Polygamy Question

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Hawaiiski, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Hawaiiski

    Hawaiiski
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    Let's say a missionary goes to a foreign field where polygamy is both culturally acceptable & legal. How should he counsel a convert who has multiple wives & children by those wives? Should he advise him to remain married to multiple wives? Divorce all but the 1st one?
     
  2. pinoybaptist

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    Tough question. Let me ask you, how would you handle that ?
     
  3. Bob Farnaby

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    Accept the situation as it is, multiple wives aren't that rare .

    Teach the Word, educate the christians that one wife is the scriptural ideal even though others exist in the bible. Include in this the need to not add more wives. Not appoint men with multiple wives to the elder/deacon positions in the church.

    To have a man with multiple wives 'get rid' of the excess ones would most probably cause hardship and problems for most involved, and be an abbrogation of legal, social and moral responsibilities.

    Not supporting Polygamy, but don't see the call to undo what already exists.

    Regards
    Bob
     
  4. John of Japan

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    From what I have read, I understand that what often happens with conservative missionaries (the liberals don't care) is the missionary teaches monogamy, the national reads the Scriptures and agrees. But then the missionary must teach that divorce is wrong (a stronger prohibition than that against bigamy, IMO). The national ends up only living with one wife but taking care of the other wives and kids in separate lodgings. I think there is wisdom in that--divorce always hurts the children the most, so I believe it is wrong no matter what.

    The big difference comes when pastors are chosen. The qualifications for a pastor are very clearly set forth in 1 Tim. and Titus. Even in a culture that allows bigamy, the pastor must be monogamous. Why? Because Scripture sets him forth as an example in the Bible. If the missionary family is not a godly and Biblical model, then the national pastor's family is not a godly model, and therefore the national church does not have good standards for the Christian family.

    From a missionary's heart. :type:
     
  5. pinoybaptist

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    Good answer, Bob Farnaby.
     
  6. Ps104_33

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    You deal with them the same way that you would deal with pagans in the United States. How many times have you witnessed to young couples who are living together and have children outside of wedlock? Preach the Word, try to get them to accept Christ and watch the Holy Spirit work in their lives. You never try to get them to get rid of their sin before they accept Christ. Missionaries are not in foreign countries to change the culture but to spread the gospel. If there are issues in their culture that are against Scripture, let the Holy Spirit deal with it.
     
  7. webdog

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    Please prove polygamy is a sin from Scripture. I just got done reading the beginning of 2 Samuel. Not only did David take a number of wives after he became king, he also took concubines. At that point, his walk with God was solid. No place is it mentioned that David taking concubines and wives were sinful by God.
     
  8. Karen

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    As we discussed on another thread, God sometimes condemns by stating that something is condemned. Sometimes God condemns something by giving a positive description of what it is supposed to be like.
    Such as the Lord Jesus and Paul describing what marriage is. Not just for church leaders and voluntary for everyone else.

    As far as the OP, you don't just rip up the social order in a way that leads to hardship for the other wives. Some things have to be dealt with gradually, over generations. The young children of that polygamist certainly should be taught not to engage in polygamy when they grow up.
    And taught from the positive viewpoint of what marriage really is and is meant to be.
     
  9. pinoybaptist

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    My former pastor in the Philippines said that whatever is lawful in a certain society is not necessarily sinful as far as Scriptures are concerned. For example, he said that if someone converts to Islam and marries five wives then no sin is committed because polygamy is an accepted practice in Islam law as well as Islam societies.

    And then, he went on to saythat if a married man, or woman, goes abroad, say to the United States, and marries someone there, then that married is legal and binding per US law but not under Philippine law, and while he may not be legally charged with bigamy in the US, he may be charged in the Philippines.

    There seems to be some sense in what he was saying about Islam on the secular side, but not on the Scriptural side, because it seems like he was saying we adjust the Word of God and our relationship to Him according to society, but I had to take what he said about marrying in the US with a large ladleful of salt because this is the same guy who said babies do not yet have souls in the womb, and that in Bible college.
     
  10. bapmom

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    :thumbs: :type:
     
  11. amity

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    I would not even teach monogamy as the ideal, because I do not see that taught clearly in scripture. When it comes to ordaining someone, the case is different, but I would not want to create a second class status for polygamous believers by implying that their marriages are less godly than those of believers. No scripture for that have I ever found. And if anyone doubted that, I would cite all the scripture that appears to be quite supportive of polygamy.

    BTW, Pinoy, Muslims are only allowed up to FOUR wives!
     
  12. Magnetic Poles

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    The ban on polygamy is more cultural than anything. I don't see it banned in scripture.
     
  13. Karen

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    Do you see it fitting into how the Lord and Paul defined marriage?
     
  14. amity

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    Yes. Polygamy is not group marriage anywhere that I know of. It is still one man and one woman. But the man happens to also be in a one-man-one-woman marriage to someone else at the same time.
     
  15. bapmom

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    amity, you must be tired.........

    how on earth can you look at this statement and think it makes sense?

    one-man-one-woman cannot mean the same thing as one-man-one-woman-one-woman-one-woman. By definition this means one-man-three-women.....not the same......

    We see it over and over in the Bible that when God put people together He made it a one-man-one-woman marriage......Adam and Eve - not Adam and Eve and Lilith and Doris and, and, and.....

    When men started taking on more than one wife at a time he started getting into more trouble, too.....I think most men here would understand that! lol

    No man could tell me that he coulD be in an exclusive relationship with me AND three other women at the same time..............
     
  16. amity

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    Makes perfect sense. The five or however many of them are not all married to one another, although I understand that is a common misconception. It is not a group marriage of one man and four women. It is four separate marriages, so far as I know. It certainly is in Muslim countries.

    The women are not married to each other. These are n-number of separate marriages, each contracted separately and usually at different times in life. In the arrangements I am familiar with, they keep separate households, usually in close proximity to each other, and maintain a feeling of family among the different wives, who often, but not always, regard each other as sisters. They share household duties and look after one another's children. They obviously do not all climb into the same bed! Hopefully that point does not need to be made...

    Then there is quite a bit in the old testament that needs some serious 'splainin', and a very odd silence in the new testament about it.

    Most men here are not from the same culture or dealing with the same types of situations that surround polygamous marriage in other cultures. I wouldn't go for it myself, even though I know there is nothing morally wrong with it.

    No, he would be in n-number of exclusive relationships. We are not talking about concubinage here. And even there I don't think it is scripturally forbidden, but could be mistaken on that score. But let's stay on solid ground and just discuss polygamy. If you have scriptures that address this subject, bring 'em on.
     
    #16 amity, Mar 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2007
  17. rbell

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    When the NT addresses the family conduct of church leaders such as deacons and overseers, it always refers to a "one-woman man" concept. It may thus be concluded that this has always been God's best for the home. What else would he ask of leaders, but to settle for nothing than the best?
     
  18. amity

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    Don't assume that is a requirement based on God's disapproval of polygamy and the inherent superiority of monogamy. We don't know God's mind on this one! And yet God is perfectly articulate when He intends to condemn a practice. Therefore, we may conclude that He does not disapprove of polygamy.

    The church being enough of a responsibility, perhaps the requirement that ministers and deacons be monogamous was to keep family responsibilities to a minimum. When you have three wives and 21 children, it is impossible to properly care for all of them and the church too.

    And I can think of several other plausible reasons for that requirement on the part of ministers and deacons, as well, that would not apply to other people, and yet do not imply condemnation of polygamy per se.
     
    #18 amity, Mar 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2007
  19. bapmom

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    amity......

    Im sorry,

    Ive never heard polygamy described as a "group marriage". Obviously this is not the case, and Ive never known anyone who had the "misperception" about it that you claim many have. Obviously its the man being married to each and every woman, the women aren't all married to each other. I don't know where you get the idea that the rest of us don't realize what polygamy is..........I feel pretty secure in saying that most if not all of the rest of us here realized that polygamy does not mean the women are married to each other.


    as has just been pointed out, when the Bible says a leader in the church must be the husband of one wife, what do you think that means? The clear reading of the passage indicates one man who has one wife. Not one man who has 5 wives but they all live in different houses.
     
    #19 bapmom, Mar 26, 2007
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2007
  20. rbell

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    I would have to disagree on this one. Your reasoning would indicate that God's call to monogamy was one of convenience (too many wives & kids would make for too many responsibilities). I couldn't disagree more. I would say that God's call to monogamy is the pinnacle of familial responsibilities and callings. I woudl assert that polygamy was a "concession" that God allowed ancient peoples (much like the Kingdom was God's "concession" to His people, who wished to be like other peoples). Monagamy--one man, one woman, for life--is the most accurate picture of God's love for us, and His relationship to the Church, His bride...

    I believe:
    • OT passages such as Song of Songs and Hosea support the idea of one man, one woman, for life.
    • God's highest expectations (not for convenience's sake, but His highest expectations) for church leaders invovled monogamy.
    • Monogamy gives backbone to Galatians 3:28..."There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
    Does God issue a blanket condemnation of polygamy? No...but it's clear to me through what is said in the NT that one man, one woman, for life is the ideal.
     

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