry" his German Shepherd. I kid you not!
And I'll bet he's not the only one...
Little known fact: Luther performed a polygamous marriage for a minor German noble; I believe his name was Philip of Hesse. Luther's justification was that he couldn't find a Biblical prohibition against it.
If one wishes to be a priest, a deacon or a bishop, he can only have one wife.
But it doesn't say that someone who isn't any of those things, a simple layman, can't have more than one wife. Christian tradition says so (old Mormon tradition excepted) but it's not particularly biblical.
Someone mentioned Solomon.
Solomon was never destroyed. His offspring destroyed the Kingdon. God didn't strike down Solomon during all the days of his life.
Further, the reproach against Solomon isn't that he had many wives, it's that he took FOREIGN wives.
And two wives have practically a competition between the two of them in having children, each child of which became the patriarch of one of the twelve tribes. Israel was blessed with all of them even as he begat the tribes of Israel by two wives.
Someone told me "read your bible". Go read yours!
It's tradition that tells us to get rid of polygamy in all cases, not Scripture.
I'm not sure where you feel Christian tradition states that we are allowed more than one wife. I've never heard this one before.
As for Jacob, his wives drove him crazy. So did his sons. The twelve tribes (and they were begat by Jacob's two wives and two handmaidens) had numerous problems. His sons sold Joseph into captivity hoping never to see him again, others tricked people into circumcision and then murdered them, and Judah refused to do his family duties to Tamar yet he was willing to "sleep around". As a whole the tribe of Benjamin wasn't any better than Sodom and God virtually wiped them out (Judges 19). As soon as Solomon died the northern ten tribes were off worshiping not one but two golden calves. You'll find it difficult to argue about how wonderful the twelve tribes were.
The only reason a person wants more than one wife is for the same reason a person wants four/five cars, 2, 3 or 4 homes, the latest and greatest HDTV home theater system or anything else; lust and greed. The Bible doesn't explicitly condemn polygamy but it is implicitly implied you should only have one wife. The sacraments were never denied to a member with more than one wife but people were encouraged to only have one.
God created Adam and Eve. He didn't create Adam and Eve and Barbara and Clair and Susie and ... One was all that Adam could handle-and then he didn't handle her very well.
Something very strange is going on at this site. Last week there were some alleged Christians promoting euthanasia and bashing other Christians for speaking out against it. Now it's polygamy. Something very weird is going on here. It could be the common selective Christianity according to one's perversions or something more unholy on a large scale. Either way it's disturbing.
I am NOT advocating polygamy!
Polygamy is wrong, bad. Shouldn't be done.
I am being Scripturally precise.
Polygamy, like the replacement of the Saturday Sabbath with Sunday worship for Christians, is sacred Tradition.
It's not commanded by Scripture.
The abolition of polygamy, and the abolition of slavery on Christian principles, are but two examples of the way that, guided by the Holy Spirit, Christians have evolved a traditional morality that transcends the limits of Scripture and lives the concepts more fully than is strictly required by the Bible.
Polygamy was never tradition. It was man's perversion of God's plan. Please don't say God "allowed" it so it must be okay. God allows many things because of free will.
"Polygamy was never tradition."
You are correct.
I meant to write "monogamy", not "polygamy" in that sentence, but was anchored on the word "polygamy" and typed it instead, completely reversing the meaning I intended to convey.
Thank you for the correction, for you are indeed correct.
Biblical law vs biblical narrative.