Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, April 11, 2008

    Polygamy (Response to FOXSexpert Article)

    Yvonne Fulbright makes several statements in her article FOXSexpert: Polygamy's Global Acceptance that deserve a response.

    Yet in the eyes of world history, we, the gawkers, are matrimony’s social deviants. After all, polygamy is the original "traditional marriage."

    Fulbright provides no grounds for asserting that polygamy is the "original" traditional marriage. While polygamy is popularly found among pagan cultures, that does not mean it was the first. Scritpture reveals the "original" traditional marriage was monogamous (between Adam and Eve). "The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Gal 2:24) "Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning." (Mt 19:8) The point being just because one finds a great deal of depravity & difference, doesn't mean those are the original or the standard.

    But a marriage in which a spouse of either sex has more than one partner at the same time has been accepted globally for centuries.

    Geographic acceptance does not make something right. If so, arguments could be made for slavery, prostitution, etc.

    It is an institute originally intended to help people acquire wealth, power and property — not love. The expectation of love and loyalty for a one-and-only actually is a relatively recent social invention.

    This is the posionous fruit of the vine - Since Fulbright first errs in not accepting or looking to the original marriage, she then carries the error over to the orignial purpose of marriage. While being a helpmeet is involved, that's far from pursuit of worldly lusts.

    When it has come to one’s sexual needs, cultures simply have gotten "creative," both in and out of the marriage framework.

    Sex outside of marriage is more than "creative", it's sinful.

    So how did we in the West evolve into honoring the bliss-filled, two-person marriage?

    Early Christianity was the first to condemn having more than one spouse at a time (polygamy), and is considered unique as a world religion for insisting on monogamy. The other major religions have allowed men to have a number of wives.

    Thanks to the Christian movement, as early as the 12th century, polygamy was prohibited in Western Europe. Quite by accident, this support for monogamy became a step toward gender equality. Men no longer were allowed to see wives as possessions. (They could — and many did — keep mistresses, which a wife was expected to ignore.)...

    1. Yes... CHIRISTIANITY LED THE WAY in condemning what the world now recognizes as an inferior way and has called for all who do otherwise to repent and look to the original as the standard.

    2. It was no "accident" that this the Christian movement led toward "gender equality". It was this way from the beginning and Christian truth acknowledges this (even if at times in history some practice in the name of Christianity has errantly denied it).

    While hard for us to swallow, history’s most "successful" marriages have not been the modern, happily ever-after sort. They have not been about our society’s ideas of a "perfect union," such as:

    — Having deep love and loyalty for your partner;

    — Making your partner your highest obligation and priority;

    — Putting your partner before your parents and family members;

    — Being best friends with your partner;

    — Expressing affection to your partner;

    — Being sexually faithful.

    And what is her definition of success?

    It has only been in the last couple of centuries that Western Europe and North America have developed a new values set around organizing marriage and sexuality.

    Western Europe and North America did not invent this. Issues of morality in relation to marriage and sexuality existed long before North America has become what it has.

    In meeting one’s intimacy, affection and sexual needs, we in the West have sought a marriage free of coercion, violence and gender inequality.

    Thankfully, recent history shows us that these values are spreading globally.

    Thanks to the influence of Christianity. Cast off the Word, the influence of the church, etc., and you'll see these values change!


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