Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 13, 2008

Manhood, Monogamy, and Valentines

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Decades ago I heard a popular actor comment regarding his many adulteries, “The number of women you have bedded, whether 5 or 25, is not a measure of your manhood.”

His smirking manner and tone of voice indicated he actually believed just the opposite.

I thought to myself, “On the contrary, the number is a clear measure of your manhood.”

Manhood includes character, the upright character of a one-woman man. Essential parts of character include commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, and promise-keeping.

Gawalt-President

If a man cannot keep a vow to his wife or respect a woman’s promise to another man, how can he be trusted for anything?

The actor I heard boasting was not a real man—only a male.

An interesting book for Valentine’s Day is the relatively new book (Feb 2006) by Library of Congress curator and historian Gerard Gawalt entitled My Dear President: Letters Between Presidents and Their Wives.

The author collected private thoughts and tender communications between presidents and their wives from presidential libraries, private collections, and the Library of Congress.

Olasky-AmerLeaderTradition

Most of the presidential marital correspondence has never been previously published. Gawalt organized the correspondence thematically rather than chronologically. The author adds historical remarks and period photographs to flesh out the context of the correspondence.

Another fascinating book on this subject is The American Leadership Tradition: Moral Vision from Washington to Clinton by editor Marvin Olasky of World Magazine. Olasky demonstrates the connection between leaders’ sexual morality and their policy decisions—which affect all of us.

Olasky discusses 13 leaders including 10 presidents. He evaluates their leadership based on a Biblical worldview. Some of our presidents were real men, but some were only males.

Couple-old

Valentine’s Day is an especially appropriate time to annually review marital promises and recommit to faithfulness—one woman for one man for life.

We can be inspired by some of our leaders but should take warning from others.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my darling!

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday February 13, 2008 A.D.

Read my February 2008 newspaper column:
A Four-Fold Valentine

Drink water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. (Proverbs 5:15-18)

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Responses

  1. I guess King David, King Solomon and Abraham were not real men? They all had many wives.

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    • The men you name have many fine qualities. God blessed and prospered them in many ways. But their adultery still is a significant component in evaluating trustworthiness and reliability. I maintain that their true manhood came up short in this area.

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      • and yet God told David “I gave you your master’s wives.” Did God’s true Godhood come up short in this area also? I would suggest that you do a thorough research project on Biblical marriage. Try to come up with what the original meaning of “adultery” was. It was sex with temple harlots of OTHER GODS’

        I love your material, but I believe you are wrong on this issue. I have studied this issue in depth and the Bible supports Polygyny and only calls for monogamy for pastors and deacons. The Bible even contains laws for a man taking a second wife/concubine. The “house of Israel” is blessed above all by God and it is the result of Abraham and his 4 wives.

        The churches are teaching a false doctrine when they teach monogamy, in my opinion. It has caused so much pain and strife that the churches will be held responsible for.

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        • Thank you for reading and commenting. And I feel complimented that you love the blog.

          However, apparently we differ about polygamy. I believe God’s original institution of marriage with Adam and Eve set the normative standard of one woman for one man for life for all mankind. I believe all deviations from this (divorce, polygamy, fornication, homosexuality, etc.) are sin. Read my Feb 2012 newspaper article What’s Wrong with Polygamy? for a fuller explanation of my position on the issues you raise.

          I think Abraham had only 2 wives, Sarah and then Keturah following Sarah’s death, and one concubine, Hagar (Sarah’s maid by whom he sired Ishmael).

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        • Lets start with the easy one. I mistakenly said Abraham when I meant Jacob (Israel). Jacob had Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah. It is from those 4 wives that the House of Israel was born.

          Now on to more intricate issues. The Bible is either true or not true. We cannot pick and choose what parts we like (easy parts) and discard the more difficult parts.

          Adam and Eve were the beginning of the “farmer” people of the earth. The fact that they were the first created does not mean that this was the only way God planned it. God originally planned sacrifice as the way to salvation. But later added Christ as a sacrifice. (I am pretty sure you don’t hang on to the first sacrifice and believe that anything else is wrong.)

          As I previously stated, the only mention of monogamy is to be applied to pastors and deacons. (1st Timothy.) The Bible supports polygyny with so much more evidence. By Genesis 4 the great grandson of Adam (Lamech) had two wives. There is no indication that God condemned him. Polygyny continues through out the Bible. In fact, most of the Biblical patriarchs had many wives.

          Here is a brief list of some of them. Were all these men sinners?

          Abdon Abijah Abraham Ahab Ahasuerus Ashur Belshazzar Benhadad Caleb David Eliphaz Elkanah Esau Ezra Gideon Heman Hosea Ibzan Issachar Jacob Jair Jehoiachin Jehoram Jerahmeel Joash Lamech Machir Manasseh Mered Moses Nahor Rehoboam Saul Shaharaim Shimei Simeon Solomon Terah Zedekiah Ziba

          If polygyny was to be a sin, why did God include in the Law this passage?

          “”If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights.” Exodus 21: 10.

          I usually get a response that this is old testament. But Jesus used an example of polygyny in the parable of the ten virgins. Not that all ten were waiting to be married to ONE GROOM. Only 5 were actually prepared and went to the wedding with ONE GROOM. If Jesus thought Polygyny was wrong, why did use it as an example to instruct us?

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        • ​Thanks for your comment. I agree with your 2nd paragraph. The Bible is certainly entirely true. However, I disagree with some of your interpretations, while still affirming the truth of the Biblical text.

          Adam and Eve were the beginning of the entire human race; we all descend from them. Both Jesus and Paul go back to that original God-ordained marriage as the basis for their normative teaching on marriage. See Mt 19:3-6; Mk 10:6-9; Eph 5:31.

          For example, Jesus said, “The two shall become one flesh.” Only two (male and female) become one, not three or more. This rules out polygamy.

          The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were never the way of salvation (Heb 10:4), and Christ was not added later. The death of Christ for sin was in view from before the foundation of the world (1 Pet 1:18-20). The OT sacrifices looked forward to the death of Christ which is what accomplished salvation from sin for OT believers.

          You agree that monogamy applies to elders and deacons (1 Tim 3). Yet these men were to be models for the whole church. And it’s not correct that the New Testament only requires monogamy for elders and deacons. When giving marriage instructions in 1 Cor 7:1-16, Paul always uses singular forms for “husband” and “wife.” He orders, “Each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.” The use of singular forms throughout this passage means that Scripture prescribes an exclusive relationship. Polygamy is excluded.

          You list many examples of polygamy in the Bible. The Bible reports the occurrence of polygamy without endorsing it, just as it reports murders and lying, sometimes stating neither approval nor disapproval.

          Passages like Exod 21:10 are not endorsements of polygamy, but rather regulation of an existing practice. If you say these passages endorse polygamy, then you would also have to support slavery, for the Bible also regulates the practice of slavery. These were simply social practices of the day for which the Bible gives instructions regulating their operation.

          I also disagree with your interpretation of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt 25:1-13). Nothing in the passage indicates the virgins were to marry the bridegroom. They were simply attendants for the bride, just as we still have attendants for weddings today.

          While I agree that polygamy exists in the Old Testament, I don’t agree that the Bible endorses or promotes the practice of polygamy. A major thrust of the Bible’s message on marriage, as reflected by Yahweh’s original institution of it and Jesus’ and Paul’s instructions about it, is one woman for one man for life.

          I don’t expect you to agree with me, but I hope this clarifies some of the reasons for my opposition to polygamy.

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