If some of you haven’t read The Xian Satirist’s post on polygamy—you probably should.
Frankly, I’m a little irritated that his article did not provoke more conversation on @TheAnonChurch or the Twittersphere afterwards.
What this tells me is that the Christian majority is too afraid (and ashamed) to face this issue head-on, and would rather sweep it under the rug, or ignore it like most churches have usually done.
What really makes me bitter is when I hear popular radio and television ministers try to sell the idea that Jesus was against polygamy, and that Scripture “does not support its practice.”
Because most of these guys have big ministries to protect, they can’t afford to veer off the beaten path of political correctness lest they lose donation dollars. So, it’s just easier for them to blatantly lie about what Scripture says concerning polygamy, or twist Scripture to conform to their PC beliefs.
One of the more common arguments pastors make to support their claim that Jesus was against polygamy is cited in Matthew 19:3-9. However, it does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that this entire debate Jesus had with the Pharisees had nothing to do with polygamy, but with divorce.
If a pastor states that the Bible does not condone polygamous relationships, they are only preaching a half-truth. As The Xian Satirist pointed out, the Bible neither condones nor condemns the practice of polygamy. Anywhere.
Quite honestly, this is yet another reason the American Church is in the spiritual slump that it is in: because it tries to sugarcoat contentious issues such as this instead of having real discussions about them. This practice not only leaves Christians vulnerable to unnecessary scrutiny, but also makes unbelievers suspicious of what we actually believe. Often, contemporary Christians find themselves backed into a spiritual corner by secular-progressives on this issue, especially when it comes to women’s rights.
This should never happen.
Regardless of polygamy’s legal and social status in America, it’s important for Christians not to shy away from polygamy’s place in Scripture. There is no shame in admitting that it was practiced by numerous men of God—not to mention men who had no religious affiliation with Judaism or Christianity.
In fact, I can make out a list of inhumanities and promiscuous behaviors practiced by pagans in biblical history if we want to argue the issue of human rights:
- Temple prostitution
- Child sacrifice
And the list goes on from there…
When discussing polygamy, I like to remind Christians about the conversation the prophet Nathan had with King David while confronting him about his adultery and murder:
I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more (2 Sa. 12:7-8).
This is a stunning piece of insight from Nathan. According to him, God would have given David more of all those things—including wives—if that would have made David happy and kept him from adultery and murder.
Some pastors argue that Nathan was not referring to wives in this verse, but based on the topic of their conversation that’s exactly what Nathan was referring to.
Again, there is no need to be embarrassed about polygamy’s mention in Scripture—it was a common practice for many cultures, and as The Xian Satirist stated, its main purpose was for the protection of women and the advancement of the family line.
Only ignoramuses looking to defame Christianity and the Bible would be unable to process that historical reality.
My personal opinion on polygamy is that it served its purpose in history, and we now live in a day and age that does not justify its practice—plain and simple.
As far as its legal status is concerned, look for this to be the next topic of debate in the marriage arena after gay marriage is sanctioned on a national level.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.