Biblical polygyny is a hot topic — and by that I mean, people tend to get passionate about it on either side of the debate. If you’d like to share what you think about it, come join our freshly launched (May 2020) polygyny forum!
Whether we like it or not, the problem of gay “marriage” is here to stay, and it’s only a matter of time until every one of these United States is forced to recognize gay “marriage” due to the decisions of judges or, less likely, the vote of the populace.
For years, Christians have objected to gay “marriage” for a variety of reasons, one of which being what some would call a “slippery slope” fallacy.
A slippery slope fallacy, if you’re unaware, is an error in reasoning which hypothesizes that if A happens, then B, C, D, and E (all of which are perceived to be increasingly worse than A) will surely happen. In most instances of logic and reasoning, this is a valid fallacy.
However, if gay “marriages” are recognized on the grounds of choice or equal rights, there’s no logical reason not to also see the recognition and legalization of a variety of other unions, such as group “marriages,” polyandry, or polygamy.
It’s sort of an ironic twist, though, that the one person I know of who is pursuing the legalization of polygyny — the marriage of one husband to multiple wives — is a fervent believer in the Scriptures: Hugh McBryde.
Recently, Hugh began chronicling his efforts in Vermont.
I suspect that within a decade the question of polygyny — if not other types of unions — will have snowballed to the point that churches will be forced to confront the issues, as they have had to do so with homosexuality.
There will be churches which take the easy route and recognize the imagined value and beauty of all types of love, as the more liberal churches are doing today with gays.
There will be churches which dogmatically defend the “marriage = one man + one woman” formula. These churches will still likely be spending more time fighting the beliefs of others rather than dealing with the plague of divorce within their own walls and denominations.
Then there will be churches which are willing to keep reforming their beliefs, using the Scriptures as their guide and rule. These churches will come to realize what men like Hugh have realized: the Scriptures may have strict guidelines on marriage, but they aren’t nearly as strict as the monogamy-only crowd would like to believe.
These churches will be willing to step out of their comfort zone — I suppose you could consider this entry me stepping out of my comfort zone — to critically analyze their traditions and doctrinal statements. Does their faith reflect the Scriptures, or is it culture colored?
These churches will accept polygyny as a biblical practice, and they will allow their men to have multiple wives.
That’s bigamy!, you may be thinking. Unless I’m mistaken, bigamy requires obtaining multiple marriage licenses — in other words, to have multiple state-recognized marriages. Search the Scriptures carefully, though; to be biblically married doesn’t require the state’s recognition, and so there are technically no legal blocks to practicing polygyny. The problem comes in that there are civil rights which are bestowed upon monogamist marriages which would be lost to whichever wives weren’t privileged with a state marriage license.
Yes, I recognize that plight is remarkably similar to the one gays are facing; the difference is that while God allowed, blessed, and even arranged polygynist families, He repeatedly condemned homosexuality.
I’m going to throw this in here to hopefully dissuade an obvious question: I am not interested in more wives. There are a variety of reasons I could give, the first being the most important: my wife wholly satisfies me, and I am happy giving myself singly to her. I suppose that’s a subjective reason, though, so for something a bit more objective, I vowed to “forsake all others” as part of our wedding ceremony. So feel free to not ask me whether this means I want more wives.
Incidentally, I don’t desire to be an overseer or deacon of a church, but I still advocate a biblical understanding of them as well. Advocating for a biblical understanding of polygyny doesn’t require that I be a polygynist any more than it would be required of Paul to be married when he spoke of marriage so heavily in his Epistle to the Ephesians.
I’m leaving the comments open for discussion, so whether you are curious about polygyny or objecting to it or whatever else, I welcome your questions and comments. And if you are a polygyny sympathizer hoping to see the state recognize it just as it does monogamy, I’ve no doubt that Hugh would appreciate your support.