What could be your suggestion?

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Tes | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, May 12 2014 5:42 AM

A pastor  taught about ,how a Christian family should be according to the Word of God, at the end of his service he asked to the Congregation  ,mentioning about a certain part of his country  like this: “ Some people before coming to the Lord they had five wives and have children from them, in the new testament one  man should have one wife ,what would be your suggestion? “The question is what should be done?

I appriciate your contribution.

Blessings in Christ.

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 5:48 AM

Tes, see if this search works. Will launch Logos and search your library for the subject of polygamy

Lynden Williams Commu

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 6:55 AM

Well firstly I presume that he is currently married to five wives, and doesn't instead have five ex wives.

Under that construct, I'd say as a pastor - legally - if you were told this during a counseling session you don't have to report it to the police. If he says he has thought out a way to kill someone, bought the materials, and has figured out that may the 8th is the day he'll do the dirty deed - then not speaking up may make you liable.

From a pastor approach perspective - I would be operating on the assumption that 1. he doesn't read his bible, and 2. he is likely not saved. I would feel him out on the second point and purposely spend time with him seeking opportunities for evangelism, and encouraging him to read his bible. God has a tendency to clean people up through promptings (directed at the individual) of the Holy Spirit.

I don't think the individual can be legally married to five women concurrently; there are the odd few that marry one woman in one state, the second somewhere else, and so forth. Eventually the paperwork catches up with them. The few times I've heard of polygamists they had only one true spouse (one marriage certificate) and several other women who in his mind will have wife status, but from a legal perspective do not.


Thus if he came to me asking what to do, I would try to lead him to the conclusion that he ought to honor his marriage vow to the one he is legally married to, support the rest financially - especially the children, and he and his wife ought to not live with the other four.

If he's currently able to support a household of 6 adults and at least 5 kids, then he's most likely not making minimum wage.

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William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 7:08 AM

Hi Tes,

Are you asking about our theological thoughts regarding this subject, or about some Logos resources that might be relevant? Seems like it would be tough to have a conversation without it violating forum rules.

Your question seems like an excellent subject for Russell Moore's Christian Ethics final exam [example]. He may be too busy now, but he would often tackle questions like these on his blog. I believe that Bryan Chapell helps his students wrestle through questions like that as well, but I did not see it in any of his written material in my Logos library.

Starting from Matt 19:3-9, I think the interesting questions are: 1) Are those five marriages actually marriages? 2) If you answer the first affirmatively, then you have to choose to break the creation ordinance of marriage no matter what you do (the one-flesh-union, already broken, or the not-separating part). One final question I would have is, does 1 Tim 3:2 offer any context to the situation?

Your brother, Bill

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William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 7:10 AM

abondservant:

I don't think the individual can be legally married to five women concurrently; 

I believe this depends on the country you live in, and I think Tes is outside the US, if I recall correctly. This isn't an issue we really have to deal with in the US, but there are many parts of the world where they would have to face this.

Posts 10963
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 7:54 AM

Actually Utah, I think, just gave up on a polygamy case they weren't having much success with.

And Kenya, I think, just legalized it.

Plus of course polygamy was pretty much ok-ish as long as you stuck with the OT.  In the NT, the problem becomes Roman law and whether Jesus was limiting his discussion to dumping non-polygamous wives only.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

Posts 285
Luigi Sam | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 7:56 AM

Tes:

A pastor  taught about ,how a Christian family should be according to the Word of God, at the end of his service he asked to the Congregation  ,mentioning about a certain part of his country  like this: “ Some people before coming to the Lord they had five wives and have children from them, in the new testament one  man should have one wife ,what would be your suggestion? “The question is what should be done?

I appriciate your contribution.

To give the hardline plain response:

I would collect the OT and NT writings that talk about marriage and divorce. A person that is a mature Christian that is 'apt to teach' should be able to undertake this task.

The NT doesn't give an answer for this particular topic ( word for word what you are asking ).

However overall (AFTER collecting and analyzing these passages), it is a reasonable conclusion that the first wife is the legitimate wife ( and must be regarded as the wife ).  The rest of the wives should be given a writing of divorcement: 

and as a Christian:

(1) be given an honorable divorcement, without discrediting her as a faithful wife. ( ie tell the truth )

(2) The other wives should be given as much financial aid and / or aid in finding a suitable legitimate husband as is applicable ( none the less, what I mean is that the husband ought to divorce the others. )

I write this plainly to give you my answer.  All I can say is do not lack Christian care in such a situation to be a good example to the divorced wives. Do what you can ( I am speaking to the husband ). If the Church can help, let them to help too.

In good conscience before the Lord, let the husband not faint or be ashamed to do what is right in this case.

With Christian care.

LGI.

P.S ( Let this comment be weighed with all of the other advice you get. I do not aim to give you an answer that is disagreeable to what is right. Perhaps you will find a pattern amongst those who advise you )

Posts 406
Paul C | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 7:59 AM

Tes:
in the new testament one  man should have one wife ,what would be your suggestion?
To Which specific text do you refer?

Posts 130
Willard Scott | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:10 AM

Tes:
Some people before coming to the Lord they had five wives and have children from them,  “The question is what should be done?
The husband in question should seek psychological help. He obviously has a persecution complex.  

Posts 2081
Randy W. Sims | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:16 AM

I don't agree with polygamy, would never consider it, but if he lives in a country where it is permitted and if he is already married then he is responsible for his family and should continue to take care of them.

Totally personal opinion. Nothing whatsoever to back it up. I just feel the Lord would expect us to take responsibility for our actions and that He would hate divorce more than entering in to a marriage contract with multiple wives, before salvation.

However, from the wording of the question (some people, they had), I'm not sure the pastor was trying to make a argument about this specific case, but I could be reading that wrong. It sounds more like he's trying to get people to consider right vs wrong and whether there are shades of grey. It's a case where there seem to be conflicts between multiple commandments: Have only one wife, Do not divorce.

Posts 2964
Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:16 AM

I am in Europe,but what I am talking about is outside of Europe, I don't feel comfartable to reveal the identity of the Pastor and  the place where he mentioned,but for the sake of clarification, the law of the country  will not affect any one of them as long as there is no reason of quarelling among them. They marry them legally just like one man and woman, the men have come to the Lord with all their wives ,as new testament believers what is going to be done? what should the church do?

Blessings in Christ.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:20 AM

Tes:

A pastor  taught about ,how a Christian family should be according to the Word of God, at the end of his service he asked to the Congregation  ,mentioning about a certain part of his country  like this: “ Some people before coming to the Lord they had five wives and have children from them, in the new testament one  man should have one wife ,what would be your suggestion? “The question is what should be done?

My suggestion would be to advise this pastor to get a decent bible software (such as Logos), but maybe a worn printed bible may do as well to see that in the NT not "one man" should have one wife, but that this is a requirement for elders in the church.

There might be resources in a Logos library that discuss missions/church-building in African or Muslim context. Top of my head I think I saw a discussion of this in the WEA library

I'll need to do more specific searching later, but I don't remember reading anyone arguing for a breakup of the polygamic family (AFAIK this is also secular law in European countries: even though polygamous marriages can not be performed, existing marriage relations, e.g. from Saudi Arabia, are always respected to their full extent in European jurisdictions - including eligibility for social welfare payments etc. - under the assumption that sovereign states may rule marriage as they choose and reciprocally accept the legality of such). Christian churches typically will not allow adding another wife, though.

The discussion, however, always concentrates on what exactly Paul meant (there are even positions that hold Paul requires elders to be married, i.e. to have at least one wife or to be undivorced) and whether Paul's requirements for elders are timeless and stand in a different culture (which may mean that the otherwise most able and resourceful men in a local culture are not to be elders).   

Commentaries on the pastorals may dig deeper into this.

 

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Posts 2964
Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:22 AM

NB.Mick:

Tes:

A pastor  taught about ,how a Christian family should be according to the Word of God, at the end of his service he asked to the Congregation  ,mentioning about a certain part of his country  like this: “ Some people before coming to the Lord they had five wives and have children from them, in the new testament one  man should have one wife ,what would be your suggestion? “The question is what should be done?

My suggestion would be to advise this pastor to get a decent bible software (such as Logos), but maybe a worn printed bible may do as well to see that in the NT not "one man" should have one wife, but that this is a requirement for elders in the church.

There might be resources in a Logos library that discuss missions/church-building in African or Muslim context. Top of my head I think I saw a discussion of this in the WEA library

I'll need to do more specific searching later, but I don't remember reading anyone arguing for a breakup of the polygamic family (AFAIK this is also secular law in European countries: even though polygamous marriages can not be performed, existing marriage relations, e.g. from Saudi Arabia, are always respected to their full extent in European jurisdictions - including eligibility for social welfare payments etc. - under the assumption that sovereign states may rule marriage as they choose and reciprocally accept the legality of such). Christian churches typically will not allow adding another wife, though.

The discussion, however, always concentrates on what exactly Paul meant (there are even positions that hold Paul requires elders to be married, i.e. to have at least one wife or to be undivorced) and whether Paul's requirements for elders are timeless and stand in a different culture (which may mean that the otherwise most able and resourceful men in a local culture are not to be elders).   

Commentaries on the pastorals may dig deeper into this.

 

Blessings in Christ.

Posts 2964
Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:32 AM

NB.Mick:
My suggestion would be to advise this pastor to get a decent bible software

The pastor is not from there he lives in the Capital City, but these people which have been mentioned are from the remote areas somewhere in the villages. I think he may have this report from evangelists who preached the Gospel there.

Blessings in Christ.

Posts 297
Schezic | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:42 AM

Tes:
the men have come to the Lord with all their wives ,as new testament believers what is going to be done? what should the church do?
Now I know from your previous thread, >>>>http://community.logos.com/forums/p/84198/590478.aspx#590478 You do not wish to promote undue contention. My question would be: What is to be gained from this debate? We speak of a hypothetical Church, In a hypothetical country, with hypothetical pastors, and husbands, with multiple wives. None of whom will take notice of our opinion. This thread is even more useless than the one objected to recently.

Tes:
First of all we don't have to judge.If we see there is something wrong with him the Forum is not the right place to comment on ministers or somesthing which has  to do with them.Instead of giving more time on such things ,please let us use the Forum to help to learn how we could use the software for our Bible study.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:43 AM

Tes:

NB.Mick:
My suggestion would be to advise this pastor to get a decent bible software

The pastor is not from there he lives in the Capital City, but these people which have been mentioned are from the remote areas somewhere in the villages. I think he may have this report from evangelists who preached the Gospel there.

Tes,

my comment regarding bible software was somewhat tongue in cheek to keep this thread within the forum bounds, you may easily ignore it. That said, I think that many churches in Africa and the muslim world have established some sort of guidelines for treating this topic.

Running Logos 8 latest beta version on Win 10

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 8:44 AM

Tes:

A pastor  taught about ,how a Christian family should be according to the Word of God, at the end of his service he asked to the Congregation  ,mentioning about a certain part of his country  like this: “ Some people before coming to the Lord they had five wives and have children from them, in the new testament one  man should have one wife ,what would be your suggestion? “The question is what should be done?

I appriciate your contribution.

There has been much written about this in various missiologies, but I'm not aware of anything in Logos that addresses this question specifically. (I would love to be corrected in this.) I wish Logos had more in the area of missiology and/or cross-cultural ministry.

I would say two things gleaned from my (sketchy) reading on this topic: 1) Marriage is intended by God to be between one man and one woman. 2) If a polygamous family comes to faith in Christ then divorcing all but the first wife would (in most cultures) be an incredible hardship on the remaining wives and their children, forcing upon them a life-style which they (again?) have no say in. I believe that 1Cor.7:20, in the context of household rules, can be applied to this situation. If a man who comes to faith decides that he cannot in good conscience remain married to his other wives, in my opinion he is obligated to care for them financially for the rest of their lives (unless they remarry).

But the question of children remains: do they stay with the father or the mother? Is it not best for the children to remain with both parents? The ethical impulse in the gospel to care for and defend the weakest (IMHO), trumps the concern for an optimal marriage arrangement. The weakest are the children, who by a forced divorce will be separated from either their father or their mother. The next weakest are the wives to be divorced: what happens to them financially, how will they be cared for, should they remain celibate & alone for the rest of their lives, are they given a voice at all in their own future, etc.? 

In a profoundly challenging interpretive statement Paul says "Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom. 13:10 - see in context). However one applies the principle of the ideal Christian family in that situation (or in our context, for that matter), the principle of love should guide the interpretation and application of the 'rules.'

Another thought is that while God does not approve of polygamy, he does not reject polygamists (David: a man after God's own heart, e.g.), nor is there any Biblical example of God telling a polygamist to divorce all but his first wife.

Finally, and I say this as one who has worked and made painful mistakes in cross-cultural situations: we should resist any simple solution to such a complex, cross-cultural social reality.

NOTE: I present these thoughts to Tes for his thoughts. I don't intend to argue for or against this position with anyone. Tes, if you would like further clarity on what I've said above, I'd be glad to oblige.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 9:16 AM

You guys have raised some good points that have challenged my thinking. My original post was intended for someone specifically in my context. Things are different in the rest of the world. If its not against the law, its not the job of the missionary to westernize the culture, or judiciary system... In that instance, I would let it be and when and if the Lord impresses on the mans heart that what he's doing is wrong, then I would put together some bible studies on the issue in scripture, and prayerfully see where things go adapting as the situation changes.

If he wanted to be a leader in the church, "being the husband of only one wife" in such a context would make staffing tricky.

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Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 9:19 AM

Schezic:
This thread is even more useless than the one objected to recently.

Hi Schezic, Sorry! my only  intention is only to learn and know what others have to say. I have no intention to judge or to criticize anybody. Nobody will be harmed by this thread.

Blessings in Christ.

Posts 297
Schezic | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 12 2014 9:28 AM

Tes:

Schezic:
This thread is even more useless than the one objected to recently.

Hi Schezic, Sorry! my only  intention is only to learn and know what others have to say. I have no intention to judge or to criticize anybody. Nobody will be harmed by this thread.

 I suppose I misinterpreted your statement.

Tes:
please let us use the Forum to help to learn how we could use the software for our Bible study.

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