Trending Polygamy and the final nail in Sola Scriptura’s coffin?

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...
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I’ve asked my wife about this, and frankly, this morning, I’m surprised I can still breathe, let a lone type. Obviously she isn’t concerned with being biblical or her mortal soul. The author notes the rising tide of polygamy, or as I say, the mainstreaming of it.

My guess is that the justification for polygamy will be that it cannot be deemed sinful on the basis of Scripture alone. The oft-heralded Protestant method for weighing the “Biblicality” of cultural trends is the belief in “sola Scriptura”–or, the Bible alone as the Christian’s sole authority. To the dismay of many Bible-only Christians, their very belief in “sola Scriptura” will be used against them in the defense of polygamy.

And the author goes on to quote Martin Luther,

I confess I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. –De Wette, II, 459 (quoted in By ]]? p.101)

Polygamy: a new trend for Christians? | Elizabeth Esther.

It was an early part of Christian Tradition, this monogamy thing, because like a lot of other things, the early Christian community inherited it from the Pharisees. Reading of the texts around this period, you’ll note that they were attacking polygamy.

So, is polygamy allowed by Scripture? (Boy, that just about sinks the Traditional Marriage bit, now doesn’t it?) And if so, who has prevented us from being ‘biblical’?

The Catholics, that’s who. Church Tradition. Ugh.

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11 Replies to “Trending Polygamy and the final nail in Sola Scriptura’s coffin?”

  1. The Scripture also allows divorce for certain reasons but Jesus clearly said this was not the way it was supposed to be. He defended this before the Pharisees by an appeal to the creation of the first couple. I would do the same in this situation. It was Adam and Eve. It was not Adam and Eve and Mary and Beth and Mildred and . . .

  2. Actually, if you take the law of levirate marriage seriously, the Old Testament doesn’t just support polygamy, but ensures it in certain cases ;-).

  3. As I understand it, traditional Jews say four wives, because you have to know your wife at least once a week. Also, each wife is supposed to be supported in equal fashion.

    Given those requirements, monogamy is real popular among Jews.

  4. NT Wright has a chapter about this in “Scripture and the Authority of God”. He argues that you can use scripture to support monogamy as the “Biblical” form of marriage.. (that chapter is a part of new material, so it might not appear in older printings…)

    1. I think you can too, but polygamy is allowed in Scripture. of course, people are always reading Scripture the way that they want too…

      1. I reiterate: Commanded in some places due to the law of levirate marriage. You’re toning down the language of scripture, Joel. Is that what you Methodists do at seminary? 😉

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