Polygamy: What It Is Not
Polygamy, or the status of having more than one wife, is a time honored form of marriage with a firm biblical foundation. It is a high calling and, frankly, it is not for everyone. It requires a man to firmly take up his role as a patriarch and deal with multiple women and their children with fairness, patience, and wisdom.
Unfortunately, some men seem to think that polygamy is just a way to have more intimate encounters and this is simply not so. The responsibility that comes with a plural family is, as one might guess, a great deal more than with a single wife. Plural marriage is surprisingly mundane and it is definitely not what some would imagine as a harem.
Polygamy is everything a monogamous marriage should be and more. Unfortunately, some men, use it as a means to bed additional women by calling them their wives without every meaning to “commit” to them for life. However, labeling a woman your wife does necessarily mean she is your wife and that you can have relations with her. Marriage, like all things in our present church age, is a matter of the heart. Plural marriage is still a life time commitment which must exist before you consummate the marriage. If you simply meet a women, like the way she looks, call her you wife, bed her, and then discard her you are still committing adultery.
This type of behavior done by ministers who are promoting polygamy in Africa has in fact harmed the legitimacy of this institution. They come to Africa preaching this restored truth and then are caught bedding women left and right under the “guise” of them being wives. The focus then shifts off of the acceptance of polygamy being an acceptable form of biblical marriage to “this western person is just here to have sex with our women.” One such “minister” did this sort of thing was almost killed by the village people. When they did not find him at home they instead slashed his latest “wife” with machetes. Fortunately she survived but due to the incident the cause of restoring the truth that God accepts polygamists as well as monogamists was greatly damaged. When people claim to be a minister of the gospel they cannot engage in such shameful behavior without bringing shame upon what they preach and teach.
Another “minister” used to put on seminars about polygamy (among other topics) but he would show up with different women on different trips. He would pass them off as assistants or translators but then go and stay with them in a hotel room in town. African people are very aware of what is going on around them and it was known what he was doing very quickly. As this man would stand and preach in his suit and tie about God the people would despise him for being an adulterer and nothing he said meant anything to them from that time onward. Kenyans almost never confront sin but they make up for it by talking about it with everyone else.
Africans are no dummies. In fact, they are a lot more socially aware than most western folk. You may get them to listen because they think you might have something to give them or they might even want to hear the word of God but you will never play them for fools. If you are messing around with their local women, even a 100 miles away (thinking that it will remain secret,) they will know about it in short order. Western ministers are not that many in the African bush and news travels amazingly fast.
In conclusion, let us not use the biblical institution of polygamy for an occasion to commit sin. If a man wants to marry let him do so in a proper and honorable way so that if he marries an additional wife he commits to her for life and treats her like the precious creation of God that she is.