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“Does God approve of polygamy in certain circumstances?”

“Does God approve of polygamy in certain circumstances?”

AUGUST 19, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / “Does God approve of polygamy in certain circumstances?”

Steve Brown:
“Does God approve a polygamy in certain circumstances?” The answer to that, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life dedicated to the message that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. That teaching raises a lot of questions. So, here’s author and seminary professor Steve Brown, along with Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com with answers to the Bible, that’ll make you free.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey Steve. I’m just wondering if you’re trying to process something here? Oh, okay. All right.

Steve Brown:
We say we’re going to take these questions. I’ve heard that question and I bet you have too. A lot of times as a pastor, when a guy’s trying to get out of his marriage and he said, well he let David have a bunch of wives, why won’t he let me have a bunch of, well, we’ll talk about it. That’s the voice of Pete Alwinson, by the way. And he’s been coming in, actually more than 25 years. Every Friday, we’ve sat at this table and we’ve answered questions. And we’ve loved doing it and still do. And, you want to know about Pete, go to ForgeTruth.com. That website will blow you away. There’s audio and video. And so many, so much stuff written that’ll help you. It’s ForgeTruth.com and by the way, we do love to get your questions. And we take you and your question seriously, you can ask your question, 24 7, by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE and recording your question. And sometimes we put your voice on the air. We haven’t done that in a while because most of you, instead of asking a question are preaching. And we’re the preachers, but if you ask a question, we’ll put your voice on the air. That’s 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, or you can write to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

in Canada, it’s

P.O. Box 28060

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

or you can e-mail us at [email protected] And if you can help us financially, please do. As I’ve said, often, we’ll squeeze every dime for the glory of God. Our books are open for your inspection. Every question is answered. We are a part of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And, we have a board that are mean guys and they oversee every dime and we are careful. So, help us if you can, if you can’t do say a prayer for this ministry. And Pete, why don’t you lead us in prayer? And we’ll get to these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
You got it. Let’s pray together. Well Father, here we are on Friday. And, what a joy it is to be able to come into your presence and not to worry about being condemned, not having to worry about our sin. And yet Lord, we do sin and we have sinned this week. And so, it’s probably a good time for us to just say, Lord, we love you and we’re your people and yet we have sinned. Thank you that your word is clear in I John, that if we confess our sins, you’re faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us every day of all unrighteousness. And we do come before you and ask that, Lord, you would help us by your Spirit to see where we sin and to not walk in those directions. They dishonor you and they hurt our lives. So, thank you for the freedom of forgiveness that we find in you and that we can offer to others as well. We ask that at the end of this week, Lord, you would help us to, take stock of what went on this week, of what you’re teaching us, and what you’re doing in our life. And we pray that you would use Sunday even, as a part of that process, that we could stop, we could rest, we could listen, we could hear your word, and that we could allow the Spirit of God to speak quietly, gently into our hearts and minds. And we really lift up our leaders. Lord, we know that they’re under great stress to bring your message to us, and we pray that you would fill them with your Spirit, as we prepare for worship this week-end. Thank you for Key Life and all our great people here. And we commit this time of Q&A to you. And ask that you would use it beyond what we could ever understand. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. Pete, this first question’s an e-mail. Why was polygamy apparently either accepted or condoned in the Old Testament? And how do I reconcile that with the two shall become one?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, my first take on this, until you clean up the mess here because this is a tough issue. But my first take on this is, how do we reconcile that with the two shall become one? No, that’s God’s plan.

Steve Brown:
Exactly.

Pete Alwinson:
Right. And it was always his plan. So, how was it accepted or condoned? It was tolerated. And I think that’s the best way to see it.

Steve Brown:
That’s the best word.

Pete Alwinson:
God tolerated it because the people of God adopted cultures, cultural cultures around them.

Steve Brown:
Well, it was their culture too, until God’s revelation. And cultural things change slowly, and as God began to teach and to teach carefully and slowly throughout the Old Testament and in the New Testament, a lot of things become clear. And one of the things that is clear is that’s not a good thing. Read Ephesians 5 and the lessons that are taught on marriage. And the two shall become one. That’s always been God’s plan. And you can’t go to the Old Testament and justify having multiple wives by the Old Testament.

Pete Alwinson:
Right. That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Because it’s never spoken of as a commandment, go out and have a bunch of wives. It was, as you said, tolerated.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, that’s right, that’s good. So, to summarize what you said, I think is, it might be important. It didn’t start out that way, it was, you know, Genesis 2, it’s the man leave his father and mother and be united, should become one flesh. So, that was God’s plan, but it devolved quickly. And became inculturated and it, and I think, the point you made that is very, very important is that once something like that gets into a culture, a whole system develops, the family systems develop that way.

Steve Brown:
That’s right.

Pete Alwinson:
And it’s very difficult to undo that over a period of time.

Steve Brown:
But God wasn’t doing it and he was undoing it in a wise and very thoughtful way, that his people would understand.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Good, good. And it never is a positive thing, you see those polygamous families in the Old Testament, it’s never positive. Look at Jacob’s situation. There’s always way more conflict.

Steve Brown:
That’s true. And that’s a part of the revelation that God is teaching.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
What’s heaven going to be like? That’s an e-mail.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. I think it’s going to be a great. So, new heaven and new earth. So, the Biblical way of thinking of that is that heaven comes to us and the earth is remade. And that’s eschatology. It’s easy for you to say. It’s eschatological, eschatology, the study of last things, but yeah, it’s going to be great. And, I think we ought to have a more sanctified imagination about it.

Steve Brown:
We really do. Elyse Fitzpatrick as, and I have mentioned that before. We interviewed her after her book was written on heaven and it was so good. She said that heaven is when we get to do what we didn’t have time to do, but wanted to do that was right on earth. So, I’m going be able to play the organ and a harp and a guitar better than I do and all kinds of neat, you know, we get this idea that heaven’s going to be an eternal worship service. Listen, I get upset when my preacher goes over 35 minutes. I can’t do an eternal worship service. I mean, I like singing hymns and worship songs, but you know, there gets to be a time when I want to go to lunch. And, I just don’t see heaven as an eternal worship service.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely. I mean, if all of life is worship for a Christian, then that includes work, it includes learning, it includes all kinds of things. And, heaven’s going to be great. And we need to really think about perfection being restored and what God can do in that. We’ve got a whole, several universes out there.

Steve Brown:
Oh man.

Pete Alwinson:
What’s going to happen.

Steve Brown:
It really is. I should have paired this e-mail question with that one, but this goes along with that. A friend of mine has just lost a loved one. What can I say or do that would be of help?

Pete Alwinson:
Mmmmm.

Steve Brown:
Nothing.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
Hug them.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
Taste the salt of their tears. Tell them you’re so sorry. And then sit with them. Mm-hmm uh, be there.

Pete Alwinson:
Mm-hmm.

Steve Brown:
Later on, you can say things.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, and I learned that from you and I applied that as a pastor and that’s, you know, clich├ęs don’t do that. Just like you said, just go up and hug him and say, I’m so sorry. You know, I love you. And I’m so sorry.

Steve Brown:
You know, one of the problems with people like us who have had a lot of training, a lot of formal training, education, seminary graduate school and all of that, is that we have so much to say. And one of the things that God teaches us, you don’t have to say it. You really don’t. Sometimes your presence is the, I one time, we had a sea captain that died on Cape Cod when I was the pastor there. And I, and it was the first time somebody had died on me. I was a kid. I was going to seminary and serving this little church together. And I went to his house that looked out over the bay on Cape God. And there were people there. And I had this speech prepared where I was going to take everything they had taught me and apply it and really be helpful. And I got in, I forgot all of it. And I felt miserable. I sat down on the couch and I just sat there and it was awful. And I thought I’m about as useful as a bicycle to a fish. I don’t know what I’m doing here. And so, I had a prayer and later I left and she stopped by my office a couple of weeks later and was very profusive in what she said. She said, thank you so much for what you did the day that Sam died. And I said to her, I didn’t do anything. I wanted to help, but I didn’t know what to say. And she said, you were there.

Pete Alwinson:
You were there. That’s right. And time is one of the most scarce commodities that we have these days.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. It really is. It really is. You and I don’t do the funerals we used to, you know, I used to get paid $25 a funeral. I made some good money because a funeral director liked me, that’s before I knew Jesus. And then I decided I can’t do this anymore, man. This is so cold. Even as an believer, I can’t do this. So, be there. Love them and care. Speaking of be there. You going to be here next week?

Pete Alwinson:
I will. It’s an honor to be here with you doing this.

Steve Brown:
And it’s an honor to have you. One other thing before we go. Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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