Thursday, November 5, 2009

Polygamy and Discipleship

Here are some words from Mark Driscoll that apply to our Muslim friends.

Various cults, aberrant sects, and perverts make the case that the Bible does mention polygamy and so it is biblically acceptable. However, they fail to acknowledge that the Bible speaks of human sin from beginning to end to show the evil horrors of sin. Therefore, just because something is in the Bible does not mean that God approves of it, as is the case with the rapes, murders, and adulteries reported throughout Scripture.

There are many biblical and practical reasons why polygamy is sinful and harmful.
  1. The first man to take more than one wife was the godless man Lamech (Genesis 4:19–24).
  2. Some of the Old Testament patriarchs did practice polygamy, and it never honored God. For example, Abram married Hagar in addition to Sarai. The results of this polygamy are truly tragic, as is the case with other instances of adultery and polygamy in Scripture. Abram slept with Hagar and she bore him a son. God promised that Hagar’s son would become the father of a great nation because he was a son of Abram, though not the son of the promise (which would eventually be Isaac). God promised that Ishmael would be a “wild donkey of a man” and that he would be a warrior in hostility with his brothers who would descend from Abram. Ishmael was born to a Hebrew father and Egyptian mother and became the father of the Arab nations that to this day are in hostility with Jews and Christians alike, as promised.
  3. The disaster of polygamy is illustrated by Lamech and Adah and Zillah in Genesis 4:19–24, Esau and Mahalath and other wives in Genesis 28:6–9, and Jacob and Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29:15–30. None of these occurrences was godly or good.
  4. The Bible repeatedly shows that polygamy is wrought with favoritism, fighting, jealousy, and mistreatment (e.g., Genesis 35:22; 38:18–28; 2 Samuel 3:2–5; 13:1–29; 15–18; 1 Kings 11:1–4).
  5. The New Testament church elders who serve as the pattern for Christian families are to be one-woman men and not polygamists (1 Timothy 3:2, 12).
  6. God’s intention is that each man would have one wife (Genesis 2:18; Matthew 19:4–6).
  7. Marriage is ultimately a picture of Jesus’ loving relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:22–33; Revelation 19:6–9). Jesus is faithful to one bride, the church, as the pattern for all marriages."
All this begs another question: what should a Muslim man who turns to Christ do if he has married more than one women?

Here is one solution I have heard: a polygamist who comes to Christ should not divorce any of his wives, but cease sexual relationships with with his later wives while continuing to provide for them.

But even this seems unfair to the women.  And what should a woman follower of Jesus do if she is a second or even third wife?  Looking forward to hearing from you on this difficult issue- weigh in on the comments section.  I know some of the subscribers of this blog are discipling guys with multiple wives.

1 comment:

RadicalLoverofGod said...

I agree that this creates a difficult situation - a new follower of Jesus who already has multiple wives. Yes, he should remain married and not divorce any of them, but I do have some uneasiness about only fulfilling his "marital duties" to one of them moving forward. In my reading of Scripture, God many times worked with where people were at, even though it was less than ideal. Yes, one husband-one wife is biblical. But so is justice in the family, loving your wife, following through on commitments. So even though the situation is definitely less than ideal, I have to wonder if Jesus' and Paul's words might very well be to remain in the current situation and live out biblical values in those marriages as much as possible from that point forward.