Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Question of the Day

Suppose that a man becomes a Christian. He comes from a polygamous culture and has five wives. Should he divorce his extra wives or retain them?


Matthew said...

Lemme guess, you're taking an anthropology class? I seem to remember this discussion when Dr. Whiteman was at ATS-Wilmore.

John said...

Nah. Christian Ethics with Dr. Hugo Magallenes. He rocks.

Jason Woolever said...

I'm not sure there isn't a case that can be made for biblical polygamy. We should be arguing for the acceptance of polygamy long before the acceptance of homosexuality.

Let him keep the wives as long as he can fill his conjugal rights so that she doesn't fall into temptation.

codepoke said...

Ezr 10:3
Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.

Willie said...

As much as folks like to talk about "the Biblical view of marriage," it seems that the more I study the more I am convinced there is no singular Biblical view of marriage. The Bible has multiple views of marriage.

We have a cultural-ethical view of marriage that is informed by Biblical scripture and interpreters thereof. And as such, we have had to prioritize some scriptures above others in order to form a Biblically informed view. What we have decided in western Christian culture is that our view makes the most sense in light of the whole of scripture (or the big picture, if you will) and provides the best witness for God before the broader culture.

(Seminary is excellent for teaching us to think an issue to death without coming up with a concrete, practical answer!)

On a lighter note, after watching the first season of "Big Love" I am more and more convinced that polygamy would be more trouble than it's worth!

Anonymous said...

Jason... too funny!

John B said...

Which is the greater sin, polygamy or divorce? Ahh, that is the question, is it not?

If we're going to be "red letter" Christians as Tony Campolo & others suggest,(something I don't buy in to) then I guess the answer is divorce, since Jesus spoke against it, but never mentioned polygamy.

Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...


Allow me to address this from the African perspective. When I was teaching in Tanzania I was asked this very question by some of my students (all Africans). I gave the issue some thought here is what we all decided.

First, in the African culture a non-Christian is expected to have multiple wives. This helps with income (more wives = more money as they usually have a good dowery). It also equals greater status.

Second, once the man becomes a Christian he is forced with two options. A. Divorce all but one of the wives or B. Continue to keep all of the wives and live with the consequences.

Third, if the man choses option "A" then he effectively sentences the non-wives to death. Where I was in Tanzania women who had been divorced were relegated to the status of a prostitute. The very fact that AIDS was killing a 1/3 of the population almost assured these women a slow death. However, if the man chose option "B" then he could not serve as a deacon in the church or hold church office. Thankfully, most of the men that I met reported that those whom they ministered to chose option B. Thus the Africans did not marry any other wives (from the point of their conversion) but they also did not seek church offices.

Anonymous said...

Suppose that a man becomes a Christian. He comes from a polygamous culture and has five wives. Should he divorce his extra wives or retain them?

Pointless! With five wives, he's already condemned to .....oh, nevermind.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek; a happily married Dark Gable.