Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

Is Polygamy for Today? – Messianic Insider

No one who reads the Bible denies that polygamy—the practice of a man having more than one wife—is seen within the text. The Patriarch Jacob, who was the progenitor of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, had two wives and two concubines (Genesis 31:17; 37:2). King David, who was testified by the Lord to be “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), had multiple wives (1 Samuel 18:17-30; 25:38-43; 2 Samuel 3:2-5). King Solomon, whom many consider to be the wisest man who ever lived, had hundreds of wives and concubines (1 Kings 3:1; 11:3) that made up an entire harem (Song of Songs 6:8). “So what is the problem?” it is said. “Some of the most important figures in the Tanach Scriptures had multiple wives, and so Messianic men today should be able to have multiple wives as well. YHWH is restoring Biblical patriarchy! Women need to learn their place.” There are, in fact, many problems to be explored when considering whether or not polygamy is an acceptable practice for today’s Body of Messiah. Was it the ideal at Creation for the man to have more than one wife? When a man has more than one wife, is he truly fulfilled emotionally and spiritually with his multiple spouses? Is the household where one man has multiple wives and children from those multiple wives truly a place of love and affection, or one of discord and suspicion? Does the Bible portray men who had polygamous relationships as being genuinely fulfilled, and children who were true examples of godliness? Does a man having multiple wives express the sentiment that he places great value on women, or that they are simply property to be acquired? And, how many in the Biblical period actually had the financial means to afford more than one wife? Does the Bible really lend support to the practice of polygamy today?

No one who reads the Bible denies that polygamy—the practice of a man having more than one wife—is seen within the text. The Patriarch Jacob, who was the progenitor of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, had two wives and two concubines (Genesis 31:17; 37:2). King David, who was testified by the Lord to be “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), had multiple wives (1 Samuel 18:17-30; 25:38-43; 2 Samuel 3:2-5). King Solomon, whom many consider to be the wisest man who ever lived, had hundreds of wives and concubines (1 Kings 3:1; 11:3) that made up an entire harem (Song of Songs 6:8).

“So what is the problem?” it is said. “Some of the most important figures in the Tanach Scriptures had multiple wives, and so Messianic men today should be able to have multiple wives as well. YHWH is restoring Biblical patriarchy! Women need to learn their place.”

There are, in fact, many problems to be explored when considering whether or not polygamy is an acceptable practice for today’s Body of Messiah. Was it the ideal at Creation for the man to have more than one wife? When a man has more than one wife, is he truly fulfilled emotionally and spiritually with his multiple spouses? Is the household where one man has multiple wives and children from those multiple wives truly a place of love and affection, or one of discord and suspicion? Does the Bible portray men who had polygamous relationships as being genuinely fulfilled, and children who were true examples of godliness? Does a man having multiple wives express the sentiment that he places great value on women, or that they are simply property to be acquired? And, how many in the Biblical period actually had the financial means to afford more than one wife? Does the Bible really lend support to the practice of polygamy today?


Is Polygamy for Today? The Case Against Polygamy (PDF)


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Men and Women in the Body of Messiah

Anyone who receives a broad-based theological education today, will quickly find that there are a number of issues upon which scholars, congregational leaders, and laypersons not only disagree about—but will starkly divide over. One of the biggest, divisive issues in contemporary evangelical Protestant theology, involves women in ministry. There are Christian denominations which support females serving alongside of males as co-leaders of the assembly, ordained as pastors, and there are other Christian denominations which strongly oppose females serving in such a capacity. When it comes to marital relationships, there are those who support marriages where husband and wife are co-leaders of the family, and there are others who believe that a husband leads the family while the wife follows.

It is no secret that in both Conservative and Reform Judaism, as well as in many evangelical Protestant denominations, that both men and women can be ordained as either rabbis or pastors. For certain, both men and women can serve side-by-side within the leadership structure of various local synagogues and churches, as both facilitators and teachers. In stark contrast to this, most Messianic congregations are led entirely by males, few females serve within the leadership structure of the assembly, and almost no females would be expected to give a teaching on Shabbat. This is then widely reflected in the marriages of many Messianic men and women, where the husband is the leader of the family, and the wife is expected to follow and defer to him. In terms of congregational and familial leadership, the broad Messianic movement is a virtual carbon copy of complementarian Protestantism, where male leadership and authority is upheld as the ideal.

The Messianic community is hardly one-hundred percent complementarian. There are many people who attend male-led and male-directed Messianic assemblies, who keep their opinions to themselves. More frequently than not, those who are egalitarian leaning, are younger people. When such young men and young women ask legitimate questions from the Holy Scriptures, they are often patronized, ignored, and silenced. A refusal to address the concerns of what is commonly labeled the “Millennial generation,” could very well lead to seeing many young people in today’s Messianic movement leave at a later time. This resource, Men and Women in the Body of Messiah: Answering Crucial Questions, engages with both Christian complementarian as well as common perspectives regarding gender roles witnessed in the broad Messianic community. It reflects an emerging egalitarian philosophy, where the gifts, talents, and skills of all Messianic men and women can be employed within our congregations and fellowships.

available in both paperback ($22.99) and eBook for Amazon Kindle ($9.99)


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