Does God Condone Polygamy?
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Former FLDS 90-year-old Prophet Rulon Jeffs with two of his new brides--sisters Edna and Mary
I would like to request you to open a new topic for discussion on your discussion forum. I am curious to hear what non-Baptist Christians think about what I have to say in regards to an artical you referenced in your "Hot Topics" on the mormoninfo.org homepage. The artical was taken from SantaCruzSentinel.com entitled "Books of the Mormons: What Mormons base beliefs on" by Don Miller. Here are my comments:
The artical was enlightening and from what I could tell it was very accurate on what Mormons believe. But I have a major problem with the author referring to polygamy as a "nefarious practice". If your like me, you have to pull out your dictionary to learn that the word "nefarious" means "extremely wicked, villainous, iniquitous". Any Bible-believing Christian knows that polygamy is condoned of God -- under certain circumstances. If the practice of polygamy truly is "extremely wicked, villainous, and iniquitous" then what do you think of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses - to name just a few of the Biblical polygamist "prophets"? Are we to consider them to be extremely wicked, vile, lustful men - or legitimate prophets of God? Since polygamy was God-approved for these men, it should only be considered wicked if practiced outside of God's approval - to fulfill the lusts of men, right?
There's nothing wrong with Mr. Miller's assumption that early Mormon leaders practiced polygamy outside of God's approval - to satisfy their carnal, lustful desires for elicit sexual gratification. But his allusion to the fact that polygamy is "extremely wicked, villainous, iniquitous" - in and of itself - is entirely NON-BIBLICAL and NON-CHRISTIAN!
So Mr. Miller -- if you happen to be a Bible-believing Christian then you should carefully clarify that it is the early MORMONS that you believe to be "extremely wicked, villainous, and iniquitous" - NOT POLYGAMY, which, according to the Bible, was and still must be a divine and righteous institution, condoned of God under certain circumstances. But if you happen to be a NON-BIBLE-BELIEVING NON-CHRISTIAN then nevermind. In that case, your consideration of polygamy as a "nefarious practice" can stand uncontested.
Jim Cluff, Deacon
Rockport Baptist Church
I'll think about adding your discussion, but in the meantime, please read a film review that I did on the A&E production on "Inside Polygamy."
R. M. Sivulka
Thank you for you prompt reply. Being anxious to discover your feelings on the subject of polygamy - particularly about how you feel it is viewed in the eyes of Almighty God - I hasted to read your film review of the A&E investigative report "Inside Polygamy". With all due respect, to my disappointment I found over 95% of it to be off the issue - basically providing proofs why Mormons should not practice polygamy. That's a moot point. Quite simply, Mormons should not practice polygamy because God has not approved of them to practice it! That makes Mormons evil - not polygamy.
Mormons are not the issue here. The issue is Biblical polygamy. If it truly is a "nefarious" (extremely wicked, villainous, and iniquitous) practice in the eyes of God then why was it practiced by so many so-called "holy" prophets in the Holy Bible? Either the practice of polygamy is approved by God under certain conditions (making in NOT "nefarious") - or else Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many other "holy" Biblical prophets are actually WICKED - no more "righteous" than the pretend Mormon "prophets" Smith and Young!
Now let's address the approximately 5% of your film review that is relevant to the issue at hand. Quoting from your review:
"The problem though is why would we think God has communicated that polygamy should be entered into by anyone when we have reason for believing that God has already objectively declared that it should not be entered into?"
If God has so "objectively" declared that polygamy should NOT be entered into - then why did Abraham marry and have sex with Hagar in addition to Sarah? Was Abraham simply unaware of God's feelings on the matter or did God condone it in Abraham's case then later change his mind in declaring through Paul that church leaders should be the "husbands of one wife"? If your belief is correct that God wants no one to enter into polygamy then is it safe to assume that you believe that Abraham actually possessed a "nefarious" heart? Can you reconcile this for me? How do you feel about Abraham? Perhaps he WAS an evil man. Afterall, his first choice of wife (Sarah) just happened to be his niece - if you want to cast suspicion on existing incestious ambitions?
The only other bit of relevant information in your film review follows below:
"Now what if these polygamists use the examples of biblical characters (e.g., Abraham, Issac, Jacob, David or Solomon) to legitimize their practice? The problem is that description does not prove prescription. In other words, simply because some practice is described in the Bible is no reason, in and of itself, to think that some practice "ought" to be done."
If polygamy were only "described" in the Bible - and not actually practiced by MANY so-called "holy" prophets - then you'd have a point here. But unfortunately, since polygamy WAS PRACTICED by men who you may consider "holy prophets of God", this statement is an overly miniscule reconciliation of the dillema of Biblical "holy" prophets practicing the "evil" act of polygamy! It seems silly to think that although polygamy was only "described" in the Bible and "God has objectively declared that it should not be entered into" - Abraham, an apparently "holy" prophet, JUST DID IT ANYWAY!
Your film review lends itself to the belief (in accordance with Mr. Miller) that polygamy, regardless of time and circumstance, is a "nefarious" act - an extremely wicked, villainous, and iniquitous practice in the eyes of God. Such a belief leaves a tremendous dillema unreconciled because it incriminates many "holy" Biblical prophets of engaging in an extremely wicked, villainous, and iniquitous practice that was left uncensored, reproved, or punished by God - except in the case of David where he took the personal unauthorized liberty to add Bath-sheba to the multiple wives that the Lord had already given him (2 Samuel 12:7-9). If the Lord made it absolutely clear that David's actions with Bath-sheba were "nefarious" then why didn't He do the same with Abraham when he took Hagar to wife? Are we to assume that Abraham's polygamous involvement was justified in the eyes of God or not?
So Mr. Sivulka, in order to help reconcile the dillema, will you please answer the following simple questions for me?
1) Does God unconditionally view polygamy as a "nefarious" practice?
2) Were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (to name only a few prophet polygamists) righteous men or wicked men in the eyes of God?
3) If righteous, then why didn't the "nefarious" act of polygamy taint them as vile sinners the same way it has done to the modern polygamists referred to in your film review?
4) If wicked, then why did God show them so much favor, honor, and blessing throughout their polygamous lives? Why did he leave their "nefarious" polygamous actions uncorrected and unreproved? Can you provide any scriptural support for the idea that God considered their particular polygamous actions as wicked?
Thank you in advance for your attention to this issue. I believe that many Christians would prefer to simply avoid this sticky Biblical dillema instead of squaring with it and seeking a sensible explanation. Hopefully you are not one of "those" Christians.
Yours faithfully in His service,
Rockport Baptist Church
Ps. 14, Mk. 10, and Rom. 3 are clear that we are all evil, and that there's no one good. So even though believers may be "holy," they are still sinners saved by grace. If that's true, then how were those men in the Old Testament sinners? I submit that one of the ways was that they entered into polygamy, and broke the Creator's design for the couple to be "one flesh." David was holy, but God allowed him to commit murder. Does that mean God condoned murder just because it was done by holy men? Allowing and approving are obviously two different things. You may argue that this wasn't a prevalent case. OK, then how about something as simple as doubting God? Every Old Testament (and New Testament) saint has doubted God at one point or another. Does that mean God condones our lack of faith at times? So just because holy men descriptively acted in certain ways is still no reason to persuade me that polygamy is one of those things that God did not prohibit. And even if something isn't crystal clear in the Old Testament, this is no reason to think that it can't be made crystal clear in the New Testament. There is such a thing as progressive revelation where the Omnipotent may give items of information later down the line on His time table. Further, Hagar wasn't Abraham's wife; she was a concubine. Are you trying to argue that God condoned or approved Abraham having sex with someone other than his wife in order to appease his wife and provide her with a child? I submit that this was a lack of faith on Abraham's part.
To answer your questions directly:
1. Yes, polygamy is "nefarious" as all sin is, but it's worse than others in that it is simple abuse of one's "better half."
2. Yes, those Old Testament saints that you mentioned were righteous, but they were also wicked and I argue that part of their wickedness was due to the fact that they entered into polygamy.
3. So yes, polygamy did taint them as vile sinners.
4. God shows mercy and grace on vile sinners who simply trust Him. Why God left it uncorrected is the same reason why God left the Old Testament practice of abusive and liberal divorce uncorrected. In God's time, He did say through Jesus that "from the beginning it wasn't so" (Mt. 19:8). I've already argued scripturally for this thesis against polygamy in my review above.
R. M. Sivulka
Thank you for opening this topic for discussion on your website. Although I disagree with your view of the apparently "extremely wicked" Patriarchs, I admire you for squaring with this issue and at least taking a stand. Hopefully others will also contribute to this discussion - so we may all be instructed and edified in the good Word of God.
Your position is very interesting. You have presumed the ancient polygamist prophets guilty of not only engaging in isolated "extremely wicked" acts - but rather, living "extremely wicked" lifestyles! And you have presumed them guilty of this "wicked" lifestyle based on instruction (commandment?) given long after their time! How could they be "wicked" or guilty of breaking a law that God never communicated to THEM? God communicated many laws to them. He was VERY clear and strict with them about the consequences of sins like adultery, fornication, whoredoms ie. extra-marital sex. He did NOT "allow" extra-marital sex without rebuking the sinner and enforcing a heavy punishment (like death). But what about MARITAL sex with multiple spouses? From what I can tell, God was silent on the issue (at least in the days when it was practiced by the Patriarchs). And any specific rebuke or punishment for the act seems to be non-existent. One has to wonder why?
Now I admit - I'm basing my position of God's approval of ancient polygamy on deductive reasoning alone - based on it's prevalance among the prophets and the absence of God's specific law/rebuke/punishment against it (while they practiced it). I have had a difficult time finding scripture to show that He actually approved of it. The best I can do so far is to quote from 2 Sam. 12:7-9 where it says that God actually gave David his wives (previous to the Bath-sheba fiasco). So I am presuming that if God would have considered ancient polygamy an "extremely wicked" act then He certainly would not have allowed his honored mouthpieces to live their entire adult lives engrossed in this "heinous sin" uncorrected, unrebuked, and unpunished. It stands to reason that if God would have disapproved of the polygamous lifestyles of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob then He would have CLEARLY communicated his disapproval... in the very same way that He communicated, rebuked, and punished David for murder and adultery - unless you consider polygamy to be far less serious an offense than murder, fornication or adultery?
Speaking of David... you say that although God disapproves of murder, He "allowed" David to commit it. I disagree. Because of the sharp rebuke and curse that God put upon David for it, it's seems very clear that God did NOT "allow" David to murder (or commit adultery). But unlike the sin of David, God DID ALLOW the polygamous lifestyle to reign prevelant among His ancient prophets - WITHOUT correction, rebuke, or punishment. If He considered their polygamy "extremely wicked" as you believe, I find it extremely inconsistent of God to simply wink His eye at it and not correct His servants, THE PROPHETS. Would God not correct such a "vile" and "bad" example in the eyes of the people - if He truly considered it wicked? I believe He certainly would have!
One thing I think we both DO agree on is this: This discussion needs more scripture! To substantiate my position, I need more scripture showing God's specific approval of ancient polygamy. To substantiate your position, you need more scripture showing God's specific disapproval of the polygamous lifestyles of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - three extremely honored and blessed prophets, which, according to the New Testament have all three entered into Kingdom of God - while on the other hand, I believe that David was sent to hell. This seems to validate the teaching of Paul that "adulterers and fornicators will not inherit the Kingdom of God". So this thing is absolutely clear: Neither Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob ever "amended" their "extremely wicked" polygamous lifestyles. They died as polygamists! But, according to Paul, that did not render them as evil as "adulterers" or "fornicators" in God's eyes. Instead, God has welcomed them and their "filthy" UNREPENTANT polygamist tendancies into His Kingdom - a priviledge not extended to unrepentant adulterers and fornicators!
Anyone who can provide more scripture on this topic, please do so.
Thanks Rob. Talk to ya later.
Rockport Baptist Church
P.S. I'm not exactly sure of the definition of a "concubine" but the Bible says that Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to be his wife (Gen 16:3).
To begin with, a technicality: you're right in that Hagar did become Abraham's wife. But where you find this legitimate, I don't. I also think the case of Hagar being put away on your view would constitute an illegitimate divorce. I was simply trying to pull a case where the holy prophets sinned and continued to sin. On your view, since Hagar was Abraham's wife, then Abraham persisted in neglecting his wife when he put her away. So again, just because the holy prophets *did* something is no reason to think that they *should* have done it. That was my primary concern for you to see, since you made the case that if many holy men in the Old Testament did something, then it must be condoned by God. I have argued that this isn't necessarily the case.
My case is not presumed on a commandment given only in the New Testament, but on the implications of the nature of the marriage unit that God instituted in the beginning. This is the argument Jesus used against the liberal divorce laws. Those implications weren't explicitly stated in the Bible until the New Testament. But how is that supposed to downplay the "nefarious" act and nature of polygamy in destroying the "one flesh" unit? Just because there's not an explicit command for not doing something, doesn't mean that God condones it. There are all sorts of moral cases that come to mind here, and I'll leave it to your own creativity to come up with what that might entail.
Now even though an explicit statement of prohibition was never made in the Old Testament (unlike the New Testament for Church leaders) concerning polygamy, neither was there an explicit statement of divine endorsement. As a result of our exchange, you are forcing me to be explicit on what I mean when I call this practice "sin." So in such a case where you don't have explicit words from a prophet, you look at the real life situation and ask, "Would God be pleased here?" This is similar to the Proverbs when the fool is told to go learn a lesson from, not the Bible, but the ant. If a fool wants to mess with the divinely sanctioned "one flesh," then the obvious natural consequences are to follow. And guess who set it up that way? God Himself. And if you refuse to look outside the Bible, then just look at all the abuse and headaches from polygamous marriages within the Bible. Polygamous marriages clearly equal putting the marriage asunder, which no man is to do. The divinely instituted consequences wired into nature are God's means of punishment.
I appreciate your honesty Jim in admitting that it's hard to find an explicit verse of approval for polygamy in the Old Testament. As for the 2 Samuel passage you cited, yes, that's an apparent problem for my position, but there's still some ambiguity there as to whether God gave the wives to David to be his wives as such or to simply be under his care. If the latter was the case, then God gave these wives of another to David for his protection, since that was the common practice of the death of one king and the transference of his kingdom to the other back in that day.
Just as I wasn't clear on what I meant by "sin" in this case, I was also not clear on what I meant by God's "allowance." I was merely speaking of God's sovereignty in such cases. God allows, but doesn't approve of every evil that happens. That's all that I meant. Thus, God allows the evils of murder as well as the evils of polygamy to occur even though He disapproves of both.
Finally, I don't believe David was sent to hell, but was declared righteous even though he was ungodly like we all are (Rom. 4:5-8). If it's a matter of amending one's ways, then certainly David did this with Bathsheba case. The list from the First Corinthians passage you cite goes on to say that this is what some of you were, but you were washed and sanctified (6:11). How does this take place? By actually performing external and internal actions of abstaining? I don't hold that salvation is a matter of works, but is an internal act done within a person's heart by genuine faith. If a one time offense of any of these items sent one to hell, then we're all condemned until belief happens (John 5:24). If salvation requires me amending all my external and internal actions, then I'll never measure up. I thank God every day for His indescribable grace that saves a wretch like me, and gives me new desires to be more and more like my Lord.
[Jim decided to send out an email to different people listed on MormonInfo.org, and encouraged them to persuade me to keep this discussion concerning "the sacred and beautiful practice of polygamy" going since I told him that I was too busy and would get to it when I could.
So you want me to manipulate Rob into doing something he does not want to do? If the man says he is "too busy", then he is too busy. This e-mail you are sending me is an attempt to control another person despite their unwillingness to comply. Another great example of an inductive argument of the dangers of polygamy. It encourages narcissism in men, which is a violation of the 1st commandment (Exd 20:3). There's your scriptual evidence.
You confused me. Do you think Rob is "too busy" or is he actually "unwilling to comply" with my request to post my latest submission right alongside the other submissions he has already so promptly posted from me? He's either one or the other - but he can't be both. My guess is the latter.
It is evident that you have nothing to add to the discussion. I'm sure your Christian fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are looking down from the glory of God's Kingdom very displeased with your careless lack of interest and support for their sacred polygamist lifestyles.
Just like other "lukewarm" Christians (that God will spew from His mouth), your lack of support for polygamy is really nothing less than fierce antagonism against it. May Almighty God somehow find sufficient mercy to allow you to one day enter into "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:19-31) as you spend your earthly existence neglecting and disdaining the holy and sanctified practices of His Holy Prophets!
How can a person claim to be a true Christian while neglecting and disdaining the teachings of the Holy Bible the way that you do? In my opinion, they can't. May God have mercy on your soul.
Normally I am also too busy to engage in pointless banter, but it's Friday and I feel good.
First off, your ad hominem attack towards me just exposes fallacious reasoning. God gave us minds and he holds us accountable to use them wisely.
Secondly, just because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob practiced polygamy doesn't mean God has sanctified it. David committed murder, should we do the same? Biblical interpretation 101.
Focus like a laser beam on one aspect of polygamy - the cultic passion by it's defenders. That, in and of itself, should give one pause. Of all the teachings, commandments and exhortations in scripture, such people have decided to draw the line on the number of women a man should marry. You are blessed if you practice polygamy and you are spewed from God's mouth if you don't, or at least don't condon it. Don't you think God's Son, who came to earth to show us what it is like to live in God's Kingdom, would have been a little more clear on the number of wives a man should have if the effects were so profound?
Polygamy in the Bible seems to be discussed in a similar way to slavery. It is clearly not condoned by God, but He often addresses it in a way that assumes the culture of it. There were many cultures and civil laws in Bible times that allowed for polygamy and that allowed for slavery, but that doesn't mean it was God's idea. The first notable example is when Abraham took Hagar as a concubine to give him an heir. God loved Abraham's faith, but he didn't ever suggest that Abraham was a righteous man other than the imputed righteousness given to him. Further, we learn that Abraham did not need to "help" God keep His promise by listening to Sarah's suggestion to go in to Hagar. In fact, we see that this action by Abraham did nothing but bring heartache to all concerned. It is obvious from the Genesis account that God's perfect will for Abraham was to have one wife: Sarah.
The first mention of marriage in the Bible is: (Gen 2:24 KJV) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
It is wife, not wives, and certainly not wives and concubines. The concept of marriage and the meaning of adultery is made clear when Jesus talks about divorce in Mark 10:7-12. Here Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 and explains that the idea of God is that anything other than one man and one woman in marriage is to be thought of as equivalent to adultery--including divorce. If divorce is equivalent to adultery, which is more than one wife at different times; then surely more than one wife at the same time is also equivalent to adultery. If not legally, then at least in principle as Jesus explains it.
Further, we see God's perfect will spelled out in the Biblical requirements upon Christian men in leadership:
(1 Tim 3:2 KJV) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife...
(1 Tim 3:12 KJV) Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife...
(Titus 1:6 KJV) If any be blameless, the husband of one wife...
Why would this be God's standard if it were not His preference? Many other references in the New Testament deal with the relationship between a Christian man and his wife--singular. Never do you find any New Testament counsel to a man regarding his relationship with his wives--plural. (1 Cor. 7:2, Eph. 5:33, 1 Peter 3:7)
Were there men in the Bible who had multiple wives? Of course. But you never see God commanding it or even suggesting it. If it is legal and/or culturally acceptable then God deals with it as it exists, but that should never be taken as an endorsement.
By the way, the very fact that there are approximately an equivalent number of men and women in creation ought to give us a clue about God's perfect plan for us as a human race, besides the Biblical principles we have.
I have been following the exchanges going on about this polygamy discussion and have noticed that it is turning more and more into a war of words. All we need is some campaign ads and mud and all will be set.
About polygamy. Yes, it was practiced in the Bible. So was witchcraft, homosexuality, and a number of other things. Nowhere in the Bible does God command polygamy. When it was practiced it was during times when Israel had its back on God.
Second, Christians are still sinners but ones who have been forgiven. I think as Christians we tend to exalt some sins over others in terms of seriousness. Say you have two people who have both died without accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. One is a serial killer and adulterer. The other has only committed one sin in their life and that was stealing a cookie from grandma. Both go to hell because "the wages of sin is death."
Now let's say you have two people who are saved. One is an adulterer and the other stole a cookie from grandma. Well, Jesus paid the penalty for their sins. Since they are saved, both go to Heaven.
I live in Colorado Springs, CO. Anyone who hasn't been under a rock knows that Ted Haggard, an Evangelical pastor was fired by his church for sexual sin and other sins. He even admitted in a letter that he was guilty of sexual sin. Yet if he is saved then he will go to Heaven.
As Christians we often have a one-liner which isn't doctrinally correct. That one-liner is......"he/she probably wasn't/isn't really saved."
What that does is it makes the gospel of Jesus a works based gospel and makes some sins more serious than others. It makes it so that Christians pretty much have to be perfect because if they fall into sin then "they probably weren't saved" becomes the mantra. In addition, sin is sin, period. Sins of commission and sins of omission are on equal standing. The wages of sin is eternal hell fire.
Murdering someone and not praying are both sins and the penalty is the same for them. The degree of that penalty will differ, however hell is hell.
I have no doubt that some well-meaning Christians have been involved in polygamy. I am not their judge, Jesus is. None of those reading this are their judge either.
I also have no doubt that some people who practice polygamy do so because they have an obsession with all things carnal.
I want to make two points before this email ends. First, polygamy has never been a commandment.
Second, and this is a verse I use to refute those who say that Jesus never condemned homosexuality, but in Matthew 19:3-6 Jesus answers a question about divorce and in doing so declares that marriage is between one man and one woman. Not two men, not two women, not one man and ten women, not one woman and ten men, but one man and one woman.
First, we have to look at the issue as saved vs. unsaved. Second, we have to remember that sin is sin and God views all sin equally with disgust. Third, we have to remember that polygamy is not a commandment. Fourth we have to realize that Jesus spoke about marriage as between one man and one woman.
Now some of you probably don't accept church tradition the way I do. Church tradition has never taught that polygamy was something that God commanded at any time to be practiced.
Now let's look at things from the perspective of reason and logic. History tells us that there have been more men than women. If that is the case than polygamy would leave some men unmarried because there have never been enough women to go around.
Finally, let me ask all of you this. Why debate this? I think there are more important issues involved. There is a war going on, there are widows of soldiers that need to be looked over. Children too! There is disease, homelessness and worst of all there are millions of people living without Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Seems to me that polygamy doesn't deserve a discussion in light of scripture and the other issues that are going on.
So, it seems that you also lack the courage to defend the evidences found in the Holy Bible. Like our other "Christian" friends in this discussion, you believe that God did NOT condone the polygamous lifestyles of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, you hold to the awkwerd position that God apparently viewed the Patriachs as vile sexual sinners throughout their entire adult lives without ever expressing a single word of discust or disapproval about it (unlike what He did with David for committing gross sin)! Your position ignores the fact that while the Patriarchs were alive and after they died, God described their lives as great, faithful, righteous, and obedient! Yours is a highly illogical position to take, my friend - but it doesn't surprise me because it is the most "worldy accepted or convenient" position to take. Indeed, it's not an easy thing to stand up and defend polygamy in today's twisted world of porn filled sex perversion and abuse. But remember, Jesus said that only FEW would take the "strait and narrow path while MANY would choose the convenient, world-accepted, non-courageous path".
I've gotten mixed messages from you non-Baptist "Christian" friends. Guy's remarks were off the topic. Matt - yours and Rob's thoughts are in sharp disagreement with what Aaron told me (but Aaron's beliefs can be shrugged aside because they include a non-Christian, Mormon-like, "works-based" salvation). He says that polygamy is the same as adultery and that polygamists will burn in hell if they die without repenting! ie. He thinks polygamists must stop practicing polygamy BEFORE THEY DIE or they will burn in eternal hell fire!! What a joke! Anybody with at least a 3rd grade education can read that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ALL enherited the Kingdom of God - and NONE OF THEM "repented" of there polygamous "sins" the way Aaron requires them to! Good thing Aaron is not our judge. We'd ALL burn in hell because none of us could keep his graceless rules. But no matter, Aaron silently withdrew from this discussion several letters ago.
So Matt, you put polygamy on equal ground with sins like witchcraft and homosexuality? Need I remind you that God established obvious and stict laws FORBIDDING both witchcraft and homosexuality (and murder) - and He had penalties to go with them. Where are your scriptural examples of God's disapproval and penalties enforced against the Patriarchs' polygamy? I see you have provided none. Thus, your painting of the Patriarchs' lifestyles as bad as witchcraft and homosexuality is of no merit.
Lastly, you said "polygamy has never been a commandment". Are you sure about that? The "holy" prophet Abraham was a polygamist with multiple wives and concubines! Under your view, doesn't that strike you as extremely weird? Are you not aware of how God revered Abraham as a great example of faith and obedience his entire life?? In your view, Abraham died as an "unrepentant" polygamist!! If your anti-polygamy position is correct then we must assume that Abraham died as a flagrant and repetitive and consistent sexual sinning law-breaker! In fact, in your view, Abraham made sexual sin his LIFESTYLE! Did God really view Abraham as a vile sexual sinning commandment-breaker?? Here's a little reminder of the "type" of person Abraham was before he died.
6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
AND HEAR THE WORD OF GOD CONCERNING THE EARTHLY BEHAVIOR OF HIS HOLY PROPHET ABRAHAM (AFTER ABRAHAM'S DEATH):
2 And the LORD appeared unto Isaac, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Does God have such a short memory to forget that Abraham was actually a "NEFARIOUS" COMMANDMENT-BREAKING POLYGAMIST - with many wives/concubines throughout his adult life? He clearly states that Abraham OBEYED HIS VOICE, KEPT HIS CHARGE, KEPT HIS COMMANDMENTS, KEPT HIS STATUTES, AND KEPT HIS LAWS while he lived on the earth! If God did NOT condone Abraham's polygamous lifestyle, why would He describe Abraham as someone so obedient to His commandments? HE WOULDN'T! Especially if Abraham were engrossed in something so vile as sexual sin like David became engrossed in! Thus, we can reasonably deduce that God most certainly condoned the polygamous lifestyle of Abraham (and Isaac and Jacob). And thus, polygamy - in and of itself - is NOT "nefarious" as suggested by Mr. Miller in his article about the Mormons. But, as stated by Matt, it certainly CAN be "nefarious" if practiced outside of God's acknowlegement and appointment - as in the case of the Mormons (but NOT in the case of the holy Patriarchs)! The fact that polygamy CAN be "nefarious" outside of God's appointment doesn't mean that God has never commanded or approved it! But it sure gives the devil an advantage in deceiving people into thinking that ALL polygamists must automatically be demented sexual perverts. My friends, consider yourselves duly deceived!
It was a good letter Matt, but completely lacking in scriptural support for your belief that God disapproved of the polygamous lifestyles of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - or that God viewed them as vile sexual sinners. Hence, the dillema remains - guided primarily by the strengh of deductive reasoning - which I have yet to see any more stronger than what I have provided.
So as for now, I continue to stand alone in solitude strongly defending the honor and virtue of God's righteous and holy prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - while you all stand among those of the world casting your spite and condemning God's Holy Prophets as vile, carnal, sensual, devilish, sex-hungry, fornicating/adulterating, "sicko" (according to Tara), demented whoermongers! You have all judged the Holy oracles of God to be sensual devils! May God please take into account your innocent deception and graciously extend His abundant mercy to you for your gross misjudgement of His virtuous and Holy PROPHETS!
Good day to you my friends,
Jim Cluff, Deacon
Rockprot Baptist Church
Holy long email Batman! Jeepers, this was long, but well worth the read.
Jim, you and I have spoken before via email regarding some other issues.
The Patriarchs of the Old Testament did a lot of things that were not commandments of God, same with most people. When I eat a bowl of cheerios it is my own decision, not because of a commandment.
You mentioned me as a "non-Baptist." I have never had any Baptists describe me in that term before. I have been called a "non-Mormon" but never a "non-Baptist." Tell me, what convention are you in? I ask because to be all honest, your writing style reminds me of someone I know who is Mormon and so I am curious what convention of Baptists you belong to or are you Independent? What version of the Bible do you adhere to? I am a KJV only, so I will provide verses to you only in that translation.
I think polygamy with regards to the lives of various Old Testament prophets can be better described as a "matter of fact" rather than as a lifestyle commanded by the Lord. Job was called a "perfect and upright" man and also happened to be extremely rich. Does that mean that we need to be rich to be perfect and upright? I guess in some political circles you may need to be, but not in the Lord's eyes.
You said, "it (polygamy) certainly CAN be "nefarious" if practiced outside of God's acknowledgement and appointment."
That is just the thing, a commandment is always appointed by the Lord to follow. God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow and He does not change. God does not abrogate His commandments, no not even one of them.
Tithing is a commandment that Mormons follow, good for them, but personal righteousness does not lead to salvation and that is something that a great many people have yet to fully learn.
So at what point was polygamy no longer appointed by God for His people? We know that Jesus was never married, so do you believe that He was breaking this commandment?
You mention that you are with Rockport Baptist Church. Does your church have a website?
There's not much to reply to on your letter. I'm not necessarily arguing that polygamy was a commandment for the Holy Patriarchs. My whole point is that God didn't consider it a sin in there case. I believe God condoned it in there case. You believe that it was sin and that God didn't condone it in there case or any other. That's all. That's where we differ and thats the point I'm trying to get you to prove better. If God highly praised Abraham for keeping His law and commandments then I think He must have condoned Abraham's polygamous lifestyle. Don't you think that too? It seems really weird to me that God would praise so highly a vile, life-long sex pervert and call him a great "commandment keeper". But in your view, thats exactly what God has done - given high praise to a life-long "sex pervert". And again you've shown no scripture to support the fact that God felt that way about Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob.
You asked what convention I belong to. You want to know because my writing style reminds you of a Mormon? That doesn't make sense. I think it was Aarons's writing style that reminded you of a Mormon. He's the one promoting the works-based salvation not me. Currently I am a Independent Freewill Baptist. I say currently because not too many in my church agree with some of my views. I guess they have a problem with what they read in the Holy Bible. I am open to change I will let Almighty God lead the way.
You say that the Old Testament contains no explicit statement of divine endorsement or prohibition for the practice of polygamy. I'm not sure about that yet. It's a big book. Hopefully someone out there (if not you or I) can find and share some solid scriptural direction to help us out here. But for now, our conclusions are primarily based on deductive reasoning alone. And I'm still struggling to make sense of your position. Perhaps your reply to this post will help to more fully validate your belief that God has never condoned polygamy.
You believe that polygamy tainted Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and all other polygamist prophets) as "vile" sinners in the eyes of God. But just what exactly is it about polygamy that makes you think it's so "extremely evil"? It can't be selfishness, jealousy, or "all the abuse and headaches" that you said were associated with polygamy because those things can exist in NORMAL marriages too! Those things don't make you detest normal marriage - so they're obviously not the reason you detest polygamy. The real thing that's unique to polygamy is the weird sexual aspect of it, right? So I'm assuming that it's primarily the idea of a man taking "liberty" to engage in sex with multiple partners that makes polygamy so "nefarious" to you. Am I right or wrong with that assumption?
If that assumption is correct, I have to ask you this question: Since you believe that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all "entangled" in "sleazy multi-partner sex" lifestyles (AS MARRIED MEN) - were they committing adultery?? ie. Did God consider Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as adulterers??
Please provide your definition of "adultery" and state whether God considered the polygamist lifestyles of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "adulterous". Your reply is critical to the validity of your position.
Your Brother in Christ,
Rockport Baptist Church
Just because selfishness, neglect, abuse, etc. "may" exist in normal marriages is no reason to condone polygamy where I submit it is inherent to its nature. This is why the New Testament clarifies what is not explicitly stated in the Old Testament when it says that the Church leadership model for marriage is one woman for one man (1 Tim. 3:2, 12, and Titus 1:5-6). And since you call yourself a "deacon," you are not following what our Lord has clearly stated for His Church. Why would you advocate something that our Lord does not consider worthy of modeling in His Church? You keep wanting to go back to the model of the Old Testament, but that model was never explicitly approved by God. Those Old Testament saints should have thought of their "one flesh" in how it would affect all partners before they entered into polygamy. When this is considered, the answer should have been obvious.
The sexual aspect is simply one part of the equation here. Just because there is multi-partner sex is no reason to think it was adultery in my view. I define adultery as committing sex with someone who is not one's spouse ("porneia" is the word Jesus used to cover all sorts of martial sexual unfaithfulness). If that's true, then having sex with one's wives can't be adultery. When adultery occurs, it is a justification for ending the marital relationship (albeit as a last resort on my view). In addition, the Bible clearly calls the female members of polygamist relationships "wives." But just because they were in fact called "wives" doesn't establish that the relationships were condoned or that is what God intended "from the beginning" as Jesus said. The intention from the beginning was one man with one woman to form "one flesh." Again, just because God allows something to happen doesn't mean He approves of it. So just because it technically isn't adultery doesn't mean it is approved by God. It's sin of another sort on my view.
I would like to apolagize to you for thinking you would never post my letter that proved that God condones polygamy. that letter of mine really puts the lid on this entire discussion! So I thank you for posting it and replying to it. That really surprised me.
So you believe that God did NOT consider the polygamous realationships of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be "adulterous". I completly agree with you but not Mark Champnesy. He says that God considers polygamy EQUAL TO ADULTERY! Here's a cut and paste from his previous post:
"Mark 10:7-12. Here Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 and explains that the idea of God is that anything other than one man and one woman in marriage is to be thought of as equivalent to adultery--including divorce. If divorce is equivalent to adultery, which is more than one wife at different times; then surely more than one wife at the same time is also equivalent to adultery."
Me and you know that Mark C. is way off the track here. He thinks that because of polygamy, God considered Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as ADULTERERS; vile breakers of a very sacred commandment who God never condemned, cursed, corrected, or even mentioned, even though they made "adultery" a lifelong indulgunce! But the truth is, God cant possibly consider polygamy equal to adultery because the New Testament says that adulterers don't enherit the Kingdom of Heaven and also teaches that the polygamists Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all enherited the Kingdom of Heaven! Plus God said after Abraham died that Abraham obeyed his voice, and kept his charge, his commandments, his statutes, and his laws! (Gen 26) So they couldn't have been adulterers in Gods view. It's ridiculous to think that a person is truly saved while living a lifelong lifestyle of adultery! Sorry Mark, but me and Rob are right on this. Your wrong, God does not equate polygamy with adultery.
So Rob, you believe that God did NOT consider the polygamous realationships of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be "adulterous". That's great but you must realize that saying that really sinks your position in this discussion! Remember, your position is that God does NOT condone polygamy! Listen to your reply to my letter:
Quote: "Just because there is multi-partner sex (in the polygamous marriages of the Biblical prophets) is no reason to think it was adultery in my view. I define adultery as committing sex with someone who is not one's spouse. If that's true, then having sex with one's wives can't be adultery. ... In addition, the Bible clearly calls the female members of polygamist relationships 'wives'."
So Rob, (even though you originally said that you didn't consider Hagar's marriage to Abraham as "legitimate") your now clearly saying that sex with a "wife" cannot be considered adultery! So if I'm hearing you right, your also clearly saying that you consider the polygamous partners of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as there LEGITIMATE WIVES! And if I'm hearing you right, you are now clearly saying that GOD CONSIDERED THE POLYGAMOUS PARTNERS OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB AS LEGITIMATE WIVES! Now your position is clearly shifting towards mine, that GOD DOES CONDONE POLYGAMY afterall!
But then you totally confuse us with this: "Just because (the prophets' polygamy) technically isn't adultery doesn't mean it is approved by God."
Okay Rob, I don't mean to be rude but you're talking senseless banter here! Your totally contradicting yourself! If God didnt consider there polygamy as adultery then he obviously considered the polygamous partners of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacov as LEGITIMATE WIVES! And if God considered there polygamous partners as LEGITIMATE WIVES then he obviously recognized, honored, sanctioned, accepted, approved, or CONDONED THEIR POLYGAMOUS MARRIAGES! Right? I mean its not all that complicated when you think it through.
Please add this letter as the most recent post to the website discussion. I think I've clearly proven that GOD DOES CONDONE POLYGAMY. Any one who still wants to deny this fact can submit there thoughts for posting. But I think everyone would probly prefer to be quiet now.
Successfully Defending Gods Holy Prophets and Quieting Their Critics,
Rockport Baptist Church
There are other ways to be illegitimate besides being adulterous. You put all your eggs in this adultery basket, but just because there's a "marriage" doesn't mean God condones it. If you go that route, then God must condone gay "marriages", or "marriages" to animals, etc. It should also be obvious to you that God doesn't bless or condone "marriages" that are inherently abusive, selfish, etc. God may "allow" marriages without "approving" of them due to the hardness of men's hearts. (You continue failing to see how He allows all sorts of things without approving of them.) Under such circumstances, one shouldn't commit adultery by leaving any of his wives to sleep with someone who isn't his wife. But again, this doesn't entail that God approves of those other "wives" being in this relationship in the first place.
I've let this go on too long now, and unless someone else has something unique to contribute, I'm bored and want to move on.
Here's some wisdom from The Oak Ridge Boys:
Trying to Love Two Women
Trying to love two women is like a ball and chain.
Trying to love two women is like a ball and chain.
Sometimes the pleasure ain't worth the strain.
It's a long old grind, and it tires your mind.
Trying to hold two women is tearing me apart.
Trying to hold two women is tearing me apart.
One's got my money, the other's got my heart.
It's a long old grind, and it tires your mind.
When you try to please two women, you can't please yourself.
When you try to please two women, you can't please yourself.
At best it's only half good; a man can't stock two shelves.
It's a long old grind, and it tires your mind...