Rev Fr Kelvin Ugwu wrote: “Understanding The Scriptural Teaching On Polygamy” on his Facebook Page, while Pen Shuttle republished it to educate our readers on the subject matter.
Here are his teachings on Polygamy (as it was originally written on his Facebook page):
In the same way that we do not allow every random person who is without qualification to treat us when we are sick, or be our pilot when flying or lawyer when in court, we should not also allow any random social media influencer and scriptural wannabees to teach or interpret the sacred scriptures to us.
If the Bible is left in the hands of these wannabees, it can be used to justify every damn thing, thereby causing more confusion.
There is nowhere in the bible that slavery was outrightly condemned. Even St Paul did not really help matters when he wrote to Philemon concerning the slave boy Onesimus. People who quoted the bible out of context in those days found justification for their slave trade.
Again, there are many cases in the Bible where it appears God explicitly permitted and even commanded that certain persons guilty of certain offenses should be killed.
I will show you ten examples (there are more though); these people, God demanded that they should be killed or stoned to death.
- Those who commit adultery (man and woman) should be killed (Lev 20:10)(Deut 22:22-24)
- Rapists must be killed (Deut 22:25)
- The daughter of a priest who became a prostitute will be burnt alive (Lev 21:9)
- An idolater must be stoned to death (Deut 17:2-5)(Num 25:1-5)
- Those who break the Sabbath law must be killed (Ex 31:14)(Ex 35:2)(Num 15:32-36)
- A woman having sex before marriage must be stoned to death (Deut 22:21-22)
- Homosexuality (Lev 20:13)
- A blasphemer (Lev 24:10-16,23)
- A man whose ox kills someone after previously goring other people (Ex 21:28-29)
- A sorceress or a witch (Ex 22:18)
As Christians, there is a basic tool we must carry in mind once we are interpreting the old testament laws and putting them side by side with the teachings of Christ. The tool is:
What God allowed then due to people’s stubbornness of heart VERSUS the original plan of God right from the beginning of creation.
With this rule, you will understand why,
- God, through Moses, allowed a man to divorce his wife for any reason by just writing a letter, but Christ told us that it was not so in the beginning. (Matthew 19:8).
- People can be put to death for carrying or doing anything on the Sabbath day, but Christ told the man he cured on Sabbath day at the pool of Bethesda to carry his mat and go. (John 5:8).
- If you are caught in adultery, following the law, you should be stoned to death, but Christ preached forgiveness and reconciliation because God’s name is Mercy. (John 7).
So, this brings us to the issue of polygamy. I did all that preliminaries to make you have a foundation in understanding the issue at hand.
I have read where some of your “online deep biblical scholars” are justifying polygamy because according to them many Godly men in the bible were polygamists and God permitted it. People like Abraham, Jacob, Elkanah, Solomon, etc made the list.
Now, listen. . .
When you mention Abraham as a reason to hold on to polygamy, don’t forget to add that Sarah his wife was his half-sister. Don’t also forget that Hagar, the woman Abraham slept with just to have a son, was his wife’s maid. Don’t also forget how he regretted it and sent her away. Finally, don’t forget how the son from Hagar is the root of the Islamic religion.
When you mention Jacob, don’t also forget to add the fact that Jacob married two blood sisters Rachel and Leah. No one should edit the story that led to him marrying the two sisters because it was not his original plan.
You should not also edit the part of the story where the two women became a torment to him due to their jealousies and how each of them even offered him their maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah, for sex so as to have children. In the end, Jacob married four sisters, all daughters of Laban because Bilhah and Zilpah are half-sisters to Leah and Rachel.
And when you mention Solomon as a polygamist, remember also that he had 300 concubines and God still allowed it.
The point is: since we are looking for anything to hold on to and people as role models to our bodily inclinations, let us hold on to everything. No cherry-picking! Go and marry your sister, go and marry four siblings, go ahead and impregnate your maids and marry them, gather for yourself enough concubines. . . after all, according to you, God permitted it. Nonsense!
I read also where they are justifying polygamy with 1 Timothy 3:2. According to the writer, “Polygamy is only forbidden for Bishops, overseers, and elders in the church.”
So, what he is saying, in essence, is that, if you are not an elder or bishop, you are free to have more wives. Hmmmmm! Interesting!
Let me quote 1 Timothy 3:2, so we read it for ourselves:
“That is why the presiding elder must have an impeccable character. Husband of one wife, he must be temperate, discreet and courteous, hospitable, and a good teacher.”
If not that common sense is not common these days, common sense would have let anyone quoting this passage see that the passage is in itself a strong line against polygamy. The passage pointed out qualities that a leader should have. It is like saying, even if others are doing the wrong thing, a leader must be an example. Those qualities are the ideals of all Christians. It means it is a good thing, that was why St Paul recommended it.
Because if their logic is to be true, it then means other qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3:2 are not for every Christians as well. So, it is only the elders that should be temperate or discreet, or courteous and a husband of one wife. Odiegwu!
More importantly, how will you also justify St Paul’s message to the Ephesians, where he kept mentioning wife and husband in the singular.
“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33.
Dear friends, I know this is long, but this is important. . .some people may want to save this post. Let me just put it all out.
The key to understanding the true scriptural teaching on polygamy is for us to go back to the answer Christ gave the scribes and Pharisees when they came to question him about marriage and divorce. Christ pointed them to the way it was “in the beginning” (Matthew 19:8).
“IN THE BEGINNING” is a powerful unlocking phrase to this problem. This was why Jesus said:
“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:3-6
Note that Jesus was quoting Genesis 2:24. . .the emphasis there is that “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”
So we ask ourselves, what was the original plan of God in the beginning? When he made Adam and discovered that he needed a helpmate, why did he not provide him with two or three women? Would it have been difficult for him to remove four ribs and make four women for him?
You see ehn if any of you want to marry more than one woman following what some of you regard as your African culture, you should go ahead, but don’t find justification in the bible because there is NONE.
By the way, saying polygamy is an African culture does not make it valid, there are many of the other so-called African cultures that you left behind and chose what we can best describe as “western” culture. It is better if you stop confusing yourself. If you want to be full African in the traditional way, adopt everything African and leave western things aside. Don’t wait for an argument like this before you remember you have a culture.
Finally, regarding my opinion on polygamy.
I see polygamists as the most selfish people on earth. The only time you can convince me to even start looking at polygamous men as less selfish is if they will also allow their women to practice polyandry.
Nobody has the monopoly on exploring and enjoying different-sex partners, there are lots of married women that have not even known what orgasm feels like and there are those that are bored with one man…they too can have three to four husbands to satisfy them since we all want to be mad.
Instead of people to start looking for how to deal with their inability to control their sex organs and hormones they are looking for bible passages to hold on to. Go and ask Solomon, even with 700 wives and 300 concubines, e no still do am, he was still looking for the queen of Sheba.
Photos Credit: This article was written after Yul Edochie announced his second marriage, that is why his photos were featured.