No Way to MPA

Am I alone in think­ing that the gov­ern­ment has no busi­ness defin­ing what mar­riage is or isn’t? Pres­i­dent Bush, sev­er­al sen­a­tors, and con­ser­v­a­tives nation­wide have renewed the call for a “Mar­riage Pro­tec­tion Amend­ment,” or MPA (see also). And though it did­n’t earn enough votes in the sen­ate to even be con­sid­ered for rat­i­fi­ca­tion (source), it will con­tin­ue to be brought up again and again.

How­ev­er, the issue at hand isn’t mar­riage; it’s civ­il rights. Can homo­sex­u­al part­ners have the same rights in court, hos­pi­tals, and else­where as het­ero­sex­u­al part­ners do? I say, of course!

But for mar­riage, we must let He who ordained mar­riage define it for us. As the Lord says, “Have you not read that he who made them at the begin­ning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this rea­son a man shall leave his father and moth­er and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4,5).

Okay, so mar­riage is between male and female only, accord­ing to He who ordained it. With me so far? Great. The MPA, how­ev­er, over­steps its bounds in defin­ing mar­riage between “a man and a woman” (read: sin­gu­lars). Again, we must go to the words of He who ordained mar­riage where we find that He acknowl­edged that Solomon had sev­en hun­dred wives (1 Kings 11:3). If bib­li­cal mar­riage is between “a man and a woman,” then Solomon could­n’t pos­si­bly have had so many wives–certainly God would­n’t have acknowl­edged it! And yet, not a word is spo­ken against the practice–not in Solomon’s case, not in Abra­ham’s case, etc. In fact, the only thing I know of that would apply to Solomon (not to Abra­ham or even the Church) is a pro­vi­sion in the Law of Israel which is applied to kings, demand­ing that they not mul­ti­ply wives (or hors­es, or gold…) unto them­selves (Deuteron­o­my 17:17).

So we see that Solomon was dis­obe­di­ent in hav­ing so many wives, but that does not mean they weren’t legit­i­mate­ly his wives. In fact, Exo­dus 21:10 is a pro­vi­sion specif­i­cal­ly for hav­ing mul­ti­ple wives, stat­ing that if a man take more than one wife, he shall not dimin­ish the care and pro­vi­sion giv­en to any of them.

It is often said among Chris­tians that where there is no law, there is lib­er­ty. Can any­one find a law declar­ing how many wives a Jew may have? What about Gen­tiles? Or the Church?

I have heard argu­ments from both sides of the mul­ti­ple wives thing, and for some­one who believes in the foun­da­tion­al doc­trine of Sola Scrip­tura, the answer ought to be easy: no com­mand is giv­en regard­ing the num­ber of wives in a marriage.

So isn’t it a bit pre­sump­tu­ous for con­ser­v­a­tives to take it upon them­selves to define mar­riage as “a man and a woman” to fight homo­sex­u­al unions when they are in effect ille­git­imiz­ing the rela­tion­ships of many great men in the Scrip­tures. I find in their efforts a great dis­hon­esty which has led to a tremen­dous waste of time and effort.

What should it mat­ter to them who has what civ­il rights? It is not as thought they are los­ing any­thing by homo­sex­u­als gain­ing a few rights. And if it becomes a crime to speak out against homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, so be it. That is a cross that the Church will bear just as it has bore cross­es all through­out his­to­ry. It would do the Church of Christ in Amer­i­ca good to suf­fer for once for His sake. I have rarely expe­ri­enced it, but the Scrip­tures declare it a source of bless­ing. Lord, bring the storm!

So if homo­sex­u­als want civ­il rights before the gov­ern­ment, that is just fine. Sola Scrip­tura set­tles where they stand before God and where they should stand before the Church: they are souls as impor­tant as yours and mine who Christ died to know and who I would love to see in Heav­en one day!

Because bib­li­cal mar­riage involves no cer­e­mo­ny, no gov­ern­ment endorse­ment, etc., the Church does not have to rec­og­nize what is not right­ful­ly mar­riage. The cul­ture of the Church ought to be vast­ly dif­fer­ent than the world’s any­ways. We should find it not a strange thing if the famil­ial cul­ture is dif­fer­ent as well!

I did­n’t intend for this post to pro­mote polyg­y­ny orig­i­nal­ly, but the point had to be made. If Christ can liken Him­self to a Bride­groom ready to mar­ry ten vir­gins (though only five were wise enough to be ready), then we should like­wise not find the thought sin­ful. After all, can Christ–who knew no sin, who is the Holy One–really be likened unto a “sin­ful, chau­vanis­tic per­vert who is destroy­ing the insti­tu­tion of mar­riage by tak­ing mul­ti­ple wives”? Or is it just and holy for a man to wed mul­ti­ple wives who in turn desire to be wed to him? (See Matthew 25:1–13.)

My Chris­t­ian broth­ers, I encour­age you to stop wast­ing your time fight­ing homo­sex­u­al “mar­riage.” In your heart, you know that no mat­ter what the world says, it will nev­er be mar­riage in God’s sight. No amount of leg­is­la­tion can change how He sees. And I ask that we all step back and approach the Bible with­out any pre­con­ceived notions or out­side author­i­ty. Let the Lord God Almighty speak to us today through His word as He has done for gen­er­a­tions, and see that bib­li­cal mar­riage is indeed between male and female, but there is not a numer­i­cal lim­it placed on wives.

And before any­one slan­ders me in com­ments, let me say right up front I have no part with the Mor­mons, nor am I a polyg­y­nist. I am avowed to one wife, for­sak­ing all oth­ers, and I would­n’t have it any oth­er way. How­ev­er, it is also my sacred duty to teach and to preach the whole coun­sel of God regard­less of the cost. This mes­sage of mar­riage is a “meaty” issue that may cer­tain­ly offend some, and I can only ask again and again: Let the Bible be your only guide.

Update: Fixed a few typos. | Update 2: Fixed anoth­er typo.

5 thoughts on “No Way to MPA”

  1. Giant com­ments are just fine for me, and it’s not like you don’t get them on your own blog, but I’d be hap­py with a link back.

    Hmm, I hon­est­ly was­n’t expect­ing the first post to be one of agree­ment! Thanks for the pleas­ant sur­prise. God bless.

  2. Great post! Dang! I total­ly agree with you on this issue. You know what? I’m just going to link you in a post of my own and put my thoughts there so I won’t leave a ginor­mous com­ment here.

  3. Actu­al­ly, to clar­i­fy, polygamy is a gen­er­al term refer­ring to mul­ti­ple hus­bands or wives. Polyandry refers to a woman hav­ing mul­ti­ple hus­bands, and I can find no sup­port of such a prac­tice in Scrip­ture. Polyg­y­ny is the prac­tice of a man hav­ing mul­ti­ple wives, which we see through­out Scrip­ture. [/vocabulary lesson :) ]

    Tess, there’s prob­a­bly some­thing obvi­ous I’m miss­ing in my per­spec­tive on mar­riage, and I’m wait­ing for some­one to point it out. But, I hope that my post has giv­en you the insight you were look­ing for.

    God bless.

  4. Very inter­est­ing! I fol­lowed the link from Ben’s blog. I had been won­der­ing recent­ly about how polygamy fits with the Bib­li­cal view of mar­riage, so I was intrigued to read your perspective.

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Rick Beckman