Posted in theology

Marriage is intended to be solely one man and one woman

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday I wrote about polygamy in the Bible. God does not accept polygamy as an appropriate marital configuration. His standard is seen in Genesis 2:24, where he brought one man to one woman and made them as one flesh for life.

This standard is emphasized both positively and negatively throughout the Bible. In the New Testament Jesus re-taught that standard, quoting the Old Testament. The negative examples of what happens to a family when they stray from it is clearly seen whenever polygamy is practiced. Abraham, Solomon, David, Elkanah, Jacob, and others suffered terribly whenever it’s shown they took on plural wives or concubines.

Despite that, there are religions that practice polygamy, which is one person married to multiple other spouses. Usually it’s the man who has many wives, which is technically called polygyny. We rarely see a culture that adopts polyandry, which is women taking on multiple husbands.

There is one cult that claims the God of the Bible and practices polygamy. That cult is Mormonism, or as they refer to themselves, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many of their historical elders were polygamists, usually in secret, from almost the start of the founding of the cult. Founder Joseph Smith claimed to have had a revelation from Jesus to take plural wives. (Source). Smith did so, and taught the practice to close associates. In public however, they denied the existence of polygamy for a few of those beginning years. One wonders why, if this teaching truly was from God – who is good, holy, and pure – it needed to be a secret…

In fact, the Mormons’ 1835 founding and guiding document, Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), banned polygamy and said that monogamy was the only acceptable form of marriage. But men continued to take plural wives, and the practice spread. In 1852 polygamy was announced publicly and finally published in the 1876 version of the LDS Church’s Doctrine and Covenants, the practice became openly public. This caused much controversy between the LDS church and the United States government, which vehemently opposed the practice. Mormons called it having ‘spiritual wives’ or “plural marriage.” The government called it polygamy and against the law.

Recently the LDS church posted documents on their website admitting their early history was rife with “plural marriages”. Joseph Smith had up to 40 wives, the youngest of age 14.

Where do Mormons get that polygamy is biblical? First, this is their reasoning, aside from basing legitimacy on the alleged extra-biblical, direct revelation Joseph Smith allegedly received, Smith then wrote down the revelation and codified it into the documents they vault to equal stature as scripture, for example, their Doctrine & Covenants 132:34 says that God commanded polygamy.

34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. 35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.

So, a direct command via revelation, plus an argument from silence. Their argument from silence explains that when Abraham took wives and concubines, since there was no explicit condemnation from God for doing that, it must be OK.

Further, they say that since the Prophet (Smith) was told to do it, and there was NO condemnation to Abraham for taking multiple wives, and further proof of the practice’s acceptability is that he was blessed with children. They say in paragraph 37, “Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him,“.

Fourth, they say that when there is an apparent contradiction between what the LORD had said before in scripture, and the instructions now, obedience is key. The D & C use the example in 132:36 that God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac. We know the 5th Commandment says Thou Shalt Not Kill. It is interpreted that Abraham’s obedience to the voice of God commanding him to kill Isaac even though the Commandments forbid it, was accounted to him as righteousness. Similarly was Abraham’s acceptance of plural wives despite an apparent contradiction in Genesis 2:24, and that also was accounted. This interpretation is taught at the churchofjesuschrist.org, the legitimate Mormon website. We read, “It is important to remember that if God were to command His people to do something contrary to current commandments, such direction would come through His living prophet.” So, essentially the living prophet designated by the Mormons as the one to receive revelation, could say anything, claim it was “God told me”, and the Mormons would have to obey. This is so dangerous.

Yet scripture is clear that marriage is one man and one woman. We also read that, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8). And to watch out, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds“. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

We see how easy it is for satan to twist the scriptures. All the most famous false teachers and false prophets we read about in the Bible or hear about in the news, start off with a hefty blend of truth mixed in with lies. That proportion changes as the false prophet’s following grows. His teachings become less truth and more lies. By then, people are hooked, as the frogs in ever-warming water, perhaps not noticing the drift from sacred scripture. Satan deceived Eve simply by insinuations and questions. The Judaizers made sense to the confused Jews coming out of the old covenant and emerging into the new. Cults always begin with truth and lies mixed, expertly proportioned so as to make sense to the people the false teacher or false prophet is trying to deceive.

Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:14-18,

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found spotless and blameless by Him, at peace, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unscrupulous people and lose your own firm commitment, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

From this we learn that:
1. Some biblical concepts are hard to understand,
2. We must be diligent to interpret correctly so as to understand according to the Spirit and not to the flesh,
3. There are unscrupulous teachers coming in the name of Christ. The word unscrupulous means lawless, licentious, and unrestrained,
4. Scripture can be distorted.

Whenever a ‘biblical’ teaching appeals to the flesh, it’s false. And who is unstable? The double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8). Again, if a teaching appeals to the flesh, it is false.

The beauty of the institute of marriage is that it’s a picture of Jesus and His Bride (the Church). The Church global is one body, (not plural bodies) whom Jesus gave His life for and will be presented to Him by His Father, Yahweh at the heavenly supper as spotless. Marriage is supposed to be instructive to us, where the man is head of the house, women are to submit to His leadership, He is to love his wife even unto death, and as a unit of one man and one woman, go forth to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus while striving for holiness. Just as it was intended in the Garden by God for Adam and Eve.

Posted in theology

Marriage: Polygamy in the Bible

By Elizabeth Prata

Last week I’d written a short series on Marriage for wives. The essays in the series were:

Persevering in Marriage: A True Story
Culture Calls this a Dirty Word
Recommending Confidently Called Homemakers
What are the biblical qualities God desires in a woman teacher? Not the ones Beth Moore exhibits
What if my marriage is to a difficult man?
Unequally yoked (or yoked to a minimal believer) but still need to submit?

A dear sister contacted me and asked me to write about polygamy. In my series, I’d only mentioned polygamy, noting that Abraham had multiple wives. So did, David, Solomon, Elkanah, and that even the institute of marriage crumbled as early as Genesis 4:19, when we read that Lamech took two wives.

As I was writing the series I briefly considered writing more about polygamy (multiple spouses supposedly married to one person) but discarded the idea since polygamy isn’t a huge concern in the US.

I was wrong.

Continue reading “Marriage: Polygamy in the Bible”
Posted in theology

If only God is good, how can we be called a ‘good’ servant?

By Elizabeth Prata

In Luke 18:19, a certain ruler approached Jesus and asked him a question starting with “Good Teacher…” Jesus replied,

“Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

Goodness is an attribute of God, one that is called a ‘communicable’ attribute, in that God chooses to ‘communicate’ or deliver to us, certain attributes. Incommunicable attributes are the attributes of God reserved for Him alone, such as omnipotence, or omniscience. But other attributes such as patience, goodness, etc, are given to us after salvation as we work out His salvation, obey His law, and develop fruit of the Spirit.

The only good there is comes from God, because He is the only Good. Let’s look at this attribute a bit closer. In Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, he writes the definition of good,

Continue reading “If only God is good, how can we be called a ‘good’ servant?”
Posted in theology

Kay Cude Poetry: In these Perilous Times- Fear Not

Kay Cude is a Texas poet. Used with permission. Here is Kay’s Artist’s Statement:

Kay Cude: Too often I've been caught up in the speculation, "How will I respond to the attacks of the wicked when I am face-to-face with persecution?"  \Will I have the strength, the resilience, and the courage to respond to them with patience and gentleness and point them to the eternal rescue that is available to them through Christ Himself?  Will words fail me? Will I be able to crucify my flesh and respond in the Spirit, even in overwhelmingly fearful situations that threaten my life or my family or my financial security?"
"Proverbs 3:25-26 speaks to what I and countless of the redeemed can rest in--that it is the Lord, not ourselves, who is our confidence when we face persecution! Look closely at the submission, even the awe and timidity displayed in the eyes of those lions! Then see Daniel as he faces a deadly situation but stands quietly in the confidence that only the Lord can supply!  That's for us too!!"

When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12 NASB’95).

Briton Riviere; Daniel in the Lion’s Den; Walker Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/daniel-in-the-lions-den-97646
Posted in theology

Unequally yoked (or yoked to a minimal believer) but still need to submit?

By Elizabeth Prata

The Bible calls married women to submit to their husbands, as they submit to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22-25). But when your husband isn’t a believer in Christ, or is a minimal believer showing little interest in spiritual things, how does one navigate the minefields that pop up? Yesterday we saw young Abigail in that situation, and she used tact and diplomacy.

The question is, how to submit to husband without sinning against Jesus. Let’s start with a negative example of what NOT to do. I’d said on the first essay in this series that submission means you do not have to follow your husband into sin. In the days of the early church shown in Acts, everyone was selling their land and laying the proceeds at the apostles’ feet, so that there was not a needy person among them. (Acts 4:32-35). So Ananias and Sapphira decided they would do the same.

Continue reading “Unequally yoked (or yoked to a minimal believer) but still need to submit?”
Posted in theology

What if my marriage is to a difficult man?

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

This week I’ve been looking at marriage. I wrote about what submission is and isn’t, I posted a sweet testimony about persevering in marriage, and I recommended a site called Confidently Called Homemakers that has a lot of encouragements and resources for the women who work at home.

Today we’ll look at marriage to a difficult man. I know what you’re thinking, lol, ‘They’re ALL difficult!’ And they are! And so are we women. As part of the curse, God said that the desire for women would be for their husbands, and the husbands in turn would have a tendency to rule over us. This is ripe ground for conflict. Before the fall, Adam and Eve’s was the only perfect marriage. All of them since have had difficulty. In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve started blame-shifting and bickering. (Where do I get the bickering from? I am supposing…the leaf-sewing went something like this: “You’re not doing it right! That leaf isn’t big enough! Just give it here!”)

Continue reading “What if my marriage is to a difficult man?”
Posted in theology

What are the biblical qualities God desires in a woman teacher? Not the ones Beth Moore exhibits

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata art

Beth Moore, biblically, is a teacher #fail

Did you know that for men who desire to teach, pastor, or lead, there are many more Biblical standards addressing their behavior than there are skill-level credentials? There’s just one mentioned skill: Men must be “able to teach”. But there are many more verses outlining how they are to behave. If they fail to adhere to any of the standards, including behavioral, they are disqualified from the position.

It’s the same for women. There are many more behavior and lifestyle standards than skills. If God were grading on a curve, behavior would weigh more than skills or talents. Here some of them are in Titus 2:3-5. The passage opens with admonishment for women to be reverent and ends with warnings that failure to be reverent will dishonor God’s word.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

I think we all understand what it means to be reverent, not a malicious gossip, and not a drunk. What does sensible mean in this context? It is to be self-controlled and of sound mind. Mark that, I’ll come back to it. What does it mean to “dishonor” God’s word? The Greek here is blasphēmētai 987: “to slander, hence to speak lightly or profanely of sacred things.” It is to be irreverent.

Now that we know what God expects, let’s take a look at who fails the test, and why.

Continue reading “What are the biblical qualities God desires in a woman teacher? Not the ones Beth Moore exhibits”
Posted in theology

Recommending “Confidently Called Homemakers”

By Elizabeth Prata

Hey, Ladies, SAHMs: I recommend Jennifer Ross’ site “Confidently Called Homemakers”. She has tons of resources and encouragements for you. Incidentally, she interviewed me on the topic of ‘Does God Speak with us Audibly’? and the podcast is up!

Her site: http://confidentlycalled.com/

Her interview with me: is #30, http://confidentlycalled.com/2021/04/20/doesgodspeakwithusaudibly/

Other great discussions on the following topics:

29. Life after Deleting Social Media with Grace Wagler

28: Learn to Manage Your Time Well with Sue Nelson

27: How Stay at Home Moms Can get Involved in Standing up for God-Given Freedoms with Sheri Graham

26: Practical Home Management with Marci Ferrell

25: How Pursuing a Career Cost Me 3 of my 4 Children with Guest Sherry

24: Living for Jesus as a Stay At Home Mom with Karen DeBeus

23: Eternal Impact in the Everyday Mundane with Kelly Crawford

22: Coming Out of the Chaos with Meg Dickey

21: Starting from Scratch in Homemaking with Jami Balmet

And much more on the podcast and the blog! http://confidentlycalled.com/

Posted in theology

Culture calls this a dirty word

By Elizabeth Prata

There are two worlds. The seen and the unseen. The world and the heavens. The devil’s kingdom and the Messiah’s. That’s it.

We will never get an unsaved person to believe this, because these things are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

It is nonetheless true. Other truisms come with this knowledge, such as the fact that the world systems vs the heavenly kingdom each have its own unique vocabulary. Nowhere is this more spelled out than in Isaiah 5:20, which reads,

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Matthew Henry says of the Isaiah verse,

Continue reading “Culture calls this a dirty word”