Comments/Questions from Readers

Question #11: Greetings my brother! I would be interested in your opinion of the passage in Timothy that refers to "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" as it applies specifically to the "forbidding to marry" we see in the system of enforced monogamy. Nobody seems to comment on that. As I see it, a system that prohibits the divinely sanctioned practice of polygyny is not merely in error. It's wicked, through and through. Comments? I hope you will.

I hadn't heard anyone bring up that particular verse in reference to polygyny before and it's a very good question. Let's take a look at that verse in the Scriptures translation:

1 Timothy 4:1-4: "But the Spirit distinctly says that in latter times some shall fall away from the belief, paying attention to misleading spirits, and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having been branded on their own conscience, forbidding to marry, saying to abstain from foods which Elohim created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Because every creature of Elohim is good, and none is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is set apart by the Word of Elohim and prayer."

We can see that the character of "falling away" from the faith includes several components:

     1) Paying attention to misleading spirits and teachings of demons
     2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy
     3) Having a conscience that in insensible
     4) Forbidding to marry
     5) Saying to abstain from certain foods

So what can we deduce from this passage? Right off the bat, we can see that the people who are "forbidding to marry" are following "misleading spirits" and the "teachings of demons". Now with regard to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, we know that priests are forbidden to marry, and then there is the religious custom to abstain from meats on Fridays and to abstain from certain foods during lent. These requirements are commandments of men and are certainly not taught in the Scriptures.

But could this passage in 1 Timothy relate to the forbidding of polygyny as well? I believe it does. After all, marriage is marriage. God is the author of marriage and He alone defines its characteristics. His Word clearly recognizes marriage as permitting a man to have one or more wives, just as a man can have one or more children. Our culture frowns at the Biblical concept of Patriarchy, but the fact of the matter is that we're talking about issues of property rights, inheritance rights and authority. A man's wives were considered his property in the same sense that his children were his property. Just as one child could not balk at having a sibling, neither could one wife balk at having a sister-wife.

Since God alone defines and permits marriage, any doctrine or command of man that forbids God-defined lawful marriage is not only in error but is a doctrine of demons. So whether we're talking about a man taking one wife or a dozen, any attempt to forbid God-defined lawful marriage is clearly evil.

We know that early Christians, as well as the non-Christian Jews, continued practicing polygyny for several centuries after Messiah, based on the writings of Josephus in the first century, of Justin Martyr in the second century, and even in a Roman law passed in 212 AD to "tolerate" Jewish polygyny. Yet history shows us that while the Roman Catholic Church prohibited polygyny, which the Bible allows, they simultaneously permitted "serial monogamy" (marriage, divorce, remarriage) which the Bible condemns. What an example of calling evil "good", and good "evil"!

A polygynous husband, upon his conversion to Christianity, was actually expected to divorce his wives! In fact, in 1571 AD, Pope Pius V said that in the event a man couldn't remember which of his wives was the first one he married, he should just remarry any of them, since even if he was mistaken, it really didn't matter anyway since that marriage was still legally dissolved. These "annulled" women were now supposedly free to marry again while their first husband was still alive, in spite of the fact that the Bible calls this adultery.

A quick look at some Roman Catholic history should shed some light on the subject:

726 AD: Pope Gregory II advises a missionary that if a man had an infirm wife, he could be allowed to marry again if he could not contain himself.

1022 AD: Pope Benedict VIII bans marriages and mistresses for priests.

1139 AD: Pope Innocent II voids all marriages of priests and all new priests have to divorce their wives.

1563 AD: The Roman Catholic Council of Trent says that "If anyone says that it is lawful for Christians to have several wives at the same time, and that it is not forbidden by any divine law, let him be anathema."

I think the track record of the Roman Catholic Church speaks for itself. Mandatory monogyny reverses God's established order of the man being the leader in the family. But monogyny, just as with celibacy, is not evil in and of itself. It is the INSISTENCE of celibacy, monogyny or polygyny that is evil.




"...In essentials we maintain unity, in opinions liberty, and in all things love..."

Your comments are welcome!