I sit here in March 2016. I look out my widow. It’s overcast, some puddles of water on the road from recent rain. Spring is getting ready to roll in.
I am more than five years after the events of pulpit ministry. Not in my best vision casting could have I foreseen the journey that would have happened from Bible School through the end of my pulpit ministry. It was arduous, it was long, it was rewarding.
I am nearly four years after the events I spoke about in the last two installments. Not ever did I think those things could happen. I had a tremendously difficult time coming to terms with that experience. It was unexpected, in a phrase it was earth shattering.
I think it proper to share more of what happened since the last two installments. But I find myself at an odd and interesting location in telling “My Story” because the bulk of the last four years are built upon the events of the last two installments.
I am at odds with what to do, because I am changed, and so is Mary, yet our marriage still remains the two of us. Our life is different. I can’t undo what has been done. I can’t unexperience what has been experienced.
I am where I am. Mary is where she is. We are where we are. So keep in mind that what I speak of next is done in the vein of Bible study, prayer, and adults who have the ability to reason, meditate, pray, reflect, and make volitional decisions.
During the last four years Mary and I have had many discussions with family, friends, believers, non-believers, and other associates. The aspects and reactions ran the gamut, from society and culture to Bible and church, from God’s capabilities and limitations to the adversary’s capabilities and limitations. I find it hard to believe that there is any stone that wasn’t turned over and examined.
Today, if someone were to ask me: Is it Biblical for one man to have multiple wives? I am compelled to say yes, but that answer is not derived solely from my experience. Yet, I cannot deny that my experience caused me to re-examine and rethink the monogamist-only doctrine that was drilled into my head and ingrained into my psyche.
That poses a tremendous amount of questions. I get it. But the questions really are no different than what should be posed to monogamy. What constitutes marriage? What constitutes eligible partners? What constitutes adultery? How should the people and family be protected? How should women and children be treated?
Those are age old questions. Answers have been given that range all over the human map. But one thing is certain, I am just as concerned about my wife’s rights in a marriage of two wives as I would be in my marriage to her if she were my one and only wife. And another thing is certain, I am just as concerned about the development and protection of my children, no matter the number of wives.
Interestingly, I have been able to verify the age old truth. No matter if the mother is the only wife or not, mothers are concerned about the well-being and safety of their children. Oddly, it seems mothers are far more concerned about the well-being and safety of their children than they are about the well-being and safety of her own husband.
To bottom line the issue: it’s proper for women to be consulted and included as the volitional adults that they are, whereas children, as dependents, should be nurtured, provided for and protected. With that I am sure my reader agrees.
There will always be debates about what constitutes provision, but -and I shouldn’t have to say it- women and children should be protected from the violence commonly associated with men and individuals of ill repute, it seems certain that no person with any type of moral foundation would debate it. With that I am sure my reader agrees.
Violence should never be perpetrated upon women or children. This is the very foundation of a moral family, culture, and society. Knowing that women and children ought to be protected, it therefore behooves everyone who calls themselves a follower of God to study the Bible and actually accept that some of the most faithful families, yes families, come from a marriage of one husband having two or more wives.
When the people of God deny God having a non condemning position regarding the marriage of one husband with two or more wives, it becomes all too easy to promote one’s preferred marital arrangement. Which has been the historic case with monogamy-only avocation, and is why Christians have historically preached monogamy-only. Because of that, it is all too common for families who do not have two or more wives to easily condemn those families that do.
Biblical truth told, God NEVER condemned the marriage of one man with two or more wives. Search the Scriptures, you cannot find it. The only thing that condemns that marriage is the tendency to over moralize the Bible. With that comes the special moral focus on monogamy itself, in which it is claimed that the marriage of only one husband and one wife is somehow the only righteous marriage before God.
As a preacher and as a Christian, I thought I had heard detestable things. But the number of detestable reactions that I have experienced since discussing this topic has made all of those pale in comparison. What I have discovered during this entire experience is that, in general, Christians have a lack of knowledge regarding Biblical marriage and God’s involvement and use of both monogamous and polygamous marriages.
For example, the common retort is that having two wives is about sexuality. For every person who is married, consider this important aspect as it applies to that retort. The Apostle Paul advised those in modernity as well as those in ancient days, “if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” This means that married Christians who so easily use that retort need to bridle their tongue, because the very accusation they use against polygamists is most likely the very cause of their own marriage. Here is one thing that all married Christians have to accept, they failed to accept the Apostle Paul’s advice to remain as he – unmarried.
Here is another thing that I have experienced – the constant appeal of Christians to world history and culture as a foundation for negating Biblical events like polygamy. When the Bible fails to substantiate the Christian’s arguments against polygamy, many Christians are more than willing to turn to world history, culture, and society to not only support their position but also enforce what is in essence their personal preference. In doing so, they have displayed their unwillingness to hear what the Bible is actually saying.
When having this discussion with believers about the marriage of one man with two or more wives, the reason many of them cannot hear what the Bible says is because of moralization. Some believers have spent so much time hearing Bible-based morality sermons that they actually cannot interpret the Bible without a morality lens. Because some believers have morality driven interpretation, they apply morality where none is implied, like in the case of a man having two or more wives.
Because of that, some believers misapply the text. Some believers cannot see the difference between the Apostle Paul using a simile for marriage versus actual instructions about marriage. Some believers cannot see the difference between Jesus and his answers about divorce versus Jesus not prohibiting a husband from having two wives. Some believers cannot see the difference between having monogamy restrictions for church leaders versus the Bible expressing no monogamous restrictions for the general assembly of believers.
As Christians, knowing what is moral is definitely proper. But many believers cannot see that they have condemned a marriage that God never condemns, and that action becomes a problem. This means the church is not capable of taking the Gospel to literally thousands of people who live in a marriage that God never condemned.
If my experience were to lead me simply to that understanding, that understanding itself is profound. But I don’t think my experience was to simply bring awareness to me. Instead the experience was meant to change me, and have me awaken to a reality that has been historically labeled unrighteous by the Church and Christian culture and society, when God declares no such thing.
Believers need to know what sin is, and be able to properly identify sin. But it is just as important that believers should not label something as sin when it is NOT sin.
But I don’t think the change stopped there, because now I have a place in my heart, a place in my life that wants to experience a life with two wives. Will there be challenges? Sure, what marriage doesn’t? But a successful marriage takes those challenges and becomes stronger.
I will protect my wife and her children. I will protect the lady who will become my additional wife and I will protect her children. Just as I am willing to do the difficult things to be a God-fearing husband for the one wife, I will for the other.
God defines righteousness, not humanity; and I will articulate and postulate the freedom that God permits, and I will defend the ladies, whom I know will be my current wife and only one other, for their God-given liberty to choose the kind of marriage that they are permitted to live.
The remainder of “My Story” will reveal some of the ups and downs that I experienced as I moved into the ability to make such a strong and dedicated statement. That journey was arduous, it was long, it was rewarding.
Blessings and Shalom