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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Defining Normal

When "what I desire" becomes the definition of "normal", we're lost. We instituted this faulty premise a long time ago and even codified it, attributing it to, of all beings, God Himself. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." You recognize that, I hope, as coming from our own Declaration of Independence. And it gives all human beings the divine right to pursue happiness. Thus, "what I desire" becomes the definition of "normal". Oh, of course they didn't think that at the time. "What I desire" was limited by "what is right". But we in our 21st century world have moved it away from moral absolutes to relative morality.

You may think I'm referring to homosexual behavior and the shift in the prevailing winds about such activities. I'm not. Those shifted a long time ago. That would be water under the bridge. We gave that up already. No, we've moved beyond that. Now the Mental Health community would like to go farther still. Oh, they removed "homosexuality" from their list of mental disorders a long time ago. Where are they now? They would like to redefine pedophilia as "minor-attracted persons", remove it from the list of mental disorders, and, instead, allow pedophiles to be involved in the revision of the list of mental disorders. It is, you see, a stigma they have to bear, and it shouldn't be! It's simply an attraction.

That, as we are aware, is the way of the world. It is the sequence of God giving them up to their next round of depravity. Unfortunately, it also affects believers. It is a product of our failure to stand on biblical standards on earlier issues like the sin of sex outside marriage, the sanctity of marriage (and the evil of divorce), the acceptability of abortifacient birth control, the definition of marriage, the biblical roles of men and women, and on and on. It will also serve to be a future definition of "Christian morality". Not that we will necessarily agree to it. The church has simply been following the downward moral spiral. We're a few steps behind because we're the moral ones, but we're not where we once were by far. So when "pedophile" becomes "unfortunate" rather than "evil" to the world, then divorce will become acceptable -- even recommended -- and sex outside of marriage a good thing and homosexual behavior perfectly acceptable and ... oh, wait ... we're there, aren't we? See what I mean?

When "what I desire" becomes the definition of "normal", we're lost. Two Scriptures come to mind. The first is from the mouth of our Lord Jesus. "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8). The second is from Revelation. "He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20).

100 comments:

Marshal Art said...

I've often spoken at my blog and elsewhere on the moral decline of our nation. Needless to say, there are those who dismiss my concern as just another conservative trying to force others to live in a manner I demand. One supposedly educated and seminary-trained blogger has gone so far as to say that God doesn't care about matters of sexual morality, yet, insists he doesn't support immorality.

This development, just as the last couple decades of homosexual activism, are merely symptoms of the moral decline that has picked up tremendous speed since around the late 1950s and early 60s. It is how the disease has manifested in those groups of people, as cancer manifests differently in different people, while being cancer nonetheless. Sexual immorality has manifested in a variety of ways and degrees, even down to how much exposed flesh is now considered acceptable in places formerly more reserved (though, to their credit, some schools are clamping down on this).

The push for homosexual "rights" and now the "rights" of polygamists and pedophiles is merely the degree to which the decay has spread. Where once the iron of our sense of morality and virtue had only that orange dusting of oxidation, it now is rusting completely through and is no longer functionally sound.

Stan said...

I've always claimed that, biblically speaking, sin rots the brain. If (as Romans 1 says) this is so, it is small wonder that those who endure, then endorse, then indulge in sin will not be able to see it.

Unknown said...

One, hopefully minor, quibble with your article. No sin should be listed as a 'mental disorder'.

(BTW don't tell Marhsall my views on Polygamy or he will think I am part of the moral decline :) )

starflyer said...

Wait...Von, you don't actually endorse polygamy???

Unknown said...

Let's just say that, having lived in Africa and studied the subject intensely, I take a much more nuanced view than most American Christians.

Let me ask you. If you lived in a country where polygamy was legal, and a man and his three wives and children came to your church and wanted to join, what would you do?

starflyer said...

Well, I cannot imagine myself in leadership at a church, especially in a country like that...lots would have to change for that to happen. So it makes it a tough question to answer right off the bat.

I don't know, maybe accept them into the church and then teach them what the bible has to say on the matter...it'd be a tough job, but I think it should be done, and not change my belief in what the bible teaches to accommodate the culture.

Unknown said...

Whoa, your answer stopped right when it started to get interesting. What would you teach them?

Let me start you out with some questions:

1) How many actual wives does the man have? One, and he is committing adultery with the other two women?
2) If he has three wives, what will you suggest he do? Divorce the other two?
3) Or merely stop sleeping with them?

Warning: If you examine each answer against Scripture you will see the pitfalls.

Marshal Art said...

The fall into the pit has already occurred. Indeed, one could say that the remedy requires breaking more rules (vows were taken, I'm assuming). But, only the first marriage is truly valid and the other two are not, so "setting them loose" is not so much a problem as they couldn't really be married in the first place, considering the dude already was.

You know, to pretend that there is some insurmountable issues due to how vows taken, if one considers each marriage separately from the other, is really no true chasm to cross. One (or the group of them) simply realize only the first marriage is valid and repent of the others, and then sinning no more (marital relations wise). Forgiveness is available for any sin at that point.

By the way, since you are such a student of the practice, Von, I'm interested in the relationships in such an arrangement as you have seen it. Here's the deal:

A man marries a woman. Then, he marries another. Is the second wife also betrothed to the first wife, or is each woman only married to the man, who is also married to each woman?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

In Scripture, in polygamous societies including the Jews, all were considered wives and had all the rights of wives, and were even seen by God as wives even though God did not approve of multiple wives.

Jesus reiterated what marriage was intended to be and Paul said church leaders could have only one wife. So those who were polygamous before coming to Christ would not have to divorce their wives, but if they were not previously polygamous they could not marry more than one.

Unknown said...

Well, Glenn does better than 99% of Christians on this subject, anyway.

Now he can show us where Christ or Paul forbade the taking of another wife. What of the levirate law? What of the law of fornication? Would you count those as exceptions?

Stan said...

Marshall Art: "You know, to pretend that there is some insurmountable issues due to how vows taken, if one considers each marriage separately from the other, is really no true chasm to cross. One (or the group of them) simply realize only the first marriage is valid and repent of the others, and then sinning no more (marital relations wise). Forgiveness is available for any sin at that point."

Without wading into the polygamy debate at all, I have to say that this is an interesting course to take. Since Jesus says that anyone who remarries after a divorce is committing adultery, I wonder if you'd carry this logic through there, too? "Sure, he divorced his wife and married a younger woman, but now he's saved and needs to repent. The proper procedure, if he is to avoid further adultery, is to divorce the new wife and remarry the original." (Sounds like I'm being ridiculous, I know, but there is actually a group of people -- website and all -- that advocate this.) If not, why not? (And if not, why would it not be applicable to the other case as well?)

Unknown said...

The problem with Marshall's course, if I understand him, is that it flatly contradicts Scripture, as Glen points out.

God, in Scripture, treats a man with two wives as... a man with two wives. He expects the man to honor that second, third, and fourth marriage contract just as much as the first.

And God Himself honors it. According to Marshall, if I understand him, David had only illegitimate children: since he had no children by his first wife. Indeed, he would be accusing God Himself of committing adultery since God (metaphorically) represents himself, at one point, as having two wives.

Unknown said...

A man marries a woman. Then, he marries another. Is the second wife also betrothed to the first wife, or is each woman only married to the man, who is also married to each woman?

Given that this happened dozens of times that are listed in the OT, do you really question this?

The 'marriage' relationship is the one between the man and the woman; just like the 'father/son' relationship is between, well, the father and the son. The second son does not become a 'son' of the first, but a 'brother'.

Indeed, typically such wives call each other 'sister'.

Just to remind everyone, my views on polygamy do not rise to the level of 'endorsement'. I believe in rightly applying the word of God, which does not condemn polygamy. Many Godly men were polygamous and were not condemend for it. God, at one point, said He would give David more wives if he (David) wanted them.

This is not an 'endorsement' like for a political candidate, but a recognition of the Biblical reality.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I think it is wrong to say God didn't condemn polygamy. He tolerated it and made allowances for the protection of the women, but Jesus condemned it when he spoke about marriage and said it was to be one man and one woman. If it wasn't condemned, then why was a polygamous man denied the office of elder or deacon?

Just like divorce and slavery, God recognized man's sin and permitted it while giving commands for protection of the divorced person and the slave.

Marshal Art said...

First of all, the question Von originally asked concerned what would WE do if a man with multiple wives wanted to join our church. In my state, polygamy is illegal. In my church, even though it is of the insanely liberal UCC denomination, I don't believe it is legal there, either. What happened in ancient times does not factor in here as we clearly know that polygamy is not a Christian practice. So the man is wanting to join our faith must adjust his life in a variety of ways to be in compliance with the faith. That is, if he is a hit man by trade, as well as a polygamist, he must repent of THAT aspect of his life in order to claim to be a Christian. So how does adjusting his marital situation receive exemption from conforming to the faith?

If we sin, repenting doesn't mean that others impacted by our sin won't suffer as a result of our repentance. Consider what a lie can do and how the ramifications of then telling the truth can cause hardship if others acted according to the lie told.

The divorce example brought up by Stand is different. The divorced and remarried couple would be beginning a new life as the married couple they are with their past no longer held against them. But a polygamous situation is still the wrong being perpetrated. It's like saying one is sorry for being in the neighbor's pool and won't ever do it again without ever getting out of it in the first place. For the divorced couple, their sin has taken place in the past and their adultery is no longer adultery having come to Christ, repented and now been born again. For the polygamist, he would be still engaging in that from which he need repent. The adultery cannot be forgiven if it is still happening. (Clumsily explained, but I think you get the point.)

continuing...

Marshal Art said...

"Given that this happened dozens of times that are listed in the OT, do you really question this?"

Yes, because YOU mentioned polygamy in Africa, not Israel, and it to THAT which I refer. I would assume that the vows are between the man and each woman separately, but as I have no personal experience with polygamy, and realize that different cultures have different ideas, I saw no "obvious" answer that covers all of it.

The difference between the marital relationship and the biological relationships of parents/children or siblings do not equate in any way. That wives of one man refer to each other as "sisters" does not make them so. I had no idea what they vows of such women would mandate for them. For all I knew, it could just as easily mandate that they are now wives of the husband's other wives as well. Perhaps the vows mandate that they regard the other women as sisters. Perhaps it's different in each culture. My question sought what YOUR claimed experience would present.

I would also add that there's a distinction between God condemning an act versus condemning one who might engage in that act.

Unknown said...

Perhaps I wasn't clear when I said condem I meant condem.
Jesus did specifically condemn divorce calling it adultery so the issues are not at all the same.
As for slavery Christ set us free from slavery to sin/Satan, inorder to be enslaved to God/righteousness, so I am not sure what your point is there.
Dozens of godly men in the old testament were polygamous, far from condemning them God blessed them and called them righteous; including several men in the line of Christ.

Stan said...

Actually, Marshall, Von asked, "If you lived in a country where polygamy was legal ...", not where you live now.

I'm not sure how the divorce example is different. The divorced and remarried (especially the example I gave) are not simply "beginning a new life as the married couple they are", but, according to Christ, committing adultery. It's only adultery for a moment? Jesus said, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery." It is the marriage (in this example) that is adultery.

David said...

This really is a tough situation. I think the most amenable and least sinful solution to the proposed scenario would be to have the man remain married to his current wives, repent of his past sin, and not add anymore wives to his life. Then explain to the congregation that he was in sin in what he did, and that allowing him membership is not approval of his past sin, but affirmation of his repentance, and that others should not see this as an allowance for them to become polygamists. If you tell him he must divorce his wives, you are now asking him to commit further sin and are punishing his wives for his conversion.
I don't think anyone in this conversation would say that God approves of polygamy, but we can all agree that He permits it and allows for it. He even clearly uses it to His own ends. But we know that ALL things are for His good. Did He allow and bless polygamists in the Old Testament, certainly. But He also clearly condemned it through Christ in the New Testament. God's permission of something happening isn't necessarily His approval. He planned for it and will use it, but it doesn't mean that it was the ideal situation.
I think Stan's point in bringing in the divorce example was to point out that if you force the man to divorce his tertiary wives, you are forcing them to most likely commit adultery (and the men they would eventually marry), since I'm quite sure women can't survive very well on their own in a polygamist society. By forcing them to divorce you are only compounding the sin, not removing it.
I think, coming from a monogamous culture and enforcing Biblical monogamy on a congregation, that would be the best I can come up with.

Marshal Art said...

Each question must be more narrowly defined. For example, if a divorced person remarries, and as a couple they come to the Lord, they are reborn and are "new people" whose lives begin from that point. Their past is no longer held against them. I can't see that the same would hold true for the bigamist if he continues to be married to multiple wives. The first situation results in a standard marriage, but the second doesn't. The bigamist could be forgiven for what he did in the past, but to allow his multiple marriages to all continue means the adultery is continuing. There would have to be some alteration of his situation to be conforming to God's Will.

As to the original question, I concede. But the original question still presumes the Christian church has standards of one man + one woman = one flesh, that would compel some change in the polygamist situation, whereas a divorce/remarried situation would not for reasons already given.

Marshal Art said...

Von,

I totally understood what you meant by "condemn". Are you not clear on the distinction between condemning an act versus condemning the person engaging in the act? Are you suggesting that for God to call an individual "righteous" that the individual was perfect in all he did? We know David wasn't perfect. We know Moses wasn't perfect. I don't think we can call anyone but Jesus perfect, and yet, as you say, many were called righteous. I don't believe that being called "righteous" means that every move they made was a perfect reflection of God's Will.

Thus, God might not condemn the man, but He might indeed still condemn a behavior in which the man engaged. More to the point, just because He had high regard for David, for example, I don't believe that God was totally keen on the multiple wives David had. I also think you misunderstand what God told David through Nathan.

Unknown said...

>>First of all, the question Von originally asked concerned what would WE do if a man with multiple wives wanted to join our church. In my state, polygamy is illegal.

No. It was: "Let me ask you. If you lived in a country where polygamy was legal, and ..."

Unknown said...

For the polygamist, he would be still engaging in that from which he need repent.

So, then, David, Abraham, Jacob, and the like were always continuously engaging in adultery? From which they should have repented?

Unknown said...

Are you not clear on the distinction between condemning an act versus condemning the person engaging in the act? Are you suggesting that for God to call an individual "righteous" that the individual was perfect in all he did?

I am saying that God never condemns polygamy. There is no 'thou shalt commit polygamy' in the Scriptures, anywhere.

and there is a considerable difference between God not condemning a sinner, and God deliberately blessing someone who is engaged in sinning, during that sin. God says, for example, that He Himself gave David Saul's wives 'into his busom', and that He, God, would have given him even more wives if David wanted them. God represents Himself as having two wives!

Is that what you call condemning a sin?

Unknown said...

He also clearly condemned it through Christ in the New Testament. God's permission of something happening isn't necessarily His approval.

You contradict yourself here. Is it 'clearly condemned' or 'permitted'??

David said...

So now we see the breakdown. Marshall sees polygamy as adultery, where Von doesn't. I don't know that you can really call is adultery since they are married.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Jesus only condemned divorce if it wasn't for proper reasons (sexual immorality).

You equivocate with "slavery." I'm talking about slaves that He permitted Israel to have, and slavery was never condemned in the NT either. This has no bearing on his freeing us from slavery.

I did an article about polygamy which I believe proves God does not approve of anything but one woman for one man although he permitted it.
http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2009/07/gods-view-of-polygamy.html

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

And, no, a polygamous coming to Christ would not have to divorce his multiple wives, nor would he have to repent of it any more than did King David. As noted originally, God still considered them valid marriages.

Unknown said...

Glenn,

It is a little tricky talking to both you and to Marshall simultaneously. He holds the reflexive US/European position that Poloygamy is 'wrong', thus second wives are but adultery writ large.

Your position is more nuanced (and much closer to mine) and will take a separate series of discussions. I will try to read your post.

Unknown said...

OK, Glenn, read it (expected it to be longer).

Not bad, as far as it goes, but it is exceedingly one sided. Indeed your posts here are much better than your analysis there.

If you are going to successfully deal with the subject, you really need to deal with the Godly men who had more that one wife, God speaking of Himself as having more than one wife, God stating He gave more than one wife to David, the law of captured slaves, etc.

As well you should note that is not merely the FLDS who practice polygamy, but Muslims and African Christians.

How do you deal with the leveriate law, the law of fornication, the law of the hated wife, etc.. Your article is a good start, but you have a long, long way to go before you finish the subject.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Does not God condemn divorce? Is it not in Scripture where God "hates" divorce? (Mal. 2:16) And yet Jesus said that because of hard hearts God permitted it (Matt. 19:8). God condemns sin, yet He still permits it, does he not?

God's design was one man and one woman. The leverirte marriage, as I understand, was customary among the culture of the time that again God permitted and even held them to.

But if God is okay with more than one wife, why did He give Adam one, and why did Jesus reiterate that as the desire, and why was the king not to have "wives" and why are elders and deacons not to have more than one wife?

Stan said...

Glenn,

I'm not actually disagreeing with you. I agree, for instance, that the original design was "one man and one woman". Absolutely God frowns on divorce.

But I do need to point out that the "why are elders and deacons not to have more than one wife?" argument isn't a good one. The qualifications for elders and deacons are for specific roles that have specific requirements. If you think of them as jobs in the world, you know that you need to have skills to work as a carpenter that a plumber doesn't have to have (as a silly analogy). So the "elders and deacons" argument doesn't really work very well for you.

Like I said, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. I'm just recommending you let that particular argument go.

Unknown said...

Does not God condemn divorce? Is it not in Scripture where God "hates" divorce? (Mal. 2:16) And yet Jesus said that because of hard hearts God permitted it (Matt. 19:8). God condemns sin, yet He still permits it, does he not?

Yes, absolutely. God condmened divorce in both the Old and New Testament. He also condemned adultery, the failure to take a leverirate wife, and incest. However your problem here is that God does NOT condemn polygamy, in either the Old or New Testament. God obviously 'permits' non-sinful things as well. Adam was naked, and had only one wife, and lived in a garden, and ate fruit. However God does not condemn clothes, polygamy, living in a desert, or eating grain.

You need to deal with the very Godly men who had multiple wives and were very specifically never condemned for it. Sometimes, indeed, their getting a second wife happens in the middle of a passage where God is saying how righteous they are, and how much he is blessing them.

You need to deal with the fact that God, at one point, represents himself as having two wives.

If I have time I will go through your paper point by point but, if you have time, you need to go through the various passages where polygamy is represented and ask, "Is this how God responds when someone is actively sinning?"

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

David was considered a godly man and yet committed adultery and murder. So using that as a standard doesn't hold water. I maintain that it is implied that polygamy is condemned by the many references to only one wife being the standard, and by God specifically saying that when Israel got a king he "shall not" have more than one wife and yet they all did.

Stan, I disagree about the elders and deacons argument. These men, in their roles, are to set an example and part of that example is that they must not have more than one wife. Now, if it was okay to have more than one wife, then why would this matter?

I realize there is no direct condemnation of polygamy, but I think when Jesus reiterated the fact that in marriage the "TWO" shall become "ONE" it sort of eliminates multiple wives!

God stating He has two wives is nothing more than using an analogy they are familiar with, just like He talks about having wings, etc.

Stan said...

You like it? Go ahead then. I still think it's a poor argument.

The problem, you see, is that with that line of argument you are contending that "elder and deacon" qualifications are the standards to which we all should attain. Unfortunately, that's not biblical.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Stan,

I just figure if a higher standard for spiritual leadership precluded polygamy, then it couldn't be viewed as an ideal. In that way they set an example, not that all should be able to attain the standards necessary for such leadership roles.

Unknown said...

A quick comment before my more definitive post:

David was considered a godly man and yet committed adultery and murder. So using that as a standard doesn't hold water.

And David was CONDEMNED for his adultery and murder! Indeed God says,

1Ki 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

Stan said...

If "the husband of one wife" is the standard, then single men ought to get married, but Paul wished that more did not. "Able to teach" is better than not, although James said, "Let not many become teachers." "A recent convert" is bad.

I believe that the qualifications for the roles of elders and deacons are due to their particular tasks of leadership, not as standards to which we all should attain.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Stan, you are missing the point. The point is that IF polygamy was okay, then there would be no problem with an elder or deacon having more than one wife!

Von,
So just because God didn't specifically condemn David for having more than one wife, His command in Dt. 17:17 meant nothing?

Unknown said...

Ok. Here is a detailed response to Glen's post on his blog:

http://vonstakes.blogspot.com/2011/09/is-polygamy-forbidden-in-scripture.html

Unknown said...

If "the husband of one wife" is the standard, then single men ought to get married, but Paul wished that more did not.

Von coughs lightly. Umm, Stan, Paul did want unmarried men (and women) to get married. But, I won't complicate this post, perhaps another thread?

Unknown said...

God stating He has two wives is nothing more than using an analogy they are familiar with, just like He talks about having wings, etc.

However, unless I missed it, you haven't written a blog post on how having wings is sinful. Are you really comfortable with the idea that God, in Scripture, deliberately metaphors himself engaging in a relationship, with Israel and Judah, that you claim is sinful?

Something is never, as you say, explicitly condemned in Scripture but you feel comfortable enough with your various readings between the lines to condemn dozens of Godly men as frequent, unrepentant sinners? You feel comfortable saying 'they did wrong' in the middle of a passage where God says, "They did right."?

For example:

2Ch 24:1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Zibiah of Beersheba. 2Ch 24:2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. 2Ch 24:3 And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters.

God says that Joash did what was right all the days of Jehoida the priest, and them immediately says that Jehoida took for Joash two wives. Somehow God missed putting in the parenthetical (well, except for the matter of accepting the two wives that Jehoida gave him.)?

Stan said...

As I said, Glenn, I disagree. But that's okay.

Stan said...

Von, without actually entering into any sort of lengthy discussion on the subject, are you saying that when Paul said, "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am" he was either saying that they should get married or that it is wrong in some way not to be married? I understand that Paul encourages marriage, but I can't imagine that not getting married is considered "bad" if they can exercise self-control. I wouldn't consider a single male who is not engaging in sexual immorality to be "inferior" to a man with a wife, although the requirement for an elder is "married", nor would I consider a man and wife who, for instance, cannot have children as "inferior" to a couple with children, although the requirement for an elder is "faithful children".

Unknown said...

So just because God didn't specifically condemn David for having more than one wife, His command in Dt. 17:17 meant nothing?

None of God's commands 'mean nothing'. However if God says that David didn't violate His commandments, and you say he did, hopefully the discerning reader will know who to believe.

And, as the reader will note, the Deut 17 passage condemns the king multiplying wives, horses, and gold. And yet no one would argue that a second horse or a second piece of gold would somehow violate this command.

As everyone knows in a polygamous society a man with more wives is considered more prestigous. Thus, as with gold or horses (ie military might) a successful king was likely to take more wives. (In our modern day, they just sleep with more women. One of the French Louis, for example, would routinely take the wives of his courtiers to bed). Thus, here, God forbids the king from lifting himself above his subjects... defining himself and his greatness by his fat treasury, powerful military, or plentiful harem. But He did not limit the king to one horse, one piece of gold... or one wife.

Unknown said...

are you saying that when Paul said,"To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am"

First of all, Stan, I would whisper in your ear to check your translation. The verse actually reads:

1Co 7:7 But I desire all men also to be as myself. But each has his own gift from God, one this way, and one that way. (LITV) or

1Co 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of Elohim, one after this manner, and another after that. (IAV) or

1Co 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. (KJV)

In the context of the passage he means that he wishes that every man had the gift of not being tempted sexually.

Reading up in the same passage we read:
1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.


Reading later in the same passage we read of the context of the issue:

1Co 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
1Co 7:26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.


Thus, a present distress. However the overall, repeated, emphasis of Paul's was marriage.

Stan said...

Yeah, that dreaded literal ESV can sure be unreliable, can't it? Oh, wait!

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. (ESV)
I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. (KJV)
And I say to the unmarried and to the widows: it is good for them if they may remain even as I am. (YLT) (1 Cor 7:8).

Okay, that's weird, because they all seem to say "remain unmarried as I am". Hmmm, so I guess I'll have to disagree with your assessment of those passages. Yes, Paul encouraged marriage. I just don't see him saying that singleness was "less". Or, as Jesus put it, "There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."

So, to clarify, you would say, then, that it is wrong (evil, a sin, or perhaps, at the minimum, biblically inferior) to not get married? There are no cases or situations that you would consider singleness a "gift" or a "calling" or in any way "desirable" or "acceptable" from a biblical view?

Unknown said...

Okay, that's weird, because they all seem to say "remain unmarried as I am".

They do indeed. I am not claiming that Paul was saying he was married. What I am saying is that what Paul was talking about in verse seven, what he wished for all men (not merely virgins and married) to have the gift of sexual continence.

He THEN goes on, in verse eight, to counsel virgins and widows to remain unmarried, for this current distress... IF they had the gift! Else, he says, "1Co 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." And, far from counseling all men to be single he specifically commands: " Let not the wife depart from her husband:"

You ask, So, to clarify, you would say, then, that it is wrong (evil, a sin, or perhaps, at the minimum, biblically inferior) to not get married?

I (and not I alone, but Calvin, Gill, Henry) would say that is it *usually* wrong for a young man not to get married. That is why he, Paul, feels comfortable saying 'every' man and 'every' woman in verse two.

There may be seasons of persecution, or specially difficult jobs (a missionary to a difficult Muslim country, for example) which may call for a man to remain unmarried however, as I put it in my book:
Scripture teaches that, outside of exceptional circumstances , it is the norm and ideal for young men and women to marry and bear children. In general, Scripture speaks of marriage as happening ‘in youth’ and thus, outside of exceptional circumstances, it is the norm and ideal for all young men and young women to marry and bear children. Scripture does not teach that, under normal circumstances, marriage should be delayed for reasons of spiritual maturity or any other ‘readiness’ issues such as financial stability, having their education finished, etc. It is our culture which has added these delays and roadblocks into the system; promoting as a virtue that which Scripture categorizes as a sin.

You state: I just don't see him saying that [being unmarried[ was "less".

Nor do I use that language. I will say, along with the old commentators, that, for most people, being unmarried is a sin. As Calvin puts it:

[Marriage is] not simply a matter of choice, but a needful remedy for incontinency, which ought not to be denied to any one. And again he says, Those incapable of self-restraint, if they apply not to the remedy allowed and provided for intemperance, war with God and resist his ordinance.

Stan said...

It's interesting that I find only in the KJV the reference to "every man" in verse 2. All the rest seem to say "each", which in no way suggests that "all" (as "every would") should get married.

It would appear from your words, from Calvin's words, and from the text that the problem is not "get married" but "avoid sexual sin" or, as Calvin puts it, "incontinence", "intemperance", or a lack "of self-restraint". And I agree that the normal concept is "marry and have children", and that Paul was in favor of that norm and was speaking primarily of "this present distress". And I encourage and expect people -- young people -- to marry (without regard for "wait until you're spiritually mature or financially stable or educationally complete" or the like). I'd still question the use of "elders and deacons" who must be married as the standard to which all Christians ought to attain.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Von,

As for God using analogies which could lead to that which is sinful, I think you just take the analogy too far.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Von,
Multiplying wives is much different from multiplying horses and gold. I submit they are intrinsically different, and I would hope the majority of the human race would understand that.

Unknown said...

Multiplying wives is much different from multiplying horses and gold. I submit they are intrinsically different, and I would hope the majority of the human race would understand that.

So, in other words, because you have decided, without Biblical evidence, that polygamy is wrong you feel free to read that prejudice back into this verse.

In order to make a Biblical case you have to make a Biblical case, not just read everything with your prejudices.

Stan said...

Von: "my views on polygamy do not rise to the level of 'endorsement'."

In light of your apparently ardent biblical defense of polygamy, on what basis would you not endorse it seeing as how you seem to do just that? (Note: I re-read that question and realized that it could be read as a challenge by an antagonist. It's not. It's a friendly question from a curious person -- me.)

Unknown said...

As for God using analogies which could lead to that which is sinful, I think you just take the analogy too far.

What I said, and I stand by, is that the anti-polygamy crowd has to 'take into account and deal with' the dozens of Godly men who were polygamous (and never condemned for it) including (in metaphor) God Himself.

You seemed to have forgotten how you started this. You told us that if a polygamous man came to your church (in a country where it was legal) you would 'show him' that polygamy 'was sin'. You can't rely on the general US disapproval, this is a man who believes in polygamy. Is what you have shown us really the kind of evidence that you would use to show someone that something they had done *was sin*? Not, *not wise* or *not ideal* but an actual *sin*.

Are you that confident of your Biblical evidence? Enough to convict dozens of Godly men and your new parishioner?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Von,
I think I did make a good case against God's sanction of polygamy in my article (and I am working on a response to your blog).

You have no biblical evidence that says God approves of polygamy except an argument from silence that God never specifically condemned it. I maintain that his creation of one woman for Adam rather than more demonstrates His intent for marriage.

You claim it is my prejudice which makes my case, yet it appears to me you have a bias towards polygamy which causes you to lean on the argument from silence.

Marshal Art said...

Just to be clear, that God did not condemn the multiple marriages of certain characters during a time when multiple marriages were commonplace does not mean that He was pleased that they married multiple wives.

As to the adultery factor, I think it is pretty clear that when a married couple has sex for the first time, either having sex afterward with anyone else would constitute an adulterous relationship, whether they take vows beforehand or not. I believe Paul speaks on this, though at present, I can't recall where. I'll research and get back to you. But my point is that adultery hinges to some extent on the sexual act having "sealed the deal" of the original set of vows.

Unknown said...

n light of your apparently ardent biblical defense of polygamy, on what basis would you not endorse it seeing as how you seem to do just that? (Note: I re-read that question and realized that it could be read as a challenge by an antagonist. It's not. It's a friendly question from a curious person -- me.)

Dear Stan,

Thank you for the question. I have a couple of answers, but my first is simple. I worked in Africa for several years and saw people, like Marshall, taking something which, if it is a sin is an extremely odd one for the reasons we have discussed, and insisting that these people engage in clear sins: divorce or marital infidelity.

This caused me to look back at Scripture and... (to be continued)

Unknown said...

... and the commentators and find an amazing amount of strained exegesis... eisegesis even, of the type we have seen here.

Let us take just the one passage.... "an elder must be … the husband of one wife… One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”

Somehow the anti-polygamy commentators find in this verse a clear statement that polygamy is a sin... yet seem rather confused as to whether the elder must be married! The whole context of the passage screams 'married'... household in subjection... ruling his children... knowing how to take care of his own house.

All of which could be fulfilled by the polygamous man, but which absolutely cannot be fulfilled by the unmarried man! And a look at the Greek would have shown them that the word 'one' often means 'at least one', and never, ever, ever means 'one or none'.

Unknown said...

... now, as for 'endorse', I see that word like it is used in politics... standing on the sidelines yelling 'four more years' or somesuch.

Well,I don't do that. I don't stand and say 'marry more wives'. Nor will I take another wife, barring the death of my wonderful bride...

However, neither do I look at those who do, or who did, and say 'what awful sin'. First of all, I would have the absolute fear of God in accusing Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon and the like of sin without rather clear evidence. And especially in the case of David, to do so would be to directly contradict Scripture!

So... in temporary conclusion at least I hold that... Scripture does not forbid polygamy and, at times, may require it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Von,

Remember, I only said people who were not already polygamous could not do so. I stated that those who are polygamous who came to the Lord are still married, and were not required to divorce their wives. God didn't require the O.T. men to do so.

Unknown said...

Just to be clear, that God did not condemn the multiple marriages of certain characters during a time when multiple marriages were commonplace does not mean that He was pleased that they married multiple wives.

Just to be unclear, I assume you mean, since earlier, and later, you insist that there are no 'multiple marriages' but one marriage and multiple adulterous liasons.

And one wonders what verse you will use to support the above contention... but it is a bit irrelevant. You have to cope not merely with a lack of forbidding, but many of the problems with your view, including the oft quoted verse:

1Ki 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

Unknown said...

Remember, I only said people who were not already polygamous could not do so. I stated that those who are polygamous who came to the Lord are still married, and were not required to divorce their wives. God didn't require the O.T. men to do so.

Wow, perhaps I misread you. So is it OK or not for the already polygamous man to take another wife?

And I knew what you said above. Your position is much more nuanced, and much more Biblical, than Marshall's.

Unknown said...

You have no biblical evidence that says God approves of polygamy except an argument from silence that God never specifically condemned it.

Just to note, I never said that God 'approves of' Polygamy. I said, and I say, that he does not condemn it... that is not a sin (altho it may be, like pretty much anything may be if done at an improper time or improper way).

Against this you are arguing that you are sure that taking a second wife is, always, at all times, everywhere, a sin. Thus you accuse Abraham, Jacob, David... and God in metaphor... of sin. You have the active case to make.

Like the defense attorney all I have to do, standing in defense of David, is show that this Godly man is not guilty 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. And, IMO, even leaving aside all of the other issues, the judgement/witness pronounced by God Himself concludes my case:

1Ki 15:5 ... David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. - God

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Von,

The requirements for elder & deacon: Since I have dozens of commentaries from just about every Christian viewpoint (Calvinist, non-Calvinist, Catholic, etc) and the vast majority say this means no more than one wife, I think I will stick to that. And just about all these also say he MUST be married, so the "one wife" means he has to have one and no more than one.

As to whether a polygamous man can marry more after becoming a Christian, I would say no. You don't continue to add to what God has not approved. Whether not you want to decide it is a sin, you have to admit that God did not endorse it. Being silent on a subject is not the same as approving it.

Unknown said...

You don't continue to add to what God has not approved. Whether not you want to decide it is a sin, you have to admit that God did not endorse it. Being silent on a subject is not the same as approving it.

What God does not approve? God certainly approves of getting married! "He who finds a wife..." and all that.

Seriously, you have this whole argument backwards here. It is up to you, the man accusing David of sin... in a situation where God Himself did not condemn him.. .it is up to you to make the case for the sin.

1Ki 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

Unknown said...

so the "one wife" means he has to have one and no more than one.

If you had read the series I pointed you to, you would have seen that I listed that as one of the two possibilities for the word 'one' in the text. What it can't mean, according to the rest of the NT, is 'no more than one'.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Von,

Why do I need to read YOUR series when from the multitudes of commentaries I have on hand and others I have borrowed over the years the majority of scholars say it is one and only one? Why should YOUR interpretation take precedence over theirs? I guess it depends on what your definition of "one" is.

Unknown said...

>>Why do I need to read YOUR series

In order to understand what I teach. I was pointing you there instead of repeating everything here.

Unknown said...

Being silent on a subject is not the same as approving it.

Could turn that around. Being silent on the subject is not the same as calling it a sin.

And God is not silent on polygamy. He lists dozens of men, some very Godly, who were polygamous, and does not condemn them, or even frown lightly. Indeed He calls them some marvelous names that we can all envy.

There is no evidence that David sinned in this area, yet you accuse him.

Unknown said...

So, we have a question. Should we take Stan's silence on the subject as 'not approval' or 'not calling it a sin'?

Stan said...

No, you should take Stan's silence on the subject as "Staying out of the way", since I have neither authority nor responsibility nor certainty on the question.

Unknown said...

>>No, you should take Stan's silence on the subject as "Staying out of the way",

:)

starflyer said...

Take my silence on the subject as staying out of the way also. Hey, I'm just glad I could lob a question out there that generated over 70 responses! I was trying to think of another one to get it to 100 but I'll be happy with this. Happy Friday!

Stan said...

"Coward!" said one scaredy cat to the other.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

To say God's silence on polygamy is therefore approval, especially since He praises men who participated, is illogical. Those men also sinned in their daily lives - assuming they were like the rest of humanity in that respect.

God is silent as to specifically whether polygamy is wrong - i.e., making a statement - yet I submit the evidence is that God's intent is for man to be monogamous. While he doesn't give specific condemnation, he doesn't give specific approval either.

Stan said...

Glenn, just a question. (I'm not offering an argument or opinion.) From Jesus's answer to the Pharisees of His day, it is pretty clear that divorce was not acceptable. "From the beginning it was not so." Yet, God provided for rules regarding divorce "because of the hardness of your hearts". I'd have a hard time saying "God approves of divorce", but I'd have an equally hard time saying "God considers all divorce sin." I would certainly say He doesn't favor it. (That is, God would prefer no divorce.)

Is it not true that the same can be said about polygamy. God's ideal is one man and one woman. God knew that they wouldn't maintain His ideal. He didn't approve polygamy, but neither did He forbid it. Is that a fair parallel?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I'm not saying God forbid polygamy - and that in fact is part of the problem. He is silent as to whether it is condemned or approved. On the other hand, with divorce, He specifically approves divorce for certain reasons, even though He doesn't like divorce.

Unknown said...

I'm not saying God forbid polygamy - and that in fact is part of the problem. He is silent as to whether it is condemned or approved. On the other hand, with divorce, He specifically approves divorce for certain reasons, even though He doesn't like divorce.

God didn't forbid polygamy... but Glen does. Isn't there something in Scripture about not adding to it?

God never approved of divorce. He allowed it in certain circumstances... or, in exactly one circumstance... adultery.

Unknown said...

God's design was one man and one woman. The leverirte marriage, as I understand, was customary among the culture of the time that again God permitted and even held them to.

Reading back... huh?
"Customary" "Permitted" "Held them to"
Huh?
It is part of the law. It is written:
Deu 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
Deu 25:6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
Deu 25:7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
Deu 25:8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
Deu 25:9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
Deu 25:10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.


So, what is it? And, if a man had his wife, and was obligated by the levirate law to take another wife, would you call that sin?

What of the law of fornication? If a man was obligated by the law of fornication to take a second wife would you call that (the taking, not the original fornication) sin?

Stan said...

I'd be a bit more cautious in that line of thinking, Von. First, God doesn't forbid running red lights, but the government does. Isn't there something against adding to the word of God? You see, that doesn't work. Further, the text warning against adding to the Scriptures is a warning specifically against adding to the Book of the Revelation. Finally, though, we normally make rules that are not specifically identified in Scripture without having to bear the accusation, "You're adding to Scripture!" It isn't accurate to say it's an addition to Scripture.

Glenn said that he believed that monogamy was God's ideal and wouldn't recommend polygamy. Is that classified as "adding to Scripture"?

(And, oh, by the way, I doubt you can actually find the text that allows divorce for adultery. It's not in there.)

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I'm not forbidding polygamy - if that was the case then I would be saying polygamists must divorce all their extras, etc. What I am saying is that the Bible is silent with forbidding/condemnation as well as with approval.

I believe the Bible says divorce is valid for sexual immorality (adultery, which would include consistent use of porn), abuse and neglect (although the Jews saw abuse as a subset of neglect). But that's another discussion for another time.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

My understanding of the levirate law was that it was part of the culture in which Israel found itself. Like slavery and divorce, God permitted it and made rules for the protection of the woman. I don't have all the answers, but this example does not show that God approves of polygamy any more than He approves of divorce or slavery.

Unknown said...

I'd be a bit more cautious in that line of thinking, Von. First, God doesn't forbid running red lights, but the government does. Isn't there something against adding to the word of God? You see, that doesn't work.

Sorry Stan, but good try.
You will recall I started this conversation with 'in a country where Polygamy was legal', I did it precisely to avoid this problem.

Romans 13 makes it clear that we are to obey the government in all of its legitimate functions. Red lights etc. themselves are, actually, rather straightforward applications of the case laws.

In this particular case Glenn (and pretty much everyone) is taking a practice that was engaged in by lots of very Godly men, totally uncondemmed by God and, in many cases, even blessed by God; metaphored by God Himself; and, with a bit of hand waving, making it out to be sin... accusing Abraham, Moses, and David of sin.

And, specifically in the case of David, we have God's specfic decleration that David followed all of God's commandments.

Glenn would argue that, of course, David did sin other than just with Uriah. Given. But that is not the issue. The issue here is a rather continual, oft repeated, overt, sin recorded repeatedly in Scripture. And a sin that God seems to have helped him with, and blessed him for!

So Glenn is accusing David of not following, or not knowing the law. David, who wrote:
Psa 119:97 MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Psa 119:98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
Psa 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
Psa 119:100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
Psa 119:101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Psa 119:102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.

Unknown said...

Glenn said that he believed that monogamy was God's ideal and wouldn't recommend polygamy. Is that classified as "adding to Scripture"?

Is that where he wishes to end up? We can restart the discussion then. Words like 'ideal' and 'recommend' have a lot higher standard than, "This great man of the faith, who God said didn't sin, and who was an expert in understanding of the law of God... I am going, with my better understanding of the law, to accuse of sin."

Is that what he boils down to? 'Not ideal' and 'I don't recommend'? Are we done the accusations of sin against David, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joash...?

Unknown said...

My understanding of the levirate law was that it was part of the culture in which Israel found itself. Like slavery and divorce, God permitted it and made rules for the protection of the woman.

I posted the levirate law, above. Perhaps you can tell us which part of it applies to what you have said. It sounds awfully like a command to me... with God Himself instituting a Israel wide curse on the man who failed to obey it. Does that sound like a mere 'permitting' to you?

And would the married man who obeyed the levirate law be sinning? Or doing something God 'didn't approve of'? Or is he an exception?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I understand the levirate marriage. What I am pointing out is that many commentators I have read state that this was a custom of the culture. In that case, God would be acknowledging a custom and putting regulations on it. God putting regulations on divorce was described by Jesus as being “permitted.”

How could a man be fornicating if he was married - wouldn’t that be adultery?

You keep arguing that since God said David followed all of His commandments except in the case of Uriah, that means that polygamy was sanctioned by God because it wasn’t mentioned as an exception. This is an invalid argument because you’d have to be claiming David committed no sin except for the case of Uriah. So David was sinless except that?

Unknown said...

In that case, God would be acknowledging a custom and putting regulations on it. Perhaps, but in this case the regulation was 'thou shalt do this'. And what you haven't dealt with is how this affects the polygamy argument

Unknown said...

God putting regulations on divorce was described by Jesus as being “permitted.” And, when you read the law, that was what the law said. It didn't say 'thou shalt hate thy wife', but 'if you hate your wife' (ie if you are already sinning) then you have to give her a writ of divorce.

Unknown said...

How could a man be fornicating if he was married - wouldn’t that be adultery?

Nope, not in the OT law. That would be fornication, unless she was married.

Unknown said...

You keep arguing that since God said David followed all of His commandments except in the case of Uriah, that means that polygamy was sanctioned by God because it wasn’t mentioned as an exception.

Nope, not what I said at all. What I said is that you seem very sure that polygamy is a sin, and thus you have to deal with the fact that, repeatedly, righteous men engaged in it and were not condemend

And, in the case of David, you wish to accuse him of a rather continual sin, covering multiple actions over his whole life, spoken of frequently in Scripture, said by God to have been given by God Himself, said by God that he would give David more wives if he wanted them... and where God Himself said that David did not disobey his commandments. You have to tell me why God ignored that massive, repeated, sin, and reported that he didn't sin.

The burden of proof is on the person who is saying that they know that David sinned. Not on the person who agrees with God.

Unknown said...

So David was sinless except that?

Don't you get it? It was God, not I, who chose to characterize David's life as one of flawless obedience except in the case of Uriah. David didn't even make that claim, altho he made some pretty powerful claims.

God chooses to characterize David's life one way... and you choose to contradict God. That problem is really not in my court.

Unknown said...

Just to repeat the question:


And would the married man who obeyed the levirate law be sinning? Or doing something God 'didn't approve of'? Or is he an exception?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Von,

I’m making this last comment and then I’m giving up - this is taking way too much of my time and we will not come to any agreement.

Levirate law, in my understanding from reading commentaries in the past, was a custom of the society, just as was divorce and slavery. God permitted man to do these things while not giving his blessing on them. However, God did indeed give rules for the protection of the women and if Israel was going to be practicing these things, then they had to comply with the restrictions God gave them. As Jesus said regarding divorce, it was because of “hard hearts” that God permitted these things.

When God said David followed all his commands except in regard to the issue with Uriah, I don’t think He intended for it to mean that David was sinless in all his life with that one exception. He is saying that that was the BIG one. To say that God meant that David was otherwise sinless would be absurd. So not mentioning his polygamy in that single statement does not imply that God sanctioned polygamy any more than by permitting divorce means God sanctioned divorce.

My whole point is that God’s intent was for marriage to be one man and one woman, and that is proven by the initial creation of one man and one woman to become one unit. He just permitted polygamy - He did not sanction it.

If you want to believe that God does not disapprove of polygamy, that is your choice. It is not a salvation issue.

Unknown said...

God permitted man to do these things while not giving his blessing on them.

God commanded man to do these things!

Again, the passage:

Deu 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.

Shall! With a curse for disobedience:

Deu 25:8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
Deu 25:9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
Deu 25:10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

Unknown said...

He just permitted polygamy - He did not sanction it.

If you want to believe that God does not disapprove of polygamy


Make up your mind. You said earlier that polygamy was a *sin*. Do you still hold that?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Unless I missed something, I don't think I ever said polygamy was a sin on this thread. The only place I mentioned it was on my blog. As noted in my comment on your blog, I have edited that.

The fact remains, as with divorce, polygamy is not God's intent for marriage but He permits it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

the commands were based on an existing practice. That is regulating.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Oh, and the passage says nothing about the brother participating in the levirate marriage being married already - he may very well be single.

Unknown said...

Oh, and the passage says nothing about the brother participating in the levirate marriage being married already - he may very well be single.

He may well be. Which is why my question specifically said:

And would the married man who obeyed the levirate law be sinning? Or doing something God 'didn't approve of'? Or is he an exception?

Now that you have agreed that he is commanded, and agreed that polygamy is no sin, I think I have my answer: the married man should obey the levirate law and is not sinning.

David said...

And to push this into the 3 digit comment range...At least we can all agree that the IDEAL arrangement is 1 man and 1 woman, and God has used other arrangements to complete His will in redemptive history.