Wives

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by agedman, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. agedman

    agedman
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    I know this topic has probably been discussed (often) on the BB, but I wanted to see if the current contributors had a change of thinking or have actually encountered the situation.

    Scenario:

    A person has more than one wife (don't confuse the issue with state legalese) and children by each. It comes to pass that he and the family are gloriously saved.

    Questions:
    What is the policy (yours and or the assembly) of accepting them for membership?

    When the question of marriage is raised, do you (and/or the assembly) recommend he divorce the later wife (wives) and break up the home and bond of fatherhood of the children?

    What of the issues raised in Sunday School when the children are questioned by other children about the living arrangements (as children will do)?

    What of your own home, how would you handle the question(s) by your own children when they tell of the living in ____ home?

    What other issues do you see being raised by the assembly or in your own personal life by this scenario?

    What if the situation is about a mistress with children?

    Would not the Scriptures consider the mistress as also married to the man?

    Now here is a sticky question relating to mistress and children:

    Just how would you approach informing the first wife that he has another secret family?

    In fact, is that any business of the pastor or assembly members?

    Remember, that the scenario is about a heathen who has been gloriously saved, and, as new to the faith and fellowship, does not have a history of Scriptural principles in which to live and be guided.
     
  2. annsni

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    He cannot divorce those who he was not legally wedded to. He had one wife and a lot of mistresses. He stays with his first wife and still supports his mistresses and other children through the rest of their lives and he leaves his hands and other parts off of the other women.

    ETA: He provides a home elsewhere for the other women and their children.
     
  3. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I think there is an angel-hair pasta-plate (or should I just have said "can of worms"? :laugh: ) of issues that have to be resolved before we ever discuss that, or even attendance at the church, until it is established that -- initially, I think -- no one in the church, other than the staff and some trusted deacons, are going to know about the situation from which all of these folks have come. It isn't anyone else's business. I would diplomatically ask that they not reveal anything too controversial, divisive, or shocking about the life they have come out of, not until we resolve some of those issues.

    Secondly, everyone needs to have separate households. As a professional counselor, I might perhaps come across this scenario with an addict and his "girlfriends" -- though I haven't as yet, but there's a first time for everything (and for that reason I'm going into great detail, because being prepared makes me a better counselor) -- and I'd advise them that both wives need to take their respective children into different housing and "Daddy" doesn't need to live with any of them for now. For the initial phase of folding them into the church, he needs to be undergoing extensive psychological, or at least pastoral, counseling. Why? Because being saved doesn't resolve all the emotional and perhaps psychological issues for all parties, adults and kids. The "wives" and the children will need that kind of professional/pastoral attention as well.

    We won't treat any of them as though he is married to either woman, because the marriage presumably would have been performed by a "pastor" in the Fundamental Church of Latter Day Saints, and they can't be licensed in any state, given they endorse polygamy. Therefore, the ceremony -- first or second -- is invalid and there really isn't a marriage, to either woman. If either ceremony -- or if there was "one big wedding" with only one groom -- was performed outside of FLDS "sanction," I'd still hold to this approach.

    The second marriage (the one with the latter wedding date) is most assuredly invalid in all 50 states, D.C., and every Baptist church (as well as the vast majority of every other kind of church) in the U.S. I will hold to the concept that there is no necessity to divorce, but certainly "Daddy" has to provide for all the kids.

    This is one of those angel-hair/can of worms issues that's going to have to be resolved beforehand. Remember, we're not even sure we're going to let them attend just yet, not until all the other issues are firmly ironed out according to God's word. Until we get to a place where we are confident they are comfortable with keeping their past secret for the time being, and until we have helped them deal with the reality all those kids calling him "Daddy" in front of the church members when, from the viewpoint of the church, there is no church-sanctioned relationship, all spiritual instruction will be private. I don't believe that will be a very long timeframe, perhaps a month or so.

    As I said, there is no reason for anyone to know, but I'm probably going to tell me wife. If I had small children and they found out, I'd tell them the truth, in terms and concepts they could understand.

    None, in my own personal life (I'm not a pastor, so this aspect of the scenario is difficult for me envision) but for our church, I think a careful control of the
    "Baptist rumor mill" might keep tongues from wagging and things being said that are hurtful to the children produced by this strange "marriage" to begin with.

    However, people being people, someone is going to talk about "those people" and it will be important to nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand. Their sin is no greater than anyone else's, and people need to be told that. I'm quite certain no one wants anyone talking about their own personal mess, so they don't need to be talking about someone else's, either.

    Same thing. In fact, it's a lot easier to resolve, though the same psychological issues could be present.

    The Scriptures might and probably do. That doesn't mean a church has to recognize them as such.

    That's his job.

    As indicated, no it's not. I'll referee if asked.

    Which is why he and his famil[y/ies] need to be willing to undergo extensive professional and pastoral counseling before we ever consider how we are going to deal with the scenarios asked about above.
     
    #3 thisnumbersdisconnected, Nov 5, 2013
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  4. agedman

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    Thank you for the good responses.

    My daughter's recent trip (she is a medical missionary) out of country to a land were multiple wives was culturally not only expected but was a display of status and authority was what eventually spurred the scenario.

    I did notice that the responses were based upon the legalese common in the US.

    I also think it good that this is thought through.

    I am not certain I agree with the separation living arrangements - not only is that financially improbable, but would also place undo temptation upon the members of the family (not just the wives). It would also present problems for the children that wouldn't understand why daddy choose them and not me. A truly hurtful life long pain that has far reaching consequences most of which are ungodly.

    Another aspect to consider is that according to Scriptures they are all united (speaking of the wives) to the man - that is they have by Scriptures become one flesh. That is a bond that I find no Scripture to indicate that they should be separated or some choice is to be made along who is to go and stay.

    Abraham removed the handmaid of Sarah, but that was demanded by Sarah's own evil heart and God used it for His purpose.

    Ezra demanded the men divorce their wives because they were not from the house of Abraham.

    Paul said, that the believer is to dwell with the unbeliever in the marriage unless the unbeliever wants to leave.

    Jesus didn't say much about it at all other than divorce must occur before consummation of the marriage (much misunderstood principle by the typical believer) - which is what Joseph was going to do before God said to take her as his wife.

    And other than silence, the Scriptures do not deal with what to do with multiple wives. This does not condone the practice, but to acknowledge that such did occur and was acceptable culturally.

    I wonder if the assembly would not be enhanced by the joining of the family. Perhaps they would see a picture of how Christ loves all in the family of faith - His bride?

    I also wonder if, as the modernism and depravity of this world continues, the assembly of believers are not going to have to deal with this issue in the future?
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Honestly, I hadn't even thought about it from the aspect of being a foreign scenario as opposed to happening in the U.S. But of course, it is far more likely to happen there than here. Just didn't occur to me.

    I agree, the separate living arrangements are going to be financially burdensome, but I still believe necessary. Perhaps I didn't make it clear that I wouldn't allow "Daddy" to live with either woman, but he too is going to have to find his own digs. The issue for the women, if we continue to think of this as a U.S. scenario -- but it probably applies to the one overseas as well -- is that they aren't going to be able to contribute very much financially to their own households, given the kind of background such women finding themselves in such circumstance would be coming from. So "Daddy" better be prepared to work his tail off to make certain he provides for everyone.

    I think there is a great deal more psychological damage to be done if the "family" continues to live under one roof. They would become a point of ridicule and derisiveness. At the very least, this arrangement would certainly result in talk among the other church members that shouldn't be taking place. In the foreign scenario, it would be much more acceptable, I would imagine, given that other believers would have come out of the same lifestyle. That wouldn't be true in the U.S. It isn't common at all.

    I don't believe even Jesus or Paul would have expected the Scriptures' preaching that "the two have become one flesh" by an act of adultery or fornication should be interpreted that the couple should live together as man and wife -- and wife. I believe it is more of a damning statement that by a physical act they have committed a moral sin. The issue of whether he will eventually become married to one of the women or not should be resolved far down the road. I don't believe he -- or they -- will be spiritually or emotionally ready to make that decision for a long time, probably as much as two years. There is a great deal of healing to occur from this scenario, even in the foreign aspect of it. It will take time, and requiring them to remain together as a family would be completely counterproductive.

    I believe the fact the Scriptures don't condone polygamy is reason enough to believe they neither endorse the concept of the multiple wives and the children being "one big happy family" or keeping close spousal ties among the adults, because I don't believe that either is possible to any extent.

    And yes, the church will probably have to face this scenario at some point. I don't envy the first pastoral staff and deacon board faced with it.
     
  6. annsni

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    It's not about daddy 'choosing' but instead daddy following the Word of God. Better than a father continuing in sin.

    I disagree that they are all united and become one flesh. If they are, they are kind of like demented creatures that need to be put out of their misery. LOL Instead, he and his first wife are one flesh - and those after her are not. You don't see from Scripture that a man and woman who are fornicating should stop their sin? I absolutely do.

    And look at the pill we're in today.

    "In marriage" is the key here. You cannot be married to more than one person at a time.

    Where did Jesus say that divorce must occur before consummation of a marriage?


    The congregation would be enhanced by embracing polygamy?? SERIOUSLY?????
     
  7. go2church

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    No more wives, support the ones you have and all the children as well.
     
  8. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    [​IMG]

    I missed that last one. "Enhanced"?? WOW!! Not hardly! I've really got to take you to task for that one, A/M. "Enhanced"?? How in the world could sin in the midst of the body "enhance" anything but division??

    None of the apostles would never have counseled any such arrangement, and certainly Christ would have not. That's wrong even to suggest.
     
    #8 thisnumbersdisconnected, Nov 5, 2013
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  9. annsni

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    Let's compare this to a gay couple. A gay couple come to your church and they are both saved. They are legally married - "one flesh" so to speak. Is the congregation enhanced by embracing their relationship since, after all, they are married?
     
  10. agedman

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    Good points are made.

    I want to tease a bit more out of your responses.

    I don't see the "separate living" as biblical. Paul says that a man and a woman can refrain from each other for a very short time, or else the enemy of the believer may become involved.

    I wonder if it would not be beneficial to recommend they remain a family group (though seemingly unethical) and let the Holy Spirit work to bring resolve.


    It isn't common at all, yet.

    I am not certain that it would be all that hurtful to the children. I used to work with children 5 years old to 12 and noticed that for the most part they were unaffected by parent partnerships (women with men, men with men, women with women) unless the parents made it an issue. The problems without a doubt came when a "non-normative" family had one of the partners that was radical and "in your face" about the construct of the family. Then the child reflected more embarrassment about the conduct than the actual family unit.

    That the child had two loving adults was a point of pride in some, and at least in one occasion those who had only one parent raised their temper upon jealousy.

    Now that is from the side of dealings with the unbeliever and unregenerate.

    The historical believer of "victorian" or "puritanical" experience and education would be a different matter.


    But that is what the Scriptures teach.

    OT law said that the man who violated a maid in the field was to take her for wife or pay the family a dowry.

    OT principles (proverbs) clearly indicate that a union is created.

    NT statements by Christ indicate that promiscuous behavior was sinful (woman at the well) but that is not the same situation as I presented - she wasn't married to all the men at the same time.

    I would ask what "healing" would need to take place if as the scenario suggests the man, wives and children lived in the situation. The children would have grown considering the arrangement "normal," and the wives consenting to the arrangement would not need healing.

    If you place upon the family unit the Western thinking of one man, one wife, then of course that is littered with landmines. However, in a society that not only condones but expects multiple partnership, what healing would be necessary?

    I want to address another issue - that of the scenario being or living in sin (as some would term it).

    Can it be shown in Scripture (though I do agree with one man one woman is the principle laid out as pleasing to God) that multiple partners that are married dwell in moral sin?

    Or, is the "sin" an imposed precept carried over because the one man, one woman violates God's preference.

    Not to look at the RCC for faith and practice, but for this illustration a comparison of what some call sing may not be actually a sin - that naming something as sinful when it really isn't is pictured in their insistence that priests be celibate.

    Is it provable that the scenario presents a family unit that is morally sinful and or in mortal sin?


    Sadly, I agree that the assembly will face this issue - soon.

    In a way they already do.

    Consider the "divorced couples" groups in church.

    If one takes the view (as I do) that the Lord Jesus Christ indicated divorce is only scriptural when adultery occurs during what we would consider the engagement time, and that after consummation the two cannot be separated, then the typical church is already dealing with this issue - most not even knowing or recognizing it, IMO.

    The "yours, mine, ours" family faces similar issues, but without the added help of another adult.

    Many years ago, I sat across the desk from a couple who actually lamented that the "other person" could not be brought into the family unit. Not long after that, I was taken by the Lord to another area, and I have no idea what became of them.

    Ok, enough of my writing, does this stir your thinking?
     
  11. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    The "marriage" wasn't/weren't biblical to begin with. One can't have two spouses, two wrongs don't make a right, two sins don't provide cleansing, etc., etc., etc.

    A man and a woman. Paul said nothing about two of each, or of either. The Bible condemns it. One man, one woman, period.

    As an addictions counselor, I would have to liken that to one in my profession recommending that the family leave the stash of cocaine under the bed and "let the Holy Spirit work it out" as to healing them from their addiction. Think that would work?

    How about if a wife who is getting beaten up nightly by her husband comes to me and begs for help, and I tell her she can't kick him out, but needs to let him stay and "let the Holy Spirit work it out"? Reasonable?

    Your thinking isn't well processed here, I don't think, A/M. It kind of renders the rest of the post moot.
     
  12. agedman

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    In the scenario I specifically stated that what we "legalize" is not an issue. Many cultures do not have the Western idea and laws of marriage. So, I did not want that to be the focus of the discussion.

    Rather, I wanted the discussion to reflect the response and reaction of the assembly to these new believers.



    I know that this topic is a bit off track, but I will answer the question briefly. Matthew 19 discusses why Mosses gave permission for writ of divorcement. But Jesus states that was not what God desired. The key is "one flesh." The only time before the "one flesh" is during what we would consider engagement. The Jews would actually be married but not come together as man and wife until the place was prepared and the husbands father (or head of the family) told him to go get the bride.

    So it was during this time that Christ said that divorce was permitted - not after they have become "one flesh." Example - remember Joseph willing to put away Mary without making a public spectacle of her?

    I realize that most of the thinking of the Western church about this matter is not consistent with what I have stated, and most believe that unfaithfulness is grounds for divorce. But, then one must look to the vows taken. They were not given to each other, but to God. "
    I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."
    Can you see any "escape clause" in that typical statement?

    Can you see any statement in the vow made to "each other" based upon condition of contract?

    Is the vow not a statement of fact that - this is what I will do irregardless of what is "better, worse, financially beneficial, healthy, love and holding most dear?"

    Is not the vow a one person obligation to the other not depending upon the other persons condition or response?



    I was making suggestions to the discussion to spur the thinking.

    But, like I just posted, isn't the assembly already having to consider the issue in part through the "divorced couples" classes.
     
  13. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I know you addressed this to Ann, but I feel compelled to point out that, regardless of the culture, the Bible applies to every culture. No one, simply due to their upbringing, is exempt from godly living if they are going to profess Christ. No exception can be made.
     
  14. annsni

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    Well, the exact words that we say aren't the point - the point is what Jesus said. He said that we were allowed to divorce in the case of unfaithfulness. There is no indication that it's before consummating a relationship but it was for ALL marriage.
     
  15. Salty

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    I would not have a problem with a gay couple joining the church, as I want our members to be happy - and as Christians we should be happy.

    Let us now talk about hom$exual couples - they would be invited to attend - but I would NOT present them for membership until they got their sin straighten out - which would include - getting a divorce - and living seperatley. In addition I would insist on absoutely no physical contact with each other while in the chuch building.
     
  16. saturneptune

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    Wow oh wow!! I guess I am a boring person. I have been married to one person 36 years with two kids. I will give you my opinion point by point, but this is complex way beyond my knowledge.

    This has never occurred in our church, but, my guess is that it would be a battle between the oldest generation (80 and above) and those younger, like me at 61, with more of an ability to think outside the box. First of all, it is wonderful that all of these folks are saved. He is just married to one wife legally, so it might come down to the living arrangements and who the intimate, relationships exist between. This is why the Bible makes clear, one wife that God matches you with, for life. However, I am not one that believes a person pays for the rest of his or her life for a mistake if they have been forgiven by the Lord and are following his commands. Yes, if all those issues were settled, I would vote to receive them, and would most others my age.

    I have to agree with Ann on this one. How can one divorce someone that they have never been married to? The bond is with the one he is legally married to, and sexual relations should be limited to his legal spouse. And no, in the latter part of your question, the man is always responsible to be a father to his kids, regardless who the mother is, to support them when they are growing up, and to be a Dad. That has nothing to do with sexual relations with the mother. That should have stopped when or shortly after he was saved.

    Depending on the age, we would probably tell the kids asking the questions that it is really none of their concern and continue to teach all of the children the proper structure of a family in the Bible and hope this is not repeated next generation. This is a gossip type question and has no place in a local church.

    Same way, tell them to concentrate on Biblical truths for raising a family and knowing the details of another's mistakes is really none of their concern.

    The issues raised, instead of the negative gossip, is to watch the Lord handle the situation and make each of these family members more like Jesus each day, not to worry about what went on with the juicy details.

    As Ann said, they are all mistresses except the legally married one. I would treat them all the same. That is, insist that the man be a father to all the children, but not live with them, as they are not married. The mother would live with them and support them along with the father. I would have our local church disciple, counsel, and pray for each and every unit and individual.

    At the time of the act, yes, in a spiritual sense. Remember the verse from Paul that says that sexual sin is especially dangerous, as it is a sin against the body. Paul goes on to say when a Christian visits a prostitute, or anyone not married to him, he has consummated a marriage in the sense of the spiritual, joining Christ with an unholy union. However, praise the Lord, they are all saved, and Christ has forgiven them.

    I will give a different answer than about church members asking for all the details. I think this man, who created all of this, has to explain to each child at the right age, what he did wrong, and how the power of Jesus Christ saved him, them, and is straightening out a very complex situation. It is up to this man to have each family unit aware of the others, why it happened, and how it is different now that they are all a new creation.

    Again, it is none the business of most assembly members the details of the situation, only on a need to know basis for the purpose of discipleship, AND NOT GOSSIP OR CONDEMNATION. Most church members just need to know the general details, and if they are trying to obtain details to satisfy whatever worldly pleasure comes from gossip, then church discipline is in order. We are there to build them up in Christ, not get jollies of gossip at their expense.
     
  17. agedman

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    Please remember that I am not in any way espousing the scenario presented in this thread. It was offered as a way to seek what may become a reality to the local assembly - and pre-treat the issue with some wisdom(s). That there is both principle an guide given.



    I understand completely what you are stating - and I also agree that the scenario is not consistent with Biblical righteousness as God originally established. Nor am I making an argument that such as the scenario present should be considered righteous.

    What I did present was a challenge in scenario form that the unregenerate and therefore unholy would bring to the table at conversion.

    But let me continue with the new couple and bring a bit more to the table to again tease out your thinking.

    I suppose we should begin with what "makes a marriage?" For instance, David took another man's wife, and it came to pass that Solomon was born. Now, I see you stated, "two wrongs don't make a right," yet here is the example of the use of a serious wrongs making right. Throughout the Scriptures we witness the same - the times God takes what we would consider wrong and making something to His glory.

    However, more to the point, can you show me the commandment that God considered multiple partnered husbands as living in sin?

    The best I can come up with is found in Matthew 19:
    3Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5and 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’? 6“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    However, this is not a statement disqualifying multiple partnership marriages as some cultures practice them.

    (Again folks, remember that this is based upon what is culturally acceptable, supported and expected - NOT the typical Western Victorian Puritan thinking)

    There is not any place (other than when Ezra commanded divorce) that the Scriptures state that a man should ever divorce his wife (wives) or separate from her (them), is there?



    I realize you posted this about my use of Paul. I was (without looking back at the quote) discussing how the same area is used by the RCC to compel abstinence. And that a man or woman is not to keep themselves from each other. But isn't that what you were in fact suggesting would be part of the processes needed for "healing?"

    Also, could you please show exactly were the Bible "condemns" such an arrangement as the scenario presents?

    I agree that it is not the best and because it is not the best, it has limited blessings (such is found with Abraham taking Hagar, David taking Bathseba, Solomon and ??? wives, ...) However, what is not best is far from condemnation.


    But this is not an addiction nor an abuse scenario. So your statements above do not fit the scenario.

    Also, is the Holy Spirit not able to use the Scriptures to divide between soul and spirit?

    Being that powerful, and knowing that believers have the work of Christ molding them into His likeness, is it so unreasonable to consider letting the Holy Spirit work the situation out rather than believers attempting to bring some resolution that they think is God blessed?

    Separating the family unit is not Biblical. Paul didn't separate the family unit but he told believers at conversion to dwell peacefully even when married to an unbeliever.

    I am all for family members not being abused nor taken advantage of by those shackled with addiction.

    In my opinion, separation and protection are two actions that need taken and often left until too late.

    But the scenario is far removed from either addiction or abuse.

    So, what other suggestion(s) would benefit both the new believers, and the assembly?

    How do missionaries handle this scenario?
     
  18. agedman

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    Sorry, Ann.

    Matthew 19 does not support that commonly held view.

    Most folks consider the vows as some contract between two people.

    They are not.

    And once marriage is "consummated" then Christ said, "Let NO MAN put asunder."
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Actually it does, A/M, and I would be very interested to see your biblical support for this claim, please:

     
  20. agedman

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    So basically you were saying that you would break up the family unit.

    Is there a Biblical warrant for that choice?

    Does the Bible ever consider the "mistresses" as other than "concubines."

    Does the Scriptures not consider that multiple wives are actually wives?

    For instance, David was married to Michael, and then married to Bathsheba.

    David did not (that I can find) divorce Michael, he just didn't consider her as worthy of his attention anymore, I suppose.

    But, the point is that Bathsheba was not a "mistress" but considered one of the numerous "wives" of David.

    Now, not to focus too much upon that Biblical story, but to use it do demonstrate that in the OP scenario, it is to be looked upon as wives - not mistresses.

    Just as the Bible looked upon the multiple wives in the OT as actual wives and not mistresses.

    I suppose I could have used the example of Jacob who was tricked into marriage of one, and had to continue working to marry the other. Both were wives and considered as such.

    If we are going to separate this couple, why do we not separate Jacob and others, and appoint their way as wicked for not following God's "command?"


    More realistically, how would you, as a pastor, counsel the church and the family within the parameters of the scenario.
     

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